Friday, April 26, 2013

beautiful things.




sometimes life feels hard. 
the reality is that there are hard things in life:
hard things to figure out,
to understand, 
to face. 

it's broken. 
but is also really, really beautiful.
life is full of joy, beauty, and all kinds of lovely things.
but it is also full of pain, heartache, grief, and all sorts of hard things.



this week I've been thinking about the hard things that lie before us.
the reality of adoption is that we will experience extreme joy as we bring children into our family,
but we will also need to be prepared to walk with them through some hard things.
adoption is born out of loss, pain, and grief.
there is a birth mom that will say goodbye to her baby.
my babies will have a story that begins before I was around,
and they will endure things that are hard and I won't be there to protect them.
their path to becoming our children does not come without cost.

This week I have grieved for them.
I have grieved for their first families.
I have even grieved for us, for me.

I skyped with a dear friend yesterday, and I said to her
"sometimes I just don't want to do hard."
it's true.
I get a little nervous when I think about what lies ahead.
it feels really unknown.
but then, I remember how BIG my God is,
and that he has called us to do hard things,
because He did hard things.
and He promises that His is present with us in the midst of hard things.



I got asked this week why I chose to go into counseling.
My answer was that I believe in healing and restoration,
and that it is an honor and privilege to get to walk with people as the find
freedom and joy in the midst of really hard things.


I met with a student this week-
they are COURAGEOUSLY facing some really, really hard stuff.
going places emotionally and walking through things that have been locked away a long time.
This week they said to me, "sometimes I just want a little slack, ya know. Why does it always have to feel so hard?'
As tears welled up in my eyes, I had no answer. no words.except this:
I told her that I heard her.
that she wasn't alone.
and then I told her that I had HOPE.
that she would not stay in this place of extreme brokenness.
that together we would face the hard things,
and find freedom and beauty and love and value. 



Often it takes walking through the hard to be able to appreciate the beauty.
As we walk through the hard, we find freedom and healing.
If we never experienced hard, then we would not fully grasp the lovely things lying on the other side.
I told her that I believed that things redeemed were often the most beautiful things;
things once broken that are transformed into something lovely.
I told her that that healing is worth the effort, the time, and the work.
and, you guys, I believe it.
in my core, I believe it.

and THIS is why we will adopt,
even though I know that there will be hard things.
out of the hard stuff will spring forth
relationships,
bonds,
stories,
experiences
and a life that is more beautiful than anything I can imagine.
so, we will press on.
into the hard places,
and the hard spaces.
we will do hard things. 

"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth;
burst into song, O mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones."
Isaiah 49:13

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

good for you, Mark Cuban.

last night Rob was giving me updates on the WNBA's draft. 
a friend of ours had a sister in the draft and we were watching to see when & where she would go. 

I must be honest and say that I have never actually watched an entire WNBA game. 
but to be fair, I don't watch the NBA either. 
I really, really dislike the NBA-but that is a whole other story. 

Anyway, 
I don't talk about it much here on this blog, 
but I love basketball. 
Some--if not MOST-- of my absolute favorite memories involve this beloved game. 
playing on the patio at the farm.
playing pick-up with my dad and brothers in the Quonset.
summers traveling the state of Kansas for tournaments. 
watching my brothers play at the state tournament.
4 years of college basketball including 2 trips to the national tournament.
a father/daughter trip to the Women's NCAA Final 4 in Indianapolis.
(2005-I look so young!)

the game has brought me much joy. 
but it has also left me striving and having to "prove" myself. 

I grew up playing with boys. 
where I came from, that was who played. 
there were very few girls that ever played pick-up or wanted to pass time in the gym. 
so if I wanted to play, I played with the guys.
and some guys were cool with this.
but many were not.
they wouldn't pass a ball to a girl.
they didn't want to guard me or have me guard them.

that was,
until I had proven that I could hang. 

so, there is story coming out of this year's women's draft that really strikes a chord with me.

Mark Cuban-owner of the Dallas Mavericks
invited Brittney Griner to tryout for his NBA team. 

she turned it down and said she was perfectly happy to go as the #1 overall pick to the WNBA.

There is so much about this that makes me happy and proud to be a female athlete. 



First, an invitation was extended. Good on you, Mark Cuban.
He recognized her abilities and leveled the playing field. I'm assuming this was a tremendous compliment to Brittney.
We women are often left trying to prove that we deserve a place on the court, on the field, in the workplace.
It often leaves us striving.
Which is exhausting. 

so, what I love even more than the fact that Brittney was invited, 
was that she turned it down. 
 I LOVE that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the invitation. 
that she is content to play with other women.

(Brittney Griner, source: Nytimes.com)

I'm not here to beat the "women are equal in every way" drum, 
because I know that when it comes to physical characterics we are not.
 My husband is bigger, faster, and stronger than me. 
(just don't make me say that out loud to him :) ha! )

what I am here to say is this:

Women, we have our place. 
Let's keep going for it. 
We don't need to strive so hard, 
but we also don't need to back down. 
just BE.
be the best version of yourself.
and don't ever let any man (or woman)
stop you from pursuing THAT goal. 


the world needs you.
 



Monday, April 8, 2013

from the mouth of babes

one way that we have handled waiting for our own children,
is taking time to enjoy the children that ARE currently in our life.

and because we are in "that" stage of life--
ya know, the one where everyone & their mom is having a kid 
(okay, okay..no one's MOM is having a kid)--
there is never a shortage. :)
it has not been difficult to find some cute kids to love on and laugh at. 

in fact, this winter at a tabor basketball game,
the alumni office was handing out pom-poms to children.
as I walked by the table,
someone who knows me
--she sees me on a weekly basis--
offered me a pom-pom for "your little one."
when I informed her that I did not have any children,
 she looked shocked and commented that she sees me holding one all the time.
 true. I just borrow them.


lydia and I are BFF's.
I love getting quality time in with her and watching her personality continue to grow.
she is full of life.

she says the most hilarious things. 
and yet buried within the humor,
is so much truth and beauty.

yesterday I hung out with her for a couple of hours. 
while we were playing, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and she said:
"oh, hey! there you are, God!"

she also really likes to make up songs. 

at first, yesterday's song seemed completely random to me. 
but then, as I watched the video over again, 
I realized how much wisdom
came from her 2 year old mouth.

video
yes, sweet Lydia-girl, we should all SHOUT for joy and do our share.
:)

I have a lot of waiting before me.
in the midst of this season of waiting I will continue to
shout of joy & do what I can.
I will enjoy the blessings of friendships and children,
making memories with my beautiful nieces & nephews.
I will fill out paperwork and answer a ridiculous # of personal questions.
I will do my "share"-what I can in this moment.
I will pray for my babes until the day that I can bring them home.
and I will do so with as much joy as the Lord gives me.
I will choose joy. and do my share.


 

 
if you, too, find yourself in a season of waiting for something, 
make sure you look for the blessing that might be hiding. 

they may come in the form of a 2-year-old's silly song. 

how to you handle waiting? what have you found helpful in seasons of wait?
   


Friday, April 5, 2013

feeling the love

wow. 
over the past few weeks, we have really felt the love from those around us. 
as we announced our adoption 
and opened up our first fundraiser,
you all have been amazing.

(thanks, KT!)

people have prayed for us, 
been excited with us, 
encouraged us, 
bought coffee,
made donations, 
and just been with us.

it's been fun to have people send/post pictures of their coffee as it arrived. 
this really IS a box full of love. 
you have no idea.
(Thank you, Jo!)



Hello, Sunshine!
(Thanks, Myles & Anna!)
I can't wait for their sweet little curly haired babe to play with our kiddos. 
another generation of cousin-love.


everyone has had really positive things to say about the coffee. 
so yummy!

(Thanks, Beth!)



you can get your own by clicking below. 


thanks for showing us the love! 

Have a great weekend!
much love,
R&E


P.S. We have raised nearly $250 from coffee sales already. Just wanted to keep you all posted. :)


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

what march looked like

this is what my March looked like:

the first weekend of the month I took a solo road trip back to Colorado. 
I realized that it was the first long trip I'd taken by myself in years. 
it was really, really wonderful. 
don't get me wrong, 
I love traveling with my hubby, 
but it was just really great to have all that time to just think and pray and talk on the phone and listen to this book on my kindle. so, so good. 

I drove to ft. collins and stayed the night with kristen. 
we ate breakfast and spent the day walking & shopping in the sunshine.
 
glorious. look at that sunshine. 

saturday I drove down to Denver and stayed with the lovely Holmes family. 
their house is one of my favorite places. 
probably because they are one of my absolute favorite families. 
and emily has really awesome style. :)
we ate yummy food and laughed and had great conversation. 
it was goooooood. 
 
i apparently forgot to take ANY pictures though. 
boo. 

monday of that weekend I had a three hour coffee date with taryn. 
she's awesome. 
her and her husband mentored rob and I for over a year. 
it was transformational for us. and we love them dearly. 

on my way out of town, 
I visited Excelsior for a few hours
and was reminded once again why I LOVED working there. 
I miss those people something fierce. 
it was seriously one of the best jobs ever. 
challenging? exhausting? difficult? yes. 
but still. I loved it. 

my weekend trip to Colorado was my early bday present to myself. 
and it was so great. so so great. 
as I drove back to Kansas I felt energized and refreshed. 
I also felt secure and confident, 
knowing that Kansas is "home" for us. and that it is GOOD.
but that I'll always have a place and piece of me in Colorado. 

which, it was really great that I came back feeling refreshed
because march was full of challenges emotionally. 
we JUMPED into the adoption process.
we contracted with our agency--and then I proceeded to freak out for about 24 hours.
we started working on our dossier--and I made a note book to keep my from panicking. 

 
we got fingerprinted and sent in all our back ground checks for our home study.
it's been a journey already!
and, you guys, we are only about 6 weeks in. yeesh!


this is what my nightstand looks like most of the time. 

 

and ever evolving mound of books. 
I added these to the piles, as well. 



my mom and brother also came to kansas for a visit. 
rob and I spent a weekend in wichita hanging out with them
and these cuties:
 
 love. love. love.
naked blonde baby.
finger sucking blonde boy. 
cuddles for all. 
so so great. 

for christmas I bought haven this DVD.
bahaha!
I loved this when I was a kid. 
sage, my brother, apparently did not. 
he does not even remember it. 
go to YouTube and type in Wee Sing in Sillyville. Do it. It's worth the laugh. 
and then you will understand why Mackoy was doing this:

"I'm SUPER FROG!"
 


"Have you ever seen a frog, walking a dog?!"
"A frog, walking a DOG?"

we may have sang those ridiculous songs for hours. 
i may or may not have video to prove it :)

I love being an aunt. 
and I can't wait for our kids to play with their cousins.
and giggle and dance and act silly with us. 
I dream of that day. 



 rob went to Cali for a week. 
my mom came to stay with me and we got busy on the basement. 
I spent lots of time with friends. 

I met new friends. 
like this lovely lady who is waiting and praying for her boys to come home from Ethiopia. 

I ran not enough miles in preparation for the half marathon on may 5.gulp.

march was full. 
march was good.
 march has come and gone.

 and here's to hoping that april is jsut as full. 
but maybe not quite as busy. 

maybe?