Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Snapshot...Special Time with My Handsome Boy

It all started with these...
Personalized "Date Cards" taped to the kids' bathroom mirror one morning
I knew the exact moment they discovered them because I heard STOMP STOMP STOMP, whisper whisper whisper, STOMP STOMP STOMP...

Later I found out they'd been running back and forth in search of a pen to circle their response, ha!
These have been proudly displayed on their bedroom window ever since  =)

  My adorable date
It was such a beautiful, sunny day, and it felt wonderful to be going out without heavy coats for a change

And just where were we headed? ? ?
a fancy restaurant, of course!
I've learned over the years that it is true- the way to a man's heart is through his stomach; boys associate a good time with FOOD!
And this boy is no exception!

Earlier in the week, in anticipation of our big date, Caleb had told me he thought we should go to a place that was romantic, with candles, like an 'EE-talian' restaurant.  I died on the inside, so, so funny!  I wonder if his charming, adorable, big personality comes across on the screen if you don't know him like we do.

He also let me know that it didn't really even matter what we ended up doing, as long as we were together...sharing our love.

Dying, I tell you!

We had a wonderful evening together.

Sharing our love.

If this pic link isn't working, please click here.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ordinary... and Wonderful

Some random {happy} snapshots of life these days.

Ethan made us yummy Corn Bread from scratch
I was very impressed  =)

cute little girls playing and giggling

ditching boots for sneakers
and meeting friends to go for long walks
oh wait, my friend ditched me!
you know who you are!  hee hee

cuh-razy schedules are upon us yet again
but I love watching my kiddos play!

healthy lunch
mixed greens with tomatoes, sweet bell peppers & diced ham
oh, and seeded Rye toast...fantastic!!

afternoon play times, outside, ahhhhhh...

big little boys
who love to help their Mama make my heart happy
I'm making this picture so large so you can see the dirt all over his cute little should see his face up close, HA!

vibrant color after all these gray months

sunny day preschool pick-ups
sans coats or boots or mittens or hats

family adventures

And ice cream sundaes for dinner
don't fret, we had chicken for "dessert"  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adoption & My Baby Girl: Something to Consider

I have to be honest and admit that I'm a very curious gal.  Maybe that's the nicer way of calling myself nosy.  Listening to someone's story, hearing about the things that stir their hearts, checking out how they decorate their homes- hey, keepin' it real here- inspires me.  It addresses that void inside me that longs for connection, the void God placed in each of us.

So in the spirit of connection and community, I will also tell you that I don't generally mind one bit when a person approaches me and gently asks me about my daughter.  My internationally-adopted daughter.  The girl whose skin isn't the same shade as mine, the one who looks different from her father, me, and her other fair-skinned siblings.

Sometimes, people are interested in hearing the details of the actual adoption process, and I choose my words carefully because I don't want our difficult journey to dampen someone else's potential journey before it has even the chance to sink into their hearts.  We would retrace those very painful steps a million times over if that's what God called us to do because we were that certain of his plan for our family.  The process of adopting a child is rarely easy, but we move mountains for those we love.

Other times, I think people are surprised to see that adopted children can be as vibrant and well-adjusted as any other child on the playground or in preschool class.  The cry of the special needs orphan weighs heavily on my heart, and I pray that families would rise up for these children; but there are also millions of children who don't have mental and physical disabilities and are in need of families, too.  Of course, there are always risks.  If you're the sort who prefers to map out your life in order to avoid all risk, well, then, um...good luck with that.

More often than not, I'm caught unprepared in the check-out lane or at the library or even in the middle of the street when a delightful bombardment of these types of questions comes fast and furious:

"Is she yours?  I mean, really yours?"
"Where did she come from?"
"When did you get her?"
"Couldn't you get an American baby?"
"Why not take care of our own first?"
"Why did her real mother not want her?"

Sorry, Bill, if you're reading this for the first time and absolutely fuming about now- I don't generally allow these questions to occupy much of my mind or time, so naturally, I forget about them over the course of the day.  They're still there, obviously, but hopefully only filling a teeny tiny portion of my mental database.

How would you answer those questions?

I used to be nice.  And gracious.

And then I grew up, because my daughter is growing up.  She is so aware of people, of how they react and respond to her, of how they appraise her, and let me assure you: her feelings and well-being will always take priority over some random stranger's in the store.  Suddenly my voice got less timid and my words more direct, and now people are told without delay or excuse that my daughter is none of their concern.  I hesitate to share that I once asked the clerk if she'd had c-sections or delivered vaginally and had needed stitches in response to her ruthless query about my little girl, but isn't that really the same kind of thing?  It's private.  I don't know you and you don't know me, and therefore neither of us should feel the right to demand such personal information.  Connectedness and community aren't going to be unhinged when we refrain from simply wondering out loud.  As a whole, we're a very curious and open nation, but that doesn't mean we get to ask people whatever we want, whenever we want to.

Her eyes got wide, her cheeks rosy, and she huffed but wouldn't speak after that, just in case you were wondering.

I'll add here that I do not enjoy being rude or confrontational.  And it's worth repeating that I'm more than happy to share some of the details of our adoption journey, but only if you ask nicely and in a respectful manner.  Then again, if my daughter is nearby, I'll probably redirect the conversation.

I can usually tell right away if someone is genuinely interested in adoption or if they're being just plain nosy.  If you really want to hear more, I'll give you my email address, and if you write me, I'll gladly respond with as much encouragement and helpful information as I can.  And then I'll pray like crazy that you consider moving forward on your own amazing adoption journey.

Please know that it hasn't been my intention to shame anyone, but I do hope that if you've ever asked any of those kinds of questions from that list above, you might reconsider and understand the harm this does.  If not, then don't be surprised when you get told to buzz off and mind your own business.

You've been warned.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Aha Moments, Realizations & Very Wise Wisdom

 My eyes have been opened.
I now know things I didn't know before.
Or maybe never realized until now.
And because you asked so nicely, I will impart my wisdom with you.

In no particular order...
There is such a thing as too much fiber.
Sorry...was that too much information?

Cats, more specifically, cat's whiskers, are not flame retardant.
And well, some cats are pyromaniacs.
I never knew that.

Grocery shopping is not the problem.
Unloading the van is.
And then there's the restocking of pantry shelves and odd-spaced freezer compartments.
Double ugh.

One last mind-blowing, life-changing, earth-shattering discovery for the road.
There really is no good place on the counter to house a toaster.
You're welcome.

 Little Luke is fine.
Though the fool was at it again this morning.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party Hop 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

 Hi, I'm Bethany, and I'm so glad you're here!
If you visit often, thank you!  You rock!  I have enjoyed getting to know each one of you & you make my day that much brighter!
If you're new here, welcome!  I hope you'll browse around and come back to visit again!
I must apologize for monopolizing the linky lists at the party- I jumped the gun linking up only to realize I'd joined the wrong list, and then I couldn't delete it, so I went ahead and linked up again...and THEN I actually read the different options and realized I should've linked up to the Christian category...sorry for that!  You'd think after all these years (and I was a teacher, gasp!) I'd remember to read the instructions FIRST!
Here's a quick overview of my life, though knowing me, it won't actually be all that quick, ha!

I married my best friend when I was 22 {wow! that was a l-o-n-g time ago, ha!} years old- it was one of the best, most exciting days of my whole life.

As newlyweds, we suffered the loss of babies who are in heaven now- I ended up in the hospital with suspected appendicitis, only to learn that I was carrying a double abdominal ectopic pregnancy.  Many doctors told me I was lucky to be alive, and my chances of conceiving again and carrying to term were extremely low, but...

then came along handsome little fella number one in 1999...Ethan

And handsome little fella numero dos in 2001...Jonah

AND big, wonderful surprise fella #3 in 2002...Caleb
It was actually April Fools Day '02 when I found out we were expecting this little fireball...9 whole years ago today!
His birth was pretty traumatic and he almost died in utero- poor little baby had 2 blood transfusions after birth and when I finally got to hold him at 19 hours old, he was covered head to toe in tubes and wires. That was so hard...but he has always been a fighter and is now the happiest, brightest 8-year-old on the planet!

Our prayers were answered when God led us to our daughter through the miracle of adoption
meeting Isabelle for the very first time- Sept 2007
love at first sight!

God really opened my eyes to the plight of the orphan, and He is at work again, stirring our hearts in big ways like only He can...I will be blogging about this in the very near future, I'm sure.   :)

I used to be a high school teacher, and now I get to work with the high school kids in our youth group at our church- I loooove them!

Music is a huge part of my life and it's rare that we aren't listening to a great CD or Air1

Oh, how could I forget these lovelies?  L-R: Sneakers, Luke, & Sophie
See what happens when I don't tackle that laundry right away, ha!
This pile o' cats is usually what's pining down my feet each morning, too.  :)

With four kiddos- and three of them messy, loud, silly, adventurous, messy...did I already say that?...boys- I've finally learned the value of trading in my perfectionist ways and fully embracing the value of a "good enough" kind of attitude.  Life really is too short to fuss over trivial things (like perfectly folded laundry and spotless kitchen floors), and I don't want to wake up one day and realized I've missed out on what mattered most.

These guys certainly give me lots of "fuel" for the blog, but I also enjoy writing about our many remodeling endeavors, decorating, baking & cooking, photography, sewing, and our family adventures.  

If you want to read some random, fun things about me, click here and scroll down a bit.  I'm also about 500 pages deep into writing my very first novel, a love story with lots of twists and turns.  Whew!  It's hard but I know it's what I'm meant to do.

In our family, we love adventure...

cheering each other on...

and having fun!

I've met some really wonderful people through blogging, and have been inspired in more ways than I could ever express!  Looking forward to making some new friends this week- parties like these are awesome!   :)

If you want, you can read my blog party post from 2010.

Well, that's about it...I hope you have a wonderful day!

ps- Happy April Fools' Day...this is what it looks like outside our home right now, and it's supposed to snow all day!
 Oh, and NO SCHOOL...guess the joke's on me!
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