Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keep your eyes open...


Several weeks ago we were told by our minister to keep our eyes open for God's presence in our lives. That is not hard for me to do. I see His hand daily in the lives of my children, the sun rising, or a short conversation with my mom or a close friend. What I specifically wanted to see was a sign from God that we are still on the right path in regards to our adoption. That we haven't been forgotten.

I know that 2 months is not a long time to wait in regards to adopting a child with a family who has their own children. I know that our homestudy has just been completed a few weeks. We have our license hanging in the house and we are officially, official. :) But through the quiet of nothingness, one begins to doubt. Is this right? Will it happen? And since you are not physically pregnant, there is really no one who wants to listen to your concerns. I think it's because of the unknown. When will she comes? Who knows. What will she look like? Who knows. What will her birthmom be like? Who knows. What will that relationship develop into? Who knows. Why don't you just get pregnant or find a surrogate and have a real baby? Um....well, I guess because adoption has always been on my heart. Even since a young child. And she will be a "real" child and we will be her "real" parents and her "real" family.

At Christmas, we remember those we love. We buy gifts to let them know we are thinking of them. We love to surprise others and see the fleeting look of joy upon their face. Twice this season our baby girl has been remembered. Even though none of the above questions can be answered. These people love her, just because we love her already. It's not the size of the token, its the act of acknowleging that we are going through our own type of pregnancy. It's the gift card to Babies R Us to use when we know she is coming. It's the family ornament that adds one more person to our snowman family. It's the fact that so many people are praying for this sweet baby, her momma, and her daddy so that thier footsteps lead to our door.

I'm sorry to those two people who gifted me huge gifts of hope that our baby will come. There was no joy that crossed my face as I burst into tears. For their tiny gifts mean more to me than words can describe. As we are paper pregnant, and not "really" pregnant, no one knows how to take me. I'm expecting but I don't know when. I'm having a girl, but I don't know what season. I don't know what she will look like. I don't know what state she will be born in. I don't know if I will know her birthparents or not, but I have two wonderful families standing with me as we hope for her. As we pray for her.

And through them, I see my sign from God. He is still with us. We are still where we should be. And we will continue to walk by Faith, not by Sight, with Hope that our daughter will find her way to us.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What was I thinking???

For years I heard about this crazy Elf on the Shelf. Mostly it was in the Georgia schools. The elf messed up the classrooms and the kids had to put things back into order. I never thought about having one for our home. Some of my friends did and their elf did naughty things. Why would I want one of those? Well, this year I totally caved in a momen of weakness. We now have Jack Frost at our house. But he is boring! While others take pictures of their elf in flour on the counter, painting noses, shaving cream everywhere, fishing or getting into glitter and feathers, our elf simply pops up from place to place. And honestly, I find it a total pain in the butt. I cannot tell you the nights I have bolted from the bed in the wee hours of the morning to slam Jack Frost into a different location before my sweet 5 year old comes down the stairs. One day I totally forgot to move him but was able to use the excuse that he was in love with the girl statues he was sitting next to. The next day, Kadin had to distract Liam as I thrust Jack into a candle holder. He couldn't hang out with the girls for THREE days, that would have been suspicious! Why did I cave? I only have one child that believes in Santa at this point. I could have held out and been less stressed at Christmas. I cannot wait for this elf to LEAVE! So, if you do not have one of those creepy elves with no feet, no hands, and a creepy smile that reminds you of Chucky, stear clear at the after Christmas sale and DO NOT GIVE IN!!!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The road rises to meet you


Do you ever sit back and reflect on the road that God has placed you on? Or just look at where you started and see where you sit today? I know I should probably use my brain cells on concentrating on how to make money for my family, better meals, a cleaner house, outreach programs, feed the poor...ect, instead of selfishly always reflecting on my own life and those around me. Guess I'm just self centered that way. ;)

I grew up in a small foundry town. Along the Ohio River where there were no shopping malls, not a lot chain restaurants. There was a church on each corner, and a bar on the opposite one. No one wore name brand clothes, carried expensive purses, or worried about the size of the diamond on their finger. Simply because many didn't even have one.

We were tillers of the land. Workers in dirty, hot jobs. We played over acreage of land with no worries. We drove 20 minutes to the nearest grocery store where we could buy things on credit. We went to 4H meetings and the fair in the summer. Everyone knew everything about everybody, so they thought. Many would never leave that small town. Some did and returned. Others left and seldom go back. I'm one of the later.

I went to college. I went to graduate school. I went back home and worked in our local mental health facility. I dated local guys. Egads, I was boring. I never broke out of the box. Although I was never a conformist (my friends can attest to that!), I still did not eat food I did not recognize. I sought everyone's opinion before I bought a car or rented a place. I still went home and did my laundry. I never stretched my wings, although I ached to do so.

In 1996 I moved to NC. It felt like half way across the world. To a new town where I only knew one person, Dave. I got a new job. Went to a new church. Made new friends. And realized no one knew my past. No one knew what I was like as a child. No one knew what mistakes I had made, or what wonderful things I had accomplished. I could be any part of my life story I wanted to be! I could cloak myself in the successes and ditch the bad parts and no one would be the wiser. What a freeing world! I tried new foods. I shopped in different places. I got in my car alone for 8 plus hour car trips and I was unafraid. I took new roads (without a GPS or a car phone mind you!) and explored. I swam further out into the ocean. I walked more. I listened more. I became, more.

When I think of that young girl who cried as her parents pulled away with the uhaul and compare her to the woman I am now, I don't recognize her much. Yes, innately, I'm the same. I stand up for the underdog. I love deeply. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. My life is an open book no matter how uncomfortable that makes others, or at times, myself. But as I have aged, my life has become more, well, my own.

Dave and I now make decisions together. We don't always ask for outside opinions. We discuss it and move forward. We have moved several times with the weight of each move purely on my shoulders. We have had children without consulting others. We bought a dog and asked everyone if we should. We got a new cat on a whim. We agonize over what tv stand we want in the living room, but jump into adoption with our eyes wide open and our feet firmly on the ground. There is no rhyme or reason, but we do it together.

Once I was a young girl from a small town who needed other people to accept me. I needed to exceed and succeed. I needed to prove something to others. Now, I'm a grown woman who lives in a small town by choice. Because I love it. I love seeing things change, truly knowing my neighbor (love you Meg!), and having those same small town eyes watching my sons play in the neighborhood that I now know watched me when I was small.

Where did you start? Are you still the same, or has life made you different? Are there lifelong dreams you wish you had reached for and ultimately grasped? Are there things left in your bucket list? Have you always wanted to run a marathon? Sing in front of millions? Write a poem? Help the helpless? Hold an orphaned child? Offer comfort to people that live across the ocean from you? What is stopping you from doing those things? Look closely, the only wall in the way, is yourself. Share with me, what are your things left undone???

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So Hard

So the home study is complete. Our paper portfolio has gone out one time. Now we wait. This is the part I do not like. How to get through this part of waiting. It reminds me of being a young child lined up to be chosen for a team in gym class. I wasn't the best, but I wasn't the worst, just in the middle...waiting. Which team would pick me? Would I get picked or would the teacher have to place me? The anxiety in the pit of my stomach would grow and grow. For what? Gym class?!?!

Now it's something more serious. Life altering. Forever. Now I wait for a daughter. Who will come with another mother and a slew of relatives. Some people look at me like I have two heads. "How can you raise a child not your own? With her mother involved? And all of her relatives? I could never do that??" I guess due to the fact that I have lived hours and hours away from my own family for years may help in the fact that those that are close to me and love me and my boys are like family to us. My husband has lived most of his life this way. Friends are like family. So adding a birthmom and her family and possibly a birth dad and his family to our extended family is not scary at all. The more the merrier. The more my daughter knows she is loved, the better she will be. The more her mom and dad are involved in her life, the less questions she will have. The more secure she will feel with us all.

My mom was not there as I planned my wedding. My family was not there as I gave birth to my oldest son. As we laid our cat of 18 years in the ground, my family was six hours away. I have not lived close to my family for over 15 years. That does not mean I don't love them, or them me, we simply do not live close geographically. That said, I drove myself to the hospital when I gave birth. I had a close friend take pre wedding pictures. I had friends step in when I had post partum depression and my mom and sister had left the state I lived in with my second son. I had friends I turned to when my father was diagnosed with cancer.

So, as with many things, I am left alone to wait this through. To try not to talk too much about it with my friends in case I drive them as batty as I feel. To not burden my husband with my daily fears. To not cause my family anxiety with the fact that our daughter is a "maybe baby" to them. What to do? I do what I usually do in stressful situations. I write. Our baby will have a journal of our journey. I call our adoption counselor who patiently listens to me lose my mind and gently guides me back. I read everything I can get my hands on about adoption. I day dream about a birthmom calling me out of the blue, ready to hand her baby to my family and wanting to walk the next 18 plus years with us. But mostly, I pray.

I pray that I am following the path that God has laid on my heart many years ago. I pray that I am being a good mother to my boys. A good wife to my husband. A loving daughter, a caring friend. I pray for God's guidance. I pray for our birthmother, wherever she is. That she will feel His gentle hand upon her, comforting her in this decision that is heartwrenching. That she will be held close by him, and know that the family she chooses for her daughter will always cherish her. Love her. Because we wanted her and her mother.

But the waiting is hard. The daily grind keeps me busy, but I am always wondering....will today be the day? Will we know something more today???? But so far, we don't.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Total Ramblings....


This is the Christmas season. When people are nicer, family reaches out to other members that they haven't spoken to for the rest of the year, we reconnect with friends with annual Christmas cards, the joy in children's eyes, the surprise of gifts and elves, the mystery of Santa, and the all consuming gift that God gave to us in the form of a small babe.

Which reminds me of the three not so small babes in my own house. To which sounds right now I am reminded I will have to call a painter in for my basement walls soon as well as an electrician for my microwave shorting out. Christmas is a magical time in our house. From the advent wreath, to Christmas card opening, gifts, and this year the appearance of Jack Frost our elf (who does not do anything mischievous, only switches from place to place each day....). I am reminded of the wonderment of Christmas in my own family. Our hand picked tree decorated in the basement where Santa could easily hide gifts without little eyes and ears hearing. The lights outside the house all aglow. Our handmade by Grandma stockings that hung with care. It still feels the same to watch my boys come down the stairs on Christmas Day and see the joy and excitement on their faces. Next year, I hope there is an additional gift under our tree. In a pink bundle.

Now that our home study is finished, my mind begins to wander. Will we get chosen? When will we get chosen? What will she look like? How will we adjust to having a baby in the house again. Everyone is so self sufficient now. I'm just trusting God to pull all of this magic together just as only He can. But this waiting period may do me in. And it's only officially been one day that I've known everything was complete! ACK!

So, I guess I am grateful for the distraction of the holidays. For the reminder that God gave his only son to this Earth for me. For my salvation. So that in times like this that I will lean on him. Depend on him. Trust him. And continue to look to him every day as we raise our boys.

Merry CHRISTmas, my friends. May the blessings of the season be with you all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving........

Today while driving to pick up some medical forms for our adoption file, I watched as a young man broke away from a walk with his group home worker and ran away. Since I know with my own background training that the safest thing is to not intervene, I watched him run in the light rain mist with just street clothes on, no jacket. I watched his worker get on her phone (we didn't have those when I worked with kids....what a nice accessory to have!) and I assume call in a run away. It got me thinking about a book I am currently reading BOYS SHOULD BE BOYS.

BOYS SHOULD BE BOYS talks about how important it is for our boys to be loved by their mothers. To be offered time and grace. To be taught how to honor their mother so they will grow to honor and respect other women in their lives. The importance of a father. Or another male role model. To limit electronic devices. To encourage reading and playing with their imaginations. To allow wrestling and war. To let them throw stones, make swords out of sticks, and to build tree houses. How boys need God in their lives. To know that there is an all knowing, all powerful, all loving presence out there for them. That they need our time. Just for us to exist with them.

As my mind processes this child running. His worker. My destination of picking up paperwork so we can hopefully add to our family, I think to the back and my boys. Am I all they need me to be. Am I there enough. Am I silent enough to hear them speak. Am I graceful enough to accept the child and forgive the transgression time after time again? How does a child get to the point where running away from shelter in the rain and cold seem like a good idea?

From my years in mental health, I know the answer to that. Drugs, sex, alcohol, bad peers which give some sort of affection that makes up for none at all. How many young boys that grow up in poverty feel that they will never live past their 30's. And I know a man who defied those odds and made a better life for himself. My husband.

I wanted to jump out of my car and grab that boy. I wanted to hug him tight. I wanted to let him know that people care about him. About his future. About his life. But I knew I couldn't. So instead, I pontificated the reasons he was running with my boys. Where they can turn if they ever feel so lost. And then we prayed for that lost running soul. That he find where he is searching. That God keeps him warm and safe and leads him to a man who can guide him onto the path. And that God watches over my own three boys. So that I may guide them alongside their father. So that the only run they feel like going on, is for exercise, as they return safely, home.

Friday, November 4, 2011

12 years ago.....


We hold our children's hands for such a short time. When I think that in SIX years my oldest son will be 18, it makes my heart ache. Where has the time gone? How did he grow so quickly? As the days drag by and the years fly, every year on each of their birthdays, I remember them as babies and marvel at the young adults they are quickly becoming.

Kadin's birth was too soon. After a placental abruption, he was forced into this world in port red wine amniotic fluid and interuterine growth restricted. I can remember the NICU workers lingering in the hallway in case they were needed. But from the start, my 5 lb wonder has been a fighter. He came out screaming and wide eyed. Almost as if he were protesting his birth. From the first look into his quiet eyes, we knew Kadin was an old soul. He definitely was sent for a big job of helping his Momma grow into a mother. Oh the journeys we shared!

From the start, Kadin was a pensive child. He talked early, he judged others early. We quickly learned to take our cues from him on the inner most heart of others. If he shied away and cried, we knew that innately, these people were not as caring as we wanted them to be. If he greeted you with open arms, you were an instand extended family member. He still has this uncanny ability to read people and their intentions.

As he grew, he was quiet, compliant, mindful, a total joy to have around. He hardly ever misbehaved, he hardly ever needed disciplined, he never got dirty, he never ran around screaming and shouting, he sat for long periods of time, and we could take him anywhere. Only he NEVER SLEPT. Holy cow! This child did not sleep through the night until kindergarten. I thought I would become a zombie from sleep deprivation. :) He sleeps quite well now, thankfully!

When I think back on that tiny baby and then I look at the strong, strapping young man he is now, I thank God for his greatest blessings. Kadin's name is Arabic and means Companion, friend. And for the past 12 years, he has definitely qualified. He is not only my son, but I am proud to call him a friend.

Happy Birthday to the first miracle in my life! Happy 12th Birthday, Kadin Scott! We love you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

National Adoption Month

Tomorrow we meet our Home Study worker from Lutheran Family and Children's services face to face for the first time. I'm nervous. I think I bug this lady and get on her last nerve with my many requests, asking for more information, for her to hurry, for her to give me more tasks to do to get this show on the road. I realize these things take time, but must they be so frustrating? We are her first case where she is straddling her responsiblities at LFCS and also Lifelink, the domestic adoption home study company. We have duplicated paperwork so many times, I no longer get upset about it, simply go and pull the last form I wrote the same informtaion down in a different order and repeat it.

I've started a list of things I want to do around the house while we wait. Because really, waiting should not be that difficult. It isn't as if I have nothing else to do. But getting this home study completed is foremost in my mind. What classes do we have to take? When will the fingerprints be back? What other paperwork is there to fill out? Will we EVER get matched??

So, say a little prayer for us tomorrow afternoon. I know I will need it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

our profiles

http://adoptionnetwork.com/waitingfamilies/show.html/8303

http://www.theadoptionfoundation.com/adoption-unplanned-pregnancy-waiting-families-profile.html?id=8303

http://www.adoptionspacebook.com/view_photos.html?id=8303

http://courageouschoice.com/album.php?id=8303

We're "live"


One more stop on this emotional roller coaster. This weekend we told my parents that we will be adopting. Since there is no "when" or "where from", it is confusing. There is not date to have a baby by. There is no season to make clothes. There is no nursery set up. There is nothing but this ambiguous "maybe baby" time that will last who knows how long, but no more than 18 months when we will pull the plug ourselves. Today's sermon was Standing Firm in Christ. Which is so hard at times when you have so many questions. To continue to walk in Faith and not by Sight. Our profiles are live now. Our pictures are being seen by birthmoms that may or may not connect with our pictures, our story. As each day passes, you feel like you are failing. That there is something wrong with you, and that is why you have not been chosen. That they do not like what you see, and you revert back to high school where everything is a popularity contest. Until our time is chosen, we remain dillegent in finishing our home study, enjoying our boys and each other, and keeping our eye on Christ who has promised us that it is now our time to complete our family.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The ball is rolling.....

Of course, I'm prepared for it to suddenly stop again at any time, but for now, we are on some forward mobility. One thing I've noticed about this adoption process, it's either feast or famine. Especially on the paperwork. We spent the last week getting a bunch of pictures together to show what our lives are like. Dave and I together, the family, us in action shots, our house(which it rained for days so it took forever to get those taken!), the animals, the whole nine yards. Not only do we have to purge our life stories onto paper, but we also do into pictures for the world to see. But that is finished, finally. Sent in. Received. We have our first home study appointment scheduled for the second of November. Susan, our caseworker, should be getting our initial paperwork for background checks today and will help us get our digitalized fingerprints at DCFS. I have had my TB test. Dave needs to get his chest xray. But after she lets us know what to do with our fingerprints, there is nothing to do until after Disney. So nothing will be looming over our heads. Thank you, Jesus!

I'm eager to go to Disney this year. Normally, I overlook the little girls. With an ache in my gut at their cute little outfits. Now little boys are adorable too, but I've been there, done that. Thrice. I usually look over their sweet little heads and focus on how great it is to have my sweet boys. It's easy to do. But this year, I wonder if I will feel differently? Now that possibly next year I will have my own daughter to traipse around with.

This journey has brought on a lot of introspection. A lot of self talk. A lot of wonderment on my walk in life. Walking by Faith and not by Sight is not easy for me, but I'm learning. Slowly, I'm learning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Lamenting.......


I think I may drive everyone involved crazy throughout this ordeal. My adoption caseworker, the media worker, the attorney, my homestudy caseworker.....thankfully my family is spared at this time. Maybe later I will take my anxiety out on them. But for now, they are blissfully aware of the war that rages inside of me. I guess I am a little OCD...ok, I give, a lot. I want things done. I want them done correctly. And I want to have it done yesterday. Going through the adoption process is not like that. I want to Tango, it's more of a slow waltz. Although I understand why, since every i needs dotted twice, every t crossed just so, still, it drives me mad. I have waited to be contacted by the media department. I have driven Michelle, my AC crazy, I know it. Asking..always asking..what is the time frame? Why haven't they contacted me? Is it by email? Is it by paper? What is the deal?? She is so patient. Finally, today, they contacted me. I should have enjoyed the reprive!

They will be building a profile on four sites. And a you tube video. I have to have different birth mother letters for each site, a page about our home and family, a two page questionnaire filled out for another site, and then 50+ photos for each site. Which cannot be the same. ACK! I have a million pictures of my sons. Doing everything under the son. But I do not have 40 pictures of Dave and I. Or just of me. Or just of Dave. This is going to take some work.

And then I have to send it all in on a USB stick. A what? I guess I will educate myself about all of that as well. I'm thankful for friends that remind me of the hassles I went through when I was pregnant. The first trimester trouble. This is it in adoption world. Guess I better get started!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm not going public with this, yet I am. How do you explain that? Well, only my "followers" will get a front row seat into our lives for a bit. The rest will have to catch up later. I've been hesitant to share this journey, yet I realized at church on Sunday where the minister was speaking about the fear of failure, that I really should be an open book on this road as well. Why not, I have every other journey I've been on. People have known about my adoration of my sons, yet my desire to parent a daughter as well. That is no secret. Heck, ALTERED DREAMS has all of my thoughts and feelings in it. I am the proverbial open book!

So, we are beginning a new journey. Adoption is the new pregnancy in the Asbery household. Yes, you read correctly. Dave, the boys, and I are adopting a baby girl. We don't know where she will come from, or when she will come, but we are in the beginning of the process. We have an agency. We have sent off our fingerprints. We have instigated a home study. We have a name. We have a few sleepers, a package of diapers, a diaper bag, but no baby. This is one of the craziest things I have ever done.

First was the shock that my husband wanted to do this in the first place. But he is a good man. He knows my heart. He knows how much I would love to have a daughter. And I admit, I was happy with my all boy family, but still felt there was something missing. I still felt left out. All of the sudden, this dream is a reality. We are going to have a baby girl. Sometime. Then the calls to agencies, deciding which one, did we really want to do this? To disrupt our lives? Things have gotten SO easy with the boys. Were we up for starting over again? Yes, we are. Then the signing and the waiting. Why are they not operating on yesterday-time like we are? Why don't we have her already? We have waited for YEARS for her.....

The boys are beyond excited. We talked to them about it before we embarked on this journey. I told Dave that if even ONE of them says no, it's a done deal. We will not move forward if any of our sons are against it. Unanimously, they wanted a sister. I could hear God speaking..I told you, in MY time...well, now I say it's YOUR time. So I am walking in Faith, not by Sight. On one of rides of my life.

This week we wait. We have turned in our application with the Adoption Network Law Center. We have had consultation calls, follow up calls, calls from their attorneys. We have filled out paperwork and sent money. We have exchanged pictures. We have shared our news with a few friends. We bought sleepers. We had our fingerprints done for the FBI. That was crazy. With Liam and Cullen looking on, we were fingerprinted at our local police department. Talking about living in the South and adopting. That along with five pages of notes, we sent them off to Clarksburg, VA to see if we have hidden records (Lord, please no!). Then came the application for the homestudy. Pages after pages of notes, written, filled out, questions about family, youth, relationships, children, beliefs, the whole nine yards and finally, that was sent off with a fee. Now we are waiting. Waiting for the welcome pack from ANLC to start our media and bio sections, as well as our birthmother letter (which I have written about 6 times!). Waiting for the FBI report (up to 8 wks!), and waiting for the LifeLink home study to approve our application and set up a visit (before Christmas please!). Through all of this, we hold a secret, close to our hearts. Except for the few that know.......and now you. Stay tuned! More excitement and frustration to follow, I'm sure!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Life's roadways

Author: (excerpt from "Within My Power" by Forest Witcraft)
One hundred years from now
It won't matter
What kind of car I drove
What kind of house I lived in
How much money I had in the bank
Nor what my cloths looked like
BUT
The world may be a little better
Because, I was important
In the life of a child.

Long before I had children, I was an advocate for them. Working with families who were broken or torn was a passion of mine. Getting to see families heal and repair was a joy. Working with children in foster care was especially a soft spot in my heart. Standing up for children who could not stand up for themselves was done early in my career, and later at various pregnancy crisis centers as I aged and had my own children. Once, I believed that a woman had a choice. Then I became pregnant with my first child and knew, I could never agree with that way of life again, for me.

Our family is embarking on a new journey. One that will be based soley on the will of God. It's HIS time for us. I can't wait to see what happens.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rememberance

Several times a year I get into a reflective mood. On my boy's birthdays, my anniversary, birthday, ect....one day stands out as well for the past ten years. That of 9/11/01. The day the world seemed to stand still. Only it didn't. Yes, planes didn't fly and many people received the most horrible of news; that a loved one was gone. But on that day, life continued, yet it was changed. Ten years later, I have an almost 12 year old, and a 9 year old who are asking some serious questions. Why? Who? How? Where were you? Where was I? Will it happen again? Why didn't God protect us? How do we live knowing that any day, any moment may be our last?
I think as I am in the midst of this 21 days of praying for my sons that it is appropriate that these questions come. And that I try to answer them as honestly as I can. The "where were you" "where was I" questions are easy. The ones my 9 year old asks are different: "How did something so horrible make you want to have another baby, to bring another life into the world? And then 4 years later, do it again?" Those questions and the "Are the people who did this bad people who will automatically go to hell?" questions get to me. How do I explain that we all have choices to make, that those who did these horrible acts upon the US are to be prayed for, not hated. That everything we have done in the past 10 years for our troops, dear friends of ours, children of friends, new friends, or complete strangers, have been done to support those who put their lives on the line for us back home.
I admit, my kids see me cry. They know the pain I went through on Sept 11, 2001. They know the heart wrenching fear, emptiness, and heartbreak I felt. I do not hide it. They know my experience was different than those who were safe at home, loved ones in their arms. They also know that those who lived close by, those who sent their loved ones to help, have a different story as well. As a picture is painted of people jumping, lives on planes lost, security measures, changes, death, hopelessness; so arise the stories of strength, selflessness, courage, compassion, love, and strength.
So to my 11 year old, I say how much I love him. How being away from him causes this ache in my body that only having him within reach fulfills. How seeing his small body through the window of my parents house a week later than expected will be forever etched in my memory. How I never want to feel that empty arm syndrome again.
To my 9 year old, I tell a story of love and hope. How the next month after these horrible attacks, his Daddy and I wanted his brother to have a sibling. Someone to call in the dark of the night. Someone to exist with that has the same history, the same story. Someone to look out for each other. How having him in our lives, reminded us that good things can come out of the bad. Life continues. Love will prevail. And the goodness of God comes in the smallest of packages. In the form of a child, fearfully made within a womb. A child with a purpose. A child who would know no different.
To my 4 year old who doesn't grasp what his brothers do. Who flits and dances to songs that make his Momma cry, and his brothers hug her close. Who is untouched by the badness of life. Who cries out: "I love my family!" at whim and knows, no matter what, he is adored.

So, I am continuing to pray for my sons. As well as the sons and daughters of my heart who serve overseas. May you all come home to us safely. To the arms of those who love you. We remember. We know what you are fighting for. And I, for one, am eternally thankful.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Obedience

Ah, the crux of it all. Teaching my children to obey me for daily things is difficult, let alone obey the word of God. I struggle with discipline on a daily, heck, hourly basis. How can I teach them to do things when I sometimes lose control myself? How can I live each moment, within that moment, and not take to heart my own feelings of irritation, subjegation, and testing to know when are teachable moments, and when they should just do what I say when I say it? My husband, as a former marine, tells the boys often that discipline is instant obedience to direction. And they do instantly obey him. But not me. I ask. I ask again. I ask louder. I ask even louder. Then I take something away and the whole time, I am frustrated and they have no idea I have asked 4 times before. What am I doing different? I guess it boils down to the fact that I need to learn to obey God more, before I can teach my sons to obey God more. I better get to work!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Praying for my boys...day one

Day one: Heart Change
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” ~Luke 6:45

Today I am praying for my boys to have hearts for God. I will pray for them in the morning as I usually do when I wake up. Only my prayers will be more concentrated towards their hearts being open and remaining open to our Lord instead of my usual.."Please God, help me to yell less and listen more to my sons today." I will pray for them through the day, which I do often with thanksgiving. And pray with them at night, which we do every night. The only thing I do not do with my boys are daily devotionals. I'm wondering if I need to get some of those daily bread books and begin this tradition as well.

The battle for our sons to be Godly men is best fought on our knees, Brooke says, and I think I agree.
We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

21 Days of Prayers for Sons


Today I am embarking upon my first round of 21 days of prayers for sons. Brooke McGlothin has written a book that I have not had the chance to read: Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most that takes you as a parent on a journey to praying the Word for our sons. As the mother to all boys, I am intriqued by how this will all go. Some women find it challenging to parent their boys. I, myself, find it a challenge to parent at all. Sometimes I feel this is another way to divide our sons from our daughters instead of just combining them as our "children" and praying for them this way. But I am willing to remain open to see if there truly are issues that only boys deal with. In my heart, I know there are (jock straps, peeing standing up, girls....) but are there REALLY issues that divide our children when it comes to raising them to be godly children and then adults. All I know is that I want what every parent wants for their children. For them to grow healthy, happy, strong, self sufficient, unmarred by my parenting skills, but overwhelmed with the love I have for each of them. So, here I go. Jumping in with both feet as I pray for my boys, for the boys of my wonderful group of Raising All Boys boys, and for my friends dear to my heart who are also in this amazing boat of raising boys in today's world. Each of you are in my thoughts, and your boys are in my prayers. If you have special prayers for your sons, please let me know so I can include them. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Crazy Life

Seriously, I think there is medication out there that people would take if they had to live my life. It's not that I am raising all boys that makes things seem like they are always on edge, I think it's me. I can't stop being type A. Litterally, it's gonna kill me. And not the heart attack type of kill me, but the running naked down the middle of the road, screaming at the top of my lungs while waving my hands like a mad woman type of kill me. Ok, so that will never really happen. Those who know me know that I must at least have pants on to cover my ample hind end, not to mention shoes, because OUCH! who wants to run barefoot down the street. There are glass and rocks there!

I think my craziness comes from raising three children on my own, sleep deprivation from the last child never sleeping through the night, adding a new kitten to my bed in the wee hours, and the after effects of Cullen's birthday party sleep over which ended with me screaming like a banshee..."I have to work in FOUR HOURS..Go. To. Sleep!" I'm sorry to any parents who's children were the victims of my forcefullness but a woman has to do what she has to do when her husband deserts her for the bowels of the hospital to deliver a baby instead of staying home for prearranged family time consisting of six kids in the basement, also sleep deprived. ;)

But I am told by slightly older friends that things get better. Soon, this chaos will slow down, I will have a life of my own (although not the sanity to enjoy it), and be able to speak in sentences that don't consist of: Stop! No! Don't! Wait until your Father gets home! or Lord, Help me through this day for I truly love my children.

I have a running group of friends. We run miles and miles for "fun." We yell for each other, support each other, and laugh together. I wonder how many of them would run naked down the street with me screaming.........any takers???

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


In the still of the early morning hours, I am able to completely reflect upon the birth of my second son. As I sit quietly, I can conjure up the sounds and feelings of that early morning water breakage, the fear of leaving our home the mother to one child and returning as the mother to two young boys. I can remember the craziness of standing in the elevator with my husband at the hospital, conversing with an old man who got on with us about the beautiful Sunday weather as water leaked out of me and contractions squeezed my body. A child moving softly within my body for the last few precious moments together. I can remember how there was nothing to watch but televangelists on the TV. How Dave and my doctor went to lunch at the local chinese restaurant while I sat alone, contemplating the day as it progressed. I had my yoga instructor come and help me with labor. Her visualizations and soft music lulling my mind into a calm place, even as my body struggled to move my child down the birth canal. Her softly holding my foot as the doctor tried to give me an epidural which would not take. A sweet, smiling doctor who two short weeks later would be dead from lung cancer. Who lingered outside the door as I labored, wishing he could do something for my pain of natural childbirth, but could not. I can remember the tunnel vision feeling of telling the nurses I felt great pressure. How they suddenly became very busy, turning the chest of drawers where I put my clothes into a place where their tools of the trade were placed to help my doctor bring my child into this crazy world. How the camera stuck and my frazzled husband opened the back of the camera and exposed the film of my last days of pregnancy and our oldest son's first blackberry picking with my Mom. There was to be no pictures of this birth. I can remember focusing on Gloria through each contraction, realizing that pushing Cullen out was not the same as pushing out Kadin. I can vividly remember the look of fear on my OB's face as my child crowned. Sternly he made me focus on him telling me he had to get the baby out, now, and I was to listen to him. I can remember the look that passed between him and my husband when Cullen's head came out, but his little body would not. In the confusion of nano-second, I can see in slow motion my husband thrusting his body across my belly, pushing the nurse out of the way, as he and Dr. Thornberry silently communicated. One pushing, one pulling, to release our child into the world. I can remember the unbearable pain passing into euphoria as he was expelled and placed upon my chest only to have the nurse freaking out at his grey color and thrusting oxygen into his face and vigorously rubbing his back as my sweet Cullen stared wide eyed. I can hear my husband telling the nurse to stop, that his body was pink, and he was ok. Only to look down into my child's face and see a new soul. A baby who was smash faced, grey in color, and all my own. The love that comes when you stare into your child's eyes. 15 minutes later I was on the phone with the cord blood place to schedule pick up, the pain of childbirth a short path behind me. Poor Cullen looked like he had been beat up, and I was not any better off. Pushing him so fiercely broke the blood vessels in my eyes and I looked like the victim in a cheap horror show. Painful for all to look at.

As I watch my son sleeping now, nine years later, I am amazed at this child who came so dramatically into the world. My 7lb 3oz baby who litterally got stuck, has not been stuck ever again. A child who gave his older brother the courage to face fears. A little boy who had excema on his face and a ready smile to all he met. A baby who did not toddle, but ran. A child who still bursts forth head first into things in life. A sensitive guy who many people misinterpret. A little boy who is more like me than I sometimes want to acknowledge. I sit here, nine years later, and thank God for the lessons Cullen has taught me. From learning to love another child, to watching brothers grow with one arm slung around the other's shoulders. From early morning feedings where it is just baby and Mommy, to double stroller walks with Daddy. Somewhere along the way he potty trained in one day, learned to read, tie his shoes, and will be entering the 4th grade. His peaceful sleeping face reflects not only the child he was, but the man he will become, with God's grace.

Nine years ago, so much was unknown. And still, today, the future cannot be seen. But I do know I have been blessed beyond measure. By a small, energetic little boy who has captured my heart, filled my life, and given me more than I could ever give him back. Happy Birthday, Cullen McKee! I love you to the moon and back!

Nine Years Ago


Little did I know nine years ago that today would be my last day pregnant with my second son. Little did I know the trauma from his birth would stay by me for years to come. Little did I know how much a second child could weasle his way into my heart and expand it so much, we would want a third. 37 weeks into my second pregnancy, I'm sure this day was much like any other day with a 31 month old toddler on a Saturday. I can picture a tiny baby's nursery, his little bitty clothes, and my anticipation of carrying this child weeks longer than I had my first one. My mother was at our house in Alabama in anticipation of this small one's birth. Nine years is a blink of an eye, yet a lifetime for one small boy. Cullen McKee. The child who blazed into our lives, blue-grey from lack of oxygen. Who took that first gasping breath and never looked back. The child who has never met a stranger, never lacked for anything to say, and never sat still. A child our oldest son needed in the deepest sense of the word. A baby who gave an older brother wings, and his parents new eyes to appreciate the smaller things in life. A little boy who never ceases to make us stop and take note. I can sometimes glimpse the man he will become. On this day, I will cherish the last day of Cullen being 8. For tomorrow, a whole new year begins! We love you, Cullybug!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Awe inspiring


If you have never been involved in a huge run or walk, I encourage you to attend one just to see the masses of people. Unless you are the most hardened of heart, or first in the race, seeing the swell of people running through a narrow corral and heading in a huge circle is inspirational to say the least. There is every age imaginable, every body shape conceived, every stride, every shoe, every garment and gadget known to mankind. The commradery is amazing and will bring a tear to your eye. For one day, for a few hours, all is ok in the world. You are starting out on a journey that leads...well, back to where you started, but still, the journey within can be further than the miles traveled on feet. Many of you know I have struggled with my breathing in the past few years. After seeing a pulmonologist (I think it's asthma, not sure. Just in case, stop running! Who wants to run that far anyway?!), an allergist (you have a vocal cord dysfunction, see a speech therapist), a full pulmonolgist team (we have no idea what is wrong with you), a trainer (I can teach you to run with your vocal cord issues!), and many friends (their support is endless!)I slowly was able to start finding my groove back. After pounding the pavement and the treadmill on my own, I have discovered that I can control my breathing without an inhalor, I can control my vocal cord dysfunction (thank you Marijo!) but I still have some anxiety issues to deal with. Often in not a pretty way, hence running alone. :) Today was my final test. To run a half marathon with my safe person, my husband. To cast demons from my past and move forward. And even though I stopped and walked on occasion, and was worn out by 11 miles, we did it! The swell of people in front of us was amazing, as was the swell behind us. To read shirts about how pain is just an illusion, running for lost loved ones, running to run, people who have done 50 marathons in 50 states, the whole nine yards. It was amazing! With my Sole Sister shirt on, I remembered my new mantra: "I do not run to add days to my life. I run to add life to my days." And so I do. So I do.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A new beginning....


Today as we emptied out a small cabin we have only had for a few years, I am reminded how attached to our real estate we can become. This little cabin on a small lake in Illinois has embedded itself into my heart. A tiny one room shack on brick pillars with weeds growing through the painted blue floor, with it's tiny crooked bathroom, and it's non existent kitchen brings a smile to my face. Oh, the history of one small place! 420 square feet of memories not only for me and my family, but for everyone out at the Whippoorwill Club. Everyone knows who has lived there, who replaced what door, built the deck, added the curtains, upgraded the sink, made the walk, planted the hostas.....and we added our mark onto it's walls as well. In a few short weeks, that history will be a memory of pictures as a new cabin will take it's place. Only the ground will be sacred. I'm a little sad at that. As Dave was moving the fridge through the kitchen door, that used to be the main door because the kitchen area used to be the front porch, long, long ago, the folding door broke off. I cried! He just looked at me. How do you describe the attachment to a small place that held many a sleepless night with five people nestled in one room, practically on top of one another? He asked if we should stop the building of a new place. As tears ran down my face, I looked around. No, it's time to make new memories in a new building. To make our mark on the WWC visible. To have a place where my family can be comfortable. The walls we are in may never hear my family's laughter again, but the night air will. That building may never safely keep the critters out while we sit together, but the land will hold up another place that will. And although that small, wonderful cabin will only live on in our memories and in pictures, they will not be forgotten. Ever.

Monday, January 31, 2011

On the Eve of my 40th Birthday


We grow neither better or worse as we get old, but more like ourselves.

~ May L. Becker ~

I guess on every birthday I begin to pontificate about what the year behind me has brought. Have I grown? Have I righted wrongs? Have I been the best that I could be at any given time. Those are hard questions at times, and sometimes I do not like the truthful answer. Am I a good mother? A good wife? A faithful friend? A Christian in all the sense? Do I walk the walk of my talk? Again, sometimes I do better than others. But my New Years resolution this year was to be kind to myself. I have spent the last 40 years trying to prove something. To prove I could run fast. To prove I was worthy of love. To prove I could carry a fuller than full load in college. To prove I could diagnose and treat patients with the best of them. To prove I could obtain the things I wanted out of life. To be a good daughter. To raise good sons. Now I just want to breathe more and enjoy life. For the past few years, I have gone with the saying that if someone does not fill my cup, they have no place in my life. I have been brought down by people I gave more control to than they deserved. I'm sure in life, others have given me that control as well. I am more apt to see both sides now, where in my younger years, there was just a black and white side. If you didn't agree with me, you were against me. I no longer feel that way. I enjoy friends who are like minded, but friends who make me think out of the box I seem to gravitate to as well. Friends from all walks of life. All religions. I want to know them all.

But mostly I want to be kinder to myself. To realize life is not about losing those last five pounds. Or if my stomach is not as taunt as it used to be. Or if my car is not the newest. My house is not fanciest. My kids are not perfectly dressed at all moments. Or me either. But that my door is always open to those who need something. That my arms are always willing to hug and to help. That my heart is open to those who may not be like me. That my children always know how important they are to me. That my husband knows that we are a team. That life can be taken at a moment's notice and I never want to live with an "I wish" on the horizon.

So on this eve of my 40th birthday, I want to be excited about what the next 40 years will bring. The growing of my children, the deepening of love, the grandchildren that may come. Daughter in laws to adore. Life being lived to the fullest. Not with stipulations. But for the sheer joy of living this life God has given me. It's been good so far. I only expect it to get better! Because after all, you're only as old as you feel. And I feel GREAT!