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

Thursday, September 30, 2010


One of the things I missed the most when we started our family and I stopped physically going into an office to work was the adrenaline high of multi-tasking.

I would say, with the exception of a poor manager who was impossible to work with my favourite job was at Starbucks...if I were to consider how much multi-tasking I inevitably had to do. My current (non-home) job - during a crunch time - provides some adrenaline pumping multi-tasking but it's not the sheer go-go-go calibre of trying to keep on top of 10 different drinks at one time.

And, while there are many mundane days throughout this job of staying-at-home, there are also many that are, and will always be, what I make them. The past few have been nothing short of multi-tasking in all my glory.

Today's activities thus far include but are not restricted to:

7am get up, do "unofficial school work" with kindergarten child

8am get kids b'fast

8:15am get in shower

8:16am 2 small boys of good friend arrive...friend leaves (wonderful husband entertains for 12 mins while i shower/get dressed)

10:00am snack w/ friends and our boys

10:30am whip upstairs during a small window at which point all 4 small children seem to be playing quietly

10:31am blow dry hair

10:33am hear screaming downstairs and run out of bedroom

10:33am and 05 sec step in cold, yet still soft pile of dog poo on shag carpet right outside bedroom door

10:33am and 07 sec refrain from cussing at dog in presence of small children and thank lucky stars for new carpet soon. clean up said poo...the verdict is still out on whether or not it was a good thing feet were bare

11am take 4 small children to dog park to play soccer (thankful for sunny weather)

11:40am get home

11:41am put wet smelly dog in kennel therefore finding apple-chunk-barf - a result from yesterday's sneaky apple binge while out in the garage. yum.

11:42am bake applesauce muffins before small amount of non-canned applesauce in fridge goes blue and fuzzy

12:00pm make 4 almond butter and banana sandwiches for 4 small children

12:05pm successfully feed small children without any ordeal (this would have been more impressive if I had previously stated that children under my care were 1, 2, 3, 5 yrs)

12:55pm begin making lunch for husband

1:05pm mother of small children picks her kids up

1:10pm husband arrives home for said lunch

1:15pm friend w/ small children departs with much more chaos than had been heard 3 minutes prior to her arrival

1:35pm husband leaves for afternoon of work

2:20pm different friend arrives with her 2 small children (girls! yay, some estrogen)

2:25pm youngest child sleeps

2:45pm bake brownies (i think i was bored or stupid?!)

3:00pm cut, thinly slice and bag apples remaining in garage before a) they rot b) dog eats them, therefore leaving vomit in his kennel again - either option was imminent

3:25pm get small no longer sleeping child who was just woken by one small child, who slammed a bathroom cupboard door while looking for a flashlight to "make his tent brighter" (apparently the rays of sunlight beaming through the window were not at that time sufficient)

4:40pm present time. must concentrate and focus on keeping eyes open...which should not be problematic as 3 small children are thundering around the house in a foot race and fourth, smallest child continually repeats - in the sweetest voice - "oh oh"

Today, this job gives Starbucks a definite run for it's money.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saucing And Such

I love this part of fall. Each year I wonder to myself if I could become Amish. I think the picking and chopping, and simmering, and canning is truly down to earth wonderful. An ideal. I feel deep down this sense of belonging and peace in the kitchen as I'm making my way through the peel and the pith that becomes my countertop.

And then I remember that I'm cooking on my electric stove, with the lights shining over head and yesterday, I was doing all this while wearing my Billabong sweatshirt. I'm quite sure that wouldn't be found (legally) on any Amish farm or in any Amish community. Yes, I am a priss. And, I have accepted that fact...most of the time.

But, for a few days each fall I take myself into a world of pure (personally) hand-picked, homemade goodness. I reflect upon the life of my maternal grandmother who was the epitome of what a grandmother should be. Homemade and cooked and grown (nearly) everything. Hand washed and likely the majority handmade, clothes. Five children running around, wreaking havoc. Her cookie legend lives on. And, I sense the wonder and awe each time I take myself back to what I imagine her life would have looked, sounded, felt, tasted and been like. I try to envision a snapshot of her life. And, while I know it was nothing as serene as I imagine or as lovely, gentle and calm as the day dream into which I often fall, there is something about life back in the fifties and sixties that makes me yearn for a lifestyle I know I will never - likely never could - attain...certainly not with the grace of my grandmother.

{i wonder what my grandmother would have thought if one of her children was caught wiping his or her nose right around the applesauce production area. actually i do know. her reaction likely would have been one similar to that made when she saw children slapping their dirty hands all over the clean windows: perfect. proof that children live here. she, like I, would likely also have been thankful that her children did not touch the apples and also that they were well cooked before being canned.}

The end.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Each day, no matter how the flow or what the plan for the hours which lie ahead may be, I can always count on at least 15 minutes of peace and quiet. I can always be certain at some point during our time together, he'll be checking, counting, and carefully taking note of his silver and copper funds. Sometimes he'll share and other times simply gaze at the different pictures on each piece.

He comes from a line of business and finance it really shouldn't be a surprise.

Oh - and a couple of hams, too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Currently, my favourite room in our house is my sewing room...and not just for the obvious fact that it's mine. And, on that note it's not actually a "real" room. It doesn't have four walls but rather two walls and a window wall that looks down across our front yard and driveway. Some say it's the best room in the's definitely the brightest.

That's not actually the reason for it being my favourite. I love it because of the decal on the wall which reminds me daily that it's crucial we don't wish time away in the never ending desire for more, bigger, better, another stage, something else.

Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments
-Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Surrounding this are many framed photos of time shared as family.

This summer our boys moved from their toddler beds to bunks. Included in this small overhaul was the removal of some toddler-esque photos from their walls. Winnie the Pooh was replaced by the redone dresser and an old school desk and letters on their door, marking their territory. And, for awhile I've had my heart set on painting a few green stripes on a wall or two to tie the whole thing together.

However, when I think of converting the now-guest room into a room for another small child I often draw a blank. Oh, I have several ideas one of which includes not over-pinking it. Everything in moderation, right? And I have often thought that some sort of mural would be awesome.

And then Peel Monkey was brought to my attention and I now need to look no further.

And better yet - there's a giveaway on the table. You should head on over and check them out. There were a few that caught my eye...I'm sure you'll figure it out quite quickly!

Here's to being the lucky gal!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple Sauce Conversations

Tait: Mama, no one eats as much applesauce as me, do they?

Me: No, they don't.

Tait: Some kids don't even get no applesauce and don't know what applesauce is.

Me: That's right. You are Noah are very lucky.

Tait: Like the kids in Ethiopia. They don't get applesauce because they don't have apples. And some of the babies are born in the houses and the big kids have to take care of them. And the big kids bake for them. Some of the kids know how to bake things.

But some kids don't. Noah doesn't know how to bake things.

Okay, I'm all done my applesauce now.

I love this kid.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gettin' Personal At 24

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

What's to say. A journey anticipated to come and go, (successfully may I add) within twelve - possibly eighteen months start to finish - is now only a reflection upon which we rarely dwell.

Had you asked last week, my reply to the "how are you" or "what's the story" or "anything new" question would have been different from today's reply.

Right now...





...I know it's all for a reason.

It isn't all for not.

The journey holds many secrets. It has whispered wisdom along the way. Knowledge found through no other venue than this. Compassion and passion burning and fueling the drive within.

I can't compare myself, my story, our story to others. Some have waited mere weeks, others months. Some have accepted and lost. Others accepted only to think they might lose. We're near the top of the lengthy wait list, but I'm certain we won't be the longest.

We simply cannot compare.

It's not fair.

It's not apples to apples.

How could it be? We're all different. Different stories, families, lives, beliefs, loves, animosities, faiths. We're all so very different. We are all so uniquely, so perfectly designed to tick in different ways.

No matter how they become ours, our children are our children. Each with different stories. All holding different journeys to and from their families.

And so here we are at twenty four months of waiting. Here we wait at two and a half years on the infamous roller coaster. We're no closer than we were a year ago. And yet we are.

We don't seem any different perhaps than two years ago. Yet, we have morphed. We are jaded and in the same breath we have seen others cross the finish line. So, we hold on. We hope. We ache. We yearn. We cry out. We pray for miracles. We believe, in miracles. We see these miracles! We wait.

We wait.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Banner Moments

My week last week was horrid. Gross. Disgusting. Depressing. Frustrating. Challenging. Exhausting. Annoying. Horrid.

The reason?

There wasn't one.

Not a good one, at least.

I mean there reasons but nothing new. There wasn't anything in and of itself that screamed "crap week comin' your way, hibernate if you can". It wasn't one particular event but rather perhaps a culmination of crap thrown around and of course it eventually had to hit the fan. There were moments of happiness and content but few of the latter.

While part of this will simply be kept personal I'm quite certain dear friends, if you've been reading this blog with any amount of attention you'll know before I even type it...the adoption.

Knowing that there is paper pushing going on a half world away is fine. Not seeing results of that labour is not. The most frustrating thing as a parent (either currently or waiting) is not only feeling but also being completely and utterly helpless.

I've not shared the story and don't feel the need to go in to details but while we were in the States a couple weeks ago we found ourselves in a situation on the I-5. Cruising along at whatever speed it is that one would drive on the I-5, we found ourselves with a small three year old boy choking. This was no joke, it was altogether as serious as it gets and I will never forget the following many seconds, after realizing what was happening before our eyes. And, while there were some things we could (and did!) do, essentially we were helpless.

And that was how I was feeling last more ways that just the adoption.

I digress.

After much prayer and trying with as much "fake it till you make it" as could be mustered, the weekend began to take a turn for the better. The past few days have been Banner Days. What I couldn't figure out before, I've now (I think?) been able to put my finger on: Community.

We serve at an incredible organization full of great community.

Yet, sometimes that isn't enough. There needs to be structure and balance and needs met that cannot be met by just, and in just one place. And, where I had thought and had intended to assume phenomenal community I found, (unbeknown to myself even,) that it had slipped away. And the realization of this, came after the realization that I was beginning to find "it" again.

This thing of community: it is what we were created for.

It is how we should live.

It is how I want and - have recently become well aware - need to live.

It isn't one of those cut-and-dry phenomena. There isn't one specific definition of community that I believe could accurately describe what we each feel and need, nor is there one particular way we must contribute to be a part of community. Yet, it's beginning to become more clear to me.

So how? What, all of a sudden sparked this realization or fulfillment?

A lot of stinkin' prayer.

Some patience.

Perhaps a little faith - and I'm still working on that for sure.

And a whole lot of "what are we going to do" thought processes and dialogue.

I believe God speaks, moves, and shows himself to us each in different ways. And for me, it's not as some "kooky" voice inside my head. I don't journal, (surprising w/ how much I write here huh?). I catch glimpses of his spirit through and while reading but even that is often hit and miss.

I feel that God uses others to speak to me, to encourage me, to remind me of His presence and plan and omnipresence. Certain people, in certain places at certain times. And no fail, when I am desperate He presents them to me quietly and as though to say "I have been here all along, all you need to do is have a little more belief in Me".

So while I won't go in to the details of what have been a fabulous few days, I will share one quick story of how He spoke to me today...when I needed it.

While out at a morning being offered by a local church, I shared very briefly about our journey after being asked where we would chose to go, if money was no object. My answer of course was to travel down the coast of Africa...and then spend much time in...well...I certainly needn't specify at this stage in our blog-relationship.

The woman sitting next to me briefly shared that she would go to Haiti as their son was born there and her other children ask constantly to go visit their brother's place of origin. Her son came home immediately after the earthquake. (That's not really relevant here, though I do believe it is a story of glory out of tragedy. And, in the same breath I ask that you please don't judge me for stating that adoption is all glory because I recognize the huge tragedy in the simple need for it here in our world.)

I didn't interpret this woman as being all that interested in our story, but let it go as it was a bit of a crazy few moments during this ice breaker.

She ended up having to leave early and we were in the middle of watching a video when she got up to leave. She took the time to walk across the room and speak with me - sharing encouragement to not grow faint and that it will all be worth it, we "just" need to hang in there. Her journey to her son had taken 3 years.

I felt excitement and anticipation as I left, knowing that another child from a different culture and who was racially the same as our daughter, would be nearby. I hoped to connect with her in the future.

Fast forward a couple hours and I am at the office working on some pressing things. I hear that a couple is briefly touring the camp and are just visiting from another camp in Alberta. I don't look out to see how it is as I have a finite amount of time and this work just has to get done. The kids are playing well and the sun is shining down on them outside so I must capitalize on that. Several minutes later I go down to pick the boys up from the park and the couple is finishing up their tour...and it's the lady from the church this morning! Let me add that I rarely work at the office as 95% of it can be done from home. She had gone with her friend to the morning event...because her friend is new to the area. And, for the second time ever (after waivering late last week over whether or not I would go) I had decided to go. Um yeah, probably not a coincidence.

And she wanted to chat. And she wanted to get to know our journey just a little more. And she wanted to keep in touch. And I, in that moment, was blessed. And I, in that moment, was reminded of the sovereignty of God.

And now here I sit.

Fearful for Thursday because the stupid Lilypie doll will fall off the ticker only to start back at the beginning. (That would mark 2 years, 24 months since our dossier arrived in Ethiopia.)

Cringing at how much longer I will plead and cry for our referral.

Knowing we still have quite a wait.

Wondering how many more nights we will listen as our boys pray for, "our baby sister, wherever she is, please keep her safe until she can come home and live with us forever".

Peaceful, that the God of the universe hears our prayers and answers them.

Aware that He cares.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Perks Of Having A Brother In School

He's catching on quickly.

{double the licking after making our oatmeal banana blackberry muffins}

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Breakfast Of Champions

Breakfast around here is pretty consistent. Now that we have school many mornings and a bus with an early pick-up schedule, we are deviating even less from "the usual". In the past it's just been one of those "it works so why mess with it" kind of meals.
  • Shreddies
  • Cheerios
  • Blackberries or Blueberries
Yes, all in one bowl. It works and is pretty healthy. We'll throw a little Kashi into the mix once in a blue moon. And, once in awhile there's a request for Steel Cut Oatmeal or Eggs but twenty-nine out of thirty days of the month we're a cereal and summer fruit, (a perk to island living as we pick 80% of it on our own street which = free) kinda clan.

A few days ago, the request for blackberry pancakes was thrown out there. It was a school morning and there was no time. It was promised as today's kick-off, start. Here's my issue with stereotypical, generic blackberry pancakes: they won't stick with a small active boy. We don't do the sugar thing around here so syrup and jam are unknowns. Peanut and almond butters can usually be found throughout our lunch, so there's no desire to duplicate earlier in the day on top.

The trick folks? Hide the rib-sticking-goodness within the pancake itself and beef it up with other fun stuff.

I got all creative and health crafty and stuff...well, I thought so for a 7:30am kind of concoction. I like to play this little game of "how much goodness can I hide and pack into one dish and still have it consumed by our small children quickly and with a resulting smile?". It's a fun game. Okay, so maybe I need to get a life but you can humour me for now.

I had a little gluten-free pancake mix left over and the directions were to add an egg, milk, and a little oil...but it needed some extras as it really was a small leftover amount of mix. Dumped into the above was an unmeasured amout each of spelt flour, flaxmeal, and a couple eyeballed tablespoons of almond butter - all hand mixed with a handful of blackberries tossed into the batter. No sugar, nothing crazy but they were "meaty" enough that these small boys are still rippin' their lego men around in their lego cars and it's lunch time.

On that note...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kindergarten Is One Thing...

...taking the bus there is a whole other ball game.

{we all miss him when he's gone...but he's lovin' it...and we're lovin' that}

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Token Photo

I still can't get over this.

We all did well.

No tears...

...not even a lump in the throat.

...more of a running into the class while this Mama (and Daddy and little brother) stood outside

..."I'm cutting the cord slowly" I told Mrs B. - a wonderful woman and his teacher for the next 10 months - as I stood outside the door watching as he surveyed the scene and planned which spot looked most inviting on the carpet.

She invited me in.

I declined...knowing that as much as we have worked to give him roots, it was time to allow him the dignity of wings.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Is How Memories Are Made

Dancin' on beds...only in hotels.

Headin' down to Pike Place.

Tailgate party a la Keizer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

So Close. So Far. So Perfect

Each year at the end of our summer we take a little family trip.

This year, regardless of the start date of the school year for one sweet small five year old, we've decided to uphold the tradition.

We'll take a little hop, skip and a jump across the deep blue sea and visit our friends who live in the red, white, and blue.

I can't wait.

Though not far, we feel like we're in a completely different time zone and worlds away from ours. It's a short but sweet retreat.

Packed with "annuals" we have built up quite the little repetoir of favourite hot spots and we'll no doubt hit them again this year - and add a few extras.

I recall a moment from last year's family trip. We were all in a park, in one of our favourite locations. The boys, playing on a jungle gym completely oblivious to what was going on only a few feet from them.

Huddled together on a set of swings, their Mama and Daddy were quickly learning the fate of their journey towards one small baby sister.

Straining to read together, the wording on the small screen of an iPod while scamming wireless service from some poor sucker who didn't bother to lock down their router, we remained absolute motionless position because one wrong move and we'd lose the signal, sending us back to square one of trying to relocate it and begin downloading the beast of the document. Trying desperately to read, understand, absorb all that was and is the Restructuring Proposal, we wanted to understand completely every bullet point detail.

I recall thinking how long we would have to wait to find out whether or not it would be accepted.

And then, the next thoughts on which I would not allow myself to dwell. How long after that? The wording - the months, possibly years seemed an eternity to wait. And now, here we are exactly a year later...all the wiser for what we have endured. All the more seasoned yet still as anxious to know her.

I wonder daily: a year from this day how will our family look? What will we be doing? What will life look like from the outside in?

It's exciting, isn't it?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dress Up Or Dressed Up

It's Youth Camp.

While for many that means nothing, to a seasoned (or perhaps not even so) Qwanoes staff person, the letters YC mean a whole lot.

They represent a final week of summer camp.

They serve as the reminder (actually, the reason!) everything done during most weeks will now be done bigger - more unfathomable yet more memorable in the same breath.

YC brings with it heightened expectations which are either met or exceeded.

YC means more food, special events, energy seeping from areas in our selves we didn't know we still had left by this point.

10YC included Rocket Tuck yesterday.

It included preparing to say goodbye to friends who will take with them, a piece of us.

10YC included our annual banquet. It's a dress up affair. Many will spend literally half of their day getting ready.

Try explaining that to a 3 and 5 year old.

"Yes boys we get to eat outside tonight. It's going to be a special supper and everyone will dress up."

What would you do if your three year old very confidently stated that if we all get to dress up then he will be going as Superman and his brother chimes in to assert the fact that he will then be going as Spiderman?

I contemplated briefly whether or not to allow this. Would the campers who had worked so hard all day to position each lash and straighten each last piece of hair, take it personally that some unruly mother allowed her unruly children to make a farce of the whole thing? After all this isn't Halloween. To many, this banquet event could be nearly compared to a prom, (minus the dancing, smoky dark lit room and groping...or after-parties).

After gently trying to persuade them that the definition of dressing up was to wear one's nicer clothes...sweaters from Nana not sweatshirts, jeans or khakis not track pants...and realizing quickly this was a waste of breath and that I have bigger battles, I gave in.

"Sure," I said "you two dress up in whatever you want..."

And my two little superheroes had a blast like kids should...and the campers? They wanted their pictures taken with the little superheroes in blue and red. No kidding.

We could all learn a little something from our wee ones, couldn't we?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Growing Hope

This is year 3 (or is it 4?) of our attempt at a garden.

Each year, with a little more love, a little more time, a little more fertilizer, a little more water, - I'm slowly learning the importance of this one - and a little more sweet talk, our garden grows.

We've always been okay at cucumbers. I figure anyone with a chunk of dirt and a cucumber seed or two can get those guys out of the ground and growing. But things like pumpkins and carrots and even peas have been a bit of a challenge.

We've persevered though. Each year cussing a little less...(what? you guys cuss? inanimate objects nonetheless!) and looking ahead at what might work well (and not) the following year. Each year as the green takes longer than anticipated to break through the dirt, we vow to cover it all over the following year. Let's grass it over in the fall, we say. Mowing over it instead of around it will take much less effort. We talk about throwing in the towel and just going to our local market to enjoy fresh locally grown produce.

But there's something about growing your own food, isn't there? Wanting to make a salad and then only walking out the kitchen door, across the deck, along the non-sprinklered part of the lawn to the garden, and grabbing what is tastes different. Better. It's part of what rural means to me. It's part of how we want to raise our kids. It's part of the full circle understanding of the cycle of life.

It's about patience.

It's about knowing that we can only do so much and then we must wait.

Overwatering will harm what we seek to harvest.

Thinking it over, analyzing, obsessing, none of that will help.

Understanding that the best things in life are worth waiting for, that's what it's all about.

Do you get where I'm going with this?

You can take it at face value...feel free. Perhaps I just gave you a really brief lesson about gardening. (Likely 3 year old has a much greener thumb than I.)

Or, perhaps I'm being metaphorical. Maybe, just maybe I'm looking past the cow poo manure and going a little deeper because I do truly believe there are so very many parallels in our life right now.

This year, after 3 years of trying and of frustrating unsuccessful attempts...

...this year, we grew carrots.

Sweet. Small. Juicy. Orange with perfect-leafy-tops, carrots.

It was worth the wait. The effort wasn't lost. The reward reaped was wonderful.

And I'm sure we'll try again next year, knowing better how to wait patiently.

Understanding that the best things in life do happen.

Coming to more fully grasp the concept that the destination is actually the journey.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's September, People.

In case you woke up in oblivion, ignorance, or just plain denial this morning may I take this moment to tell you:
It's September

(You're welcome.)

Holy smokes. Like, where did the summer go? Okay, I know where it went. If I take a moment to close my eyes, I can flip the pages of my memory album and smile.

And, while I can't say I'm excited that it's nearly over, there is a sort of freshness in the air that can surefire precede only the Fall...
  • a chilly breeze
  • a crisp morning
  • an early dusk and later dawn
  • an acknowledgement of new clothes and pre-packaged snacks, as I take a 360 look around every store's nook-and-cranny
As I reflect upon August and narrowly focus on the adoption (and) referral front, I would deem it encouraging. Though, selfishly I hope and pray for more...and soon. Babies, if I could make a specific request.

And I am confident in this hope and prayer as I've been encouraged by good friends as of late. There's been a true sense of trust, desire, and confidence in what is to come. I don't chalk this up to empty promises. Our turn is coming. A friend reminded me that the shadow proves the sunshine. And to this I hold fast. May September create many new families, bring with it much renewed hope, and offer anticipated excitement.