Monday, March 30, 2009

Friends Forever

The past two weeks have been so strange for me. I go back and forth from great joy and eager anticipation to aching sadness and overwhelming doubt. As we leave this place I am filled with so many emotions that it is hard to seperate them out, yet I want to do just that. No, I NEED to do that. I need to understand my feelings. I need to know why I am feeling things and what that means for me. I am just weird like that. I know it drives my husband crazy! He makes a decision and it is done. What do feelings have to with anything? Well, they matter to me. They tell me so much about myself and what is going on in my head and in my heart.

I think back to when we moved to Florida. I felt like it was the end of the world! I was so sure God would never ask me to move to Florida. I am a big fan of the mouse but that was the extent of my desire to ever come to Florida. See the mouse. Glance at the ocean. Go home. That was fine with me. And then Dean told me he felt like he was being pulled to this church. I fought it with everything I had. Short of threatening divorce, I used all the tricks I knew to use to change his mind. And then God started working on me. Several things happened to make me see what Dean saw and I gave in to the call. Not with a smile on my face though.

And so we came. And, truth be told, I have never found a love for Florida. I still like the mouse and enjoy a glance at the ocean once in a while but I would choose a mountain view over an ocean view or a snowstorm over the heat. I still feel like a foreigner here in so many ways. I may not have learned to love the place, but God placed in me a love for the people that has surprised me and changed me.

These people have walked through the valley of the shadow of death with me arm and arm. They have watched me stumble and fall and pulled me up as I got back on my knees. As I knelt before my God, begging and pleading for grace and healing, they knelt with me and annointed me with their tears. And when I finally stood up and was able to raise my head and my hands and praise God for his mercy and love, they stood with me and rejoiced with me and held my hands up when they started to shake and fall. They cheered me on with each step I took forward and loved me and held me when I felt I could not go on one more day. And, for that, I love them with all of my heart.

I am so grateful. I see the plan now. So clearly. It had nothing to do with Florida. It was all about the relationships. I believe that I was absolutely in the right place at the right time. I have the names of all of these special people written on my heart. And I will carry them with me.

I think the relationships run so deep because there was no pretending. Maybe for a while I hid behind a mask. But when your life is turned inside out and upside down the walls come down. There is no pretending. You are who you are and people can take it or leave it. It was like this for me anyway. I know some people go on pretending, even in their grief. I really wanted to but I couldn't. It was too raw. There was no hiding. And when I realized that there was nothing left to hide I felt such a sweet freedom. Free to be me. With no masks. No walls. Just me. I found that the relationships deepened and the fellowship grew sweeter. I may not have fallen in love with Florida but I fell in love with this church. They became my family. They have taught me that it is good to be real and to let people know me and I take that with me as I look forward to new friendships in a new place.

As I say so many goodbyes, I have so much sadness but I also have peace. I know that these friendships run deep and they do not end. We will have all of eternity to worship our God together. I will once again lift my hands in praise side by side with these friends I love so very much. And the time in between... it is a vapor... a blink of an eye.

My prayer is that I have made half the impact on their lives that they have had on mine. If I did, it is only through God's grace and mercy. And I thank Him for it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Just a little Sweetness

Carly and I made tutus last weekend and Anna loves hers. She really does. The only problem is she seems to have trouble seeing the floor and has fallen on her head a couple of times when bending over.
I saw the tutus on a blog I follow and just had to make one for Anna.

She seemed to pick up on the phone thing very quickly. She loves her Elmo one but definitely prefers the real thing and will quickly snatch one up if left within her reach.

We went to the beach last weekend to see the space shuttle launch. It was really cool to see.

Anna's new favorite toy is her baby that I had intended to give her when she was a little older but she saw it on the shelf and just had to hold her. She has been carrying her everywhere she goes ever since. It is really sweet to see.

Here are the baby's eyes:

Giving the baby hugs:

Giving the baby kisses (now that she can blow kisses that is the only kind we get):

Anna's first cookie (It was so good she had to stop and sit on the floor to eat it):

One of the sweetest things to see is the growing bond between Anna and Allie:

They adore each other. Something you will hear almost constantly in our home is the sound of Anna calling, "Ow-wee!" as she walks around looking for her sister. It starts out in a sweet little voice and gets louder each time there is no answer. Our favorite is, "Ow-wee, are you ready?". Apparently she has heard this before... But Allie seems to enjoy it all and loves to take her breaks from her school work to play with and love on Anna Grace.

Happy Spring!!

Now back to packing...

Friday, March 6, 2009

One Year Ago...

One year ago today we saw Anna's sweet face for the first time! I remember the day so clearly.

Allie and I were in Barnes and Noble, as we often are, and my phone rang. It was the adoption coordinater, who never called me unless I called her first. She usually communicated through email only. When I saw her name on the phone I got so excited I threw the phone across the table. When I finally answered, she told me so calmly that she had a baby girl she thought I might be interested in. My voice and hands were shaking as we talked and Allie later told me that I was talking really loud! She told me a little on the phone and then said she would email a picture and info to me. Needless to say, we left right away!

On the way home I called Dean and told him and we agreed that we would open the email together. I went to his office and we waited and waited and waited. Then we went home and we waited and waited and waited. The email never came. I called and left a message but we got no answer. My mind went into overdrive. What if it was a mistake? What if she meant to call another family? What if she had sent the email to someone else?

We decided to go out to eat and celebrate and hoped the email would be there when we got home. We got home and still no email. I emailed the coordinater but figured she probably wouldn't get it until the next day. I was so disappointed.

Dean kept checking the email and finally at around 10 pm we got an email saying she had sent it in the afternoon but it must not have gone through. She said she would resend it. We all three sat on the couch and waited and at long last we got the message and Dean opened the attachment and we saw the sweetest little sleeping angel!!

It was love at first sight! Allie had been reluctant about the whole adoption but she was won over in an instant. We just kept looking at the picture and started calling friends and family telling them to check their email. It was such an exciting day!!

And, now, a year later she is here and such a joy. It has been such an amazing journey and I am so grateful for each and every moment!!

Here she is a year later...

Updates on what she is doing:

-She is walking like a pro.
-She says bye-bye, hi, hey, all done, mama, dada, allie, duff, thank you, uh-uh, who's that?, okay, doggie, grandad, and probably more than I can think of...
-She sign more, bye-bye, no, drink, come here,hi
-She can show you her eyes, head, nose
-She loves books and points to everything, "What's that?"
-She is a social butterfly. She says hi to everyone she sees as we pass them in the store. Old people love it.
-She snaps her fingers at the dog, just like her daddy.
-She blows kisses and gives the best kisses and hugs.
-If you tell her to come here she taps on her chest.
-If she is doing something she knows she shouldn't she will look at you and shake her head no.
-She loves to dance and sing.
-She does patty-cake and so big

That is all I can think of at the moment but the most important thing she does is fill our days with smiles and laughter and love! She was and is such a gift from God to a family who needed
her so much!!