On the Couch Musings

Today is Day 3 of Romaniv Day Camp (if you follow Wide Awake on Facebook I’ve been posting pics) and I’m home on the couch in a semi-reclined position, trying hard not to move.  It’s nothing serious, I just tweaked my back at Romaniv last Friday and it’s not too happy at me for continuing to go and lift wheelchairs and wrangle Andriy and stuff like that.  So, I’m taking a break today and resting my back so I can hopefully finish the week strong.  

   

 

Since I’m bound to the couch, per Dr. Jed’s orders, (well, as bound to the couch as I can be with three out of four kids at home) I thought I’d beat the boredom and write a blog post! There is a lot I could say.  I have A LOT rumbling around in my brain right now.  But I don’t feel very deep at the moment, so I’ll just give you a sneak peek into the craziness that is my brain right now.  

*Addy went to Romaniv in my place today.  We have been pretty short on volunteers this week due to university exams (booooo).  I knew my back needed a break, but wasn’t sure how the team would manage with one less body, so….Addy to save the day!!!  She likes to go to Romaniv occasionally, but sometimes it scares her a little bit.  Understandably so, I mean, Romaniv scares plenty of adults!  But, she really does love the boys very much and tries to stay up on all the details of their lives.  🙂  She is a great help when she comes, it’s actually pretty amazing!  She just dives on in with no fear and does what needs to be done.  Watching Addy with the boys is so sweet…Jed better take pics!

  

*We want our kids to be involved in the work God has called us to here, but sometimes (aka, always) I question how to best do that.  What does it do to our kids to expose them to such suffering, such darkness?  How will this shape the way they see the world?  I know mostly it will shape them for the good, but what about their coping skills?  How will they cope with being exposed to such trauma?  Sometimes I can’t even bear the weight of it.  Is it fair to expect them to?  We never ever make Addy and Ezra go.  Hava and Seth are too young, although they always beg to go.  They so want to be involved, but it’s just not safe for them there.  I wish we had someone to help guide us through this.  

*We desperately owe our supporters a newsletter.  Oy.  I try to stay very faithful with Facebook updates and blog updates…but somehow newsletters get left in the dust.  If you are waiting on pins and needles for a newsletter from Wide Awake…it’s coming!  I promise!!!  😉 (another task for my couch-bound day)

  

*Did I already blog that our adoption dossier has been submitted to the Ukrainian government?  YES IT HAS!!  That means if it is accepted “as is”  then we should have an appointment to begin the in-country adoption process sometime next month!  I’m so excited I can’t even bear it.  Please pray with us that the government will easily accept our documents and that they won’t require anything extra from us because of our living situation (US citizens with temporary residence here).  THANKS! 

*Seth is outside playing with the hose wearing Havalah’s bathing suit.  Whatevs.  

*Seth is going to be 5 next week. FIVE!!!!  I don’t know how that happened.  For his birthday he has requested hockey gear, a motorcycle, and a bobsled.  Ummmm….yeah, he’s probably going to be disappointed.  😉

*Still praying every day for adoptive parents to step up for our boys.  Please, don’t be afraid.  It will be hard, but it will be worth it.  

*Ezra is outside reading right now.  By choice.  I had nothing to do with it.  Sure, it’s a Minecraft book- but it’s a BOOK.  I am astounded and a little afraid to blink, hence this magical moment disappear forever. 

  

*Next week we will be hosting our first short-term medical team.  Eek!  I’m nervous, but excited.  It is a team of 4  medical professionals from Germany.  They are being sent by Humedica, a German relief organization.  They’ll spend every day at Romaniv, helping us to do baseline assessments of each boy’s functional skills with our new assessment tool.  The team will be here for two weeks.  I hope they will enjoy their time here!  I kinda have butterflies about it.  

   

 

Welp, that about does it.  That’s a small portion of the things I’m thinking about as I sit here today.  Don’t even get me started with thoughts on homeschooling and language learning and our visit to the US this summer and how our adoption fits in to all this.  Multi-tasking, anyone?

It’s a full life.  It’s a wonderful life.  Thank you Jesus for this crazy life you’ve given us! 

Quiet Giddiness. Giddiness About Quiet.

I can’t even believe what is happening right now at my house. I’m feeling giddy, but I’m afraid to get too giddy, lest I fall in to premature giddiness.

We are having quiet time right now…and it’s quiet.

I know.  Unbelievable.

You see, I feel I have good reason to be giddy about this.  I’m almost afraid to say it, but I believe we have entered a new phase in our family- uncharted territory, if you will.  We may have just entered the phase of “Quiet Time that is Actually Quiet”. Eureka!!!!!!!

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Once, ten and a half years ago, we had a baby girl.  Then, 21 months after that we had a baby boy. Then 16 months after that we welcomed our first foster baby.  That sweet first foster baby ushered us into what I’ll call “The Season of the Baby”.

(I can call it that now, with a smile, but during that time it could have been more honestly called “The Season of Insanity” or “The Season of Non-Stop Newborns for 5 years” or “The Season of G-Tubes and Alarms and Syringes and Gear Up the Wazoo” or “The Season of No Sleep for Five Years”.)

During that time of fostering we had a total of 10 infants, two of them being Havalah and Seth.  🙂 At one point during that time we had a five-year-old, a three-year-old, a 12 week old (Hava), a 9 week old who was born at 29 weeks with multiple special needs, and a Korean high school student.   Oh, and just to make things even more exciting, Jed worked in a city an hour away and was finishing his degree in night school.  Jesus take the wheel.  I get panicky just thinking about it.  We loved foster parenting, and I can without a doubt say it was one of the most difficult and most wonderful experiences of my life, but it is not for the faint of heart.  I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, no regrets, I’m just saying it was a tad exhausting in every way imaginable.

(You can read more about our fostering journey here, here, here, and here.)

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BUT, right this very minute Seth is upstairs playing PLAYING!!! in the bedroom, all alone, and he has been for the past hour.  I told him we were going to have quiet time and he didn’t have to sleep (naps don’t go over well with Seth), but he needed to play quietly and not come out until the timer went off.  The timer just went off and he said he wanted to stay and play longer!!!!  I CAN’T BELIEVE IT.  Seth has just recently really begun to play with toys, and because of some of his prenatal history I never expected a ton of independent play from him.  Boy oh boy, is he proving me wrong.  Just like he always has.  🙂  What an awesome boy.  Hava loves to play alone, so quiet time is like heaven for her.  Addy and Ez are home from school today, reading in the other room.  Ezra is reading…ALONE.  Somebody pinch me.

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So, yeah, I’m a little excited about the quiet time possibilities.  I feel like a whole new world has opened up.  Maybe I could bake, or study language, or read a book, or teach Addy and Ez without 236 interruptions or… think!  So far I’ve baked pumpkin cupcakes and swept the floor and written this post, and I still hear him playing away.

Quiet Time for the win!

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Skype, Cupcakes, and an Angry Finger.

Hi there!  How’s your Sunday?

Mine was fab: great time at church with friends, yummy crockpot lunch by yours truly, super fun skype on the computer with my dear Deanna while Ezra skyped with Jed on the phone,which led to Ukrainian friends on the Jed-skype asking Deanna on the computer-skype what Ukrainian city she and her husband adopted their baby from (Yep, it was confusing in person too).  Ha! 

I had grand plans to totally unload on you tonight.  I was going to fill you in on all my deep thoughts as I begin to really process the trip.  You were going to get quite the earful.  Lucky you! 😉  Then I started making these cupcakes with Ez and totally mangled my finger in my immersion blender.  Turns out it’s not a good idea to stick your finger next to the blade and then accidentally turn the blender on.  Oh the blood…nasty.  

Yeah, contrary to what the picture would lead you to believe, I actually am a Registered Nurse.  I promise.  It’s just a little known fact that nurses’ homes have the most lame first aid kits ever.  I’m always the friend who sends her kids to other friends for bandaids because we rarely have them. Hence the ramshackle bandaging job- I was lucky to find the two bandaids I’ve got on right now!  I could probably use a couple stitches, but where do you get stitches on a Sunday night? The ER?  No thanks, I’ll take the nasty scar.  Hehe…

All that to say, typing without your pointer finger is quite laborious, and not exactly conducive to deep thought unloading.  Darn.  I was feeling really inspired too!  

On another note, Jed should be in the air right now, heading home to us!!!  Yipppppeeeeeeeee!!!!!  I can’t wait to be a whole fam again. Next time any of us head across the pond we’ll all be together, and our tickets will be one-way.  Crazy, crazy, crazy.  

Welp, that’s all I got.  My finger is angry with me so I better go eat another cupcake and watch Call the Midwife.  

For what it’s worth, the cupcakes were delish.  🙂

Dancing, In-Betweening, Potty-Training, Eating, and Such

* My kids are in love with the song “Dynamite”.  They request it every single morning and every single afternoon.  I’ve gotta admit their dance moves are pretty sweet.  

A sampling of the sweetness

* Yesterday was a hard day.  Being “in-between” stinks.  

  • We are not in Ukraine, but sometimes I feel like we’re not really here either.  
  • We are focused on preparing for our life there, but still trying to truly live our life here.  
  • We’re not saying goodbye yet, but know we will soon…how do you navigate that?
  • We want to be fully engaged with our church body here, yet we have to start handing off some of our responsibilities, and we’re spending more weekends away speaking at other places.  How do we navigate that?  How can you be fully present…when you aren’t present?  Ha!
  • It’s all very tricky and I have no idea how to transition well.  One step at a time, right?  One obedience at a time.  We say YES Lord to being fully present to what you call us to today.  

* I’m potty-training Seth.  He gets an M&M every time he goes potty on the toilet.  Good news?  We’re quickly running out of our M&M stash.  He gets a popsicle every time he poops on the toilet.  Bad news?  We haven’t really made a dent in our popsicle stash.  You do the math.  Then come over and help me do laundry.  Thanks. 

I guess he felt left out of the glasses club

* The Marr family, who is adopting Alexei, one of our Lost Boys, is traveling in 2 days!  Knowing that they’re heading to the place we love so very much brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.  Please pray for the Marrs!  They are bringing light where it is needed so badly.  Woohoo!

* I’ll be in Ukraine in 20 days.  I can’t wait!!!!  I wonder what it will feel like to be there this time, knowing it’s our future home?  Hmmmm….

* I’m excited to eat Ukrainian food in 20 days. Bring.It.On.

Yum.

*After such a rough day yesterday, today has been awesome.  God is so faithful to give us just what we need, just when we need it.  Today I woke up remembering a word that was spoken over us at the very beginning of this journey:

 “It is your joy to partner with God in this.”  

When did I forget that?  It is my complete and utter joy to partner with Him!  It is my JOY!!!!!   Next time I start focusing on the struggle and stop focusing on the joy, feel free to dump cold water on my head, or whatever it takes to stop the whining.  Seriously.  The enemy is lame, and defeated.  Jesus wins the day. 

The end.  

Whole Lotta Book Lovin’

It’s Sunday afternoon and all I want to do is read a good book.  Isn’t it the best feeling to know there’s a good book waiting for you when you get into bed at night?  I love cozying in on a Sunday afternoon with a really great book and a cup of coffee.  I love when you’re reading a book that’s so good you think about it when you’re driving or doing dishes.  Mmmmm, three cheers for a good book!  Bring it.  

Most of the time I prefer stories over self-help type books, but I’ve learned to expand my palate a bit over the years.  Since my teen years there have been a few books that have big time impacted my life, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re looking for a good read.  These aren’t my “just for fun” books, but they are books that totally changed my life.  Just typing this makes me want to go back and read them all over again!!  Yep, they are that good.  

1.  Perpetua: A Bride, A Martyr, A Passion by Amy Rachel Peterson.  
I first read this book when Addy was just a baby.  It left a ginormous mark on my life.  Perpetua is the story a real woman who was martyred in Carthage in 203 AD.  Perpetua kept a diary during her imprisonment.  This novel is based off of that diary and expanded to include the three years between her conversion to Christianity and her execution.  She was a noblewoman, a wife, and a new mother when she gave away her life for Christ.  Reading this as a new mother myself made it all the more impacting.  It was Perpetua’s joy to give everything for Jesus.  Do I count it all as joy to live for Him?  Wow.  Challenging stuff.  This is a truly beautiful book that I will never forget.  Now if I could just remember who I loaned it to last….  🙂 

2.  The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.  I.LOVE.THIS.BOOK.  Richard Stearns left a powerful corporate job to become the president of World Vision.  In this book  he asks us to really look at what God expects of us.  Is our faith just about attending church and living “good” lives?  Or does God expect more from us?  This book inspired me to really open my eyes, really open my heart and live a life wide awake to what the Father is asking of me.  The Western church has a hole in it’s Gospel.  We have forgotten the poor, the broken, the destitute.  What do we plan to do about it?  I am telling you, this book is not to be missed.  

Christ has no body on earth by yours,
no hands but yours, 
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
-St. Teresa of Avila

3.  In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. 
Jed tried to get me to read this book for so long.  I kept passing it up, assuming it wasn’t my style.  The title didn’t grab me, I knew the author was an intellectual…no thanks!  I don’t like to have to think too hard when I’m reading.  🙂  But, then Jed described the premise for the book and I decided to give it a whirl.  I’m so glad I did!!  
  Henri Nouwen was a well-known priest and teacher of spirituality and psychology at Harvard and Yale for 20 years.  He was successful and admired by many.  As he says in the book, “As I entered my fifties…I came face to face with the simple question, ‘Did becoming older bring me closer to Jesus?'”  Nouwen decided he didn’t like the way his life was headed and he wanted more.  So, when presented with the opportunity to become the priest for a community of disabled adults he said yes.  Thus began his new life learning what is truly important.  He gave away notoriety and fame to serve the ones who our society sees as the least.  This book is his reflections on leadership from the perspective of serving that community.  It’s an easy read and chalk full of gems.  Read it!!!

4.  (Honorable Mention)  The Mark of a World Changer by Ron Luce.  
This book was the first book I ever read that really hit me in the guts.  I read it during my junior year in high school, and then again during my senior year.  My life was changed.  Of course it’s totally written for teenagers and I’m sure if I read it now I would laugh at it’s cheesiness, but it truly impacted my life.  
  During my high school years I went on mission trips every summer with an organization called Teen Mania.  This book was written by the founder of Teen Mania, Ron Luce.  It’s all about living for Jesus- sold out for Him- every day.  As a teenager who was prone to hopping from from the spiritual high of one youth conference to another, this book called me out.  Living for Jesus is not just about what feels good.  Living for Jesus is about giving everything for Him- even when you don’t feel like it.  
  
We’ve sold so much of our stuff along this journey to Ukraine.  All of our stuff fits in our two bedrooms.  Can you believe this book has made it through all the stuff-purging?  Oh yeah baby.  It was that life-changing.  Maybe I’m saving it for my kids, or maybe I just need to keep it around to remind me of the time when Jesus first grabbed a hold of me for good.  Regardless of the reason, there is no way I could ever get rid of that book.  It’s full of cheese, but it’s also full of truth. 

So, what have you been reading lately?  Do you have any great book recommendations that had a big impact on your life?  Lay ’em on me!