Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Project 365 :: Day 127-149

My heart and mind have been full these past few weeks with thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams, worries, goals, anxieties about the future, the present, and even the past, making it a bit hard to truly write and express something coherently here in this space. So I have been continuing to snap photos, looking for the beauty in the every day as well as counting my gifts {although I haven't shared those in weeks} to help me to sort through the cacophony that is my mind. I will be sharing soon {hopefully!}, but until then...please enjoy little snatches of my life in the images below.

Day 127 :: My first view outside every day out of my 
bathroom window #MyFavorite 

Day 128 :: Just ME...enjoying my back yard!
Looks like the door needs some cleaning! ;-) 

Day 129 :: Natural Beauty 

Day 130 :: Arno getting some love 

Day 131 :: Fruit by the Foot

Day 132 :: "I love my new house." ~Morris

Day 133 :: Mulching the garden

Day 134 :: First day out with the kite
and look.... #UpUpAndAway

Day 136 :: Forgot to take a pic yesterday {I know, weird!} 
but I will make up for it with a couple extra in the rest of the week. 
For today, this is Olivia just up from her nap drinking her "juice."

Day 137(1) :: Reflection

Day 137(2) :: Gazing

Day 138 :: Sheer Joy 
{Playing in the park with Liv}

Day 139 :: Pottery Competition at Monthly
3rd Friday Art Event -- I enjoyed this so much!

Day 140 :: Congrats, Liz, on achieving your Masters in Business
So proud of you!

Day 141 :: Raindrops

Day 142 :: Shopping with our local coupon queen,
my Aunt Bonnie

Day 143(1) :: Kitty "Love" 

Day 143(2) :: Schwing

Day 144 :: Banana Nut Muffins

Day 145(1) :: Embracing the Wind

Day 145(2) :: Little Liv with baby and "bobbie"

Day 146 :: So yeah...I live with a lion. ;-)

Day 147 :: Happy 2nd Birthday, Haylee

Day 148 :: She really loves him. ;-)

Day 149 :: Was doing some decorating today
and put a few pieces of Africa on display
{Don't you love how the ostrich egg broke
in close resemblance to the shape
of the African continent??}

I'm on a journey, chronicling my life with a picture a day for a year. I hope to discover the world around me in my day-to-day life in a uniquely different way as well as learn more about my DSLR to better capture those precious moments. Linking up with my friend Paige and others who are taking this challenge too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Perspective

"Though we see through a glass darkly....one day we will see face to face."

Sometimes I have to remember that my life, what I see and hear and feel, is just a dim picture of what is really REAL, what it eternal.

In the fast pace of my mind and heart, I all-too-often-forget to remember that He is in every single thing.

In my gleeful childhood
In my angsty adolescence
In those formative college years
In the steps into adulthood
In the "hard" years, where I wanted to give up, give in, and just check out.

He was there, not only just drawing, calling, longing for me to come close to His heart, but also shaping my destiny and my future for something greater that I cannot see, something other-worldly.

It reminds me being a little girl and lying on my back on the rooftops in Haiti gazing up at the star-lit sky in amazement of how small I am and how large He is.

Every Friday, I join with Lisa-Jo, master word-weaver herself, and MANY other amazing word mavericks who throw caution to the wind and write for just 5 minutes, instructing the mind to just chill and for the heart and soul to take over. It is sort of a beautiful thing. Have you ever tried it? Please consider it this week....I promise once you get over the initial scary...something magically wonderful will happen to you on the inside....

So...join me??

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life in a Holding Pattern

I have never been in labor.
Never grown new life in my womb.
Never known the aches and pains of my body's expansion.

But from what I've learned from listening and observing, the last trimester is often the hardest.

First trimester symptoms return, the weight of the extra poundage begins to take its toll, swelling seems to be a part of every day life, and sleeping -- fahggettaboutit.

But beyond the physical symptoms, the psychological change of longing for this little life to COME SOON and being TERRIFIED of taking care of that precious bundle for the REST OF ITS LIFE looms heavy upon a mother's heart.

I think maybe I am there.
In the psychological holding pattern


With no guarantee of when it will happen or how old the child will be or if we can handle it and will they like us.

Sometimes I feel like I am living someone else's life complete with a new home and fenced in back yard. Add in filling bedrooms with beds and dressers and child-lock proofing potentially hazardous places around the home, and I wonder sometimes who I am.

I have lived so long in this couple phase of life that in spite of longing to multiply the family for the past four years, now that the reality is closer either via foster care and/or adoption, I find myself more terrified of the unknown than I expected.

So on Mother's Day as I lounged on the beach watching my love fly his kite as he trains for kite boarding in the ocean one day, rejoicing with him in the moment he finally found HIS holding pattern with the kite, I looked around me.

I saw a beach gear laden mom alone with her two toddlers struggling to walk back to her car with a tearful 2-year-old lagging behind and a 5-year-old forging ahead. I observed a middle aged dad giving up his afternoon to play with the kids on the beach so his wife could relax. All around me I witnessed the ebb and flow of family life.

And there I sat alone.

And instead of feeling sorry for myself, I basked in the moment. The time that I had to myself to sit, to read, to close my eyes and feel the wind on my face, to take a Sunday afternoon just watching my love enjoy his new hobby and we could just be....

Because while I will love the next season....the one right now where it is just the two of us, young and carefree, is fleeting...

Yeah...this is definitely a weird transitional season...
but in spite of it all....I am thankful.

What are you thankful for in your current season, even if you are waiting or hoping for the next thing? What do you do to combat that TRANSITIONAL nervousness/fear?  How do you overcome the "holding pattern" syndrome?  I would love to hear your advice and/or feedback.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What She Did Not Know {A Letter to My Mom}

"....After many years of having my soil tilled and turned, the ground is supple to receive the God of Hope. And because of His great mercy in my life, to save me from my fearfully expectant heart, my daughter receives new land on which to plant. My freedom won is her inheritance to build upon. The fullness of God I pray almost daily for in my own life, isn’t just my platform for the next age. It’s hers too. And her daughter’s...."
~ Sara, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

When she said yes to ministry, to my dad, to missions, and to motherhood, she did not know the road she would travel.

When she embarked on her adventure as a newlywed missionary to the island of Hispaniola, she never imagined the trials she would need to overcome.

When she carried her firstborn child in her womb, accepting the mantle of motherhood at the ripe age of 22, she had no idea the heartache that awaited her, not years but months later.

When she woke up in a hospital with tubes in her chest helping her to breath, learning that the plane crash that she and her love had just survived through, had ended in fatality for their precious daughter, she could not imagine the fears she would need to crush to walk out the journey the Father had lay before her.

When two years later, a second pregnancy brought only anguish and loss, she did not know how this would shape her into the woman God was calling her to be.

When she finally held the babe that local newspapers heralded as "The Promised One" in her arms, she could never know how important her hard-won lessons would one day be in the life of this wee child.

The child who would not sleep through the night for almost 3... okay... maybe 4 years.

The child who would stay under her skirt tails just to be near her until she was nearly 14 years old.

The child who would ask incessant questions, provoke endless frivolity, and observe the slightest nuances in behavior and tone.

The child who would obsess over school work, get lost in a world of books, pour her heart out into journals, dance upon the rooftop, and dream of a world unbeknownst to her little heart where anything was possible.

The child who would with her blessing leave home at sixteen to pursue knowledge, fall in love...more than once..., and remember with fondness the island home that she so often had cried to leave.

The child who would work hard to change the world, to love BIG, and to give selflessly, just like she saw her mother do.

The child who would marry an African, move across the globe, and miss her mother's hugs and words EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. but keep it to herself because she had learned bravery from her mother.

The child who would face her own journey of loss and struggle of infertility and waiting and pain and sorrow to one day hold a babe in her own arms.

She could not have known how the wisdom learned from a lifetime of battle scars would be the platform of hope for her daughter to find her own way in the valley of the shadows, to "hold onto Jesus for all you are worth" because "my momma said so." and because she watched her live it out.

She could not have known.

But she lived anyway with purpose, hope, integrity, character, grace, and love, modeling Jesus-as-a-woman, with every breath she breathed.

And THAT is her legacy, that she still gives day in and day out....hope to the world, strength to the broken, courage to her daughters to face every obstacle, to conquer every fear, to know that Jesus is bigger than we are, tougher in our hurts, deeper in our despair, greater than every foe...more than we could ever imagine or know.

On Mother's Day {and every day}, I want to REMIND you what a treasure you are to me. I often tell you, "You are a mother's mother!" And I mean it! You are the picture next to the definition in the dictionary {seriously!} and I hope and pray that one day, I will give the same grace to my babies that you gave to me. That as you paved the way for me to stand in the midst of hard times, my own struggles will be a foundation for my children to KNOW who Jesus is, even deeper than I could ever know. You are SIMPLY THE BEST, Mom, and I love you! 
Thank you for being MY mom!

"I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.” 
~John Wesley

So considering Mom and Dad have served in Haiti for the past 40 years {this year!}, I felt like this 1000 Moms Project with Ann Voskamp was just the perfect thing to be a part of. Simply by writing this post {which I planned to do anyway}, I am participating in a project to help Moms in Haiti.  Click on the link below to read more about it. 

THAT just seemed like a pretty full circle way to say THANK YOU to my mom, don't cha think?!

1000 Moms Project

Friday, May 11, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Identity

I close my eyes and take deep, cleansing breaths.
One...Two...Three...holding as long as I can,
trying to count to ten in my mind.
I push out my abdomen and then finally release.
I repeat this over and over and over again until I feel that release of tension and anxiety from my body.

Removing it from my soul is another story...

I have teetered the balance between anxiety and peace my whole life, living in the angst of the two, never quite finding the place of rest or comfort that my being longs for.

I am a perfectionist.
I have an artistic nature.
I thrive in pressure
yet it overwhelms me too.

I'm complicated.

There. I said it.
The honest truth.

And yet somehow when I look deep, deep into my soul, deep into the place that only He sees and He knows....I see a little glimpse of what He sees and my soul counts to ten and takes a deep cleansing breath.

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 
You know my sitting down and my rising up; 
You understand my thought afar off. 
You comprehend my path and my lying down, 
And are acquainted with all my ways."
Psalm 139:1-3

I love Fridays because I get to 
just let my mind and heart and soul collide 
in FIVE beautifully scary minutes 
and see what words connect on this screen. 
And seriously, 
there is such freedom in this process. 
I just love it!

Oh please join me this week....
You can even just do it with paper and pen at home....
.....easy peasy! 
I promise...
...it will quickly become addicting!

Either way....

Happy Five Minute Friday, peeps!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

To the childless mothers on Mother's Day {including me}

I think last year was the first year that I realized the "hard" of Mother's Day.

As a child, growing up in Haiti, we actually celebrated Mother's Day twice -- once on the American Mother's Day, celebrating my mom, and then a couple of weeks later on the Haitian Mother's Day celebrating the women of the nation.  On that day we would adorn cloth or felt flowers, pinned onto our carefully chosen dresses. We always wore red, signifying that our mom was alive. It was a bit of a highlight as a child. Any excuse to wear flowers, real or otherwise, found me gleeful!

As I moved on into my college and adult years, I found myself away from my mother on most Mother's Days, and while it was never fun or easy to be away from each other, we adapted and adjusted, sending cards or emails, phoning or Skyping or Facebooking, depending on the technology of that year.

When I moved to Africa, Mother's Day was a special treat then too. The church made a really big deal about it, having the children give out chocolates to all of the ladies. We would also honor our pastor's wife as the mother of the church, and as I was the children's coordinator at our campus, the children and the volunteers would give me treats and cards making me feel so special to be a weekly part of their lives.

And then we took an indefinite sabbatical, and I found myself on Mother's Day last year feeling the full weight of my loss and separation from my own mother, from the children and teens and women I had mentored, and from the status quo of having my own biological children, especially given my over-30 age bracket.

So, last year, I hibernated and found others, throughout the blogging world, who were battling with this day like me.  I read their stories and wept for them and for myself. And then I wrote this post about how sometimes Mother's Day isn't easy, sharing their stories with you.

With that surprise emotional attack last year, this year, I decided to be prepared, contemplating my hibernation, avoiding any conversations, blogs, or stories that might bring the sting of loss to the surface, and planning an possible get-together with friends who also walk the same lonely road.

And then I read my friend Annie's post, On Wombs and Women's Work.

I almost did not read it, truthfully, because I was on a mission to protect my mind and heart and soul from "going there," to that ugly place. If determination could shield me, I was armed to the teeth, ready to hunker down and wait out the impending storm threatening me outside of my shelter. But as she is one of my dearest besties and has my heart, I craved her words, her wisdom, her sentiments... and dove in the post until I came across these words, stopping me in my tracks...

I think about this business of babies and birthing, and how all of it starts in the first place. A mother becomes what she is because of her willingness to let a miracle grow and expand and exist within her.
At best it begins with love and vulnerability, and it grows, day by day, in womb swelling to make room for new life. We are enlarged and able to sustain wild, beautiful life growing because of a miracle conceived in vulnerability. (Even in adoption, this rings true.)

My guard descended, and I cannot help but wonder if maybe she was even thinking of me, reminding me that I am not a forgotten soldier abandoned on the battlefield.

You see, I, too, am a mother.

Maybe not in the obvious ways, with physical stretch marks and a memorable birthing story, yet I wear the lines of expansion on my heart, in the recesses of my soul, where no one but me and Jesus can see. Because after all, He is the one stretching me to love children not my own, to surrender myself to love those who may never wear my last name, to give selflessly to as-of-yet nameless faces who will never have my eyes or my husband's smile, and to have relentless faith that He will fulfill His promises to me of one day delivering my own biological child{ren} into this world.

And the swellling hurts.

I often wonder if it is worth it...
And yet...
...I press on.

That is what a mother does, right?

Vulnerable, scared, petrified of what is coming, yet hopeful that God will some how, some way break through the barriers, giving us the strength to bring forth Hope with skin on into our awaiting arms and hearts.

And I know I am not alone.

Maybe you, too, have felt the sting of Mother's Day without a child to hold, a little voice calling you Mama. With an ache that transcends words, a sorrow that seems to cave in on you.

Can I tell you how precious you are, childless mother? Can I remind you that your mother's heart transcends the natural here and now? Can I breathe hope into your bones {and mine} that God is stretching and pulling and shaping you on the inside to hold a promise in your hands that will surprise the world?

May I just love on you until you know deep, deep down in your soul that you are not alone, not forgotten, not abandoned by the Father....and by me? May I offer you grace in the questions, in the thrashing, in the moments where you cannot go on? May I gently give you a piece of His strength in the midst of your storms?

Isaiah 54:1-3
                    “Sing, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, 
O Jerusalem, 
you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman 
now has more children
than the woman 
who lives with her husband,”
says the Lord.
“Enlarge your house; 
build an addition.
Spread out your home, 
and spare no expense!
For you will soon 
be bursting at the seams.
Your descendants will occupy 
other nations
and resettle the ruin."
(click HERE to read the whole chapter...it kinda ROCKS!)

Will you share your story, your hope, your promise from the Lord with me? I would love to stand together with you as we believe in the God who holds our future.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, 
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Project 365 :: Weeks 16-18

Day 106 :: And the painting begins...

Day 107 :: Hello, world! 
{One of three little guys that currently 
make their home with their momma at my work office}

Day 108 :: Lunch with my cuzzie 
{taking a break from working on the house}

 Day 109 :: Busy, busy peeps! 
{Painting, cleaning, cooking, fencing, and more...}

Day 110 :: And the work continues...
{even the kids helped!}

 Day 111 :: My pretty, pretty cousin, Michaela, at her Grand March 
{I cannot believe she is old enough to go to PROM!!}

 Day 112 :: So on MOVING DAY, 
we got our bed set up with our new {to us} bed frame from 
Jill and Mike Nichols and then right before bedtime, it fell! 
Hahaha...so Arno and Dad had ONE MORE project 
to work on by the end of the LONG day!

Day 113 :: Furniture shopping with the fam!

Day 114 :: Chick-fil-a with Mom & Granny

Day 115 :: Brotherly Love

Day 116 (1) :: We have 5 dogwood trees in our new backyard 
and like 2 or 3 in our front yard. SO COOL!

 Day 116 (2) :: Our first dinner using the amazing 5 burner gas stove top 
-- spaghetti & salad {sauce based on my Granny's recipe).

Day 117 :: First time using oven at the house -- 
A yummy ooey gooey chocolatey cookie brownie combo!

Day 118 :: Chillin' on our NEW couch
{It is SO comfortable!}

Day 119 :: Sisterly hang out time with errands,
Chick-fil-a, and rain!

Day 120 :: Sunday afternoon snack
Nutella, anyone??

Day 121(1) :: Our new bedroom with new{to us}
bed frame and dresser... Love it!

Day 121(2) :: A little bit of the city in our cozy bathroom
The travel theme makes me feel right at home!

Day 122 :: "Hey Mommy! I love our new digs!"

Day 123 :: Watching my sister at work
She is a FAB special ed teacher!

Day 124 :: And the foster care home study begins....
Checking paperwork off the list as we met 
with our case worker.

Day 125 :: An afternoon of fun with my sweet goddaughter,
little Macy Hope

Day 126 :: Turtle Brownies for my sick man
{yeah..and maybe for me too! ;-)}

I'm on a journey, chronicling my life with a picture a day for a year. I hope to discover the world around me in my day-to-day life in a uniquely different way as well as learn more about my DSLR to better capture those precious moments. Linking up with my friend Paige and others who are taking this challenge too.

Related Posts with Thumbnails