Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When There Aren't Any Pictures

     It seems all eyes are on the royal baby these days, mine included. The new Prince George definitely has had more than his share of the limelight and paparazzi .....just in the first 24 hours of his life. This could be the most photographed baby in history, I dare say, and rightly so. Watching all those photographers camp out for days on end just to catch a glimpse of the new Prince got me to thinking.
     Babies SHOULD be photographed....a lot. These are precious days not to be missed and capturing the memory is paramount both for the parent and the child to reflect upon in later years. Having pictures  displayed of your children shows them the place they have in your family. It's as if they know by seeing  images of themselves sitting on the coffee table that they belong this family. They are important.
     What do you do when you don't have those pictures? One of our daughters has NOT EVEN ONE photo of herself before the age of 8 months. When we got her, the first thing we did was have her portrait taken. It is hanging on my bedroom wall. She will never know what she looked like as a newborn, or the early months. She lived in 6 different homes before she came to us and for whatever reason, there are no pictures and no way to get any. Nothing of her having 'tummy time', her first smile,  nothing of her learning to sit up, or learning to crawl.  It makes me incredibly sad. I feel like a chunk of her life is missing..........a section she can never recover. Oh yes, she asks questions all the time. She loves to pour over the pictures in her scrapbook that we took starting the moment she came into our house.... and in her memory box......and she does ask what she looked like when she was born. I have to tell her, "I don't know." adoptive parenting dilemma. I call them raw, open-wound moments. These are things we cannot fix.
     Mei Mei, who lived her first year in a tiny orphanage in south-central China.....has two pictures from her first year. Her intake picture taken the day she was found.....and her referral picture taken at around 5 months. That's it. Again.....she has nothing tangible to look back through when she is older to show herself what baby Mei Mei was like. In alot of ways, I feel like she drew the better straw here because she at least has 2 pictures from her first year. This child will never know how much she weighed at birth. We simply don't have that information. This is another dilemma, as our family recently had a new baby join the family (and another due any day!!) and birth weight is a hot topic. She's the only one in our entire family that doesn't know her birth weight. Hard. Raw. Open wound. These issues are difficult, but the picture really, really gets to me.
     So what do we do? We love them. We can't go back and make pictures magically appear, but we can take them now.....and we can love on the person they are now. They are a part of us. They are important.......and their pictures are on the coffee table now,  where they can see them all day.....everyday.....hopefully healing those raw wounds.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Considering Adoption? Some Things You May Want To Consider....From Our Perspective

Nature Girl 11, Blondie 10, and Mei Mei 8, recently paying a visit to the Mouse.
     I've had several people tell me lately they are thinking about adoption.....and what do I think about "_____"? So, I've been thinking about our journey thus far and decided to write about what I frequently tell people who ask......and we get asked some great questions, and some stupid  ignorant ones. Most people are really extremely nice and sincerely want to know how the systems work. Others want waaaayyyy too much info on the girls backgrounds and histories which we try to protect. I've learned not to judge motives and others agendas in their probing. I simply consider whom I'm talking to....and answer accordingly. Sometimes it's a quick "7-11 convenience store" answer, sometimes it's more in depth. There are also things I wish I'd known before we adopted. There are things you couldn't possibly know without walking through those doors. In a nutshell.....according to our adoption journey with the children we have, 11 years and 3 adoptions later.....these are things I would tell you if you are considering adoption even the tiniest little bit.

1. It is Holy Ground-  These adoptions are not about me. They never have been and never will be. People are eternal beings. When you adopt you are changing the course of a life.....for eternity. Not only are you changing this child but their children, and their grandchildren and so on. The chains of poverty are broken!  God prepared us for years beforehand. Years. As I poured over scriptures I began to see, taste and feel God's heart for the orphan....the poor....the weak....the oppressed and the fatherless. These scriptures became me as I took on God's desires. God heart is for the poor. He rescues the weak. He's the defender of the widow and the orphan.....and he's the mender of the broken. His people (us) in becoming like him have a responsibility to care for these....the weak of this world. It is not an option. I believe the more you open yourself up to God's word, praying, seeking, God will show you your role in caring for the least of these.  It did not happen overnight. I had lost biological babies. I grieved. It made me more aware of the grief the destitute and poor live through everyday. Millions across this planet live on $1 a day or less, and are sometimes forced to choose which child they will feed that day. Many give them up through orphanages or simple abandonment in hopes they will find a better life. It was indescribably hard, BUT to know God means you can't ignore the plight of the 47 million orphans on this planet. You just can't. They are out there....they are hungry.....they need parents.....they need the church. If the church doesn't rise up to help them then who will? I for one didn't want to live my life knowing about God, yet never acting on his behalf.....on behalf of the orphan's cry. We live in one of the most prosperous nations on the planet. With that knowledge, this country's people should be forerunners in the fight for the orphan, poor and widow across the world. What greater call is there than to spend your life building up and giving life to those unable to care for themselves and without the very basic necessities of life?
     It became an issue of obedience. My desire to honor God in this life disqualified my need for comfort, material possessions, and ease as our biological children got older. I CRAVED obedience and couldn't ignore God's call....but as you will see, God's direction of our lives doesn't mean others will always understand.....

2.  Don't be surprised if people don't 'get it'- after all....very few in the day 'got' Jesus. The majority were against him. When we first told people our desire to adopt...those we thought would embrace our plans were horrified. (Why would you mess up your perfect American life?? You will tie yourself down....You won't have time for yourself....You won't have time to shop.....You're too old....Blah, blah, blah) Those who we thought would consider us crazy, were for it. Don't let others opinions (even your family) be your guide. Do what you feel like God is telling you regardless of what others think. If your desires line up with scripture then go for it! God is your authority......not man. Listen to God. It took some of our friends years to 'come around' once our girls were home. Some never did, sad to say. This was so confusing to us because those that we 'thought' knew scripture and would understand....even if they weren't called to this, were some of our biggest dissenters. I wasn't prepared for this, but it has made me ever sure of what I believe. We wouldn't change a thing. It doesn't matter if others 'get it' or not.

3. Find a great church that supports adoption and orphan/foster care- This may come as a surprise, but not all churches/pastors do. If you mention to your pastor that you are 'considering' adoption and he looks at you like you have two heads......find another church. There are SO many good churches out there yet there are so many bad ones. Be discerning. Be prayerful. You are going to need the support, care and love of your church once your child comes home. Make sure you are on the same page regarding these issues.

4. Adoption is expensive but it doesn't have to be expensive- sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? And it is. Adoption CAN be very expensive and often people are quick to dismiss it as an option because they are just misinformed. Did you know that adoption through most state foster care systems is completely free? Also, most provide health care, dental care and a subsidy until the child is 18. Nothing is cheaper than free! Private adoptions are also another viable option. Many are expensive however there are those who are willing to place a child for adoption for just the cost of medical care and legal fees. This makes private adoptions something to consider.
      International Adoption is the most costly. We discovered that most of the cost here is in your final travel to pick up your child. The actual stateside fees were not that much different than the private system. With IA you do not have to pay the entire fee at the get-go. Your fees are spread out over months....even years. Many times you can delay a segment until you have the funds to move forward. Happens all the time. When you consider the cost but spread out over a year and a half or more it makes IA more of a viable option for many. One of our daughters came to us through the foster care system, one through private adoption and one through IA. All three had their different ups and downs.
     You also have to be willing to make choices. I know people who say they would 'love' to adopt but they don't have the money. These very same people take several cruises every year and other expensive vacations. Most of us make huge sacrifices and lifestyle changes to make sure these children have a home. Adoption is worth it. I promise.

5. They will have issues and have things that will not surface for years- I foolishly believed that once we brought home our children, and they received proper nutrition, love and care that all issues they had faced prior, would come to an end. I (we) could've not been more wrong!! One of our healthy adoptions has turned out to be multiple 'special needs'. We didn't see this coming.....nor would we have chosen this. HOWEVER we would not trade this daughter for anything, and God's grace has more than met us in our moments of need. I have now become a huge advocate for special needs adoption and would do it again in a heartbeat. God chose us to be her parent when she had none, and has moved mountains to allow this daughter to be successful in school and life. From hospitals, to therapies, to multiple specialists, to learning differences, this child has taught me what living sacrificially means. I am a better mom because of her!
     Another one of our daughters we adopted from birth. Although she has had the least issues of all three, she struggles with overwhelming anxiety and panic at times which didn't surface until she went to school.  We do know that her birthmom had anxiety issues which explains alot. Even though you bring them out of a difficult environment, love them and raise them, you can't change their DNA. Don't be surprised when issues crop up out of the blue even years down the road (many times you will not be aware of issues until the school years) because of how the brain works. My philosophy now is "what's next to happen?"
     Our third adoption was a little girl that spent her first year in an orphanage. I don't care if your child is labeled Non-special needs (NSN), if they lived any time in an orphanage it qualifies them to be special needs. This child has struggled the most with attachment issues. Attachment is a HUGE word in adoption and needs to be studied extensively if you are considering it. There is so much complexity to the human brain that I will never understand. What I do know is that consistent care, nurturing, food, and love are so important in that first year. If they miss this (like my first and third adopted daughters did) it can play havoc with their brain. We are still working through many of these very issues and my faith has been made stronger because of the issues each daughter has had to face.

6. God will equip you to parent the wounded-but it won't be easy. The vision can be crystal clear but the day to day is still hard. Many if not most of these children have had several disruptions in their already young years. Any disruptions in a child's life are traumatic and imprint strongly on the brain. One of my daughters was in 6 homes before she came to us at almost 8 months old.....with two of those being shut down for neglect and abuse. She at this young age, lived through trauma most of us can't imagine and she had never attached to anyone. Can you imagine being so alone in the world that not even one person was consistent in your everyday? This is the reality for so many of these kids. This particular child needed parents that would not give up on her when attachment and other issues didn't disappear easily even when your comfortable American life gets slammed with issues you weren't expecting.
      I have three go to books that have helped me see my daughters wounded pasts through different eyes and given me faith that together with God's help we can, and will walk in healing. It is a tough, teary, and difficult journey......not unlike Pilgrim's Progress. It's a journey I am willing to take because I know the end is beautiful.
     1. Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child- I will say don't look at this title!! It should say Parenting your Adopted Child. I have learned so much from this book about how the brain handles stress, disruptions and attachment that I have used for all three of my girls.....two of whom were domestic adoptions. Great, great resource that deserves a reread every year.

2. The Connected Child-In adoption you hear the words 'strong attachments' over and over. It really is the backbone of your relationship with your new child. Another fallacy I believed was that attachment wouldn't take long. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Forming strong attachments with your child can take a year or more. If they have an attachment 'issue' it can take longer. Many adopted kids have never attached to anyone. Their brain simply doesn't know how. They get angry,
they can throw some serious tantrums, you can feel rejected.....all normal as the brain works through grieving and attaching. You have to be very, very patient and not react. I wish I had known what I know now then. It would have saved me alot of heartache. This book is a lifesaver in teaching about attachment. I reread it at least once a year to make sure we keep our bases covered as I will say again.....many, many issues may not surface until the later school years or even their teens. Don't be surprised, be prepared.

3. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Knew-Great resource to see adoption through your child's eyes. They may not feel every one of these.....but chances are as they age they will experience some. Being prepared is half the battle I believe. This is an excellent resource to help
encourage your child when issues do rise to the surface.

7. Don't have lofty expectations- Saving an orphan can have romantic, even unrealistic notions about bringing a child home to a perfect home, family and environment. You want to give them all they have never had. You want them to love you back instantly. You want to bond, and want them to do the same. The truth is.......IT IS HARD. But don't be afraid of hard. You can do this if you know ahead of time there is not much romantic about it. You will be a stranger to your child at first. They may experience sensory overload and 'wind up' or do what one of my daughters did....shut down. They will not gaze lovingly into your eyes right at first. You will be exhausted, your brain will be working overtime trying to figure out if it's an attachment issue, DNA issue or personality issue you are dealing with at the moment....and if you have multiple children they will also need you. Adoption is not for the faint of heart. It will be unlike anything you have ever done....or dealt with if you have bio children. But don't may take a while but in the end you will be fine....and better for it. Just change your expectations....and don't forget to smile!

8. Don't neglect the word- Prayer moves mountains. Reading your Bible gives wisdom. Don't neglect this once you are home with your new child. Make this time for you so you are the parent your child needs. Hide in the bathroom if you need to. Go in your closet. Find a me...the God who gave you this child will empower you if you spend time with him.

9. Lower your standards around your house- It's going to take a while for you all to adjust to your new normal once your child is home. I'm not sure if I've ever recovered!! If you have multiple children you are just going to have to let the standard of clean you once knew to slip to the wayside for a while. I know people who would rather die than have a crumb fall to their lovely polished wood floors.....but that takes time away from your children. Attachment is more important than a clean house......for years to come.

10. When you discipline, err on the side of grace- the ol' "You will obey me because I am your parent" method of discipline rarely works with children who have lived through disruptions or trauma. Many times they will take your 'loud' angry tones as rejection. My girls have told me this time after time. When I raise my voice even a little.....they take it as rejection and thus become fearful, nervous and block out anything disciplinary I'm trying to convey.  We had to totally revamp our discipline approach with our three adopted girls.....we now choose to err on the side of grace when conflicting issues arise where we don't know what to do....or even who did what. Corporal punishment doesn't work on traumatized children. It drives their already fragile hearts and attachments farther away from you. The grace our loving Father extends to us we extend to these girls. Yes, they get disciplined.....but it's different. We are more patient (or try to be), we try not to raise our voices so anxiety doesn't overide the lesson we are trying to convey. Their hearts are tender. Their emotions are fragile.....even if their exterior is tough. We want them to want to come to us if their is ever a need. We want them to have someone they can trust when all that was in their pasts was untrustworthy. We want them to feel safe. Yes, they need firm boundaries....but firm doesn't mean harsh. We try to be extra careful of our own emotions in our discipline.....with lots of hugs, not alienation. They need to know their parent is their advocate....not their critic.

11. Let them flourish in being themselves.....afterall, they don't share your DNA-I have friends who have adopted who swear their child 'is just like them'. I love that. I think that is a gift from God. Our girls however are nothing like us parents. We have learned to give them express themselves in who they are (as long as it's not disobedient) in all areas because they don't share our genes. It's interesting. With our bio kids we could always say, "Well, He gets that from his Mom, or his Uncle, or Grandpa." With adopted kids there is no way to tell. Unless you have credible info on the birth family you just. don't. know. We try to give our girls freedom to express themselves through art, activities, sports......anything they are interested in and encourage them that that is a gift brought through in them by their birth family. We let them know this is what makes them unique.....even if it's weird, or off beat, or just not something 'our family' would do. We let them know we will always strive to allow them to have their own identity.....not one that has to fit the 'mold' of our family. We are a multi-ethnic family. We embrace Chinese heritage and culture as easily as our own. It's important even though our daughter doesn't realize it yet that she is secure in who she is and where she came from. As I've mentioned before.....I need to be my daughter's biggest advocate. Not someone who is reminding them constantly how 'different' they are from the rest of the family.
     I have a daughter who is really good at art. I regularly affirm her and her ability by reminding her that she got her talent from her birth family......and that's a good thing! This builds security that all they came from wasn't bad....even though they were given up for adoption. Important.

12. Adoption will change you like nothing else can-Adoption is such a marvelous picture of how each one of us has been adopted by our heavenly father. There is nothing like bringing that son or daughter into a family fold when an instant before, they had none. The feeling is indescribable, in fact I have called it 'addicting'. I do not think adoption is for everyone. You definitely have to know beyond the shadow of doubt God is leading you to do this.... because when the hard hits,  it's too easy to quit if your soul isn't grounded in that knowledge. But if you have heard, please act and do. It will rock your American socks off.

13. They're gonna break your stuff and you will live- Like you've already read, so many of these kids come with issues. If they haven't had consistent care or had many disruptions before coming to their forever family, they could have sensory issues. I have a child who has remained somewhat clumsy and a sensory seeker. She can't help it.....she breaks things. Alot. She spills things. Alot. All that first year of life,  your brain cells (neurotransmitters) are laying pathways for the future. If the first year of life again is not in a nurturing, loving, consistent environment, many pathways aren't formed correctly......leading the way for issues down the road such as speech delays, learning differences, sensory issues, etc.
     Early on I had to remind myself that this daughter is more important than things.....she's an eternal soul and the stuff isn't. I can say now that stuff isn't that important to me. We live on less and have alot less.....and we're ok. Our girls are thriving which is what's most important.

So.....I would ask you. What are you going to do with this one life that you've been given? If you are stirred towards adoption please act on that stirring. I will be happy to help you find a starting place. If you love adoption but aren't called to specifically adopt a child.....what about child sponsorship? Again, I can point you in the right direction here as well. I pray that you would consider being part of the solution for one of the 47 million who wake up daily with no one. I think Mother Teresa gets it right with these words, "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review- A Novel This Time

Girl In Translation is a semi-autobiographical novel I picked up on a whim the other day. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down......and that's saying a lot with all the interruptions I have these days. This is Jean Kwok's debut novel based loosely on her own life. In the book Kim and her widowed mother immigrate from Hong Kong to find themselves in Brooklyn, working in a sweatshop. Sweatshop? Yes, in the 1990's. Kim was placed in school speaking no English and eventually earned her way into an ivy-league school. The novel parallels Kwok's life well in fact that you could picture all scenarios in the book actually happening in the present. From the secret sweatshops in Chinatown exploiting child workers, to a normal teen just wanting to fit in with her peers, Kwok's use of first person storytelling makes her work reality to the reader. If you are looking for a great beach read that isn't fluff nor heavy study.....this works.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Industriously Boring

     They say to increase your blog traffic you should blog often. If that's the case then I am an epic failure at this. To be real from an outsiders point of view we have been totally boring as of late. Our summer plans got changed (put a dagger in my side but I'm trying to recover.....heh) and instead we have replaced it with what I call 'Industrious Boredom'. Basically I can't stand to sit still. Drives me crazy. I have to be productive at something 24/7 or I feel like I'm wasting time. When you have alot of kids time cannot be wasted. Ever. Even sleeping time. Even that has a plan. light of my new found extra 'summer plans changed' time I got busy. I worked some on a new writing project. Steep learning curve on this one but it's coming along....thank you spell check. Then, every single closet, every drawer, every nook and cranny except for the school stuff has been cleaned out this week. Industrious yes, but boredom for the blog reader. Lo siento friend.
      While Mom was being industrious (so much for lazy summer reading time) the ladies were doing what kids worldwide do when being What I did find as the week went on, was that the girls were doing what kids should be doing in the summer....and lots of it. For the first time in a long time the girls enjoyed unstructured time free from demands of pressure, school, and other obligations crying out for their attention. Instead we just ate what was in the fridge such as it was, and made pictures in the clouds. There were slumber parties with friends, hide and seek around the neighborhood, swimming at night, homemade play dough, frog hunts, and giggles. They read alot, watched tv some and have yet to complain of boredom. We stayed at the beach a few times early morning until dusk....catching crabs in tide pools and digging periwinkles out of their tunnels. I pray we made memories. I think we did.
     The house is done...organized, ready. Totally useless info for you, yet liberating and needed for me. I know the school year is coming and time will again be scarce. My summer to do list has gotten smaller and the back to school sales are beginning. I'm not ready to face that yet, so I will remain industrious, hang out with friends, and enjoy every. single. bit. of. blessed. summer. thank. you. Jesus. The girls will continue their 'boring' (not so very) love of being kids. Here's a few pics of our 'boredom' as we stop.....and slow down life a little.....
Nature Girl brings stuff like this home every single day. She lives on a different universe and sees things no one else would ever notice. But snails....really kid??!!

Mei Mei's contribution to our zoo.

This came zooming across the kitchen floor to me. Heh. 

This daughter is having a baby this month. Baby come out!!

4th of July antics......please note the shiny 4th outfits....oy!

Give them cans of shaving cream. Easy, cheap and they play for hours!

Mei Mei and the Doc playing Xbox Kinect Just Dance. If you don't have a Kinect, get one now. They are remarkable and keep your kiddos (old ones too) active! This picture cracks me up. Not sure what song they're doing but Mei Mei takes this so very she does anything competitive. Ha.

Happy Place with must have tent for pregnant and pale people.

Turning Nature Girl into a Mermaid. Her request. They complied.

J is a worship leader at our church. This was her last Sunday until she becomes a Mom! Love the scripture that was captured in this photo, too.

Her hamster lost her ongoing battle with cancer. Sad, sad, day (yall can't blame me for this one) and Muffin was replaced with a new HYPER-psycho rodent named.....Taffy. 

Spa Day anyone?? Ken?

Blondie's free spirited ways mean her room looks like this.......twice a year. Christmas.....and in summer when the Mom comes in with a giant garbage bag. This year I got sneaky and made sure she had friends over while the Mom purged. Awesome. Liberating.

Sleepovers with besties. Be still my heart!!

Making homemade play dough. Not sure what Pinterest gene possesed me. Should've gone out and bought them cans of the real stuff. Seriously. It looks like they were having fun though, right??

That friends is food coloring. For the play dough. Only it didn't make it to the play made it to our hands, shirt and shorts. Should've bought the cans. Noted.

My Mom and my granddaughter. That makes them Great Grandma and youngest of the bunch until this next baby comes. Big families are awesome! Fat squishy babies are the best!

Pajama ice cream run includes the Mom's wonder dog who is also child #6 around here. Smile. Yall don't mess with my dog baby. She's fierce:)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Smell Paint

     Nothing this week is going according to plan.....and I like plans. Plans help you manage a big family and plans even help with the 'un-planned' dog days of summer. (In this house, even the dog has a plan...heh).  This weeks goals were simple after a busy week working on a baby shower for my oldest daughter. This weeks goals were a clean house, clean laundry, find and separate all 3 littles clothes to gear up for the next round of activities.....with a little quiet (ha!) reading time thrown in for me. Our house is a wreck yall. An absolute wreck. Normally I care  don't care because I have learned to roll with the punches (those punches come constantly!!).....but with the current status of the house I needed to care. So did they.
     So yesterday I told the girls I was going on my daily menopausal waddle  run and would be back in about 45 min. They could have 'free time' (with an awesome laid out list of what they 'could' do) until I got back. After that.....commence cleaning until it was time to leave for appointments. Those 45 min were bliss.
     When I returned there was.....this smell. An overwhelming, pungent, unmistakable smell that filled the whole house. Little Bit was waiting at the front door doing what she does when she's really, really sad. Understand now that this child has two channels. 1.Control... control more.....and 2.when she's really feeling vulnerable, the most pathetic heart wrenching sobs break loose under her normally...ahem, controlled exterior. That's what this was. When she lets go of the 'tough girl' exterior it has to be really bad. When this happens we listen and listen good. She doesn't let us see this side of her too often.
     I sat down with Mei Mei to listen (through the heaving sobbing) but wouldn't you know there was another sister there who was just more than happy to tell her version. House still smells here....alot. Apparently Mei Mei had broken my magnifying mirror in my bathroom. (Doesn't explain the smell now does it?? And what about the list of approved activities they could do while I was gone??) "Why were you in my bathroom?" I asked. More sobbing. Then I realized the smell. Paint. Lots of paint. Nail polish bottles were scattered all over MY bathroom and all 3 girls were  COVERED all up their arms in various shades of MY Essie and OPI. Lord have mercy. And to cover up their little game they had used dumped an ENTIRE bottle of nail polish remover on the floor, everywhere else,  and themselves. (NOT on the approved summer activity list.) In the process of art class, Mei Mei had 'accidentally' knocked over my magnifying mirror and broke it. This is what she was most upset about. Gut wrenching sobbing. Oy vey. (Who are these people??)
     I had a choice. So many things ran through my head at that moment. Lots of things that won't be typed here. HOWEVER, this needed to be redemptive. An angry mom will not establish relationship nor righteousness in their child's heart. An angry mom increases distance and tears apart bonds of trust and safety. These girls who had been abandoned by their birthmoms, needed this mom to love them through their foolishness.....even when all I could see was that my already filthy house just became even more dirty.....and knowing it fell on my head to get it back to organized chaos. I realized this couldn't be about me and my 'standards'. Redeeming your child's heart and teaching them (to which they really learn) can never be about you. They needed grace filled correction and it was up to me to give it.
     I gathered Mei Mei in my arms (wet, wet nail polish and all), and quickly threw away the unsalvageable mirror. We all sat, we all talked through the last 45 min (how I was deceived in thinking it was bliss!!) and through the smell and paint stains....this moment became beautiful (unlike my bathroom). They understood they had been impulsive (ha!) and disobedient .....and had made total backwards, unwise choices. But the lesson wasn't for them. It was for me. How many times have I been quick to snap at them when they simply don't have the maturity to respond correctly? It's about the PROCESS of maturity through grace that we're after......not perfection and robot -like obedience. When we take the time to 'chill' about the messes and really, really speak to their hearts.....doors open like this one. Look at what Blondie made for me after the fact.....I did not tell her to do this but I am so proud of her for choosing to. This was proof that she 'got it', that she understands not just what she did wrong....but where to go when it happens. Holy ground.
      All this came on a day my heart was grieving for a child I never knew. Praying for a family who adopted a little girl 3 years ago knowing she was going to die. God gave them 3 years with her and I was out on a run....mourning her death. You can read her story here. Her death gave me a renewed vision for our girls and what our goals here on this earth really are. Time is short people. Life is fragile. It's not a clean house. It's not about done laundry. It's about the mission God calls us to individually and how we carry that out through the daily paint spills of life. These girls need to know they are treasured daughters of the living God .....even when they screw up.
     My house is cleared of paint fumes. They will do something again today that will make me wonder what planet they came from......but my vision remains the same. Focused, unwavering vision. (Y'all remind me of this he next time they do something equally as delirious, k??) In the mean time....look what Blondie did.....

She got it....don't cha think? 
     P.S. The house is still a mess....we are playing!!!