Thursday, February 24, 2011

Destroyed... it is no secret that we went to Uganda to get our son.  I have posted about my heart for this place, so it is no secret that I'm falling more and more in love with this place.  I hoped to love Uganda, but when I got there, I was upset with the way I felt.  I did't fall in love like I thought I would.  So, how is it that now that I am home...I can't shake it?  Why can't I stop thinking about the children at Sanyu Babies Home?  The boda boda drivers?  Mengo hospital and the nurses and docs?  Why can't I stop thinking of the avocados and mangos...the juice, the dirt, the smell, our Inn owners?  Why can't I force out of my mind the thoughts of children so hungry?  Such injustice.  Such horrible situations happening to these amazing people?  Why can't I turn my head anymore?  I mean...I knew it happened.  I knew that people suffered.  I knew that kids had big bellies, no clothes, and that they cried because they were really hungry.  I knew it then so...Why can't I shake it now?
I think the main reason (there are many) is because I have come to realize that they are me.  They are my daughter.  They are my son (quite literally there).  They are my Mom and Dad.  They are loving and hospitable.  They are kind and considerate.  They love with their whole hearts.  They value friendship.  They laugh and smile.
The BIGGEST THING that they PRAISE GOD.  There have been a few moments in my life when I felt God's prescense.  Where I knew he was there...cause I could FEEL it.  I don't know that I have ever felt it so strong as I did the day I was at church in Africa.  I was broken and He showed up - BIG time.  And my eyes were opened.  I saw people singing praises to our Lord.  People who had nothing.  And they were thanking Him!  For all the blessings they have.  SERIOUSLY?!?
To say that Uganda humbled me would be an understatement.  To say that it destroyed me...would also be an understatement.  But, I am better today because of this place and these people.  I am so glad I was able to see and learn from them.
Please pray with me.  God is doing something in our family's hearts in regard to this place and these people.  Do you want to join us?  Do you want to be a part of God's work?  Because He is doing something big in a place referred to as "M".  That "M" stands for Mukisa.  When I read about it - I was...well...can't really put it into words.  But my heart is HEAVY...I just can't believe this place exists.  And these boys...Some of you have read about it.  Some of you are changed by it.  Please click on the link below and allow your eyes to be opened to what happens outside of your comfort zone.  We CAN make a difference in this one.  Our little acts of kindness, our help, can really change lives.
Some of you are already there.  You know this place.  It is not comfortable here, but I never want to go back.

To my sweet Owen,
Sweet have changed me.  And I love you so much for being you.  And for the me that you are helping me to be.  You are so perfect.
Love you more,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prayer Changes Things

These are a few of the many (impossible to list them all) things people have prayed for in our lives within the past 7 (or so) years.  I believe with all of my heart, that prayer changes things.  I know it does - I have seen it.  I want to thank everyone for these prayers.  Please allow me a moment to give God some glory...and thank you for taking the time to lift us up.

1.  That Josh and I's marriage would be healed and healthy.
     Not only are we well...but we are the happiest we have ever been - and that is amazing considering
     we have been through so much in the past almost 7 years.  When two people really surrender to God,
     He can really change things up.

2.  That I have a healthy Gracie.
     She is perfect in every way.  Though our pregnancy was a little on the complicated side, she is our
     first taste of what it is like to love whole hearted...REALLY love with all that we have without question.  To think that God loves us more than we love our children blows my mind.

3.  That we be lead to the child God has for us as our 2nd child.
     Owen wouldn't fit any better into our family if I had delivered him myself.  Not only did God lead us
     directly to him, but he placed everything into place SO perfectly, that there is NO doubt at all.

4.  That Owen be safe until we got to him.
     He had a hedge of protection around him.  We got to him right in time.  Not a moment too soon.  Not
     a moment too late.

5.  That our adoption process be smooth.
     God moved mountains.  We went to and came home from Uganda together.  The embassy, the babies
     home, our lawyers, our friends in Uganda, our Inn owners, the lady at the airport who approved our
     entry to the plane (reluctantly), the American customs, our social worker....all pretty much flawless.  So much opportunity for growth and lessons to be learned.  So much opportunity for learning the "hard way"...yet we look back and think about how blessed we are to have had it all fall into place.

6.  That our transition would be good when we got home.
     Owen and Gracie love each other.  They hug.  They laugh and play.  They don't always get along...they are it would be weird if they did.  Owen loves Josh and I ...without any (apparent) attachment or bonding issues at all.  It isn't always easy and I get overwhelmed, yet for some reasons (your prayers and God's grace), I remember that I will never be in "over my head".  I will always have what I need, who I need, the support I need, and the peace I need.

7.  That our children be healed.
     Owen needs emotional and mental healing due to the situations he has been in.  Gracie needs physical      
     healing from her Juvenile Arthritis.  Though we feel like we are in the midst of these...we feel prayer.
     We KNOW that even though it may be harder before it gets better...that they will be healed.  Owen
     will overcome the past.  And we will all help him through it with God's healing hand.  Our Lord is
     bigger than limping, throbbing, bruising, progression, effects of scary medicine, and He knows what is ahead for Gracie.  I trust that he will heal BOTH of our children.  In the mean time, we will grow closer to Him and trust His plan.

I want to celebrate these things.  It is so easy to just take a deep breath and say a quick thank you to God sometimes.  When there was a potential for something horrible and it passes you by think briefly...Phew...that would have been awful.  Then, you go on with the day and forget about it.  The things I listed above are, of course, only a few (yes, the biggies) of the many things that could have turned out differently.  They, in my opinion, are a perfect example of God's grace.  He didn't have to heal, provide for, straighten out, lay down a path, or overcome.  But HE DID.  He didn't have to send his son to die for me and everyone I love so that we could have eternity in heaven together.  But HE DID.
The last number I listed, (healing) is one that He is still working on.  And we have come to understand that this life isn't easy...God never promised us that it would be.  But, regardless, it is LOADED FULL of blessings.  I often find myself thinking and thanking God that things are as great as they are.  There is always someone going through something I consider harder.  And my heart breaks for them.  And I pray for them.  I offer to make meals (food really does help sometimes), help out, and do anything I can...but the truth is that prayer is the most important.  It changes everything.
Thank you for praying for us.  I can't create words to express my gratitude.  I can't help but smile when I think of what a role others have played in our lives...just in the past year.  It is nothing short of miraculous.

I would like to pray for you.  Whatever it is - anything.  Really.  How can I pray for you?  Please email me at and let me know what I can pray for.  Prayer changes things.
God bless!

To Our Sweet Owen,
You wake up in the morning, yell for me (not really patiently), and I come to you.  I laugh at how impatient you are and I stare.  I just look at you.  I can't help it.  You see, you get cuter every day.  And I didn't think that could happen yesterday, but this morning you are cuter.  I'm sure you will be cuter tomorrow morning too.  You are getting bigger and bigger.  Your Daddy can't stop talking about your ball throwing skills.  I like to remind him how into your big sister's dress up dresses you are just to give him a hard time.  You kiss me without reason or notice.  I fall more in love with you every day.  Your smile.  Your kind heart.  Your laugh. are just amazing.
Love you more,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Confessions of a snowed in Mommy

Ok...I have known that this post needed to happen for...oh...about...3 months now...but until I was locked in my home for 4+ days, I was pushing it off.  So, here goes...
Sometimes I have a short fuse.  This is no surprise to my close friends and family.  I struggle with it.  And with our current family situation, this fuse has reared it's ugly head.  I could psychoanalyze myself to death to try to figure it all out, but that wouldn't change I am accepting it and allowing God to change it.
I'm NOT saying I abuse my children.  This is never OK.  Of course.  What I AM saying is that I think I don't really handle everything the best way I could.  I yell too much.  I say things that may be too ugly ("Are you CRAZY?!?").  I don't always think before reacting.  I don't always pause.  So...needless to short fuse shows.  What quickly follows is MOMMY GUILT.  Most Moms I have talked to have admitted that Mommy guilt is common.
Gracie is VERY strong willed.  And it looks like I traveled the world for another strong willed child in Owen.  When you take that...add a strong willed parent (yes, Mom I admit it)...and the situation we are in...and a Daddy who works a lot so Mommy can stay equals lots of Mommy guilt.  Lots of moments where I just know I could have handled it better.
I call Josh all upset that I lost my cool...he tells me that it is normal.  It is OK.  I'm doing the best I can.  I am a good Mommy - great actually.  And it's not that I think I stink at this.  I really do think I am doing the best that I CAN.  But after a good session of Mommy guilt I have had to have Josh and friends, or my Mom, remind me of it.
What I think is that I am normal.  Owen has been through a lot.  Gracie is going through a lot.  We are all in this transition and sometimes it isn't easy.
When you are stuck in the house for 4 days...against your own if you were a prisoner...and you are in the delicate transition we are in...there are moments that seem...well, not so fun.  We made brownies (from scratch - a first), we watched movies, we did artwork.  We went outside in the snow and played.  We laughed and smiled...and had a good time. children are a bit territorial.  Even of me...sometimes there just isn't enough of me.
Owen and Gracie truly love each other and it shows.  Loud and clear.  Owen also LOVES to play with whatever toy Gracie has.  Wants to sit next to her while she is going potty.  Wants to sit on top of her during movie time.  Is it a surprise that my 4 year old yells all day long "Owen!!! I need some space!!!"?  Then, there is the language thing...Owen doesn't always understand yet.  And...he spits when he gets mad.  Gracie sometimes seems to REALLY think she is the Mommy.
Anyway...on day 3 of iced/snow in time...I gave up.  I took a black marker and blacked out the date on our family calendar.  This is the day I quit.  Really.
I am not strong enough...cucumber cool enough...calm enough to do this.  SO...starting on the 3rd of Feb 2010 (yes, this is partially to hold myself accountable)...I AM ALLOWING GOD TO TAKE OVER THE HARD TIMES.  The times where I use all the advice, the Dobson books, The Connected Child, and it doesn't work.  When I kindly ask 4 times and get nothing, but yell and it gets their attention...ALL GIVEN TO GOD.  Because HE CAN HANDLE IT.  And I can't.
Day 4 and 5 (so far) are going MUCH better.  I think part of the problem is that I am taking it personally.   It isn't really always about me.  I am not ALWAYS responsible to hold the weight of every situation in the world - their worlds - on MY shoulders.  These kids have PERSONALITY.  They have awesome ones actually.  And they are going to be AMAZING adults...since God himself will be raising them.
I need only take it ONE DAY AT A TIME.  Just because a situation is hard doesn't mean we will always struggle with it.  It typically ALWAYS gets better.  Our Lord never gives us more than we can handle.  But, I think it is important to remember to GIVE IT TO HIM when we reach our limits.
Here is a pic of my sweet angels playing in the snow...and yes, this is actually after dreaded day 3.  They look so "destroyed", don't they?  Isn't it funny how these Mommy guilt situations seem so much bigger to us Mommies?

    To our sweet Owen, are a Willis without doubt.  You act as if you have my genes and your Daddies genes half and half.  Especially when you make those funny faces like he does.  Or when you look at me and say "NO." after YOU did soemthing you know you shouldn't have done.  The difference that blows me away is this:  You overcome so much more than I ever could.  You must get that from your Daddy.  You are no longer afraid of Nana and Papa's crazy dogs.  Even the big, psychotic one.  Caught you petting him the other day.  You.  Amaze.  Me.  I am so honored to be your Mommy.
Love you more,