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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On Courage

I consider myself an honest person.

I am a hard-working individual.

I value quality over quantity.

I strive to raise my children in a way that makes me proud and that gives honour to my God.

I tear up when I think of the plight of the orphans and I get angry when I see waste that we take for granted.

Injustice in the world is just that: unjust.

I often feel helpless so when opportunity presents itself I like to leap at the chance to help.

I like to do something over nothing - whenever possible.

Anything is better than nothing.

Ironically, I fail in the area of saying "no" to helping others and asking for my own help when I need it.

At the risk of being unable to help others though, I will be courageous today and ask for your help.

It's not easy and I don't like to do it.

Yet, the help is not actually not for me.

There are hundred, thousands who you can help really really easily.

And, you can do it through me.

And the bottom line is that I cannot help them without you helping me first.

Confused? Sorry.

Several weeks ago I shared about this kick-butt experience. Together with a friend, I left 28 km in the dust. A week after that we went out again but this time I said good-bye to 31km. This is all jogging by-the-way. I felt on top of the world...except for my throbbing ankles.

You may also recall my exclamation of enjoying a 1/2 Marathon and planning another one sometime in the distant future. You may also recall I swore I would not register for a full Marathon. Ever. Period.

This is the part where I eat Crow.

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by our Agency in Victoria to fundraise for the Teens who are "in the system". They are in foster care and need nothing but loving, stable homes. Funds are needed to do this. Fundraising happens through the Royal Victoria Marathon. This is the first year our Agency has ever been selected to be a registered charity through this event. And they are seeking to raise $15,000 which I think is just an awesome goal

And, if you believe in flukes - as I do not - then you will not understand why this is so meaningful to me. You see, I know that everything happens for a reason. There is perfect timing in everything. This opportunity included.

I contemplated this opportunity - running to raise money for Teens who live in our province! - for a grand total of 10 seconds before deciding I just had to do it.

"I'll register for the 1/2 marathon. It won't be that hard and I won't even really have to train much," I thought to myself.

Conviction was my next hurdle: If these orphaned kids...the ones who are parentless and simply trying to make it through life...don't have it easy then why the heck should I?

Wouldn't completion be that much sweeter if the goal was that much tougher to attain?

Because, it's not about the marathon. The running isn't just about putting one foot in front of the other for 42.2 km. This is about something so much greater than me.

So here is the part where I gather all my courage and ask YOU to help ME help THEM.

I need to fundraise a minimum of $250. You may recall our fabulous Adoption Fundraising Yard Sale this past July. I prayed for $1000 and we were provided with $2000. The math is pretty easy this time around...50 people at only $5 each, 25 people at only $10 each, etc etc.

It's really only a latte or so that you would have to skip. I know it's a bit of a tall order but I would be so grateful. (No pun intended.)

I see the hits this blog can get, so if you're reading then I am talking to you. You may not know me well and vice versa. However, my guess is that you have been following this for awhile and you know my heart. I am using up my little bit of courage to ask for your help.

You see, asking for money is way out of my league. So this is big.

My goal is to complete the fundraising within 2 months from now. I have added my email address on the side bar if you want to help. Please contact me and I would be honoured to have you help give hope to the kids who likely, some of them live very near to your doorstep.

Thank you for helping me achieve a huge goal and for helping give hope to kids in our province.

Monday, April 27, 2009

In The Blink Of An Eye

A year has come and gone.

And, in some ways it truly does feel like a year. The boys are bigger. We've completed our homestudy and done a fair bit of waiting. We've gone through the seasons of sun, rain, snow, rain, and now sun again. Noah turned 3. Santa arrived faithfully and left behind his usual "stash". Tait turned 2. We celebrated another anniversary.

Yet through all this, when my sister and Matt turned the corner and drove up yesterday afternoon it felt like she'd been gone just a short while.

In the blink of an eye a year had disappeared.

A successful year in many ways. A blessed year in others. A year of fruition and joy.

But an entire year had slipped away and it felt like no time at all.

The lives that R41P has touched in these past 12 months will never fully be realized. The goals they have achieved; the incentives and motivation they have catalyzed are greater than them. (You know...the sum whole is greater than the parts themselves.) The actions pledged and the beings they came to know numbers in the thousands - perhaps more.

The 11,000 miles they have covered; the hours of sweat, pain, exhaustion, passion and heart leave most of us speechless.

And though the year has passed In The Blink Of An Eye

I am confident that they are forever changed

Friday, April 24, 2009

This And That

Though the stretch from 6 to 7 months went relatively fast, this was purposeful.

We've been keepin' busy...
Rollin' and Eatin' sushi with friends

I've been Makin'...

We've been Bakin'
...thanks to Rachael Ray...
These "Gonzo Garbanzo Beans" are to die for.
You know, one of those snacks you don't feel guilty about making a meal of, and then snacking at supper.
Even the kids think they're great.
They help mix - because it's just not as much fun without their help.
Healthy as can be...
And with a few pistachios, some smoky cumin and a few other spices, who wouldn't want to indulge?

We thought "it was time".
Thanks to the good old - ah hem, young - tax man, (I'm married to him) we enjoyed filing ours yet again...and the result is the joy of not burning our house to the ground with this near 30 year old beast.

Instead, I will be in all my glory (not really) while cooking and baking with this.
(As a side note, had we not wanted the luxury of hot, cooked food, the money put towards this bad boy could have purchased one nice lookin' diamond.
I'm just sayin'.)


And in other news, I keep meaning to mention how delighted I am that Madonna was rejected on the Malawi Adoption. Reading the newspaper headlines on that story was the highlight of one of our (barf-filled) Road Trip mornings.

Of course I am one hundred and ten percent for adoption.

Of course I absolutely believe that children are far better off in a home (especially a Forever Family) over institutionalized care.

Of course I believe every child has the right to family.

However, I don't believe that money can buy everything.

I don't believe that stars or anyone famous for that matter, has the right to decide a few days ahead of time they want to expand their family. I don't believe in bullying - especially while using one's financial wealth. Single. Married. Male. Female. You simply don't have the right.

Parenting is a privilege - it is not a right.

I look forward to the privilege once again.

Until then, we'll just keep on doin' a little of...

This And That

Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 Months - Did You Know I Am Pregnant

While not physically growing in the mid-section, I am pregnant on paper.

And, though I may not look as though I am in what I will term my second trimester, I can assure you we are expecting.

The nausea throughout this roller-coaster experience has been, on some days, comparable to that during my first and (often) second trimesters...when physically pregnant.

And to have been able to experience both has been truly a blessing. I know I will feel this even more strongly when this part of the journey concludes. Because, as Imagine so perfectly states...

We begin with the end in mind.

Though today we hit the 7 month mark in our official waiting period, we've been in this journey for 13 1/2 months.

I think of the first trimester from the moment we applied (you will recall my anxiety of the money handover!) until the moment our dossier arrived in Addis Ababa. This was a 6 1/2 month trimester - phew.

This second trimester, while currently sits at 7 months will likely take another 4-5 months to see completion. Ironic, isn't it - that the second trimester is the longest during physical pregnancies also?! Upon questioning our caseworker the other day it was confirmed that while "things" have not sped up in the wait times department, they have neither slowed down, at this time. This in itself is reason enough for a small victory dance.

Because 7 is greater than 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. (...in case math wasn't your strongest subject)

Because as I detailed last month, I feel as though the mountain is being peaked and "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." is ringing it's pleasantries in my head.

Because most days I wake and the sun, lately has been shining.

Because there is colour in my face.

Because there is vitamin D in it's purest form when I walk outside.

Because the world is simply happier and more hopeful when there is bright in the atmosphere.

Because I can just feel we are that much closer.

Because Nana and Pops arrive in a few days for a couple (!) of visits.

Because my sister is home from her year "abroad" shall-we-say, in only 2 more sleeps.

Because in less than a week our summer staff will begin to trickle in and we all know the summer comes like a wave. A beautiful, often overwhelmingly busy but blessed wave, which retreats as quickly as it was upon us.

And because then maybe, just maybe...there will be news.

So while there isn't a day, a morning run, an evening lying in bed, an experience while out with the boys, when I'm not praying for her or wondering, "what will this be like when she is here with us?"...

I am working on patience.

It is honestly something that can be learned - and isn't just innate.

And the future is looking bright.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Here Comes The Sun, Little Darlin'...

Like a glass of cold water after a long run.

Our sun shone yesterday to begin our week in what could only be described as a perfect way.

Tait's First Ever attempt on the tire swing was a success.
The worn rope reminds me of childhood fun.
Like the laugh lines on an old woman's face, the frayed rope silently tells of years of play.
Hours of joy are spoken without a word.
Anyone who passes understands.

And while they started with shoes, socks, pants, underwear, and vests on...
they were soon stripped.

One after the other.

As if metaphorically shedding our winter blues.

Thoughts of snow, rain, and grey were left with their clothes and heat was the goal of the morning.

Oh - how I love this old tire swing.
Can't you just feel the summer?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Six And Zero

Commonly referred to as Sixty Years Old.

The age my Dad hit today.

The same day he jogged 5 miles...and felt great.

The landmark 24 hours during which time we did the next best thing to singing to him in person...

...thanks to good ol' Skype and the advances of video technology!

Not sure who enjoyed what the most?

My Dad watching and hearing the boys sing and blowing out candles on his behalf, eating his strawberries in Asia while the boys enjoyed theirs in our kitchen (after the chocolate brownie of course), or the fact that I suspect he is feeling as great today as he was when he hit his previous decade birthday?! These moments may have been tied with the boys' own enjoyment of their small morsels of chocolate which topped a mound of fresh strawberries...however, blowing out candles is always novel!

We can't wait to celebrate in person in just a few more days!


video

Happy Birthday Pops!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doing Little Things With A Big Heart

There are no truer words.

I have been captivated by the work of the Faith Village and what it represents for some time.

I would give my left foot for the privilege and opportunity to go over to Sululta and serve with this organization. The woman in the video**, Sue Hayhow is the Executive Director of Imagine Adoption, which as you well know is our facilitator.

They hold fast to the real lesson...

Give A Man A Fish And You Feed Him For A Day

Teach A Man To Fish And You Feed Him For Life



There is always hope.

**I've heard some viewers aren't able to get the video on their screen...click here to watch.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recession Leading To Abortion

While online the other day, I headed over to the ABBA Fund site as I do on a daily basis. I enjoy Jason's daily thoughts, insight, information, and the WE LOVE ADOPTION heart of the organization. I also know Jason personally which makes it easier to enjoy all round.

However, the other day his post rocked me. A strong pro-life advocate (duh), I was shocked to read what the recession is leading hundreds of women and couples to destroy: Human Life.

There are few things in life I will truly, whole-heartedly fight for. Children is one of them.

Tooth and Nail.

I Will Fight.

You do not want to take me on in any sort of pro-choice vs pro-life, abortion vs birth, fetal vs actual human life argument. The whole "is it yet a real being?" debate is moot to me.

Trust me.

I Will Win.

And I never say that.

So this is what the recession is leading to...

Due to the shortage of cash, basically, and the state in which we have walked ourselves into financially over the past many years, abortion is on the rise. Seriously up. Not only are single women walking in for abortions but married couples are seeking them also. These are husbands and wives who already have children. These are couples who planned the pregnancy, conceived, then did the math and realized there actually won't be enough money to support another child in the family. These are people without hope.

More women are struggling to afford contraception and that, in some cases, they are risking their physical and emotional health by delaying abortion procedures for weeks as they seek a way to pay the cost.

One married woman told the Tribune she and her husband made the painful choice to end her pregnancy because they could not afford a third child. But the family’s insurance doesn’t cover abortions, and not until her 14th week could they pull together enough money to pay.

Abortion rates have been declining for years, and experts said it is too early to know if the nation’s financial woes will change that trend.

But Planned Parenthood of Illinois says that in January it performed the highest number of abortions in its history. (The agency has a policy against disclosing the actual numbers.)

The Chicago Tribune

The Tribune notes the National Network of Abortion Funds as an office whose members raise funds to help financially support women who are seeking abortions. I am at a loss for words. I cannot believe such an entity can exist - and because women seeking their assistance has increased from 50% to over 100% recently, I would say they aren't going anywhere.

Jason makes note of another thought-provoking article which explains that this timing is not fluke...the economy is playing a very lead role. Some are walking to clinics...long distances...simply because they cannot even afford bus fare. And all they want is an abortion.

And through all this I simply don't know what to say.

I am at a loss because something so basic: abortion terminates a life is so controversial - and I find that baffling.

I recall a paper I wrote in University. It was passionately written but honestly, when I started I did not know what I was getting myself into. I am certain I didn't intend to learn all that much. I likely thought it was just another 20 or 30 pages I had to pump out and write what I assume the prof wanted to read. I was wrong. My paper addressed the topic of being pro-life (ok, I was pretty naive). My paper included paragraph upon paragraph of the Roe vs Wade controversy. If you don't know it, read up...It Will Change You.

I don't recall the minute details but what I do remember are some of the video clips. What I do recall was seeing small, dismembered parts of human life after the abortion procedure. What I do recall is that I could not for the life of me figure out how the Dr performing the procedure, did not consider this to be anything but inhumane.

And so herein lies the good news: there is never nothing that we can do.

Of course adoption is a phenominal decision. And as the silver lining, calls to adoption agencies and similar organizations have increased (in the States at least).

Other options include foster care. A heart-wrenching decision but one that will likely grow you into someone you never thought possible.

Talking with your church and leaders to establish either an adoption fund (these are new up here in Canada - but I can personally assure that at least one exists!), or help those who are in financial distress.

And, while Canadians seem to be relatively wise about our personal spending habits, and we are saving some...there is always room for improvement. We have a responsibility to do more than ever before.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No Better Ending

Yesterday - sunny, gorgeous - yesterday marked our final day of holidays. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful, enjoyable, family day.
Homemade crisp made the afternoon prior in anticipation of a BBQ with friends...

Working hard on 60th Birthday "stuff". These things take concentration...

Watching Daddy jump the tractor - it was a long winter in the shed!

Getting ready for the First Mow of the season - who is more excited, do you think?

Watching my husband clear-cut our yard...is it still clear-cutting if the stuff is already dead?
(If you look closely you'll see the chain saw in-hand)

Watching my child(ren) enjoy the burning of the clear-cut remains.

Transplanting fresh herbs from the garden - apparently the only thing that will grow in there. They smell amazing.

The Perfect Ending
...one final cut of the grass (it was freakishly long)
...laundry dry on the the line
...a good book in the final deck-sunlight of the day.

Sigh.

These are how vacations are intended to end.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Enough Isn't Good Enough

Isn't it interesting that regardless of what we do in life, there will always be someone who can do it better. There will also always be someone who cannot.

We live in such a comparative society and judgemental era. Magazines, broadcast programs, heck even the papers are proof of this. The internet is probably the greatest culprit in our 21st century.

I think the ability and desire to strive to compete against no one but ourselves, and seek to please our own goals instead of those of our neighbors is a dying trait. And, I think there is no time such as this when this trait should be sought. I would say that is the greatest comfort that I, and likely many of us seek in our God.

He created Me.

He wants Me to be Me.

He's not looking to me to posses the same qualities as a friend of mine.

He's not wanting me to attain the same accomplishments as that Mum who lives down the road, or that friend I've known or admired for years.

Doing more doesn't mean doing better or being greater.

He wants Me to seek after Him.

That's it. No strings attached.

I am wonderful in His eyes, as is.

All that said, there is always an innate desire in all of us, I believe, to want to grow. This is good. This is vital. Without growth we wilt, shrink, fade into less than who we should become. We each have these different areas of our lives in which we feel and likely know that we can be better.

As my Dad says, "Good Enough Isn't Good Enough". And, I think this holds true. However, Good Enough for one person is often Great to another.

I have always loved running...ah hem, jogging. There's nothing run-like about it. I'm no sprinter...have you seen the length of my legs?! People ask how long I've been at it and I can easily guesstimate it's been about 16yrs...which is a long time to be doing anything. Yet, when a person grows up with parents who run often, it's not a hard routine to follow.

As the years have passed, so too has the distance. I love this. Each year I think I can't add another 1/2 or 1 km to my runs. And I do. A year and a half ago, I completed the RVM 1/2 Marathon which I never thought I'd be able to do. And I swore I'd never do it again. (Stay tuned...this will change.) I never thought I'd be able to run just over 21 km all in one go. But, Good Enough wasn't Good Enough and so I did what I thought was Great.

Lately though, I've had this desire to go further. I've not trained, nor do I have any immediate 1/2 or full marathons on the near horizon. Maybe it's that I have wanted to do something just for Me. Maybe it's just that I've wanted a challenge.

So, the other day without any build up other than my 4x weekly runs...ah hem, jogs...I went out with a friend who is training for an upcoming Marathon. And, together we kicked 28km in the butt.

It Was Great.

And then I came home, not extremely sore but a little tired. And the next day I got up and was neither sore nor tired.

I turned on my computer and found out that while I did a Great thing for me...for this guy...it would have been only Good Enough - which as you now know, isn't actually Good Enough.

As if his regular, daily mileage (of 42km) wasn't enough, I would like to take this time to remind you that this is after 11 months of running a marathon a day. He has completed the Ironman several times. He's breezed through Marathons many times over. He has now just about completed a year long run around our entire, beautiful continent, (and so has my own flesh-and-blood sister!). However, Good Enough wasn't Good Enough.

So Matt...

Congratulations...You Did Great

And, on a slight publicity note, R41P (Run For One Planet) will in fact be stopping by not only Vancouver Island but they will be dropping in on little ol' Crofton on April 29th. I know they love crowds who want to run with them...so check them out and let me know and I'll hook you up.



Until then...be Great for You.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Our Road Trip Baby

Day 5

Spent with cousins...
...decorating Easter Sugar Cookies.

This was a perfect way to start our last day.

Lots of candy.

Much chocolate.

Ounces of icing.

A small child's delight.

Time to enjoy the simple things of this Special holiday.

And, we ended it perfectly with a visit to friends who showered the boys with gifts and activities for the ferry ride home.

Our Road Trip Baby

Days 3 & 4

We hit Granville Island again but this time (after a quick caffeine hit of course) we headed to Kids Only for a little fun in the ballroom and slide play area.


And afterward we headed for the border to spend the afternoon in Bellingham...returning with non-other than Lightening and Mator gitch.
Let's face it: the USA is cool.

Isn't it interesting that the simplest things can bring the most enjoyment.

The morning of day 4 was spent in the bath and running in the new undergarments.

Our Road Trip Baby

Day 2
Part 2

Free.

Hot.

Just what the doctor ordered.

Exhilarating

Perfect For Little Boys