Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One Question, Six Voices: Lent Week Three

This week's Lenten question from Rethink Church:
God is calling you. But to where? And to what? #vocation

I doubt it's a surprise to anyone that I feel called to orphan care. It's something I've grown passionate about over the last several years, particularly since I became a parent. Each time they placed one of my boys in my arms, and that overwhelming love washed over me, I knew I'd do everything I could to protect them, love them, fight for them.

Every child should know that kind of love. Every. Single. One.

But that's a lofty, idealistic goal, right? We live in a fallen world. Some kids are born to craptastic parents, some societies tell orphaned children they're worthless, some governments make a profit on of the plight of the orphan.


When those things feel overwhelming and untouchable, and the rage-y, injustice-fighting coals in my gut start to burn, I have to remind myself I believe in a God who is bigger than those things. I have to remind myself that I'm called to make a difference for orphans because God can make a difference for them. I can make a difference, even if it's only for a handful of kids, because God is using me to build something beautiful out of the ashes.


This post is one of six points-of-view on the same topic. Check out what my friends think of this week's question on their blogs: ShawnHeatherStephBrian and Julia.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Twice the Awesome

My baby turns two today, and I'm left sitting right in the middle of the cliche: It's gone by so fast. As the tiny dimples on his knuckles and elbows start to fade, and his baby giggles turn into belly laughs, I'm mourning his babyhood, but rejoicing in his latest accomplishments. It's such a strange, in-between stage of motherhood for me—this sadness at the loss of all things baby, mixed with joy for the little person he's becoming.
And what a little person he is. He's fierce, that one. With his love, with his anger, with his orneriness. He's all in, no matter what it is, and he lets you know—loudly—if he doesn't agree.

He continues to be a Daddy's boy, and loves his Daddy more than anyone else in his world. Favorite food? Whatever Daddy's eating. Favorite place to sit? Wherever Daddy's sitting. The list could go on. he's so enthralled sometimes that I can't even put on his shoes/hand him his plate/insert normal daily function here without being met with: "No! Daddy do it!" Sigh.
He chatters more and more all the time, and we constantly find ourselves hearing new words or phrases, or new pronunciations that are understandable even more-so than the day before. At times, Gavin still has to translate for us, but those moments are becoming fewer and further between.

Bennett continues to impress with his physical abilities. He's galloping, and trying to skip, though his little legs still aren't quite long enough to pedal anything just yet. He climbs and throws and jumps and pushes the limit of his bodily capabilities constantly. If he sees bubba do it, he's gonna try it, too.

He's still into Elmo, but has lost the adorable "Melmo" pronunciation and now calls him by his actual name. He's also into superheroes because his brother is, and his favorite, by far, is "Pie-der-man."

Yesterday, he had tubes put in his ears and I think we cried more than he did. He was a champ, and proved the nurses wrong when he woke up dazed, but calm, instead of screaming (we'd been warned that all kids wake up crying after surgery). He charmed the nurses so much that they wanted to keep him, and one said, "He's an angel from heaven."

Indeed. He absolutely is. And we're so very glad he's ours. Happy birthday, little man!

Friday, March 21, 2014

One Question, Six Voices: Lent Week Two

This week's Lenten question from Rethink Church:
What are those temptations that rule you and make you turn away from those in need—in poverty, disease and hunger?

This card hangs in my office at work:
It's an excerpt of a story about a man who sees a little boy throwing starfish back into the sea so they won't die. The man can't believe the boy is taking on such an overwhelming task and tells him he'll never make a difference. The boy throws another starfish back in the ocean and responds with: ''I made a difference to that one."

I keep it visible in my everyday surroundings because on days I feel like the man in the story, and the enormity of problems like poverty, disease, hunger, orphanhood, etc., etc., etc. weigh heavy on my heart, it reminds me not to be tempted to give up, not to be tempted by the fear of failing to make a difference. Because that's how it is sometimes, right? To hear there are 153 million orphans in the world, or that 870 million people worldwide don't have enough food to eat—that's daunting! On many days, it's paralyzing. Statistics like that make the problems of the world seem too big to affect, and much easier to sit in my comfortable suburban home, with enough food in my belly, enough water to drink, and more than I could ever need. It's easier to turn off the news and ignore what's really happening in the world.

But that's not how we're called to live. I have enough...more than enough so that I can share what I have with others. I have been blessed so that I may bless others. And on days when the problems in front of me feel too big, it helps to remember that I can't do everything, but I can do something. I can love an orphan (or 40 orphans!) in Russia. I can give my time or my money to organizations making a difference every day, like, Children's HopeChest or Global Orphan Project. I can be a voice for change by raising awareness for sex trafficking. I can make a difference, and so can you. We mustn't be tempted not to.


This post is one of six points-of-view on the same topic. Check out what my friends think of this week's question on their blogs: ShawnHeatherStephBrian and Julia.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

One Question, Five Voices: Lent Week One

So you know that crazy Lenten blog-challenge-marathon my friends and I undertook last year?

It's back by popular demand! This time with fewer posts that are (hopefully) full of more thought. This year, ReThink Church has posed one question each week of the Lenten season:
This week's question:
What are the basic needs in your community? How might you participate in meeting those needs?

Ahhh, community. That word always make me feel all cozy because of the people who are in mine that come to mind. Because that's what community is, right? It's not just the place you live, it's the people you surround yourself with. It's at work. It's in your neighborhood. It's at church. It's your family. It's your circle of friends. That's what community is...being in relationship with one another. Loving one another.

Being part of a close community forces you to want to look outside yourself and see the needs in others around you. When they need something, the response becomes an automatic "how can I help?" or "how are you?" It's not obligation. It's automatic because of the way you feel about each other. It's automatic because of the relationship community fosters.

In a tight community, you understand each other's basic needs and can respond quickly. A friend's son is having surgery and needs a prayer. A co-worker needs help with an excel spreadsheet from hell. A child needs a little boost of confidence pep-talk. A friend needs a ride to the airport.

Those things may sound insignificant, but sometimes the little things are the biggest ones that make you feel connected, supported and loved. And meeting those needs makes all the difference.


This post is one of five points-of-view on the same topic. Check out what my friends think of this week's question on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Finally Five

Gavin turned a whole handful of fingers today, waving his hand at me this morning saying, "I'm five!" as he dashed past me like the years have, full of energy and determination—growing and changing faster than I can say, "Slow down!" Faster than I can catalog here.
Not long ago, he told me he thought he'd skip five and move right on to six, but today, it seems as if five fits him well. So well, in fact, that he said he felt taller today and asked that I measure him to see if he'd reached the five-foot mark. Five is a big deal.

Five feels like the intersection of little boy and big kid, where there are still snuggles before bed, but also a whole lot of "I can do it myself." Lots hand-holding and extra hugs, but also "no more kisses, Momma."

He's so many things at five. So much of the sweet, gentle, cautious boy we've always known, but slowly, new branches are shooting out of his personality to reveal other sides, too. Smart. Funny. Stubborn. Goofy. Brave.
At five, he's struggling with growing up, and anxious about new things and new people. He reaches out to us constantly for support, and we're trying to be there consistently while still pushing him forward into independence a little at a time.

At five, he writes confidently as long as you spell the words for him. I hear him sounding out words, and though he's not reading yet, I know it's not far off. My favorite take-homes from daycare these days are love notes with all the letters running together.

At five, he's a master builder in Lego terms, and quick when it comes to puzzles. He pieces things together with a part of his brain that definitely didn't come from me. He's analytical, and good at basic addition.

At five, he is full of magic and wonder and innocence with a heap independence on the side, and I am so very glad he's mine.