Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When Peace Moves In

So last Saturday, Aubry, Steve and I headed to a local park.
Then Aubry's bio-dad showed up.
deep breath

The visit went very well. He is doing good and seemed genuinely happy to meet his daughter. I've hashed over all the details with local friends and so I am a little "worded out" on this subject.

We are trusting God like never before.
Resting in His peace that Jesus left us.
Knowing He knows what's best for Aubry May, knowing He loves her more than anyone else in this situation.
Asking boldly and with confidence that we will remain Aubry's primary care givers.

So I hang on tight to the back of this bike (see previous post) unable to see clearly where this road is leading but doing my best to laugh and enjoy the ride. May the joy of the Lord fill my heart and may I look differently at every day of this life I wake up to, for I never know what it will really hold.

Have a peaceful day,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When You Can't See

Isn't life like this picture?
While we think we may be steering or perhaps we are fooled to think our feet are actually leading us when in fact we are like Aubry May, standing, holding on, clueless as to what really lies ahead.

Aubry's last court date was back in April.
We were headed north on a plane when her court date went down so we got to miss out on the waiting and the judge and the legal terms and the blah, blah, blah.

Long story short--- nothing has changed. We still remain Aubry's relative caregivers and her bio-parents have an extended time to "get their stuff together".

Only time will tell.

I'm not sure how I feel about our court system;
often I see it as a highly dysfunctional system and other times I see how it got to where it is and why it must chug along the way it does.

I was happy that it was made official on the last set of documents that we do in fact wish to adopt little Miss Aubry May.
I was happy the judge got to read that,
the lawyers and parents got to read that
and now all I can do is hang on and wait blindly to see what the outcome will be.

With all of this taking place and Aubry talking more and more it's got me thinking about telling her about her story.

I've let the state know that Aubry will always know she is adopted, that if we do in fact adopt her, we'll always be open about who her bio-mom and bio-dad are as well as keep their dirty laundry under raps. We've been asked if we'd allow them to see her and our response is yes, as long as they are in a state to see her we would not deny her that.

I've wondered though, how will I tell her.
What will it sound like?
Last night I began to jot down her story in the form of a children's book,
one we could read to her as she grows that would tell her life and highlight the people and events that have made her story unique and wonderful.
Aubry May is loved by many and I want her to know that.
I want her to see her significance in Christ and know without a doubt that her bio-parents behavior reflects nothing on her.

I don't know.
Only time will tell.
Until then, I'll hold on and trust in The One who knows what lies ahead.

*so I wrote this post last Friday, May 17; then at 1:27 while I was proofing it a phone call came in.
From CPC.
It was Aubry's case worker calling to say Aubry's biological father dad called and wanted to set up visitation with Aubry.
It will be his first visit with her.
So trust what we can't see is obviously something I need to live out right now.
With a calm heart,

Friday, May 10, 2013

Simple Living

Housekeeping does not always fall on the top of my to-do list. After a full day of crafting with friends and their kids I sometimes have no desire to pick up a trashed house so I just go to bed; sometimes it's my schedule that keeps me hopping so housework has to wait. Mostly it's my desire for fun over work.
Either way when all our stuff is out it can drive me nuts!
I can feel overwhelmed and cluttered.
Like the Wallflowers song One Headlight, I look at my house and think "sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn".

I like things to be simple.
Recipes, relationships, my day.
While not all things can be and are simple there are some things that I have control over that can be simple. While I don't think I've ever lived a super complicated life I have lived a cluttered life, things, over-committed calendar, jam packed full pantry and closet, I've been there and have been slowly working on simple.

Here are a few ways I've cut back.

I've always been a simple party girl. Using household items on hand for decor and keeping presents to one, maybe two. OK, so there was that one Christmas where we bought WAY too many gifts, what a learning experience that was; but for birthdays I've never been a huge, rent a circus, feed the town kind of party thrower. Simple, meaningful, fun.

Our books.
A few years ago I really weeded out our books.
We love books but as I looked around my house I realized some books were better off in circulation where others could read them. I kept a few favorites, the classics and reference books. This freed up not only shelves but pieces of furniture was left empty and given away making our space simpler.

Our checkbook.
By refusing to buy things that serve no purpose or refusing to buy something new that I could get used or on the side of the road it simplified balancing our checkbook. Spending only cash helps with this too but I found that not spending makes things simple.

More recently I've started to simplify our food and meals.
Instead of grocery shopping weekly I look to my pantry and just shop when I really need to. Couponing has allowed me to build up a stockpile but I've found it's simpler to begin eating down on that stockpile as soon as it created. Some weeks I don't even look to sale fliers and saving websites because I'd rather not buy it than to buy it on sale. This does bug me when I wonder if I'm missing out on a really, really good deal or a free deal, but I'd rather have the simpler schedule and simpler pantry.

Most recently I've been working on my closet. Over 20 years ago I heard of a 10 item wardrobe and I've dreamed of it ever since. Each time I thought I was ready to go there I looked at my closet and just couldn't get rid of everything but 10 items. Last week I decided to go for it, kind of.
I packed up the majority of my clothes into the suitcase in the picture above and kept out the essentials. By packing them p and not giving all those extra clothes away I have a sense of security.
Did I just type that?
Did I just put my security in my pile of clothes? I think I did.
Oh no, perhaps I really do need to give those clothes away.

Currently my closet consists of:
2 pair jeans
2 pair shorts
2 pair of jean capris
2 pair of work jeans (mission trip staple)
10 tank tops (my main staple, need to thin this number)
5 t-shirts (traditional kind, wear these on mission trips)
5 nicer t-shirts (my other staple)
2 dresses (rarely wear)
2 skirts
1 button down shirt
1 cardigan
1 black blazer
1 brown blazer
1 white blazer
1 navy blazer
2 dress shirts
1 pair black dress pants
shoes-- lets not address that right now
jewelry -- I have far too much for someone who hasn't changed her earrings since 1999
6 hats
scarves (didn't count, they take up very little space)

I know, far from 10 items and making this list has inspired me to slim down my closet even more.

Wondering what I can do next to live simpler.
Instead of going all out simple I am finding it easier to make one small change at a time.

So I wonder, how do you live simple? 
What idea do you have to share with me?

Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Humbling of a New Englander

So I am a New Englander.
If you think you know or don't know at all where a New Englander is from let me tell you.

The states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island make up New England.
New York likes to think they're part of New England.
They're not.
Not that I don't love the state, but they're the border state of New England.

There's a mindset that comes with being from the heart of our country's birth.
We're tough- you try settling in a new country and live through a winter farming in New England.
We're right.
Our sports teams are the best.
We can do pretty much everything by ourselves.
Did I mention we're right; therefore our way is right.

We think the south is lacking, we may live here and the sun may shine and life may be great but the south is the south and well the north is just better.
Our states have the best mountains, beaches, homes, land, views and schools.
We're kind of prideful.

I was reminded of all of these things on a recent trip "home", sitting between 2 New England natives on a flight from Orlando to Providence. We got talking about the differences in southern versus northern mindsets. I shared these words from a southern friend, she said, "you'll all (speaking of New Englanders) pretty dead set on your state and your ways being the best"
My fellow Jetblue passengers looked at me, shrugged their shoulders and said "well we are".
We all chuckled with a sense of pride knowing we in deed are of a superior breed of American.

Now I say all of this to let you in on a very humbling experience I had.
Three weeks ago a group of 30 or more students and adults acceded onto my house.
Mind you Steve and I are collectors of free stuff.
We have old wood doors and pallets, rare wood and beams in various piles around our house. The inside seems never completed as we're always redoing or building something, yet somehow never finishing it.

But WE intend to.
On our own, one day.

These students came to my home to bless me.
To start and or complete projects I have only dreamed of competing.
They weeded gardens, created new gardens, build tables and chairs, painted a room, mopped my floor, cleaned up my clutter and did my dishes.

especially for this New England girl,
who can do it by herself,
who doesn't need help; after all I use to shovel the whole driveway after a snow storm; okay so I only did that once but I did it.

See it doesn't matter where we're from.
What school we went to, what sports team we cheer for or what type of weather we live through.
One state is no better than another and beauty surrounds each and every one of us no matter where we step our feet.

We can all use help and love, even when it comes to things that don't really matter, like the color of my empty room or the plants that get planted in my flower bed.

That New England mindset doesn't dictate my thoughts and actions anymore, they kind of simmer on top like the fat floating on my pot roast. I really don't think we're a better breed and I am kind of partial to the Chicago Bulls, colleges are colleges and good ones exists in the south; so you can see that this New Englander has chilled out in her New England thinking; but there was still this sense of "I can do it by myself" when it came to my home.

The morning they came I nearly had an anxiety attack and I felt I should clean everything up before they came. I actually had to leave and be gone until the last 30 minutes of their time here.

I was blessed.

I felt a little freer, a little lighter,
as if my brothers and sisters in Christ had shared my burden and lightened my load.
It was humbling
but rewarding.

I feel like I so didn't deserve this make-over, that someone else could have benefited, I mean after all I could have done any of this by myself.

It's not about by myself.
It's about unity,
It's about grace. No I didn't deserve this, but I got it and I am so thrilled about it.

I am still learning on this path and journey I am on.
Learning to allow others to bless me, help me, love me.
learning to let go of my "I can do it by myself" attitude,
learning to just let God...

Now some pictures from the fabulous home makeover.
My front courtyard and newly added beds around fence

New outdoor farm table and hanging pallets for plants (completed pics to come)

Close up of table with built in succulent garden
Custom painted sign to the right of my front door

Dance Room, painted pink with scripture over where the mirrors will hang

Bunkbeds. We put these up after the room was painted. Great spot for grandkids to sleep over!

And that my friends is one story in the Humbling of a New Englander.


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