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Where is the quiet this Advent?

20141212_165520What a week.  What a month.

I have struggled finding Advent waiting in the midst of this season.  This year, this time in our family’s lives, is so full.  I don’t long for a slower pace. I long for intentional time.

As I looked through our photos from the past few weeks, we have done a lot.  The older our kids get, the more hectic our life becomes.

Today, this Friday night, I sit by our tree, ignoring my yelling kids, and the dog who has peed for the fifth time today (inside).

See, doing that it is hard for me.  The ignoring of my surroundings.  I’m a fixer, a doer. I like to make sure that everything is in order.  As I walked home with the kids today, I found myself telling them about keeping the house clean.  Instead of asking about their days, I was admonishing their behavior before they even had a chance to prove me wrong.

Advent is supposed to be about family, about being together–anticipating what’s to come.  Instead my head is down and I just keep working.  If I can just get it all done..that’s my mindset.

I’m working so hard to change that. I’m trying to think before I speak.  I’m trying to figure out the importance of some things and the need to let some things go.

At this moment I say simply, “it can wait.”  “Not now.”

I don’t want to lose the meaning of the season to all the busy.

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Intentionality

20141126_184900As you’ve noticed,  my time on this blog has diminished.  In order to find balance in our lives, I’ve  realized that some things need to be set aside for a season.

This blog was originally begun as a public journal of sorts, outlining our adoption journey.  It became a  place of community and refuge during that season.

While I wish I could post every day, I have quickly found time stretched and pulled in many directions.

20141127_154256This Christmas season Matt and I have created some intentional plans with our children.  They involve time with them and time off electronics.  As a working mom to three growing children, I’m conscious of each moment I get to spend with the kids.

Thank you for stopping by and seeing if a new post has been written.  I will be keeping this blog but not regularly posting these next few months.

Thank you for all your comments, your love, your support and your words of encouragement.  May this Christmas season be filled with many memories, JOY and above all, peace and contentment.

 

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Parenting olders and youngers

We will be down one this Thanksgiving.  I don’t know how I feel about our oldest leaving without us at 4:30 AM Thanksgiving morning.  Off to warm and sun in California.  Off to play soccer.

It’s strange this parenting older children.  We still have a little one who is giddy about getting out the Christmas boxes and play with the Little People drummer boy kit.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on a teeter totter; up and down.

20141123_155622Each child requires separate parenting.  For the olders, it’s now the coaching of doing laundry, putting down the phone to get tasks done.  It’s reminders to always put your glasses in a case BEFORE you sit down.  Yep, thank goodness for merciful and understanding eye doctors who give one free pass!

20141125_134138It’s making choices to still make Christmas cookies and Qtip ornaments, even when you’re dead tired and just want to watch a movie with the olders.  It’s making two Thanksgiving meals so ALL your family can be at one together.

20141125_150256It’s getting up at 6, fitting in a workout so you can take middle schooled kiddos to a movie.  It’s asking, for the fourth time, that the pan be washed by a child rather than just doing it yourself.

It’s a lot of work. It’s exhausting. It sometimes feels never-ending.  BUT it’s so very rewarding too.  It’s filled with the moment your child comes up and just hugs you.  It’s that quiet thank you from another who realizes, this one time, that you went out of the way to help her.

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How was Kenya?

IMG_9552It’s been too long since I’ve last written here.

I returned from Kenya Saturday, filled with the life Africa always gives.  My mind and my heart are full; my brain maxed out.

IMG_9563I spent the week listening and asking.  Hours of conversations recorded, intentional conversations.  It’s  hard work sitting and listening.

This week I’ve been reviewing and writing.  I’m working hard to summarize the experiences into reports that will benefit Biblica.  I continue to learn new ways to communicate cross culturally.  I find myself misstepping at times.  

People have asked me highlights of my time.  How do you summarize the colliding of worlds?

IMG_9594The trip began revisiting my high school 20 years later.  As I walked the rugby field and visited the dorms that were my home, waves of memories poured over me.  That time at Rift Valley Academy was truly a gift. That place is still, to this day, filled with deep grace and love.

I am forever grateful for the 4 years I spent at RVA.

IMG_9765Mashed in the middle were meetings and people–the reason why I was there in the first place.  I have never worked so hard as I did last week.  Waking up 6 am and dropping into bed at 10 pm; each hour filled with ministry, conversation, meetings and learning.

IMG_9959Friday came and I met Edwin and Mama Edwin; our child we’ve supported through Compassion International for 16 years.  As we walked and talked, I felt like I was in the middle of a dream. Edwin kept saying, “I will never forget this day.”  Yes, me too Edwin.  Once a small 5 year old boy in a picture; now a man ready to begin adult life.  We ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken, visited Elephants, shopped for tea and flour at Nakumatt and spoke so many words while in “jams” (traffic jams).

No, I do not have a highlight.  See, it was all a highlight.  Each conversation, each experience, each meeting was new.

I continue to turn it over in my brain. I continue to be thankful for the time spent back in my homeland.

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Daring Greatly these days

It seems that every time I have an international trip, something goes wrong the week prior to departure.

IMG_9480This time has been no different.

Monday I woke up to a dead computer. Hard drive  dysfunction! Thank God for a back up computer and a very smart IT department. I have my laptop back and all my files are safe and secure.

Lesson learned?  Put all important presentations for your business trip on a flip drive.  Don’t believe the lie that they are safe on the desktop!

I also woke up Monday to the dreaded fall cold.  It hits EVERY TIME after our birthday madness month, aka October.

Thank God for a doctor who had mercy and perscribed a Zpak.  I have been ingesting vitamins and should have purchased stock in Puffs Plus.

Here’s hoping this ridiculous cold is complete and done with by Friday morning when I have 36 hours of air travel.

On the bright side of things, we have a new wonderful afternoon/any time we need her helper.  When our former childcare helper had to take a full time job, I panicked.  As Ed Behr says, God just has something better.

Yep, while we miss our first girl, Joi has been a delight to have.  She lives super close and selfishly, she can braid Desta’s hair.  I am thankful!

I hope to post pictures of my adventure ahead.  I am excited for what lies in front of me but feel the weight of leaving my “crazy but I love them with my life” family behind.  Being apart is never easy and as the kids get older, I am very aware of how little time I have at home with them.

IMG_9465On another note, I’ve been stewing on this Brene Brown thought…

You might think, “if I’m not busy, it must mean I’m not productive or relevant.” That sense of vulnerability is a big reason why people stay on the hamster wheel.  

Dare to be honest about what burnout looks like for you.  For me, resentment is a huge warning flag. So is judgement.  I start to think, “Why is everyone always disappointing me?”

Dare to set boundaries.  The next time someone asks you to do something, consider whether you’re doing it out of obligation or to prove your worth.”

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