Wednesday, April 2, 2014

it's april?

At the beginning of January, I had all these wonderful of blogging more. But, as we can see that hasn't happened.

I'm realizing that life is busy because I am actually getting out and living a life outside of the four walls of my house.

I am loving my life. I love my husband. I love my job. I love that I get to see my family every week (sometimes multiple times a week). I love my church. I love that I have been able to meet new people.

I have so much to be thankful for in my life. Yet, I don't give enough thanks. I don't let the people in my life know just how grateful I am for them. I don't encourage enough. I don't love enough.

I have been so selfish lately. I have been thinking about me, and then, I think about me more. And more. (Notice how many times I have used "I"?)

This realization about selfishness hit me so many times a day, and I've had to tackle this issue. I've had to look deep into myself. I've had to confront some really tough issues in my life. I've had to realize just how ugly I am on the inside.

The thought hits me again and again, just how thankful I am that God is so much bigger than me. And how deep His love is for me...a selfish, sinner.

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I also have been able to do some crafting, which helps me to relax. Below is my latest craft. I am LOVING the boho look right now, which explains the latest craft.

Materials
Leather (found at Hobby Lobby)
Flowers- individual stems (Hobby Lobby)
Hot Glue Gun

I braided the leather and then secured it on both ends with hot clue.

The flowers were plucked off the stem and then hot glued to the leather.

And voila! Boho headband

Saturday, December 21, 2013

you say it's your birthday....it's not mine though...it's my sisters.

So yes, today, is my baby sister's birthday.

It is only a little ironic that I call her my baby sister, for while, yes, she is in fact younger than me, it is only by 22 months.

However, today my younger sister turns 21!

This is her....isn't she beautiful!

Gail and I shared a room from since she was born up until I was 17 and she was 16. 

Oh the memories we have from that shared bedroom. I cannot count the times we would sit up and talk about what would go on at school that day or the boys we had crushes on and so on. 

I admit we often didn't get along growing up. Up we always had each other's back. When we got to high school, our sisterness turned more into friendship.

To this day, I know that Gail is one person I can go to when I am hurting. And even though, she might give me the brutally honest truth and tell me to snap out of it. I appreciate that about her. 

Gail, you are beautiful, lovely,  and honest (or blunt, whichever one you prefer). I am honored to be your sister and friend.

I love you! And have a happy birthday! 

This better describes our relationship. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adoption Blogger Interview 2013

So I was randomly reading blogs in October when I came across this blog call Open Adoption Bloggers. I saw that they were having an interview day (Adoption Blogger Interview Project 2013), where you can connect with other bloggers who blog about adoption. Without even thinking, I signed up.

Best. Decision.

Basically, what I found I signed up for to be partnered up with another blogger and we interviewed each other over the intrawebs. I had a great time! I got paired up with Lori of Lavender Luz.com. I am so glad that I did this year, and look forward to continue doing it in the future. If you want to read all of the interviews from this project, then go here.

To keep things easier to read, my questions are in bold.

Meet Lori...she's the one on the right...in lavender =)
When did you start blogging and why?

In the Spring of 2007 I read a book by Peggy Orenstein called Waiting for Daisy. I was so enthralled with it that I did what any self-respecting bookworm does: I googled it. I landed on a blog (what's a blog?? I'd heard of them but never read one) in which a really nice-sounding lady said she was hosting a Waiting for Daisy book tour and all I needed to participate was the book and a blog.
A book and a blog? I already had the former. I saw in the upper corner of that lady's post the words, "Create Blog."
So I did. For a month I wrote posts that received no comments, and then the book tour happened. All of a sudden I had a tribe, an ALI tribe (Adoption/neonatal Loss/Infertility. It was a beautiful thing.

What is your favorite post and why?
That a toughie! I've got nearly 1000 posts.

I'll cheat and offer three posts. I love Birthday Presence as a general post. And I like Adding a Dimension as an adoption-related post. And this one as a vlogging post, about the day I felt like a "real" mom.



When did you know that you needed to take a larger role of advocacy for open adoption?

Several posts about adoption adoption conversations I had with my children and how my daughter's birth mom and I interact went small-scale viral. That was a clue that maybe Crystal and I were on to something.

Somehow she and I had figured out how to have a respectful and child-centered relationship, and others were asking us how. So we had to figure it out together by deconstructing what we did in those early days to start off so well.

And in those conversations with my children, my main strategy was to simply slow down and be mindful, intuitive and open. I began to think that maybe I could help people use mindfulness to deal with stressful moments in adoptive parenting. Along the way I also learned from people in other corners of the adoption triad (thanks, Open Adoption Bloggers!) and at some point I decided to put it all together as a guide for people trying to make open adoption work. People had begun to accept that we should "do" open adoption. Crystal and I wanted to share how.


When you adopted your daughter, what did adoption mean to you? How have your views changed since adopting?


One thing that came from the closed adoption era was the notion that adoption had no ill-effects on anyone. In spite of the shame and secrecy, everyone would move on without a hitch. The adopting parents would never hurt over infertility again, the birth parents would move on and never look back, the baby would grow up as if born to his new family.
At the time we set out to adopt, I was unaware of the deeper layers, of the complexities. It’s true that many people (some I know in real life) say they suffered no ill-effects of the closed era, but the Internet has made it possible for those who did experience grief at losing a child or losing a biological parent to congregate and have their voices heard.
A far as what open adoption meant at the beginning of our journey, I thought it meant just contact. I have since added the spirit of openness as a critical component of building and sustaining a healthy and child-centered adoption.

What are your passions, hobbies, favorite things to do in your past time?

I enjoy practicing yoga. For an hour I try to bring my awareness to the confines of my mat. It’s a practice of focusing attention, of taming the wild-child that is my mind. It yokes my mind to my body and helps me remember to be more present even when I'm off my mat. Through yoga, I’m beginning to “get” that life is a journey and not a destination and shed the “I’ll be happy whens.” It’s a process. In yoga, everything is a process and no pose is ever perfected.

I also love to read  and write and do cool things with my kids like paint pottery. My daughter, 12, plays volleyball and my son plays whatever sport it’s the season for, so Husband and I spend a lot of time cheering them from the sidelines.

Tell us about your book!

My new book, which includes passages from my daughter’s birth mom, Crystal, is called The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole.


 It flows from the premise that adoption creates a split between a person’s biology and biography, and openness is an effective way to heal that split. Hence the focus on the child becoming whole through the openness of the adults who love him or her.
Openness means not just contact, but also the way in which the grownups in the adoption constellation comport themselves. We are open to co-creating a relationship together–power is not used by one party against another. We are open to being clear and honest with ourselves so that we can be clear an honest with the others in our adoption relationships. We are open to having tough conversations as our child grows and develops cognitively. We are open and vulnerable and authentic, for it is from this openness that we can best give our child the space to wonder, to develop, and to integrate his identity that come from all of his parts.
Our book was written for people involved in infant adoption, in international adoption, in foster adoption and even in donor sperm/egg/embryo situations — in any circumstance in which the result is a person whose biology and biography come from different sets of parents. Several adoption agencies across the country have made our book required reading for their current clients and a resource for their past clients, as it covers not just the initial stages of an adoption, but also the parenting stages we face over the long haul.


I hope you enjoyed reading today's interview. Lori interviewed me, so my interview is over at her blog today. Check it out, to see my interview at lavenderluz.com.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 28, 2013

thoughts.

Today, I just want to share some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head.

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with all the change that has occurred in my life these past 6 months. Many of these changes have been AMAZING (i.e. graduating college and marrying the love of my life). Other changes have been a little bit more difficult (i.e. my close friends moving all over the country and being in the stage of your life where you have to put in a ton of effort to meet and make new friends).

I think that I have shared this before, but I'll say it again. I have never been very successful at dealing with change in my life.

In order to deal with all this change, I told myself that I was going to take a break from blogging and interviewing families. I was overwhelmed with all that was going on in my life, so I made excuses for myself.

I have to tell you, this month has been learning experience for me. I have found that life lost some of its sparkle because I knew that I was not doing what God has told me was His will for my life.

Yet, this month has made me realize that I need to be doing more. I have found some blogs that encourage people to start orphan care ministries in their church. I am certain that God has placed these blogs in my life and He is using them in AMAZING ways. I know that I will no longer take a month off from telling the stories of families who have or are adopting.

In addition to doing more in my church, I want to help families who are adopting with their fundraising. So if you are adopting and have decided to fundraise, please contact me. I want to help you with whatever you need help with in your fundraising endeavors.
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As I sign off for the evening, I leave you a pic of my #mcm.





Thursday, October 10, 2013

nostaglia...the warm fuzzy feelings.

The best description that I have ever heard for nostalgia was from one of my high school teachers. He described nostalgia as "those warm fuzzy feelings." 

This post is all about nostalgia. It makes sense to me because this is #tbt after all.
Oh me oh my. This is me, playing dress up and dancing.
Basically, I still do this, but it's not as cute anymore.

This week I've had lots of different things remind me of my childhood. Some of them have made me smile, some have made me cry, some create those warm fuzzy feelings.

Here we go. This is what has come up in my week.

At work with the kids, I read them the I Love You, Forever. The kids only half listened to me reading to them, because if they were truly paying attention they would have asked me why I was crying. As I sat there reading to them, I remember my mom reading that book to me at night. It is one of my favorite memories.

One of my favorite radio stations to listen to on my way to work is a 90s/early 2000s station. When I got into my car this morning, The Macarena came on. Oh my goodness!! This song will ALWAYS take me back to 1996. I distinctly remember doing the dance with my cousins on a summer night at a family members house. My cousin had the tape playing in her car with all the doors open and the volume all the way up. Good times, good times.

Also at work this week, the kids watched The Aristocats. This movie was often played in my house, and to this day my mom quotes the dogs, Napolean and Lafayette. The whole movie just makes me feel like a child again. 
My sister gave me this black eye. I've always said purple was my color.
All in all, it's been a great week, and I am loving all the nostalgia.

To keep the nostalgia coming, tomorrow, my mom and sisters and I are going on our annual trip to the Apple Orchard. LOVE IT.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

my seester....the one that is a tidbit older than i am.

So, yesterday was my sister's birthday. (Sorry Lynn, I meant to do this yesterday).

In honor of her, I thought I would share about my big sister and what she means to me.


Since, I was a little girl, my sister has been one of my role models. I remember us playing school as little girls, and she would always be the teacher and boss me around. I remember during junior high, when she was in high school, she was my only true and best friend. I remember that we would go shopping together, do our hair together, and just hang out.

When Lynn left for college, I visited her at school and would spend the night with her. I thought I was so cool because my sister loved me enough, a high schooler, to let me come visit her every week, multiple times a week.


Since we were little, she has been my play mate, my shopping buddy, my workout partner, and so much more....my best friend.

I love you beautiful sister! Happy belated birthday!!



Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Street Family

Walking in to the home of Brian and Rebecca Street, there is love in the air. It is almost palpable how much love is in the home.

The Streets love God, love each other, and love their children.




Because love is the common thread in their lives, Brian and Rebecca are eager to share their story.

Through their church and opening their home to a teenager, God worked in the hearts of Brian and Rebecca. This was a difficult thing to do for the couple, but through the process God opened their eyes to fostering children.

In very little time, the Streets had gotten all the licenses they needed and were hoping to foster a little girl. They came shy of licensing to be considered for this little girl’s placement.

They were very discouraged and thought that God had called them to open their home to this little girl. All the steps that they needed to go through were done in a very short time, yet they weren’t able to be a part of this little girl’s life.

Little did they know that they were in for a huge change in their lives.

Brian and Rebecca received a profile for three brothers. They were thrilled at this and thought this was it. They went to a group interview then interviewed individually. They were very encouraged and waited in anticipation to get the call that they could pick up the boys.

When the Streets didn’t hear from DCS after a week, they called and asked what was up. They found out that another family was chosen.

They were heartbroken.

Then, God moved in amazing ways.

The family that was chosen had been with the boys for a weekend then said that they needed time to think about bringing the boys into their home. Brian and Rebecca were then contacted to foster the boys in the meantime. 

Once the boys were in their home, Brian and Rebecca knew that they were never leaving.  After six months of fostering the boys, Brian and Rebecca were able to adopt them and the three brothers became their beloved sons.


In addition to having their sons, the Streets are continuing to foster other children. They love it! They know that no matter how long or short a child is in their home, God will use the experience in amazing ways for that child.

The Streets have become advocates for fostering. This is their calling and they are obeying God’s call in their life.

“There is a huge need in the U.S. for the children in the foster system,” says Rebecca. “It is a calling and if people hear the call to become foster parents then they need to listen and act.”

Adopting through the fostering is very inexpensive and helps the need that is here in United States.

Rebecca remembers that she was scared to foster because of how daunting it is and was afraid of the issues that the children might have coming from such horrific backgrounds, but God takes care of it and is always on her side.

The Streets are very passionate about fostering and want to encourage others to consider fostering because there is such a need for loving families to be advocates for the children in the foster system.

“I can’t imagine not fostering for the rest of our lives,” comments Rebecca with a smile on her face.


Brian, then, says, “It is the most rewarding, challenging, frustrating...awesome experience.”