Monday, January 30, 2012

Little Man Monday

Hi Little Man,

Wow! This week has been busy. Lots to do, to think about, and to prepare. Our friends came home with their sweet girl, Elise, who we hope will be your friend, too. We haven't seen them. We want to give them their space just like we'll ask everyone to give you once you come home to us.  But we do pray for her and we hope to get to see her soon.

Things at our home are a little crazy. Dad and I are in the midst of making several decisions about you and life and all things in between. Don't worry, though, we still pray for you each day and think of you constantly. I want to do so much to make your room yours but I also know, Little Man, you may be a ways from joining our home still. It's hard for me to not prepare--to not get too excited. We know it's the Lord's timing, though, and that makes it a little better.  As I held one of my sweet little boys at church this week, I smelled his hair and wished for the day I will be able to smell your hair as you hug me tight. The day is coming, Little Man. It is coming.

We had family Christmas on your grandpa's side this weekend. We got to talk about you--about our journey toward you, the ups and downs, and how we long to hold you and tickle you and sing you to sleep. We talked about how we will cocoon you and keep you in our home so you will learn how much we love you.  We are trying to prepare your new family that, as much as they love you, they may have to wait a little while to show it. After all, we are your mom and dad and we want you to get that first and foremost.

Speaking of love, I have to tell you how very clear it is that you are already loved by our community. Our friend Candace reminded us this week that the leaders of the children's ministry at church pray for your arrival. We hear from friends, family, and people we've never met about how they are praying for you and rooting for our family. It's so lovely for us to know the community already can't wait to see you home.

 Today we have spring-like weather. It's warm and everyone's atwitter with excitement. On days like this, it makes me wish you were  here. Dad and I would load you in the stroller. We'd maybe grab Rigo and Gabby if we were feeling brave, and we'd take a lovely walk through our neighborhood. Or maybe we'd go to the park and let you fly down the slides.  Maybe we would just run around in the back yard. I can't wait to make decisions like these.

Well, IC, I must be going. I am off to work at the university. But please know that you are never far from my heart.



Friday, January 27, 2012

Doing a Good Work

Well when I said I was going to get over my pity party, I meant it! And the Lord took me for my challenge. He's met me right where I am and provided me with all kinds of reasons to feel blessed. And, best of all, no reason at all.  He's just been near.

I've spent a lot of this week sharing. Sunday small group keeps getting better. We've been splitting up the men and the ladies and it's been awesome. I don't know what the men are doing but there's something about sharing prayer requests and confessing sins in a group of only women that makes the time more meaningful. It's been beautiful. I don't know how else to say it.

I shared my adoption journey on another blog last week and an amazing woman , who I've never met and will probably never meet this side of heaven, not only donated puzzle pieces in the name of her twins but also put my story on her blog. I was blown away by the kindness. It's kind of been like that this week. I had another woman I've never met ask about how to support our adoption as well. It's pretty clear God supports adoption when he faithfully provides people to love on you, pray for you, and support you all throughout this messy process.

I also shared over at Beth Moore's blog (in the comments section, people, I'm not that cool) that I've been attempting to memorize scriptures more regularly this year. Cool as that was, I had a new bloggy friend (Shout out Ryan!!) who encouraged me and told me she was on the same train. My friend Jordan has also encouraged me and we're going to do this memorization thing together this year.  Our church, The Crossing, has also been encouraging scripture memory and has even given us specific verses to memorize.  If that's not enough reminders this week, Ann Voskamp also had a fantastic post this week about how important it is to memorize scripture.  Several of you have come out and expressed your personal desire to memorize, too. If this is you, let's do it!! Let's encourage each other! I think it's so much more powerful to do something when you agree to do it as a group of believers. So in the spirit of accountability and encouragement, here's what I'm memorizing right now:

Psalm 27:1

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?"

Last week's was Psalm 20:7 "Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."

(Just so you know I am still the same me, I typed "thrust" three times before I got the word right. Yeah. I'm not going to be thrusting in the name of the Lord our God. You know, let's not even go there.)

So anyway, yeah. I feel like this is already making a considerable difference in the way I am seeing life. And if you are memorizing too, please give a shout-out! I'd love to be able to encourage each other.

In other encouragement news, I had a student stop by this week, tears streaming down her face, to tell me thank you for finding her a path to graduation. For a girl who needed some emotional "ups" that was a huge one. God is faithful. And usually in ways we don't predict.

Finally, a cool blog  I've been reading at the recommendation of another pretty cool lady wrote her faith story this week. While pieces are similar and pieces are way different from my own story, it got me thinking. I am pretty sure I have never written my faith story out in its entirety. So, that's something I'm considering sharing with you all soon. If I can convince myself to be that vulnerable. Or convince myself that anyone would want to read it.  I'm just in a sharing mood, see?

And on that note, dear friends, I am off to see my man. I hope you've been encouraged this week. And if you haven't, I pray the Lord will encourage you some way some time soon.

Keep me accountable on this memory thing, ok? I'm really good at the first 3 or so verses of the year. It's the 24th verse I never seem to memorize:).

I'm out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The State of My Weekend

I would love to tell you I am busy paying fervent attention to the State of the Union address. No, I wouldn't. I don't even want you to think I want to watch the SOTU. Because I don't. But guess what? I was blessed to not only marry a man who loves political debates and political speeches.  Even better--I married a man who loves those things but also doesn't believe in TV in the bedroom. So here I am. Watching him watch what I believe to be the best pat-on-the-back anyone can give themselves that actually makes zero impact on our country. OK, I may be a little cynical. So let's find something else to talk about instead, shall we? Why yes.

So let's talk about the weekend, shall we? Well, great!

First, I went to my first gymnastics meet on Friday in, oh, more than a decade. As a little girl, my mom used to take me once a year to watch the "big girls" compete at the Cat Classic. It was a big meet where  universities with cat mascots came and competed. One year Shannon Miller came and I got her autograph. The Cat Classic is long gone but the gymnastics team is still doing fun, gimmicky things to get people to go watch.

And oh do they go!

On Friday, it was "Pink Out" where $1 of each ticket price went to breast cancer charities. Plus, the first 500 people got free pink shirts. So my friend Ashley and I made the trek and left Eric at home to attend a missions meeting. More on that later because it's actually a story in and of itself.

We were two of more than 3000 people who went to cheer on Mizzou. Seriously!! The shirts were just empty shells of boxes by the time we got there.  It was delightful to see so many people cheer on our young women. And we won! And it was fun. There were tons of families there. Let me tell you, the MIZ-ZOU chant sounds a lot different when the average person in your audience is a 10 year old girl than it does at your average football game.  Adorable, I tell you. And only once did I have to ask the sweet child behind me to stop kicking my chair.

Because when you are scary, once is enough.

Here, the only semi-decent picture I got of the meet.

OK well I said I wasn't paying attention to the SOTU but the president just promised that if we, as colleges, couldn't cut costs our funding would be cut. Which makes me turn into one of those cartoon characters whose head turns bright red and smoke comes out of their ears. Yeah, that's me right now. This is why I can't watch these things. Because there is no opportunity for citizen rebuttal. UGH.

Back to my weekend.

We'll continue on the sports theme for just a moment. Mizzou had a big game on Saturday, WHICH WE WON, and to show my support, I dressed up my dog in a crushed velvet cape.

Yes, it is tied with a duck tape collar. You are welcome, tigers. I am sure Super Gabby was the good luck charm that took you to the top. After all, why else would you be #2 in the nation right now? What's that? You're a legitimately good basketball team?

Well there's that.

Seriously, I couldn't be prouder to be a tiger. It's been a fun run this winter and we're hoping it stays fun for a while. 

 Saturday evening we got to do a little more trial parenting. God bless our friends who let us hang with their kids and donate to our adoption for doing it. It's totally a win.

Yes, that is my man being trampled by a herd of wild children. We listened to Slugs and Bugs and jumped on E. I can't think of a better Saturday night. Especially when we got to the part when the kids went to bed and E and I played Battleship.

Guess whose strategery managed to sink all her husband's battleships? Yes, ma'am! I won!!

And I'm not gloating at all.

And I am using strategery because of the SOTU. See? Something good has come out of this.

One final funny story about Saturday. The four year old, Little B, wanted me to double French braid her hair. I told her I would give it a try but there were no promises.

This is where you must know how very strong my left handedness is to understand the end of this story. Because after two attempts on the right side of sweet Little B's head, this is what we had:

Yes, my left handedness is strong. Sweet B has a little spunk in her and after gently feeling both sides of her hair, she looked right at me and said,

"Um, the left one is good but the right one is bad. Just take them out and give me pigtails."

And with wounded pride, that's exactly what I did.

And then I sent her to bed.

Good thing we're adopting a boy!

Happy Tuesday. May the State of the Union end soon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Little Man Monday

Well Hello Sweet Boy!

Whew! It is chilly in our town today. It is bleak and cold and windy and about 35 degrees.  It's not as bad as it was last week but the wind definitely reminds me it's winter.  I just checked the weather in Addis and it's almost 80. It's going to be quite the change when you experience winter here for the first time. I can almost picture your chubby cheeks underneath a sweet stocking cap. We'll teach you how to bundle up--don't worry. Your dad and I have always lived where it gets very cold so we are happy to teach you the art of dressing in layers. I can't wait to put a colorful mittens on your sweet hands.

Today our friends are in Ethiopia picking up their daughter Elise. We are hoping you and Elise will be friends since we are friends with her parents and we all go to church together. Elise is finally coming home after a long, long wait.  Watching her parents deal with the tough stuff of her transition makes me think a lot about you. We don't talk about it much, Little Man, but we know the circumstances that will bring you to us will not be happy ones. We know you will experience much hurt, sadness, and suffering in the months or years that lead to Dad and I being your parents. It hurts me and gives me a pit in my stomach to think of the pain I can't prevent in your life. We're going to have a long road to trust, I know, but know that my love for you is greater than any difficulty we could face as a family. I get teary just thinking about you being in any sort of pain. Please know that we would prevent it if we could. We want the best for you. We long to see the healing our heavenly father will bring about in our family and we cling to the knowledge that He makes all things beautiful in his time.

Little Man, I must get going. I am off to work for the rest of the day. You will be in my thoughts!



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2 Months DTE

We have been "officially" waiting for two months now for our wonderful Imaginary Child to become a real human with a picture and a story. Unsurprisingly, according to the "unofficial" list we have moved exactly ZERO spots in these two months.

Which we knew would probably be the case.

And so, we wait patiently. We wait on our son. We wait on the Lord. We wait, knowing it could be 10 more months or 3 more years. We wait knowing our son could be alive, waiting for us or he could not even be alive yet. We wait.

In positive news our chain is an actual chain this month--with two full links!! Woo hoo!!


Our church is encouraging us to memorize a verse every two weeks. I found the verse for these two weeks completely appropriate so it went on our link for this month.

Psalm 20:7 "Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."

We trust, not in waiting list or timelines. We trust in the name of the LORD our God. We know he will provide the timing best for his purposes. I won't say we look forward to a long wait but we do know it's changing us in great ways. So we are thankful for this time the Lord is providing us.

We wait... and we give thanks for those who wait with us. Including you lovely people!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Little Man Letters

Hi Little Man,

How are you! Oh how I miss you! It's been a couple of weeks since I wrote you but it's been just a few moments since I've thought of you last.

I have to say, I would have written yesterday but your Uncle Mark is in town and we were running around on my day off. Uncle Mark lives quite a ways away on the west coast so when we get to see him, it's a pretty big deal. You're going to like him--he's very funny and he already tells me how excited he is to meet you. He is a very good dancer. I hope he teaches you a few moves. I hope you teach him a few too.  Uncle Mark is actually staying in your room--you might still have to share when you get here. Hopefully you won't mind.

Speaking of sharing, I got to share one of your books with your friend Addy this week. I don't know if she likes tractors as much as you might but she was pretty excited to read your book about John Deere.  It was kind of fun to have a little one reading your books and to look forward to the day you are here to read them too.

Well, little man, I love you so much. I will write again soon.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Leaving My Pity Party

So, I don't post a lot about work. And in general, I try not to post negative comments. But recently, work has been hard. Just, hard. It's been easy for me to sit around and wallow.

Because, you know, the first thing everyone wants to hear in an economy where it's an extra special blessing to have a job is how hard your job is.

And yet, I have this group of women who love me more than anyone should. Really. They are such a blessing. And if your church doesn't have small groups (or if you aren't a part of one), well, that's a real bummer. Because these are the kind of women that I can drag my whiney self to our group, whine about my circumstances, and do you know what? They don't complain about my complaining. In fact, they love me. And support me.  And hug me. When I need it. Badly.

It's true--they are not the only ones. I tell you about them to say this: I asked them to pray for this situation this week. And do you know what?  Nothing has changed at work.

But EVERYTHING has changed.

Yes. I mean it.

This week, it's like people have joined me on all sides and just been there. And some of them didn't even know that what I needed the most this week was someone to be there.

I have made two adoption-related friends this week.  Pretty much out of the blue, two separate women contacted me and gave me all kinds of support in the midst of our walk through adoption. It's always great to talk to someone who wants to hear how things are going. It's different, though, to talk to someone who's walked this road. It was just such a blessing to hear from these women who have their beautiful children at home and can say that the Lord will provide, regardless of how stressful it might feel.

I also had a dear friend send me a support email in the middle of a rough day. And she had no idea, I am sure, that it was perfect timing. But it was.

The Lord's providence strikes again.

And then of course, there was the whole part of today where my coworkers encouraged me to listen to   crazy 70s and 80s music during some difficult times today.

So, the moral of this story: God is good.  Friends are awesome. My life is pretty rockin.

So, so long pity party. My life is full of blessings and it's too full to have you around.

And you, dear blog readers, are just one example of these blessings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Catch Up!!

Well, hey there!! Good of you to join me. I thought I'd give you all a little photo glimpse of last week.  You in? Great. There will be words as well. Have you met me? Please. There have to be words as well.

So, last Monday, the greatest thing about January happened: The Bachelor officially started for the season. Ben F., a bunch of ladies "in it for the right reasons" (meaning? I have deduced this means they want to be reality celebrities. But maybe it means they want love??) and one Chris Harrison began a journey that is sure to end in love. And heartache. A group of us watch every week. It gives us a great reason to eat great foods, enjoy cheap champagne, giggle like schoolgirls, and (of course) watch The Bachelor. This season, we've been playing Bingo for door prizes. The spaces are filled with things you might see like Chris Harrison, girl with sequined dress, or someone playing the piano. They are also filled with things you might hear like a snarky comment, the word "journey" or the phrase "my heart is out there." Here is my Bingo card from last week. Sadly, I did not win the glow-in-the-dark wand. There's always next time, right?

On Tuesday, E and I did something we haven't done in three years--we went to a Mizzou basketball game. This may confuse you if you have been reading for a while. True, we love Mizzou sports.

But when I say "Mizzou sports" I actually just mean "Mizzou football."

You see, basketball is during the week. There are way more games. And let's be honest, Mizzou has had its ups and downs in the past, um, 10 years. But this year, to everyone's surprise, we're up! So we went to watch them lay the smack down on Oklahoma. And boy did they!!

We managed to get cheap seats for $10 a pop. I was pretty pleased with that. Plus, basketball gives plenty of opportunities for in-your-seat dancing. I am all about in your seat dancing. And the best part of the whole thing was our continued undefeated streak.

Which lasted until Saturday.

But in my defense, I wasn't in Manhattan on Saturday so you can't really blame me for that. Or maybe you can. Either way, please blame our field goal percentages. Yikes. (I say that and I haven't really looked to see what our FGP was. I am assuming it wasn't good. I watched the game. It has to be not good).

And is the view from the cheap seats last Tuesday

The rest of the week was pretty chill. I would give you the specifics but that's the problem with not blogging for several days. I do not remember said specifics. I do remember there was a lot of reading Steig Larsson. And a lot of cuddling. The puppies loved it. Oh yeah, and I cuddled Eric too.

And then, this weekend, we caught up with a good friend on Friday. Normally our bed time is about 8:30. I am not kidding. I blame this on the fact that we are usually perusing the streets of our town, looking like burglars in the dark at about 5:15 am.  OK, we are running. But I tend to think when it's cold, everyone outside looks like a burglar. I mean, you have to cover almost every square inch of your skin. I have gone way off track.  Moving forward...because of our lovely meeting with my friend Jen, we got to sleep on Friday night at about 1am. 

Which is later than New Year's.

Which explains why I didn't emerge from the sleeping cave until 11:30.

It doesn't explain that? Well, then, I don't care. I woke at 10:30, read for an hour in our room, and then was treated to blueberry pancakes by the man. He's pretty rocking, you know? Waking up with the dogs and letting me sleep and then making me breakfast?! People, I lucked out.

I would love to tell you the rest of my Saturday got a lot more productive. Alas, it did not. I spent the afternoon assisting in the purchasing of Bachelor Bingo door prizes. And then the evening? It has a whole lot of Rigo like this:

And a whole lot of me like this:

Someone had to finish the leftover from New Year's and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest." I was happy to make both of those things happen.

Til I got to the end and realized I would need to immediately read the final book.

Guess what I'm doing this week...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012: The Year of the Settler

Yes, it's true. I am thrilled to say I rang in the new year in style--by staying at home. The College Me would be so disappointed. But then again, the college me had a lot to learn about self-fulfillment. So, I ignored her this year and Hubs and I had a delightful NYE. We met up with some friends and watched Young Adult at the independent theater while enjoying a great coffee stout. To be fair, College Me wouldn't like that either since she didn't drink beer. Anywho, the movie was highly entertaining. As was the company. The experience really combined some of my favorite things: Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody, a theater with couches, and good friends. So yeah. I will say this: it's a little hard to watch Charlize Theron's character. She's a little, um, underdeveloped personally and it really makes for some rough scenes if you don't like watching people in awkward situations. But in general, it's a great film.

We went straight from good film to good appetizers and dinner to ring in the new year.  I am happy to say I officially know how to play Settlers of Catan. Yes, I am awesome. And by awesome, I mean, a little nerdy. But seriously? The competitive game-player in me came right out. I did not win. Sadly. But I blame that on my friend who we shall call the King of Catan. We'll call him that because he required it after he won. Really, though, he's a good settler. I shall get him next time, though (insert evil/Medieval laugh). 

After I got my tail kicked in S.O.C. (I'm not sure anyone really calls it that), I went on to get my tail kicked at dominoes. It's all fun and games, right?

Here's the part of my post where I have to admit to you that we missed the East Coast NYC ball drop because we were watching PBS. Yup. S.O.C. and PBS. Just call me Old Lady Jess. Or something. To be fair, PBS was playing an amazing Coldplay concert in Austin. So, you can't really blame us. We were singing along!! I will try to fix you!! Also, for no reason I will tell you they celebrated the new year in the concert. In Eastern time. Which makes Zero sense. Because they were in Austin.


Central time, people!!

We were able to stay awake to watch a replay of the ball drop in Central time. So I feel like all the time zone time warps evened out. And pretty much as soon we saw the confetti fly, we went home. Except, well, a few minutes after that because the confetti oddly started before the ball dropped.

This is the most discombobulated post ever.

So I'll give you this beautiful picture of my fellow partiers. I use this term loosely but seriously, we had a great time.

And for accountability reasons, I will now profess my resolutions. I believe in specific resolutions. Here they are:

1. Run a marathon. After finishing my 5th half, E has finally convinced me this is necessary. I'm not necessarily looking forward to it but I know I will be proud if I can finish.

2. Finish the updates recommended in our inspection. It has been almost 2 years after all.

3. Make photo books from my online photos so we can enjoy them in our home (both the photos and the books).

I'm sure there used to be one or two more but I can't remember. So I'm leaving it at three.

Anyone have any good ones I should add?

Happy New Year! Go settle something!