Thursday, December 30, 2010

Three Weeks, Almost

So, there was a court date today and I should learn soon if/when the baby is going home to her mom. I had one person tell me that it is possible she could go home any day. It makes my heart hurt, thinking about it, but I've been praying that God would just reach down into the mom's life, and the baby's life, and give them security, safety, and peace. I so hope that there isn't a day they don't know the Lord. We pray for mom every night, and I have to really check my heart to know that I am really praying for her, and not just for me.

I know I have so many people praying for us, loving on us, both near and far. i know that love and those prayers are what is sustaining me on this roller coaster ride.

Lately, as I've picked her up from school, I tell her I love her "to the moon and back" and now, when I tell her I love her, she says "love you and back." Talk about melting my heart. I so wish you could see pictures to know how beautiful she is, but let me tell you, you just wouldn't believe her preciousness!

And, this new mama is out...going to sleep for a few hours before the (nearly) inevitable middle of the night wake up call.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

One week

It's amazing how much things can change in one week. I can be really productive from 830 to midnight. I can also be surprisingly useful from 6 to 7 in the morning. Suddenly, it makes sense why I cannot remember ever seeing my mom asleep.

I am in love. Big time love. Heart-wrenching, gut-dropping love. I tell everyone her hugs are so sweet they're like candy. I cannot get enough of them. At work today, when I closed my eyes I saw her face. I missed her like crazy. She goes to see her mom for the first time tomorrow and I'm trying not to be anxious. I pray for mom, and for the babe entrusted to me, for however long.

And that's about it from this new mama. Being almost 38 with a young kiddo is a good reminder of why our child-bearing years are early in life. But I wouldn't trade a minute...except maybe for the screaming tantrums. But that's it. Promise.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I am ready for a new chapter in my life to start. I am ready to live for someone else and not just for myself. I am ready for God to use me to make a life brighter. I am ready.

Or so I think. I am thinking about tomorrow, meeting with the woman who's doing my home study. Will she think I'm ready? Is my house ready? Is the kid's room ready? Am I emotionally/physically/fiscally prepared for the change that could be coming my way?

Am I ready to wait, and wait some more? Am I ready to know how badly we humans really treat one another? Am I ready to love the way a hurt child needs to be loved? Am I ready to let that child go, and in the process, have my heart shattered? Am I?

Those are my questions and my prayers as I head to bed tonight. I know what I am able to do and who I am able to be is perfectly orchestrated by God, but it's SO hard to turn off all the questions and the doubts, and to quiet the stubborn, insufficient places within me.

This is my prayer tonight: God, you are so good. you give us all that we need to take each breath. You are a good, loving, generous Father, who gives to us in abundance. Lord, do not let me rest on that abundance. Do not let me stagnate in my own insecurities. Father. let me trust you now, and every day, that you lead me down paths that are good for me and glorifying to you. Thank you, Lord, for your hand guiding me to this point. Thank you for sweet, loving friends who have supported me on this journey. Thank you, without measure, for the perfect life and gruesome death of your Son, which allow me to stand before you and continue to ask for more than I deserve. Lord, give me grace on this journey. Let me show some sliver of your light to Chris, who will be conducting my home study. Let me love the children you place in my care. Help me to gently and genuinely pray for their families, that even while their kids are with me, you would knit them back together and make them whole, through your Son. Lord, let me love the way you love. Let me pour into these little lives the same kind of sacrificial love you have poured into me. Lord, show me again and again that the right path is almost never the easiest path. Move in me, Lord, so that I may love these kids until it hurts me, so that their hearts and bodies and lives can heal. And I pray, Lord, that these kids and their families would run to You and cling to You as the one who provides more than we can ever ask. Lord, may it be true, now more than ever, that I cannot make things worse. Amen.

I think I'm ready.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Today, waiting, and more joy.

I sit here, looking out over my Saturday, contemplating the "need to do" and "want to do" lists, wondering if there is any way to merge them and still enjoy the day. I am so selfish with my time, I want to hold onto it, ride the last minute of it until it's gone. Even then, sometimes, I manage to feel sad about its departure, like there should just be more time. I am prayerful this morning. I want to make this day something memorable, not just another in a string of things to do and places to be. I pray for discipline to do the things I think I should do in order to truly enjoy the things I want to do. Ah, the conundrum. Because, really, I could stay in my pajamas all day, drinking coffee, watching movies, and fritter the whole day away. If I do that, though, I'll be mad tomorrow, and frustrated when I start the day on Monday. This past week was such a joy, I don't know if I want to risk ruining Monday from here, the start of Saturday.

I feel like I am constantly waiting these days. Apparently having something "out there" that I really want creates anticipation I could not have imagined. Even as I wait, I ponder how much harder it is going to be than I think. Once, I told my pastor that the reason I wanted to be married and have kids was so that I could see grace up close and personal. I wanted to know the heaviness of loving someone so much that I would do anything for them, move mountains if I had to, and think, in the same thought, of how much they need and how hard it is. I know that's not grace in the classic sense, but I hope you can see what I mean. What's the saying? God loves you the way you are, but too much to let you stay that way. That's the gist, the future I see. Loving whole-heartedly, knowing that it is going to be a tough road.

Last week was full of good days. I had the one year anniversary of my doc telling me I was cancer free. I was told my home study could be scheduled (I still haven't heard anything. I was told they had 7-10 days to schedule it, so--no surprise--I'm waiting). I feel like my interactions were fruitful and true, definitely God-ordained. I got to visit a friend with a new cancer diagnosis, to hear his heart and how God is working in him during this scary time. I spent one day with my awesome niece, just the two of us. Then, Friday night, 3 big kids came over to my house and we played volleyball, ordered pizza, and watched movies. Nothing huge, but fun all the same. Oh, and we laughed. We laughed when John said the same funny thing over & over. We laughed when we chased Kristina across the field, we laughed when Lori tried to roll the ball up her leg but ended up kicking it. I hadn't laughed so much in a very long time. I mean, full on, bent over, laughing so hard I couldn't breathe laughing. Amazing. God given. Love. And when pizza time came, I asked the kids to talk about one way they'd seen God move during that day, and the typical things came up, weather, surprise breaks, people being nice when the didn't have to, and (not from me) the laughter. It was a good day!

I guess that's what I want more of. Days that stand out, and then blend in, because of the joy that is contained therein. (Did I just steal that from someone? Maybe. I'll just say that I liked it and it sounded good.)

Here's to more joy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fragments & such

I have started writing lots of things lately, but haven't had time to finish any of them. More accurately, I haven't had the presence of mind to finish things. I will start, get a few sentences in, then my mind will scatter. Don't worry if I can't finish this post, at least you'll get some of the craziness wandering my head.

Work is fine. Not uber-challenging, but a good balance for all the other stuff going on. Do you know I have to have a full FBI background check, a fire inspection, a TB test, psychotropic med. training and about a hundred other minute details BEFORE CPS will schedule someone to come do a home study? I know that now. For some reason I thought that I could accomplish the bazillion things I needed to do in a short time. Ummm...not so much. It took me a month to get all the minutia accomplished. Today, my caseworker FINALLY told me that she had everything she needed to contact the company in charge of home studies to let them know they could start the process. Alleluia!

It seems I have been obsessed with this whole foster care/adoption thing, but there have been other things going on. Kari & Ryan tied the knot a couple of weeks back. Their wedding was beautiful and amazing and sweet. Plus, I got to meet a lot of their friends & family. There was a lot to do & Kari had a plan to get it all done. All we had to was execute :) We did, and at the end of all the fun, I was tired. Fortunately I'd had the foresight to take an extra day off work after the wedding and spent the day cleaning house & working on my yard. That may have been the best day of work I'd had in a long time.

Just before the wedding, I went to Houston to have my quarterly check-up with my oncologist. It was not a good start to the week because due to some changes at my job, my insurance had changed and I didn't have coverage. I was so frustrated! I think it's the first time I'd ever been so angry that I cried. That frustration was like a new friend. We did everything together for a couple of days, until I realized the new friend was making me different in every other area of my life. Instead of focusing on the anger & frustration, I realized that the issue was going to be resolved somehow and I let go of the anger & frustration. I did let it taint a few days, but after that, I've tried to find a way to be positive. One thing I'm positive about--being without insurance is a bad idea.

Now all of the insurance stuff is worked out, I am going back to the doctor in the morning. As of today, I am ONE YEAR CANCER FREE! I can't wait to see my doctor tomorrow and have her tell me my visits can spread out a bit, maybe to only twice a year. I may be a bit over-optimistic, but I'm okay like that.

I have all sorts of friends struggling with stuff, and am never at a lack for things to pray about. One of the constant things in my heart is that I want to love any kids placed in my care, and their families. Pray that God would move mightily to change hearts & actions so that families can be reunited safely. Sometimes my heart overflows with hope, and sometimes despair. In spite of my lack, I lay everything in the hands of my Father, who can, and does, care about this roller coaster ride we call life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Did I mention in my last post that I am taking training classes through Child Protective Services in order to get licensed to foster and adopt? I haven't been in classes in a L-O-N-G time, and evening classes, in particular, are tough for me. This isn't new. I dreaded night classes when I was in college, way back in the day, but adding evening classes to a full work day is a new level of tired. I guess it's good real life training for me....nothing like total exhaustion when there's a new kiddo in the house, or so I've heard. You parents will have to verify that for me :)

Most of the classes have been unsurprising. People struggle. The world is devastated by sin, and that sin takes effect in a multitude of ways, and many, many suffer without hope. I am not new to hearing/seeing/living how sin affects our lives--in very real and painful ways. Throughout the training classes, I have been able to cope fairly well, not shocked by the sins adults perpetrate on kids, and I have been able to pray for both the adults and the kids involved in foster care. God has given me grace to see that He alone is sufficient to heal all wounds.

Tonight was different. Tonight we talked about sexual abuse. Somehow, this has undone me and my calm facade. I am deeply angry at adults who think it is in any way acceptable to ruin a child's life in this way. I am heartbroken for the kids (some in adult bodies) whose lives need so much healing, and whose lives scream for the Lord and His presence.

That's it. I'm broken. And to think I thought the tough part of being a parent to these hurt kids would be the financial part. Please, Lord help us all. Amen.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I helped run a garage sale this past weekend at my church in Waco. All the funds we raised go straight to my friend, Heather, who is adopting her son Eli from Ethiopia. There were so many amazing folks over the course of two days who donated, organized, brought snacks, and purchased/donated to help bring Eli home. It was incredible!

The second day of the garage sale was 9/11, a typically very sad day for me. It was such a blessing to be working, feeling like I was making a positive difference instead of dwelling on loss. At the end of the day, though, my mom called to check in with me. It was bittersweet to hear her voice, hearing her concern for me mingled with the grief of having lost a son. It is a grief I cannot imagine, but I think I will be able to soon enough.

I am in the middle of training to become licensed as a foster/adoptive parent. It is a daunting process, and the state of Texas really wants to know everything about me. I never knew how much there was to know about myself, to tell you the truth. I have been praying, asking God to prepare me, my heart, and my home. I have a great support system, just waiting for me to ask for what I need. I promise, I will have needs as I move forward in this, and I'll try to share them as much as I am able.

Heather sold T-shirts at the garage sale over the weekend. Written on them, in English and Amharic, is the phrase, "Love Without Borders." I know this is how God loves me, and I pray it is the way I will love the kids who come home to me. God is awesome, and even if a sliver of that kind of love goes to a needy child in my care, all of this striving will have been worth it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


God is in the details. I have heard it often, and I do believe it. Last night, I was talking with some friends about coincidence--or rather--the lack of coincidence. I truly believe that everything that might be considered a coincidence is actually orchestrated by God to reveal his mercy and his glory.

For example, when my family gathers at my parents' house for big "lake" weekends, we are often privileged to see a bald eagle or two flying overhead. There are a couple of bald eagles that nest near mom & dad's house, so it is not so surprising that one might occasionally make an appearance. However, in the nearly 9 years since my brother, Randy, was lost to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, the appearance of one of the eagles has taken on special significance. Boiled down, though, the sight of that bald eagle is a reminder to my family that God has neither forgotten us nor forsaken us. Though we miss Randy all of the time, his absence is felt most profoundly at those family gatherings. At those times, Randy would be a boat-driver, water-ski teacher, and all around good uncle, son, husband, brother, dad, and friend. He was ALWAYS at the lake to have a good time with his family. If there was fun to be had, he was in. For the past nine years, I don't think I'm alone in wondering how life would be different if Randy were still alive. It is hard to fathom, as the years since 9/11 have shaped who we are, what we consider important, and how we love. When that bald eagle flies, I think we take a moment to pause on how the passing years have shaped us, and how God has used real tragedy to mold us and shape us into loving him, and each other, more. I can't speak for the rest of my family, but an eagle's appearance also causes me to pause to consider God's mercies on us during that horrible time, and in the years that have passed since then. Do I think it's a coincidence that an eagle flies when we're together? Clearly not.

Another example, then I'll get to my point, I promise. My brother-in-law, Brent, died a few years back. It was horrible. Lots of lives were, and still are, affected by his passing. My sister, Judy, once told me a story of how she finds quarters when there is something she is really concerned about, or just can't figure out. The odd thing about quarters, though, is that Brent collected them. As she would worry and pray, and she'd find a quarter, she started to realize she was not alone in her fear or her anxiety. Now, to be clear, I don't think Brent had left quarters around just for Judy to find. I also don't think God put quarters in Judy's path to freak her out. I DO think that God put Judy on a path to solving problems, and those quarters were just good reminders that she was not alone, in spite of the circumstances she was in. Oh, yes, God is in those kinds of details.

This brings me to my point. Today was a sweet day. I've been involved in a church plant here in my hometown for a couple of years. We have met in homes, prayed, and trusted the Lord to build his church here. We have prayed for this city, that God would make clear that we were in the right place to do his work. As the reality of having worship here in my hometown grew nearer, we also worked on the details, things like, where would we worship? who would be in charge of music? of the nursery? how would we be intentional about welcoming folks we did not already know? and on and on. Well, this morning was it...our first service (technically, a practice. We wanted a few weeks to work out any hiccups). We each had a job, a part to play in setting up for worship. We were ready, or so we thought. As we got nearer and nearer to the beginning of worship time, I kept seeing more and more people. How could it be that almost everyone I'd met in a two-year journey to becoming a "real" church was present? There were people I'd met years ago, and more who were newer to the church. There were even a few strangers thrown in the mix for good measure. With four weeks to go before the "public" launch of our church, this first morning was shaping up nicely.

God was in that room, heard our confession, our prayers, our song, and, I pray, our worship of the one who made it all possible. During the sermon, my friend leaned up to me with something underlined in his bulletin. "I counted sixty-three folks," he said, then leaned back. I smiled, because I got it. He leaned forward a few minutes later and asked, "You see why that's a big deal, right? Look." David was preaching from Psalm 63.

Do I think there's something special in that number? Not normally. Do I see God using the details in this--and every--day to reveal who he is to us? Absolutely.

PS-I talk about my church a lot. If you want to know more about it than my random drivel, go here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Amy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

So, this week was pretty cruddy. I feel like the bad news just kept rolling in. There is so much tragedy and hurt in this world and I feel like sometimes it can overwhelm me. By Thursday, I felt like I just wanted to stay in bed instead of facing the day. Alas, that was not meant to be. I managed to make it through the day on Thursday, but I knew I needed an attitude adjustment to get through Friday.

As I got ready for the day on Friday, I tried to think in terms of "this could be worse." I realized that a year ago I felt like crap, doing a dose of chemotherapy in Houston. I could NOT have a job. I could NOT be able to pay my bills. I could STILL be doing chemo. Praise God that none of those things are happening.

While driving to work, I had a little conversation with God. Thanks for the sun (it's a hundred degrees), thanks for the green grass (man, it's work to mow that). So, I started over. God, thanks for your Son who is my satisfaction. Thank you for giving me a reprieve from pursuing my own perfection, thank You that He is my perfection. Lord, let me be a mirror--even if I'm a warped, beat-up, sliver of a mirror--let me be a mirror of your glory to others. Thank you for your provision, your grace, and for loving me when I am unlovable, which feels like most of the time lately.

It's amazing, that grace. It took my crabby attitude, my weak & mealy heart, and turned me to face the day as a reflection of a good, kind, loving God. I managed to express my appreciation to one of my teachers today. I got to share dinner with friends, followed by ice cream in the park. I laughed much. I was surprised by friends in town from New York. I cried tears of grief for suffering friends and I cried tears of pure joy. I know a Father who knows me, who understands my suffering, who knows the darkness of my heart, and who loves me endlessly and with joyful abandon. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

It has been a long week--and it's only Wednesday. I guess if I were assessing the last seven days, LONG would be a good assessment. I mean, most of it was good, but there was a lot going on.

In the last 7 days, I have driven to & from Dallas, to & from Austin, and about 400 more miles around town. I have had several nights with fewer than four hours sleep, sandwiched between days full of activity. Thirty-one family members travelled in from out of town, in addition to the seven who already live here, all to witness a wedding that no one really believed should happen.

Here's the deal--the wedding happened. Now it's time to pray that the Lord pursues the heck out of them and changes hearts in major ways. Just pray and pray and pray and pray. I have rarely seen so many graceless relationships as I did at this wedding. I would be completely devastated if I didn't know and trust that the Lord pursues us 1-in His timing and 2-when we are unlovable.

Now, the good news. We had fun visits all around. I had good times with sisters and parents and brothers and nieces and nephews and friends. Plus, there was amazing food, 6 a.m. coffee dates, and lots of babies (big and small) to love on. I didn't take a single photo. I'm counting on a few good peeps to send photos my way. At this point, I am not in a position to buy a new camera, so I am at your mercy--if you've got photos, please share :) Here is one that has come my way--it's pretty fun...

If you can believe it, the big kid is cousins with the little kid she's holding. My nieces & nephews are growing into adults and I'm missing so much of it. I am pretty proud of a group of young adults they are turning out pretty okay. The other good news is that the laughing we did in this photo was accompanied by much more laughing over the weekend.

By Monday, I was really thankful that I had the forethought to take the extra day off work. I was T-I-R-E-D. On top of that, my sweet Junnah puppy died sometime between Sunday night & Monday morning. She will be missed...she was super-sweet. That event was not how I wanted to start my week.

Okay--some good news...I promise there is some...our church plant here in Temple has a place to worship--and it's only about a mile from my house. After five years of commuting lots of miles to church, our new worship site will be within walking distance of my house :) Yeah! In a few weeks we're going to start doing Sunday worship right here. God has certainly blessed our city & I have been praying for Him to show us how best to serve the city. Also, my friend Mandi asked me to speak at the Survivor's dinner for the ACS's Relay for Life. The dinner is in September, the overnight walk is usually within a month or so of that. I told Mandi I'd speak, now I am searching for what I want to share. The dinner is sometime in late September, so I guess I have some time to decide what I want to share. Last thing--I applied to get licensed to do foster care. Who knows what will happen with that, but if all goes well, I could have foster placements by Christmas--that would be a change of pace for sure!

Last thing--I told my boss today that coming back from vacation I had to preach to myself that I didn't hate my job, but that I really loved vacation. I am tired. Unlike most people, I am looking forward to the end of summer, the quiet-ness to return to my days. I miss being able to check things off my to-do list.

Here's hoping the next seven days are less eventful, and more full of God.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Time marches on

Pick a number between, say, 1 and 10. Now, think back that number of years. What in your life is different from that long ago? At Debby's the other night, we talked about six years. After hearing about all that has happened in Debby's family in six years, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to try for my life.

I thought about listing all of the things that are significant, but I don't have the time, the energy, or the memory to list them all. The thought that sticks with me is how grateful I am for that passage of time. You have beautiful kids that weren't around six years ago. I have friendships now that are so much richer because of the passage of time. I also have friends I've made in the last six years that I cannot imagine my life without. I have seen friends move away, families grow, and sometimes, I've seen hearts break. I have learned how to love more fully, to cry with the grieving, to laugh with abandon, and that it is perfectly okay to sit in silence.

In those six years, I have changed jobs, survived cancer, bought a house, learned vulnerability, and missed family far away. I have watched life slip away and miraculously return, and I have stood on the precipice of heartbreak and stepped away stronger and more hopeful. I have learned that God's promises are real, doubted them, and then seen them fulfilled in the most faith-filling way.

Here's to more years, to time passing, and taking time to appreciate what each day brings. If the last six years have taught me anything, it is that we cannot know what the Lord has in store. We should shout joyfully about this day that He has made, and love the ones we spend it with in whatever way we can.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring is Here!

It's early enough in the morning that the sun isn't quite fully awake. I've got my first, most essential, cup of coffee close at hand, and I can hear birds waking the neighborhood just outside my window. I love spring. I cannot wait for everything to be in full bloom. A couple of weeks ago, I went against my own common sense and started planting--lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and some pretty flowers. I could hear my mom's voice in my head, "Don't plant until after Easter. You'll miss most freezes." But I couldn't resist. It had been in the 70s for more than a week--surely that meant it was safe to plant, right? I planted on a Sunday (thanks, Kari--I wouldn't have done it without you!), and the following Saturday it was threatening to snow, or freeze, at the very least.

Fortunately, the nasty weather that affected almost everyone else I know missed my area. It got colder, and rained some, but it did not freeze. Knowing what I do about my yard and my soil, that does not give me any reason to think that everything that was planted will grow, but it does leave me to wait and hope...looking for new life in my yard. Anyone who watches me leave for work in the morning would wonder what I'm doing, carrying my lunch, and my gym bag, and my coffee--wandering around the yard, searching for signs of new life. If you see me, please know I didn't get lost on the way to the car, I am just anticipating what's to come.

Right now, I think I am anticipating all good things. Work is getting more manageable. I'm "getting over myself" and reconnecting with my life. My friends all still have time for me. Exciting things are happening all the time. I love spring--it reminds me of what's to come.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Okay--a quick update for you. The new job is challenging. Things are going well, but I am working a ton of hours, just trying to keep up with the demands of a growing business. If I just had another me who could work 20-30 hours a week, I might actually get home at a decent hour a couple of times a week! I know someone else in Temple who is looking for workers--maybe that means the economy is improving here in my little corner of the world.

I have been fighting a cold since Friday, and I think the cold is winning. I have been taking Nyquil since Saturday night, and I love the fact that I sleep through the night. I cannot say it's making a big impact on the cold, but at least I'm getting some good sleep!

Reading became a revived obsession for me for the last few weeks. I hadn't ever finished the Harry Potter series, so I re-read books 4 and 5, then checked out books 6 and 7 from the library. I think I read all four books in about 3 weeks. It's hard to believe sometimes that I live in this world and not the world of Harry Potter. I did enjoy the books. I guess when you wait two or three years to read a good book, it's much easier to find in the library!

Tomorrow night, I will finish the first draft of my first book, being written with my friends Daniel and Lee Ann. It is exciting and scary, to see months and months of hard work being sent out to have our editors read it. What if they don't like it? What if they want us to change too much? What if the book is really bad? Have I set too much hope in MY opinion of the book? I think I must not be alone in those fears--we worked on the last page of the book for hours at our last meeting, and still couldn't come up with a good ending. Hopefully tomorrow night will be more productive!

That's about it from here. Work-check. Reading-check. Writing-check. The only thing I haven't mentioned is cooking. I pulled out a cookbook I've had for about 11 years and have been trying to cook 2 new recipes a week. So far, they're okay. If I find one that's awesome, I'll be sure to share it here. Thanks to my friend Mandi, I have a new obsession with cupcakes. She taught me how to make chocolate souffle cupcakes with a white chocolate-whip cream frosting, (from smitten kitchen) and since then I have been obsessed. They're delicious, but you've been warned!

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I promised

I had dinner & coffee after work tonight. It's the first time in 4 days I've had the energy or the time to do anything after work. The job change has meant several very LONG days, but I think things are settling down a bit. During the coffee, I mentioned to my friend Jamie that I would blog about a couple of different things. Of course, it's approaching midnight now and I can only remember one thing I told her I'd write about. It made me laugh for quite a few minutes earlier tonight...I hope it does the same for you.

So, three of us were sitting in Starbucks. We were talking about life and books and who knows what else, when one of the ladies noted that there were an awful lot of babies in Starbucks all of the sudden. (One guy had just walked in with twin babies...still itty bitty, and one family pulled a slightly older child out of a laptop case or something, because seriously, one moment no baby, then suddenly there she was...anyway...)

I thought maybe it was one of Starbucks genius new marketing plans--
"Free baby with your coffee purchase. If you place your order inside, we include the car seat!"


"With all of this coffee you're going to be up all night anyway, might as well have some company with this BRAND NEW BABY!" (think Bob Barker on The Price is Right--you'll get the enthusiastic inflection.)

Okay, so maybe it's not a good marketing idea, but you just can't ever be too sure what might work, right?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writing and Writers

In case you don't know me, I love words.  I love how people can turn a phrase into something amazing and lovely.  I love to write.  Turns out it is very therapeutic...who knew?  Recently I have had several different people tell me I should "be a writer."   This is a hard concept for me to take one.  Because I write, I am a writer.  What else can I be?  

I think my friends who were encouraging me to be a writer were thinking I would do it for money.  I don't know anyone who ever really was great at something they just did for money.  I write for lots of reasons--I can't sleep, I am pondering things, or my brain is too full and needs a download of sorts--but I wonder how I can turn those musings into something real, something meaningful.  Any suggestions?  Where does one even start "becoming" a writer?  

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Church Testimony from October, 2009

So, here it is, after much delay.  Please bear in mind that there is much more light now than there was as I wrote this testimony for church.

Life is full of darkness.  Death, disease, disaster....we have all faced them.  It is in these times that I usually turn to God.  I answered God's call shortly after my brother died in 2001.  When my niece was very ill two years ago, the Lord was a great comfort.  I though that was how I'd feel in any darkness.  

In May of 2009, darkness landed on my doorstep.  I hadn't felt well for several months, but, like many women who are busy with other things, I let it go.  One afternoon at work, the physical pain was too great to ignore, and I finally made an appointment with my doctor.  

The news was not good.  I had huge masses on my ovaries and was scheduled for surgery the next day.  During that surgery, I had a complete hysterectomy, and over 25 pounds of "suspicious" tumors and fluid removed.  

Two days later, my doctor's worst suspicions were met.  I had cancer.  AND I'd lost any chance of having kids.  It was TOO MUCH.  I wasn't sure which was worse...a disease that had invaded my body, or my dearest hope--dashed.  

My family & friends kicked into an all-too-familiar caretaker mode.  Schedules were re-arranged, my Mom came down from Missouri...we were suddenly connected over something no one wanted.  I had phone calls and text messages, and very little energy to deal with them.  When people asked how I was doing, I kept saying, "God will take care of this," but I'm not sure I believed it.  

For me, that was the heart of my darkness--being able to speak the truth, but not quite believing it.  My physical pain was overshadowed by a noticeable lack of comfort in God.  

I tried, I really did.  My bible went everywhere I went.  I read it, but I didn't feel any connection to it, or its promises.  

I have often heard, and said, that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.  If, throughout this ordeal, I had been angry at God, it would have made sense.  People often commented about how calm I was.  I think they saw grace and acceptance, but in truth, it was indifference.  I just didn't have any interest in God.  I did not think God had abandoned me, rather, I was completely indifferent to Him.

I remarked to several friends, at different times, that it was a good thing that I knew God loved me, because I wasn't too fond of Him.  This went on for weeks.  Finally, with one friend, I followed it up with a question, something along the lines of "What do I do?  How do I change how I feel about God?"  My friend directed me to the Psalms.  He reminded me that many of them were written in times of deep despair.  Somehow, that light came through the darkness and revealed my heart.

Then Jeff (my amazing pastor!) started preaching from Psalms.  Then another friend read to me from Psalm 73, v. 21 "my heart was grieved, I was like a beast before God..."  That's how I'd been feeling!  Thankfully, she did not stop reading there, she went on to verses 23-24, and reminded me that "God is continually with me...His counsel guides me...I am His."  Much like Abraham in the Old Testament, God was with me, seeking me out, even though I was a sinner, lost in my own darkness.  

God's light became more clear to me then.  I was able to look back and see God's light in the family and friends who had gathered around me during my treatments.  The light became evident to me in the meals provided, the cards and letters I'd received, and the countless small acts of love in between.  At long last, I was able to see what Psalm 130 refers to as "the Lord's mercy, His abundant redemption."

On October 27th, I was told I am cancer free.  It would seem that the darkness is being overtaken by the light.  

This is not to say that worry won't creep in occasionally, that the sadness of not being able to have kids won't be a companion in the days to come.  When those times come, I trust that the light of Christ that has been revealed to me so clearly in the last several months will once again be a comfort and a certainty I can rest in.