The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Friday, January 30, 2009

It's A Journey...It's A Journey...It's A Journey

I had to keep telling this to myself as I read through my emails this morning...specifically the emails from our facilitator.

When our dossier arrived in Ethiopia in September we were quoted, "six months from when your dossier arrives in Addis Ababa, you should receive 'the call'". I was good with that. It sat nicely.

Then, about a month or so ago I made some inquiries and the updated timeline was, "we are seeing wait times of about 8 months". Eek. Made my skin crawl a bit. I just couldn't imagine waiting two months on top of what we'd already been told. The build-up timeline (paperwork, homestudy, notarization, etc) had already taken more than it should have. Our social worker was less than adequate and professional and though we were as organized as we could have been and had everything read to go, she was not efficient.

Within recent weeks the government has changed some of the court policies, making it more of challenge to pass court the first, second, or even third time around. All of this takes time of course. Not one or two days but weeks and sometimes months.

Well, this morning I received another email quoting an even more lengthy timeline of "9-10 months for referrals". Sigh.

The clencher is this: The Ethipian courts close for summer break usually during August and September. So, while this didn't concern us when we thought referral time was only 6 months, it could now work against us. If we are referred a child in June or July, it is quite possible that her files will not arrive in court until August. They will sit there until the end of September at which time court will be back in session...and who knows how many times we may have to attempt, before we are successful.

So, while I've never asked for this before and feel that for me it's a bit bold, I would like to ask you to do something. If you could pray that would be so great. I know many of you are, but if you could like really, truly, inocently, like a child, pray. I'm not asking for an overnight miracle (feel free to pray for that though if you want). I'm asking that you would pray that our wait would be timely enough to not get stuck with closed courts. We are seeking a referral sooner than later. Though I know there are many whose waits will be longer than ours, and maybe I'm being unrealistic and selfish, I am asking you to pray anyway.

Because, where two or more are gathered there He will be.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Road To Damascus Experience

I feel as though I've been a bad blogger lately. Touching on some of the lighter things going on around us. Avoiding the blogger log-in button in a similar fashion to the way I sometimes clean the house, in order to avoid working on our budget.

Last Friday I started Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace. And, as of tonight I have finished it. It was my second time around and this time more thought-provoking that the first...though it's been about ten years.

Three days ago, I picked up my copy of From Ashes To Africa. Josh and Amy Bottomly recount their journey from early marriage, through the trials of barrenness, all the way to Africa. Specifically, their journey leads them to Ethiopia and their son, Silas. Their lives will never be the same and they are now sharing their memoir. My copy arrived in the mail Tuesday mid-afternoon. I finished for the first time at 8am on Wednesday. I read it again this afternoon. While it's not a really short book, the 180 pages are a relatively easy read. (I'm open to lending it out, if you want to borrow my copy!)

I have to say, I'm one of those people who cannot put something down once it has been started. I have to finish whatever sewing project it is I have started, that same day. I like magazines because I can read one article start to finish in minimal time. Ben just completed a puzzle (a tough one) started on Boxing Day. I'm in awe that he kept going back. I couldn't attempt to even start something so overwhelming.

You get the point - reading a novel is challenging for me because it can be hard to start and finish all in one long sitting. But finding works as heart-wrenching, soul searching, mind changing, and spirit seeking as the two I've read lately is refreshing.

While there were several parts of the Josh & Amy Bottomly's life together which I couldn't relate to, such as a rocky early-years marriage and infertility, the openness of their words and thoughts gave me that "uh huh" feeling in my gut over and over. They don't riddle their book with statistics. They don't point fingers repeatedly. They don't linger on the devastating poverty that is most parts of Africa. Instead, they offer hope. They open the door a crack and allow the reader to empathize, energize, and strive to attain this common goal of eradicating "stupid poverty". And, while they correctly state that most people avoid looking at the manifestations of "stupid poverty" (hunger, illiteracy, disease...), they have chosen the path less travelled.

Josh shared with the reader what his mentor Ken Gire once told him:

[...] any time art touches your life with tears, whether through a story, song, film, or painting, it was wise to pay attention to those tears because your tears could help you find your heart. And if you found your heart, you found what was dear to God. If you found what was dear to God, you found the answer to how you should live your life.

I think this really struck me because it was while watching some short Ethiopian Adoption video clips that it became clear what was dear to my God...the answer to how I should live my life. And that answer of course is what Kenny tells Emmy in Invisible Children's, "The Story Of Emmy"...

Pointing to their two vials of blood, Kenny tells Emmy, "You see, we're not so different, you and me. We share the same colour of blood."

Josh reminds the reader a few pages shortly thereafter, of the responsibility handed to him and to me, also.

I [have] been chosen for the privileged responsibility of participating in one of God's many projects to bring order to the chaos on the earth, and more specifically, I [have been] called to do this in the life of one Ethiopian child.

I loved how throughout their journey the Bottomly's were so candid. They offered no great expertise, other than their personal experience. They suggested no "do this and do that" list for adoption, travel, and post-adoption "what the??!!" experiences. What they shared was deeply personal. Rocked to the core by what life had handed them. At the risk of being cliche, they took their lemons, fumbled around for awhile, sought the will of their Maker, and quenched their thirst in the lemon-aide only He could have helped squeeze.

Josh addresses what it is in our life that makes us slow down, listen, and follow. He suggests the phenomenon which brings us together...that reconnects us with others.


In Philippians 3:10, Paul addresses this and declares, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering". As Josh and Amy candidly remind us, community does not simply occur. It is a product of suffering together - and it is earned.

And though all this worldly suffering is not necessary, as Amy states...
In a world put back to rights, Ethiopia would never have to open her borders again to outsides like me to come in and adopt their children. Instead orphanages would be filled with empty beds, and adoption organizations would shut down.

...I am privileged to have been chosen to not simply "feel compassion for the poor". I am required to "become compassion in flesh-and-blood".

And that is quite another thing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just Call Me Stubborn...

...most who know me well, do.

...but I prefer Driven.

Have you browsed the cereal aisle lately? I mean, have you picked up boxes at random and tried to find a cereal without sugar? Seriously. It's unreal. My Mum was in Whole Foods over the holidays and asked the clerk for help finding a box of unsugarred stuff. No deal. Even our much loved Kashi has cane...but sugar nonetheless. It's enough to drive a mother crazy.

So what's a girl to do? Our kids still get "regular" cereal most mornings. That's to say the whole grain cereals we find that have the least amount of sugar. Honestly, we can't afford to pay $7+ for a small box of Kashi. Their bowls are topped by either blueberries, blackberries, or raisins every morning. Steel Cut Oatmeal is always an option but the prep time is a little longer than throwing cereal and fruit in a bowl. While the alternative is good, time is short when little bellies are hungry.
I hunted online for a great granola recipe...because granolas in the store are full of sugar, chocolate covered this-or-that, or other ingredients to make it "good". I am satisfied with what I are the boys.


Granola Recipe

1 cups whole wheat flour (I used whole grain organic Spelt)
3 cups rolled oats
½ cup coconut (unsweetened)
½ cup wheat germ (I used ground flax)
¼ cup water
½ cup oil
½ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
Optional: 1 tbs Sesame seeds, ¼ cup nuts, and/or ½ cup dried fruit. (I used walnuts and almonds)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (except for optional dried fruit).
Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl.
Mix together contents of both bowls.
Spread mixture evenly on two spray treated cookie sheets.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring twice during baking. (I baked about 1/2 this time and it was well done)
Cool; stir in dried fruit if desired.
Store in airtight container.


Chock-full of any extra goodness I wanted to add: I included flax, walnuts, and almonds in our cereal. It's got a little olive oil and some honey for a slight added sweetness. Definitely a great find...and simple enough to make with the boys.
Oh - and does anyone else have anything to say about this new dusting of snow??!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rich Ethiopia

While Ethiopia may not present it's riches or wealth in gold, silver, and diamonds, I never knew history to carry a price tag.

The meaning of the Ethiopian flag

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world, and the only African country that has no history of colonization. Upon their independence, many African countries adopted the colors of the Ethiopian flag - green, yellow and red - that became known as the Pan-African colors.

The official flag of Ethiopia consists of three equal and horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands.

The significance of the colors on the Ethiopian flag are interpreted to have a connection to the Holy Trinity, as well as the three main provinces of Ethiopia. The red stripe stands for power, faith and blood. The yellow strip symbolizes peace, natural wealth and love. The green stripe represents the land and hope.

The yellow pentagram on the blue disk, also known as the National Coat of Arms, is a symbol of the current government; it is intended to reflect the desire of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, as well as of its religious communities, to live together in unity and equality. The star represents unity of the people and the races that make up Ethiopia. The five rays on the outside of the star represent prosperity, and the blue disk represents peace.

(courtesy of Unicef-Ethiopia)

Friday, January 23, 2009


Well, if you've been following along over the past many months you may know that "Four" is the number of months our dossier has now been sitting the birth country of our daughter. Unknown. Unidentified to us. Not yet legal in the eyes of the Ethiopian or Canadian laws. But, our daughter is there. God knows who she is. Truly.

These months are bitter sweet. As we gain steps in the path towards our next child, we see our two boys growing up. I recall looking ahead in September when our dossier arrived in Addis and thinking that this 4 month mark would mean Tait would be nearing his 2nd birthday. Yikes. It would mean Noah would be well past his 3 1/2 yr mark. Where does the time go?!

And yet, these one month markers are significant to us in so many exciting ways. According to original suggestions, we are two-thirds through our Referral-Waiting period. In light of more recent emails from our agency, this date could mark our actual half way point, in the Referral-Waiting period. We'll see.

A couple of weeks ago the Ethiopian Government brought in some new changes to the Ethiopian court system which lay heavy on our hearts. Things have slowed from a legal perspective. Ethiopia is now the most popular country on the globe, from which to adopt. (Adoption popularized in Ethiopia has actually been termed The Angelina Jolie Effect. Now we only need like a hundred more kids and a bazillion more dollars and we'll be clones.)

I think it's significant that a government is concerned enough about it's children and it's 4.5 million orphans that measures are continually being taken to care for them. After we bring our daughter home, we will have 3 follow-up reports with a social worker...these are a 2 months after arriving home, and 12 & 15 months following the Ethiopian court decision. After this, the Ethiopian government requires annual reports (with a dozen photos) until our child reaches the age of 18. Pretty incredible, huh. Slightly intimidating, yet incredibly thorough.

Back to the courts. Adoptions which, up until 2 weeks ago, would take only 1 court hearing to process are now taking 2, 3, and sometimes 4 hearings! (If you're following closely this means more waiting.)

Six months to a year ago, an adoption file would be placed into court, following the acceptance of a child referral, and the file would be heard within 2-4 weeks. At that time a Kebele certificate (from the Municipal Government office) and a supporting letter from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs was all that was required in order for the Judge to sign off on an adoption file once the biological mother had given her written and verbal consent. This process was fairly quick and easy to complete, the Kebele document was within the agency’s possession, and most times a file would be finalized within the first court appearance.

It is important to note that over the past few months, and more specifically over the past couple of weeks, new directives have been issued by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs which now call for the involvement of various other levels of government in the adoption process.[...]

[...]The Ministry of Justice has stopped issuing new licenses to both orphanages wishing to open care centres that place children for adoption, as well as new international adoption agencies looking to become licensed to work in the country of Ethiopia, in an effort to maintain control over the number of children that are being placed for adoption, and in order to maintain high ethical standards.

Further to this, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has now called for the input of documentation and involvement of Regional Court Offices, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs offices (both Regionally as well as Federally) and local municipal Kebele offices, before a supporting letter for an adoption will be written.[...]

[...]What complicates the process further is that the biological family must give verbal consent before a regional Judge, in order to obtain the first local court decision, and is often required to re-appear in Addis to give consent Federally before the Federal Court Judge. Should the biological family not appear at one of these hearings, the process cannot be heard, and the file must be set over to another hearing. If the biological family does not appear regionally then the regional hearing will be postponed until a proper police certificate can be obtained declaring the child abandoned.

It is important to note that these new documentation policies are not being grand-fathered in.
They are effective immediately, regardless of where a particular file is in process. This is causing delays in court already.

It is also important to note that we are not in control. It is crucial to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - a huge one; miracles do happen...they happen daily.

So, to help pass the time (now that my house is pretty much spotless) I have purchased a book that I can't wait to read. It should arrive any day. It's hot off the press and purchased the day it went publicly for sale. An adoptive couple from the states open their lives and share with the rest of us, what this roller coaster of a ride can entail. It is getting rave reviews.

I Can't Wait.

Enjoy this little intro...if you thirst for more, I will happily lend you the book when I'm done.

T.S. Eliot once wrote:

These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.

Our story mirrors Eliot’s understanding of spirituality and faith. Through our entire journey, Amy and I have wobbled along on tentative legs as we have tried to wisely guess and prayerfully discern the voice that more often than not speaks to us in whispers and in shadows.

Specifically, this is the story of ashes. For us, our ashes correspond to our battles with barrenness. Studies show that one - third of the time, infertility involves the female. One-third of the time, it involves the male. Another one-third involves mystery. Three-thirds of the time, though, infertility involves deep heartache and pain. Amy and I know this firsthand.

This is also the story of Africa. For us, our story involves falling in love with and feeling God’s heart for a continent and people, where beauty and tragedy, wealth and poverty, and humanity and sub-humanity coexist in a jagged tension. Stepping into this world of interlocking realities felt like a baptism of sorts, whereupon returning to Oklahoma, we have been challenged and inspired to rethink and redo everything from our relationship with God, to church and community,to our understanding of missions and God’s future dreams for the earth.

Finally, this is the story of adoption. For us, it is simply the story of meeting a baby boy named Tesfamariam, and our lives not being the same since.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thirteen Thousand Three Hundred And Sixty One

The kilometric distance between Crofton, BC and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

When you put it like that, it doesn't seem so bad.

Besides, there are Ten Thousand Two Hundred And Sixty Four kilometers between myself and my parents.

And, there are a mere Four Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty One kilometers between our house and Ben's parents...and they live in the same country as us! All we have to do is get to them and we're almost a third of the way to our baby.

I'm having "one of those weeks".

It's the kind I read about but thought, "that's weak".

It's not.

It's human

Waiting sucks.

Unknown-time-remaining-waiting is truly the pits.

I'm tired of waiting. I'm exhausted from wondering if she'll be 6 weeks, 6 months, or 11 1/2 months when she is referred. I'm tired of walking past the oh-so-adorable kiddie clothes in Old Navy, Joe, or our favourite consignment store, and continuing on - not allowing myself a second look. I'm really tired of wondering when the day will come, when I will be allowed to browse through.

I'm tired of reading up on African hair products, do's, and regimes.

I'm frustrated from wondering when I can tell Noah that we are finally going to get his baby sister. He asked what her name was the other day and I couldn't tell him. (It's chosen...just not shared beyond our bedroom walls.)

"They" say it's good to set goals, get things done, keep busy during this time of waiting. (They, would be the professionals...some have been through the waiting, many have not.) I have to admit my house is exceptionally clean this week. I've purged the cupboards, dusted the top of the fridge even. I have discarded anything rancid, dried, or expired. All that's left are the windows and the car. I may leave them for another I think we've got several of them ahead of us.

For now, it's somewhat of a comfort to know that between us and our child lies a mere 33,361 km. I can deal with tangible much more comfortably than the unknown measurement of time, which also lies between us.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Timkat...The Importance Of Celebrating Ethiopian Ethinicity

As our lives will change sometime in the upcoming future, new holidays and celebrations take the front burner. The importance and knowledge of relevant historical traditions and festivities are now personal.

January 19 is the celebration of Timkat.

Simply put, it is the celebration of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River.

This three-day festival is the most vibrant and widely celebrated of all Ethiopian celebrations throughout the year. Celebrating Christ's baptism, crowds gather around a nearby body of water, which is blessed, then splashed onto them; religious vows are renewed. The tabot (the Ark of the Covenant) is then paraded back to the church accompanied by much singing and dancing. Addis Ababa is a well known location for this celebration. Lalibela is the ultimate epicentre.

Lalibela, a very sacred and holy place in north eastern Ethiopia is a centre of pilgrimage for many Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Though very isolated, the festival held there each year is unforgettable at the least. A World Heritage site, Lalibela ranks among the greatest religious historical sites in the Christian world. If time permits, Ben and I will absolutely leap at the opportunity to go and visit this site.

Until that time, we will read, research, listen, and learn; to soak up what we can about the birth place of our third child.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our Colours Of Winter

I've always heard and read that the deeper the colour of your tree grown food, the more nutrient rich and healthy they are for you. I truly believe this.

Not only that, they are one of those foods that, when they boys are hungry before supper, will fill that "hungry spot" in their little bellies. They get that extra energy boost and are always still hungry for supper. It hasn't always been this way but when given the choice over and over again between cucumber and nothing, between red pepper and air, between carrots and water, the veggies will always win in the end. Something is better than nothing.

I have to admit I am a huge advocate for healthy eating. (Insert your "DUH" here). Potty training can be a little rough with this much roughage in the gut but it's all well worth it - case and point: we've all been really sick only once since this time two years ago.

Green is good.
Red rocks.

Special Morning Moments

While getting dressed after his bath on Wednesday morning...

Mama. Did you know, I am a Genius?!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Urine For A Treat

I never thought a child's bodily functions would bring such excitement to our household. I use to giggle at conversations around this kind of stuff and when I witnessed a conversation about it on TV, I would think - "that never happens in reality".

Well, it does.

And today is a "whoo hoo" (as Tait puts it) victory-dance-kind-of-day in our house.

Less than two weeks after deciding we might start our Potty Training Regime (which, as Ben's Mum accurately pointed out is more like a Parent Training Regime), I feel like we are seeing a bunch of little victories culminating to a big feat.

Sparing most of the details, I will go as far as to say that at 23 months Tait is now stopping those very important activities - such as eating his breakfast and making a boat out of my laundry basket - to tell me he needs to do the following:

Big potta, Mama!! Big potta...poooop, Mama!

If you don't have kids, trust me you don't get how monumental this is around our house. We High-Five it out. We Pound It when he's successful. We all yell "whoo hoo Tait" as a family. And, Smarties are handed out in pairs to each of the boys when Tait does more than tinkle in the toilet.

Today was even more incredible because after less than two weeks of running diaper-less around the house, and after our 1hr diaper-less walk yesterday afternoon (and dry at the end!), today we attempted to go into town in big boy underwear. Tait had been very diligent about warning Ben and I this morning - and successful with every warning.

Recalling that we went "cold turkey" with Noah I thought, what the heck, and we set off.

I don't do pull-ups or training diapers because to me, those marketing ploys are still diapers. Kids can "let loose" and it's not that different than a diaper. They aren't being trained. The kids aren't that uncomfortable . I do understand the concept and the buyer-friendly persuasions. Yet, other than being able to pull them up and pull them down, I don't see the difference between Pull-Ups and Pampers. It's about Training (the parent, as mentioned above), it's not about hoping for the best and waiting for the worst. It takes patience, energy, and diligence. For us, sometimes it takes the microwave timer. It's exhausting at the end of the day...but these days are short. They're but a moment, if you're looking at the big picture. They are well worth it.

Two hours later we returned from town. Groceries piled in the trunk. We hadn't stopped for a potty break because quite honestly - I forgot. (What a great Mum, eh?!)

The Verdict?

Dry As A Bone, Baby.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BC Is Back!

...And not a moment too soon.

It was so great to get outside again after feeling like this short season of blustery, snow-filled days was more like a year of ongoing white.

I'll take rain any day.

Yes, you can quote me on that.

Today was about puddle walks and fresh air. It was about walking to camp for lunch and home again.

It was about the youngest holding the puppy's leash and walking him down our quiet road to the park. It was about holding hands while we chanted "We're Going On A Bear Hunt", as we strolled down the Guest House driveway.

And it included hangin' out on our park bench while watching the dog run as though he's not been let out in weeks...oh wait, he hasn't.

Yes, I love grey overcast weather...if it means we can get out of the house and breathe in that fresh, damp, non-freezing BC ocean air.

Today was a perfect day to be a Mama.

Food For Thought

While at our Retreat this past weekend, between sessions I engaged in what I found to be a particularly simple yet thought-provoking conversation.

The gist of it is was this: Burger King is offering a free Whopper Burger to anyone who de-friends 10 of their "friends".

Through the wonders of Facebook, Burger King (or some genius employed by them - please enjoy my heavy laden sarcasm there) has created an application whereby a person can de-friend 10 people and earn themselves food.

Because we North Americans really need another free burger.

So by this concept, if a Whopper is $3.70 and we have to de-friend 10 of our nearest and dearest, then friends are now valued at $0.37 each. As if we aren't materialistic enough already. We can now place a (cheap) value on friendship...whether superficial or not.

You'll likely recall my feelings on Facebook - my likely biased, completely unprofessional and non-researched opinions on befriending hundreds with whom we have, at some point in the past encountered - even this Whopper concept seems a little harsh to me.

I also think it epitomizes the superficiality of our often materialistic society. Sadly, I think we are losing touch with real friendships. Real feelings. Real reality.

And the reality of life is this: we get one shot. There's no "do over". There's no reincarnation in the form of an ant if you've made poor choices or in the form of a unicorn if you've been some kind of saint.

So, while it's probably a good idea to evaluate and asses our Facebook situation (among other social situations) and cull through those who are simply there as a number; it's probably also in everyone's best interest to limit the price tags we put on friendships.

Friends can be few.

Friends can be many.

We're all individuals.

Unique beings with unique needs and desires and number of friends.

Yet, we're all human. And at the heart of it All, from the beginning of time, we were created with the intention to fellowship. It's not price-worthy. There's no value great enough to be placed on the life of those we love, appreciate, or with whom we face life.

And the cost? If we were to put a price tag on our friends?

In the end we would likely learn that we have made an extremely costly mistake.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Retreats And Attitudes

We were away this weekend on our camp's annual Year-Round Staff Retreat. When I say we, I mean Ben and I. It's a spouse inclusive, children excluded weekend. It always proves to be a good time. Staff and spouses come out of their shells in this different environment. People (ah hem, including your truly) expose things about themselves that perhaps many others didn't know. We laugh more than usual. Compliment more than usual. Become better acquainted with those we might not normal take the opportunity to converse.

It's always enjoyable.

And this year, I was not really looking forward to it.

There are a lot of things to prepare and get in order before leaving an almost-two year old and a three and a half year old for two nights. Especially with someone they've met a small handful of times. Especially when they've never been left with anyone but grand-parents overnight. Especially when this person can only arrive a 1/2 hour before leaving. And, especially when life is just busy.

Having vented some personal frustrations to an empathetic Ben earlier in the week, I simply was not anticipating a great weekend away.

Yet, I was determined to give it my all...strong-willed enough to convince myself that if I put my "all" into the weekend and it still tanked, then my desire to not actually want to be there would be justified. So, Friday afternoon we stepped on to the bus with the rest of the staff...

I put my best foot forward...

And surprise, surprise I made new friendships and reaffirmed a couple old ones. I mixed with some with whom I may not normally "push" myself to engage. And it was good.

One of our group exercises on Saturday was to brainstorm (different given topics) on large sheets of paper. The papers were then taped up all over our meeting room. Sunday morning we went around and soaked in other groups' brainstormed thoughts. All the topics were either camper, camp, or summer theme related. Some ideas were unique. Some thoughts I saw repeatedly. There were several common themes.

One word I read only a single time, near the end of my "tour around the room", that jumped out more than I anticipated, that caught me off-guard, and that really helped define my weekend, was:

There it was. Glaring at me. Almost bouncing off the page. As if to say "Ha!". A word that, though it likely blended with the rest of the dozens of other words on the page, leapt at me.

Call it fluke.

Call it coincidence.

I call it God.

And, at the end of a weekend when I had had a good time but was also reminded of how much I missed a friend, I needed to be reminded that my attitude provokes my actions. And my actions speak louder than my words. And my words are what most will use to judge me. Right or wrong, that is reality.

So, as I step forward into this new year - and it is still a new year - I have been challenged.

Responsible as a daughter to the King, I am obligated to focus upward instead of inward.

To seek servitude, honesty, and integrity.

To act with an attitude of grace.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In This Moment

This is one of those "lump in your throat" videos.

You know...the ones we all need to watch.

Was it worth your 4 minutes and 13 seconds?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's All About The Hummus

Our boys have always loved hummus.
They've always loved helping me in the kitchen, too.

Combining these two favourites is nothing short of a recipe for success.

It's finger-lickin' good.
It's portable...and, eating on the can is socially acceptable in our house...if you're under 3 feet.
And when it's this healthy it's ok to want seconds...
Just please don't touch the camera!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Newest Find...

I've been interested in finding a black Cabbage Patch Doll (CPD). I had 3 (caucasian) CPD girls and babies, when I was young. It's just one of those "childhood memories" in which I think every young girl should relish.

These dolls have created a legend in and of themselves. To name a few noteworthy achievements...
  • Taken To Space
  • Official Olympic Mascots
  • 1990 - An Official Stamp
  • Designed To Be One-Of-A-Kind Look-A-Likes
    • In 2004 one was created to resemble Ellen DeGeneres. She sold it on Ebay for more than $15,000 which she then went on to donate to the Red Cross
My hunt for this chocolate CPD has been casually active. What I mean is that I have been on the lookout but not using every spare minute to seek one out. Also, I have not been willing to pay top dollar (duh). I have been quite picky. And I have actually not wanted a brand new one.

The newest ones are completely Caucasian in every physical way, except skin tone. These newer African girls have the same facial structure, eyes, nose...(you get the idea) do the Caucasian girls. Some of the older ones actually have more African features. I love this. The authenticity is worth the search.

While in one of our favourite Consignment stores the other day, I wasn't looking for her. But, as often happens when we momentarily pause or forget about our search, there she was.

I was skeptical at first...

...she was clean looking without any major marks.

...she looked slightly loved but not overly so.

...what was her price tag, I wondered.

...she was naked. Huh, I thought: could the employees not have had the decency to dress her?

Interestingly, there were several caucasian CPDs and two African ones. The two African girls were naked. The others were dressed. Was this a reflection upon their previous owners. Does it say something about the owner and employees of the consignment store? Maybe I'm over-thinking the whole situation, I tell myself. Likely.

Regardless, I put the doll that caught my eye, back on the shelf.

Yes, her price had been "right". She had that "take me home" look in her eye. Yet, I grew up in a home where you don't make impulse buys. And, I'm not into collecting "things". So, I didn't want to purchase something on a whim only to either return it (and at our consignment store this is only done within a 24hr time period and for store credit only), or have it sit in our (currently) spare room for several months, naked, gathering dust.

I kicked myself all the way home.

Trying to rationalize my motives and theory for not taking her home, I looked up CPDs online. I looked for originals (which easily range into the hundreds of dollars, especially if they are in their original boxes). I went on the Cabbage Patch Doll site. I checked out our local, used sites and the lot. I could not, for the life of me, find her anywhere.

I mulled it over some more. Called the store and asked them to put her on hold for me until today. I had to have her. Not in a need sort of way but an, "I really really reeeeally want her" sort of fashion.

No problem, they say.

After putting my heart at ease I delve into the CPD site even further. My heart is warmed as I am reminded of the many qualities which have drawn young (mostly) girls to these dolls for decades now.

The process used to be completed by mail (way back in the stone ages when I was young). It is now completed online. Regardless, each of the CPDs who leave the Babyland General Hospital are sent to whomever has purchased them. This young child then logs onto her computer to make the doll hers...

She Adopts Her New Cabbage Patch Doll

Yes, they actually use the term Adopt. Each preemie, newborn, infant, or kid is Adopted into it's new family. Papers are signed and the Adoption is certified and official.

Fast forward 24 hrs.

I pop into the store to pick up "our baby sister's doll", Noah states. The store is having a 50% off all teal-coloured-tags, clothing sale. I go to the till to get the item I have come for. The girl is very friendly and as she rings up my purchase, we get to talking. She is very chatty.

Me: So, it's only teal tagged clothes that are on 50% off?
Her: Well, I did just acccidentally mention to you that it's everything with a teal coloured tag.
Me: Oh...???...!!!
Her: So, I'll just mark her down for you.

Wow. While I know this is just a doll. And, to most people she represents some dark cloth fabric, stitched together with Xavier Roberts' signature (scanned in) on her cute little toosh. But to me this is a small sign that She is meant to be. That all our work, our waiting, our praying, and our patience (mine is beginning to wear a little thinner) will be worth it.

If I had searched harder, looked into the bowls of an online site somewhere, I'm sure I would have found her. I'm pretty sure she would have been a bit more costly. I'm pretty sure she would have been clothed. I'm certain I would have paid shipping. And, I know that bubble of excitement inside wouldn't have been quite as big...because I wouldn't have paid just $3.99.

Yes, that is in Canadian Dollars.

No, that is not three-hundred and ninety-nine dollars.

All I paid was a toonie, a loonie, and 99 cents in change.

She is worth more.

Perhaps not monetarily but symbolically.

And we brought her home. Washed her off a little. Then, dried her. I sewed her a little outfit. (You may recognize the fabric and dress hem.) It may not be perfect, as the pattern was on-the-spot and off-the-top-of-my-head. I will call it an Original.

Then I placed her on the counter for the boys to see.

She's Beautiful, Mama...

...said Noah, in all of his 3 year old innocence.

I Agree.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Our Firsts On The First

The first day of 2009 marked a couple of firsts around here...along with that "fresh" and "it's a new year" sentiment I was embracing, there were a few tangibles helping mark the start of our 2009.
  1. Someone brought up the extremely important reminder that this is the year we will welcome a little girl into our home. Forever. Not next year, not "hopefully sometime" in the unknown future. This year. (Not that the thought hadn't crossed my mind many times in 2008 but it was encouraging to hear it from the lips of another.) And, while the only thing that is certain in the world of adoption is uncertainty, I find comfort knowing that we serve a great and mighty God who wants nothing that to see the parentless raised by a mother and father. The inventor and our strongest advocate of adoption, leading by example, the first to adopt, His passion is here.
  2. The first day of our new year was marked by the delicious aroma and flavour of this Yirgacheffe...beans originating from a country we are passionate about. Roasted a mere few days before being opened. Traded Directly. For sure. A perfect Christmas gift.
  3. A far cry from being an accomplished task but at barely 23 months, what more could I expect. Several successful sits on his potty warranted "big boy underwear" (and a couple of smarties). A day later, he's wearing them again!...high-fiving Noah and I whenever each attempt is successful on his little throne.
  4. The first time I've made this for supper in many many months. A deliciously, healthy way to create a supper sure to please them, it used up many of the random leftovers from the holiday. A specially concocted, original "sauce," brainstormed out my necessity to make a tasty, sugar-free fruit pizza sauce...a blend of cream cheese, (homemade pure) applesauce, and a titch of peanut butter for flavour and a little extra protein. Topped with mango, blueberries, halved grapes, and banana slices...and who could go wrong when tossing in a flax blueberry mix into the dough for a little added texture and goodness?! Yum was the all-round reaction at our dinner table.
Our 2009 started out well.

Our day fell into place.

The only thing missing was a little Chocolate-Skinned Being.

She too will come in due time.