Friday, December 31, 2010

The Mountain

It seems about right that May was the last time that I would write anything.

I'm not where I want to be as look into the new year.

Though, I'm right where I need to be as I look into the new year.

I believe I'm right where I'm supposed to be, and the only thing holding me here is God's mighty grace.

I'm not home like I would like to be. I'm not a mother of three like I would like to be. I'm not in a different home. I'm not shuffling papers for home studies or notaries. I'm not cooking many dinners. I'm not leading any Bible studies or leading anything, really.

I'm just not what I thought I would be right now.

But that's not a bad thing. In fact, I believe that it's the best thing for me right now. I believe that if anything were better, that's where I would be.

I also believe that God's setting me up.

You ever get that feeling? It's like when you're driving over a hill, climbing up and up, and any moment you're going to get the view of the spectacular snow-covered mountain that's on the other side. It's like when I was just getting to know my husband, and I just knew that there was a very grand adventure before us, more deep and powerful than any other adventures in my life. I will tell you. I had no idea the glory that was before me as I stepped into a future with him.

Yeah. That's where I think I am.

There's something glorious ahead. It's more glorious than all the ideas I can have of what God may have ordained.

And it's there. Just over that hill. It's there. It's not what I'm expecting. It may not even be what I want or think I want.

This year so many things have happened the way that no one wanted. I didn't want to grieve the loss of baby Charlie. I didn't want my mother or dear family friend to battle cancer. I didn't want my niece's adoption to be delayed. I didn't want Maggie to face a brain tumor. I didn't want my husband to lose a job only to remain jobless.

So as I head into 2011, I keep on keeping on, up the hill. Up, up, up. When I'll see the glory, I don't know. It's coming though. Just like the grace given Charlie's parents to give glory to God in all trials. Just like the grace given in the patience to endure frightening cancer. Just like the grace bringing home Seble. Just like the grace in Maggie's humor and strength of character. Just like the grace that sustains Casey's spirit.

We'll all see that mountain.

Monday, May 24, 2010

That Wasn't So Hard!

After feeling a bit overwhelmed by Haddon's upcoming evaluation, the Lord truly provided in many ways:

1. He allowed for Casey to go up with me by stirring my sister-in-law's heart to offer to take our daughter for the day while we both went up to Portland. This ended up being a much needed gesture, and I didn't even know it! We hit some pretty big traffic jams on the way up, and were a bit late. We also had to figure out which building we needed to be in as the medical center where we were going was very large! Two heads were way better than one frazzled one!

2. He opened up the ears of the panel of 5 specialists we dealt with that day. They were able to delight in and enjoy our son as well.

3. Because they listened, and because I know that prayers were with us that day, they didn't feel comfortable labeling our son with autism. This is a great praise. It's something that we will continue to look at depending on Haddon's growth is areas of concern, but one of our biggest fears was the tendency to want to just put a label on children.

4. Casey, Haddon and I got to spend a good portion of that day together, just the three of us. That is something that doesn't happen too much, and it seems like, though he was worn out, Haddon really liked having mommy and daddy all to himself.

All in all, there wasn't anything discovered that we don't already know about our son. One of the reasons to have this particular evaluation was to work with insurance in getting referrals necessary to get the help that we feel our son needs. Something that was kind of interesting was the order that one doctor put in for a blood test to be done for Haddon. She wanted to cover all the bases by screening him to make sure there are no chromosomal issues. This isn't something that worries us or bothers us- it's just interesting, and we'll see how that goes when the time comes.

So, praise be to God that it wasn't so hard! He always provides perfectly, and by His grace we'll continue to be given the wisdom in how to help our sweet boy. We truly love him just the way he is, and we will do everything we can to help him grow and learn.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for us as we are advocates for our boy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Today is Tuesday. Tomorrow is Wednesday. Then it is Thursday.

I have been thinking about Thursday for a while. Thursday was supposed to happen two months ago, and it has to happen now instead.

Thursday is a day that I am reluctant about, and yet think it's time to do. Thursday was pushed on me, and I resisted. Then we decided that Thursday would happen in our own way.

As Thursday comes, I'm having a harder time with it than I thought I would. I'm pretty emotional.

So what is Thursday?

Early that morning we will take our sweet boy up to Portland and have a three-hour evaluation. People who don't know him are going to try and interact with him and help him play "games" and see if he shows true symptoms of autism. They are, hopefully, going to listen to us and take our observations into account. They are going to read what others have written, and then talk with us about what they think- because they are supposed to be experts.

Thursday has been played down in my mind, but really, now that it's close, I'm feeling like it's kind of big. I don't want our boy labeled with something that is inaccurate.

I love our son just the way he is.

I love our son too much to not help him grow as I know he can.

So Thursday is close. I'm nervous. It's a bit harder than I expected.

But God has already ordained Thursday. He's ordained all who our son is and all that he will be. So as hard as it is to face Thursday, it won't be as hard as it would be if I didn't know the Solid Rock that is harder than any Thursday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not Me! Monday!: When Life Hands You Lemon Cake...

Welcome to another installment of Not Me! Monday! This is a blog carnival created by another fun-loving mom, MckMama. Go visit her blog to find out what other's are not doing!

As the Stutzman family prepared for one of their biggest fundraising events for their Ethiopian adoption, I thought that I would be extra helpful. You see, they were hosting a silent suction and dessert. So, of course, I was taking some dessert.

I certainly didn't think that I would be even more awesome if I not only made layer bars, but also a lemon cake- of which the ingredients were just hanging around the cupboards. I didn't proceed to make the cake, having every confidence that it would turn out beautifully. And I furthermore didn't imagine how I would decorate it specially so that it looked even more tantillizing than it most likely already would look. I didn't imagine lines of people oo-ing and aw-ing over the cake's beauty as it sat in my cake platter. Not me!

After baking this cake, and getting ready to "flip" it out of the round pan, I didn't run into trouble. Nope. No, I didn't.

It didn't stick to the pan at all. Nope. It didn't.

It didn't crumble. Nope. It didn't.

I didn't try to piece it together, desperately trying to cover up any flaws in hopes of still creating the magnificent cake. I didn't imagine what a great victory it would be to overcome said flaws, and still make a beautiful masterpiece. Nope. I'm not that delusional!

The second cake round didn't behave exactly as the first. Nope. It didn't.

Even after that, I didn't still believe that cake would be beautiful... uh, no, really, I didn't! Not me!

After frosting the first layer and placing the second on top, I didn't still believe that despite the crumbling cake could still look presentable to actually charge people to taste! Nope!

Finally, reality didn't hit me. I didn't laugh at my stupidity and foolishness. Nah. Because all of this didn't happen, right?


Monday, April 26, 2010

Hey, Soul Sister

It was past 9:00 in the evening, and Norah and I were just getting home from an evening at a baby shower.

The radio was quiet because we were talking, but then we heard a song that both of my children like. It's catchy. It's fun.

It's "Hey Soul Sister" by Train.

Train - Hey, Soul Sister (Official Music Video) - The most popular videos are here

Instead of going inside and getting my child to bed, we sat in Casey's truck and danced, laughed, clapped, snapped and sang.

So Norah was up about 3 minutes later.... who cares?! I will always remember how we smiled, and had a moment together so filled with fun and joy. I will always remember that she sang the "hey's" a little off key. I will always remember that moment. It was a sweet mother-daughter moment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Glory of Green

Living in Oregon has an advantage that none can deny. It is green. In fact, it is so green that we hardly notice how green it is, but today I noticed.

I was on my way home from running around with my daughter, and just was distracted. I ended up not turning where I was supposed to to loop back around to our home, and instead, began down the road towards my in-laws' home in the woods.

After getting irritated with myself, and turning around to get back on course, I was struck by the sheer beauty of the forest not 2 miles from our home.

It was green. It was an electrifying green. It was so green with the new leaves of spring that my breath was taken away and the irritation of having to turn around melted in the cool warmth of the shades and hues of growing things. I was so taken aback by how green and bright it all was!

And in that moment, my heart filled with praise. Our Creator made such loveliness, and it is only a glimpse of His beauty, His holiness, and His power.

There is nothing in the theory of evolution that accounts for such beauty. Beauty is not functional. Beauty isn't necessary for survival. Beauty is simply the revelation of God. For nothing is beautiful unless it holds the attributes of the Maker of beauty, and that is simply a gift of grace. Being able to see something beautiful, is being able to see a glimpse of God. And being able to see God gives us the greatest joy. Being able to experience joy in beauty is a gift. Being given a gift unearned is grace.

Isn't that glorious?!

Read Psalm 96

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eye Love...

... how the Lord cares and provides for me beyond what I even need.

I've been at my new job at LensCrafters for about two months now. I am learning more and more all the time, and getting to know my co-workers better and better. Being there is a greater blessing than I even thought it would be, and the anxiety that I had over accepting the position seems silly now. God has had a hand in every step in the transition from The Children's Place to LensCrafters. And I am so humbled and grateful for how He has been at work.

Before the new year began, I went into the store to help my mom pick out her first pair of "all the time" glasses. We were helped by the store manager, and I was pleased to get to catch up with an old high school chum. As I chatted with him and helped my mother decide on lenses, the Lord was laying groundwork for a plan for a new phase for me and my family.

I had become increasingly discouraged with the hours I was working at The Children's Place, and equally discouraged with the amount of time that I was away from my children and how much that I was getting back for my time. I wasn't complaining (well, not too much), and I was so thankful for the job that I had as the Lord provided it for our family so wonderfully. But it was beginning to wear on me.

Weeks went by, and out of the blue, I had a message from my high school friend. "My boss liked you, want a job," was the title. As I read, I was very surprised to learn that there was interest in me applying to work at LensCrafters. I went in, picked up an application, and the rest is history.

I cannot deny the hand of Providence in this. I work a more consistent number of hours, make more money, and get off in the evening much earlier than I did before. I feel that my time away from my children is more "worth it" as I can earn more by meeting personal goals and working as a member of a team to meet store goals.
There is a lot to learn (and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT), and that is always a good thing (because I think learning is good). I also now I have a job where I get to help people every time I am there. I am helping people see better and look better. I feel good about sharing the products we offer at LensCrafters because there is not another store that I will go to for my own glasses. That in and of itself, is important to me.

Of course I wish that I could just be at home all the time now, but I know that this is just a season as Casey finishes school, and like so many, have had to "do what we have to do" to make ends meet.

I'm just so grateful that the Lord saw fit to offer such grace to me as I try to do my best to care for my family and balance that with needing to be in the workplace. He moved hearts to think of me and take action. He opened up my own heart to step out in faith and accept a position where I didn't know anyone but one person that I really hadn't spoken to in eleven years. He eased my discouragement by putting me in a place that is so much better for everyone in my family. He has even allowed me to stay on at The Children's Place and change out the window displays. This keeps the merchandise discount, which we use, and keeps the connections with the people that I dearly love in that store.

So yeah, eye I love how the Lord cares and provides for me beyond what I even need!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Me! Monday: Hard-to-Handle Hosiery

Welcome to Not Me! Monday!, a blog carnival created by MckMama. If you visit her blog, you can see what others are NOT doing. This is a chance to laugh at yourself and with others over those things that we wish never happened....


Most people can relate to beginning a new job and wanting to do well and make a good impression on your co-workers and boss. Well, this last week, I'm not too sure how I did:

Since the sun was breaking through the usually cloudy days in Oregon, I thought that it would be delightful to wear a dress to work. So off I went in a work-appropriate attire, but as I walked in the the store, I noticed that my thigh-high pantyhose were not behaving. With each step, I could feel that I was in for a battle.

That day I was expecting my mother to visit me at work, so I certainly was not staring out the large glass windows looking for her to the point that I was barely paying attention to what was going on in the actual store. I certainly was not panicked or preoccupied with the idea of my stockings falling down. Not Me!

I did not walk around the store gingerly, hoping that it might prevent... uh.... slippage. Nor did a constantly tug up on the slippery stockings as a walked around helping and checking in with customers. Not Me!

I did not hide behind the counter to hike up said pantyhose, trying to avoid being seen by employees and customers. I did not fearfully wait on several people in a row, just hoping that I wouldn't have to walk much. Not Me!

When my mother did finally show up, I did not beg her to go next door to Target and purchase regular pantyhose for me. After returning with the pantyhose, I was not so busy with customers that my mother LEFT WITH THE SAVING PANTYHOSE! And I absolutely didn't reveal to my current customer my problem, hand her over to my associate, take one last trip behind the counter to "get everything nice and high", and nearly sprint out the door to find my mother. Oh no. I'm not that pathetic. Certainly Not Me!

By the way, my new male manager that I would like to make a good impression on, wasn't looking at me weird either. So that's good.

By the time I got to the fabric store, the stupid pantyhose were certainly not down to my ankles. And thank goodness I didn't have to hide behind a giant fabric bin to "get everything nice and high" again. That would be ridiculous, and Not Me!

Walking briskly back to the store, I certainly didn't have my pantyhose nearly fall beneath my knees again before I could make it to the bathroom and change. I didn't get confused glances from the girls at the reception desk of the doctor's office either. Nope, Not Me!

Upon returning to work, it was nice to see that my customer "in the know," wasn't laughing or entertained at all by my calamity.

*Sigh* Oh well, at least that was NOT ME!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Had a Conversation with Haddon

The title says it, really. My son had a conversation with me. For most parents, talking with their child is just something that happens naturally and at a regular time in their development. It's something that flows with time, and it's hardly anything to note because it's just normal. I know. I have one child that I talk with and have talked with for years now. She has opinions that she expresses verbally, and questions, requests, and observations.

But not my son.

My son points. My son says words that take me asking him to repeat several times before I understand. My son is more of a mystery. I don't know what my son is thinking or feeling. I have to guess a lot.

Today, I talked with my son. He pointed some, repeated words after me, and said things on his own.

He asked for juice, both with his words and actions. He clarified which beverage he wanted. He encouraged me by telling me "good job" when I got the correct drink for him. And he said "thank you."

It's not a new interaction, and it still has much room to grow. I'll take it though. I talked with my son.

I love my son.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Enough in the New

Just because this blog was silent for over a month, doesn't mean that the grace has stopped.

- Haddon continues to speak more and more. His teacher nearly always has positive reports for his days in preschool, and the concerns that she has brought up are being resolved as he gets more comfortable with her and his classmates.

- Working has been a challenge, but has allowed me to be in the "world" a little more and be a testitmony to God's great love and grace. I hope that I am given more and more opportunities to share the truth in love and gentleness.

- Our needs are always met. Casey's job continues to be difficult for him, and he longs for a better opportunity to use his skills and better provide for us. But in this season, he has been in a position to work on his schooling and make steps towards his educational goals. Other jobs may not provide that chance.

- We have been able to watch a journey towards adoption begin for my sister's family, and seeing that waiting list number get smaller and smaller.

- I have been helping my grandmother with her finances, as she has built up quite a lot of consumer debt. Within the last few months, I've been able to reduce it to the point where this month she will be making the final payment to start 2010 debt-free! This is a tremendous blessing to me, as it has ben a 5-year journey that we have shared.

- Norah is becoming an intelligent and funny little girl, who, though she has her moments, gives us such joy and laughter. I look forward to seeing how she will grow in wisdom and in the Word over the coming years.

- My brother-in-law, who was mostly unemployed for a year and had to be stay-at-home dad to his sweet little girl, while his wife had to provide, got a job in the last few months. Now, mommy's home with little Isla, and daddy is in the workplace where he belongs!

So, I don't know what this new year holds except a few things:
1. A nephew will join our family in February. (Congrats to Tyler and Candace)
2. A niece will join our family from Ethiopia, and is most likely already growing in her birth mother's womb.(Congrats to The Stutzmans)
3. Another niece or nephew will enter our family in the summer. (Congrats to Kyle and Kari)
4. Prayerfully Casey will complete his Masters Degree, but even if he doesn't, he'll get closer.
5. God will be at work, still seated on the throne.

That's enough.