Friday, February 26, 2010

Jesus Loves Me

Every night when I put one or both of the kids to bed, I sing Jesus Loves Me to them. I started to sing it to Samuel when he was a baby and now do the same with Lauren. I hold them or rock them and sing quietly in their ear the precious words of truth that Jesus loves them.

When Samuel has been sick and I have rocked him for many many minutes, I often wondered if there were other verses besides the first that I learned as a little girl.

As it turns out, there are more verses!

I went online awhile back and I learned that this song was written in 1860 as a poem. How sweet it is that these lyrics have been sung for so very long.

Here is some background on the song and all of the verses. I printed them out and put them inside a cupboard door in my kitchen. I am memorizing them all so I can sing each verse to my precious miracles!

What a privilege it is to teach my children that Jesus loves them.


"Jesus Loves Me" simply states the profound truth of God's love. It was originally written in 1860 as a poem by Anna B. Warner and included as part of a story meant to comfort the heart of a dying child. In 1861 it was put to music by William Bradbury, who added the chorus and published it as a part of his hymnal collection, The Golden Sower.


Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me!
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.

Jesus loves me!
Loves me still,
Tho I'm very weak and ill,
That I might from sin be free,
Bled and died upon the tree.

Jesus loves me!
He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me!
He will stay
Close beside me all the way.
Thou hast bled and died for me;
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Chorus:
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Six little words

Years ago I read the book "The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman." If you are not familiar with this book, the five love languages are ways that we give and accept love. The five are words of affirmation, touch, gifts, acts of service and quality time.

I have always said that my number one love language was gifts. I LOVE giving gifts. Not just at the expected gift-giving times, but rather as I see or find gifts that I know people would love or that make me happy to purchase or create for them. And, I love getting gifts too. I already have my birthday list going on a post-it note on the side of my fridge :)

Anyway. Back to my point.

In this season of my life, I think my number one love language is changing.

These days with two little ones, little sleep, little energy and too much to do, there is a really important question that I need Ryan to ask me. 


I love hearing it. 

It does my heart good. 

Anytime day or night, before dinner and especially before we retire for the evening, I need Ryan to ask me, "What can I do to help?"

Acts of service are my lifeline these days.

Empty the dishwasher. Throw in a load of laundry. Fill my car with gas or get it washed. Clean up the kitchen after dinner. Run to the grocery store or Target at 8:00 at night. Pick up around the house. Feed, bathe, or dress the kids. Take out the garbage and recycling. Fix the squeaky door to Lauren's room. Vacuum the upstairs. On and on the list goes.

Ryan is GREAT at meeting this ever-changing need of mine.

But I realized recently that I needed to communicate to him that I want him to ask me, "What can I do to help?"


In my head are hundreds of unspoken expectations. "Why doesn't he offer to fold laundry while he watches TV?" or "How come he can't see the light bulb needs to be changed?" or "I wish he would put away the diaper bags when I get home late at night."

Instead of dwelling on these 'unspoken desires' I am teaching him to ask me "What can I do to help?".

Some might say, if he really knew me or if he really loved me, he would know how to meet these needs. 

Hogwash.

My needs change yearly...monthly...weekly...sometimes even daily. (Or Ryan might add minute by minute).

So instead of getting angry, or frustrated or bitter, I just remind him to ask me: "What can I do to help?"

Those six little words are music to my ears!

P.S. Just as I finished typing this Ryan came downstairs from feeding Lauren a late-night bottle, and he offered to put the milk I had pumped earlier into the fridge. Oh...my love tank is overflowing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waiting Well Devotional

I'm going to be quite open and honest here and share a dream of mine. 

A passion really. 

I am a writer and I have a journalism degree. I've always thought about writing a book and last year I decided I wanted to write a devotional book about waiting. 

During my time of waiting I soaked up everything I could get my hands on about waiting - books, sermons, songs, articles, and Scripture. 

I nearly became obsessed with finding a reason for my waiting, finding the purpose in my waiting and how to get through my waiting.

I would have loved to have read a book specifically written to encourage me during my waiting.

So far I have written an outline. I have ideas for devos (many taken from this blog). I've put thoughts together here and there.

I also haven't touched it in about six months. But I will again - hopefully not too far down the road.

And I've decided I'd love your input and feedback since I know many of you reading this are or have been in a season of waiting.

I'd be honored if you would share with me any of the following:

1. What you are currently waiting for or have waited for in the past?
2. What was/is the hardest part about your waiting?
3. What did you learn or are you learning during your time of waiting?
4. What does it mean to you to wait well?
5, What would you want to read in a devotional book that would encourage your heart as you wait?
6. Anything else that would help me as I come up with devotional ideas for my book.

Thank you friends, readers and fellow waiters...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Open Adoption

A lot of people ask me about our relationship with Samuel's birth mom. 

It is an open adoption. I know that looks different for every adoptive relationship, so this is where we are at currently:

His birth mom has not chosen to see Samuel in person, but I know she regularly reads the blog. 

She sent him the adorable hat shown in this picture for his birthday (photo taken today while playing in the snow).

Samuel's birth mom and birth grandma sent him Christmas gifts.

We are friends with his birth mom on Facebook and text occasionally.

I send photos from time to time - although not nearly as often as I should. 

We have nothing but deep, deep gratitude in our hearts for the precious gift of our little man monkey.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The day I almost lost my kid

Parenting two children 11 months apart continues to be a rewarding and challenging experience...

Yesterday I met my sister-in-law Megan for a play date with our kids. If you recall this post, you'll remember that we have four children 2 1/2 and under. 

It was fun, but crazy chaos once again! I took out my double stroller for the first time... Lauren is 5 months old and I have managed to avoid going anywhere that I would need to use my double stroller. It seemed like it was too big, too bulky, too much work, too cold, etc, etc.

Well yesterday I brought it with so we could go to the mall. It worked great with both kids and I didn't even feel out of place - there are actually a lot of double strollers at the mall :) 

It's managing two little ones that is the hard part. Especially since one doesn't stop moving!

My sister-in-law Megan and I met at a play area in the mall so the boys could run around. We sat by the entrance to the play area to make sure we could keep an eye on the boys at all times. At one point I couldn't see Samuel and started running around looking for him. I looked and looked and looked. Then I started praying. I couldn't find him. I turned around to head out of the play area and there he was. 

A nice lady said, "Someone found him by the escalator."

Really? My kid? Out by the escalator?

He is 16 months old!!

Oh good. I'm THAT mom. The one who can't keep track of her kids.

I can hardly begin to imagine all the things that could have happened to him....

Thank the Lord for other people who help out moms with young children. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't deny the pain

How do you handle suffering? 

Do you...stuff it? Medicate? Deny? Go to therapy?

I think our world wants to stop suffering as quickly as possible. And that makes sense. When it's suffering like starvation. Or abuse. By all means end it!

But when it's suffering related to death, we can't stop it. We can't end it. We can't make it all better. 

I have found in my own experiences and in those I've talked with that 'we' (our society) wants to makes things all better.

Today Ryan and I went to the funeral for our friend's father. It was a powerful and moving service that honored his life. 

Three hours after we got home Ryan got a call that his former co-worker who had been struggling with a brain tumor had passed away. 

So here's the thing. We can't run away from pain. We can't hide from suffering. We can't pretend death and loss and grief aren't going to find us. They will. Eventually. 

And you know what? We have to learn to be ok with pain, grief, sadness and suffering. It's a part of life. 

Let me say that again. 

Pain, grief, sadness and suffering are a part of life. So we better figure out how to deal with them.

Getting high, drunk, addicted to meds or just plain living in denial isn't going to work. We just gotta face it - whatever the pain is. However great the loss. Look straight on at grief and let it take hold. 

Not forever. But for as long as you need to grieve, do so. Cry. Wail. Pound your fists. Throw a temper tantrum. Let it out. 

Just don't deny the pain. And don't let our 'happy-go-lucky-world' tell you that it's not ok to hurt.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Born to heaven

If you remember back to last September, I bought a sympathy card for a family whose baby died full term in the womb. 

Last week I had the privilege of talking with the grandma of this baby boy (she is a very young grandma so don't picture gray hair and a cane). She openly shared about her/their experience of learning the little one had died in the womb and going through the delivery process. She talked at length and I listened to every word...I felt like I was allowed a peek into a very private loss and I was so grateful to hear about her journey. It touched me deeply.

She said a phrase that jumped out at me and I have pondered it ever since. She referred to babies who are 'born to heaven.' Isn't that precious? I love that image. What a beautiful way of referring to stillborn births. Babies born to heaven know no cold, no pain, no sadness, no tears. They only know love, warmth, joy and the presence of the Almighty.

She also commented that while she would never have chosen to have suffered such a devastating loss, she wouldn't want to go back to the person she was before. 

I could not agree with that more! I, too, would not want to be the person I was before my losses. While I wish that we didn't have to experience heartache and tragedy in order to be changed from the inside out, that is what happens. God uses our pain, loss, suffering, grief, heartache to shape and mold us....IF we allow Him to do so. 

I am in awe of this family because it seems they are grieving in such a healthy way. They are reading books, talking to people, and even helping others who are facing similar losses.

This is truly an example of how God works everything for good - for His glory.

Amen.

thump thump, thump thump

The following was written by my friend M about her almost 3-year-old daughter Sophia as they talk this week about her Papa going to heaven...it's a perfect example of death through the eyes of a child:

"We were eating breakfast and I asked Sophia if she remembered where Papa was. She remembered that he had died and went to be with Jesus in Heaven. She wanted to know if we could jump up to the sky and go and see him. I told Sophia that Papa's heart was sick and asked her if she remembered how she listened to mom's heart and her heart and how it made the 'thump thump' sound. She said she did. I told her how Papa's heart was so sick it stopped going thump thump. She looked at me and said "Oh." A few minutes later she was looking down at her breakfast and I heard her saying "thump thump, thump thump." She looked up at me with this sweet smile and said "I am trying to get Papa's heart going again."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Death. Grief. Loss. Suffering.

This week my heart is heavy for my dear friends J&M. J's father died suddenly Sunday morning. He was just 60 years old. He was full of life and energy and plans for the future. He was going to watch the Super Bowl. He was going to see his grandkids. He had a sailing trip planned. He had so many years in front of him. 

How is it then, that in one tiny moment, we go from living to dieing? We draw our last breath. We say our last word. We leave this world.

Death. Grief. Loss. Suffering.

Such heavy topics but such a big part of life.

I have had a number of conversations lately with people who have experienced great loss and suffering. Lessons learned. Lives changes. Hearts transformed.

This week I'd like to share some things I've heard recently about this topic. I've experienced my small share of loss, and I'm amazed at what we are called to face on our journey through life. 

While this topic is easy to shy away from, there's so much we can learn from one another.

J&M, praying for you both, loving you and grieving alongside you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Celebrating Gotcha Day!

I can't believe its been a year.

An entire year since we went to court and swore to love and care for our son.

Here's the Dear Samuel post I wrote one year ago today and here are the pics taken in the court room.

So much has changed since then.

And yet so much hasn't.

We are still madly in love with our little man.

What a blessing it is to acknowledge what this day means to our families. Samuel was born on October 3, but he was oficially born into our family on February 5.


So tonight we will celebrate with our families the one-year anniversary of Gotcha Day. We will celebrate our miracle come true.

P.S. If you've adopted I'd love to hear how you celebrate Gotcha Day with your family!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

To have a three-year old?

I was up early this morning. Yep you guessed it, kids. Lauren needed some attention at 2:45 a.m. this morning and I am not sure I ever went back to sleep. Ordinarily I might find myself complaining, but then I remembered today is February 4.

What is February 4?

The expected birthday of our first child. That's right, February 4, 2007 was the expected birthday for our first pregnancy. Remembering back to that loss and the pain and agony we felt then, helped me rejoice in the privileged I have in waking up to take care of my daughter today.

While I am not sure I will ever stop grieving that loss, I am thankful for what it has taught me. It has taught me that the person I was back in 2007 was immature. I took for granted what the gift of life means. I am so happy that Stacy and I could struggle through this together. When I was weak (often) she was strong (often). Together our faith has grown.

I am so happy today that I am not in control. I am in tears thinking about the love I have for the gifts I have received in Samuel Lee and Lauren Ruby. What an awesome responsibility. But I still remember our loss and need to say Happy Birthday little one!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Words on waiting

My friend R just got what she would consider her "dream job." She waited years for this job. She was in a job she very much disliked for a long time. It was suppose to be a temporary gig and then the job market went south and she was there much longer than anticipated. 

Not too long ago doors began opening, God's hand began moving and on Monday she started her dream job in which she will greatly impact the lives of kids, parents and families in need. 

Through her time of waiting she was challenged, suffered, longed, got angry, was impatient, and had emotional breakdowns. Waiting was hard and at times it seemed futile.

But today R sees how God's hand was working years ago to bring her the experience she needed for this job. And she can see how He was molding her heart for this position.
 
The same goes for me. God knew what he was doing making me wait for children. Of this, I have no doubt. 

This parenting thing is tricky. Hard. Challenging. 

And here's the conclusion I came to the other day: had I not had to wait for my family I would not have appreciated what I have today. 

I would have been more impatient. easily frustrated. very unappreciative. 

God knew. He knew I need to wait on Him so when I got to this season of life I could be reminded that this is what I waited so long for. My heart needed to be broken and rebuilt. I need to mature. Grow. Learn to be unselfish (what marriage hadn't already taught me about selfishness).

I needed to wait...otherwise it wouldn' have been pretty - for me or my kids.

Not only did I need to wait for me, but I also needed to wait for Samuel. God had a master plan for a little baby boy but that plan didn't go into effect until October 2008 (or, if you want to get picky, nine moths prior to that).

So when we are called to wait, I think it's 1) for our own good. God sees areas of our lives that need refining, molding, growth. Waiting requires complete and total dependence on the Lord.  2) because what we're waiting for isn't quite ready...be that a spouse, child, job, etc. For it is in God's timing that He makes everything beautiful!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Joy

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
A friend reminded me of this passage last night and it hit me hard. 

Do I really believe the words of Nehemiah 8:10?

Do I believe that my strength comes from having a relationship with the Lord?

Since I am praying for strength and energy these days, it seems quite appropriate to ponder this topic of joy and strength.

And so today I ask myself: where does my strength come from each day? 

Not from other Christ followers.

Not from the Church. 

Not from a pastor. 

From the King of Kings and Lord of Lords himself. 

Happiness is dependent on my circumstances. Joy is based on my relationship with the Lord. During hard times, I've learned I can still dig deep and find joy if it is truly from the Lord.

Just some thoughts I'm pondering (and trying to implement) today...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

I know I'm biased, but I think our sleeping beauty is getting cuter and cuter....