Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas post 2(long)

How do you live your life according to the words of Jesus without being "weird"?  Is that possible? I come by being weird honestly- I grew up weird.  From the time I was about 3 until I was 14, we attended a very strict and conservative non-denominational church.  Think of lots of denim jumpers, no makeup, supposed to live humbly, girls don't talk to boys, give your every dollar and spare minute to the church kind of place.  We didn't celebrate Christmas like others. 

We knew Santa was fictitious and not Scriptural.  I was the obnoxious 3rd grader telling kids at school that Santa wasn't real :) I know, you are shocked that sweet lil o me would do that!  We had no tree, no elves, no lights, no Santas, no reindeer.   Our grandparents celebrataed Christmas traditionally and my parents enjoyed taking us to their homes for Christmas fun.

There were certainly wonderful aspects of being in this church.  For example, they were multicultural before it was cool(think early 80's).  We had close friends who were Hispanic, Chinese, African-American.  Some of my favorite Christmas time memories are when our family would host several single ladies from Taiwan for the big church training during the Christmas break.  We had a blast.  They'd play with us and cook.  I grew up speaking a good deal of Spanish too.  We always had extra people in our home and we grew up feeling comfortable with all races.  Anybody in the church who needed a place to stay--they were welcome to move in a while.  We kids would make big pallets in the walk in closet and voila--instant extra bedroom.

My parents left that church when I was 14.  We found much more freedom and joy in a more mainstreamed type of body of believers.  Christmas appeared at my house and boy did it go over big!  We went ALL OUT!  Tacky sweatshirts, tree, lights, carols, Christmas dishes, driving around looking at lights while singing(think Griswolds here), holiday movies, etc.. 

Fast forward to now. I feel torn between 2 worlds.  I want my kids to have fun, feel like they belong in the world and yet.....a part of me wants them to feel weird.  Anyone understand this?  Jesus was weird!  In Luke chapter 9 we says some radical things like:
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
24"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

25"For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

Society rulers thought he was nuts.  If our family blends in with society and isn't considered "weird", then most likely, we are not living according to Jesus' words and  and we are having zero impact in the world around us. 

If being weird is having a pared down Christmas and not glorifying Santa--then we want to be weird.

If being weird is giving money, resources, time, help to others and the church--then we want to be weird

If not watching sexual shows or letting our teens car date is weird--then we want to be weird.

 If staying married to one person through good and bad times is weird--we want to be weird.

  If adopting children without parents who don't look like us and not having as much stuff, free time, etc  is weird--then we want to be weird.

Really, I'm confused and a tad stressed about all this.  I remember feeling so different from my friends at school and wanting to just be "normal"!!  I don't want my kids struggling with that.  BUT, Mike and I do not want to settle for  normal!  hhhmmmm, makes me think of that cheesy song from the 70's "if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


FIRST:  Scroll way down to the far right had side to pause my music player so you can hear the video.  The video quality is poor since I was using our regular digital camera.  But, this video portrays our wacky family Christmas sing-a-long and how much fun it was.  Dillon embelished his part.  Carter is the nutty 10 Lords a Leapin that you hear yelled out. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas pics

The boys listening to Abby read the Christmas story

Abby was so excited to give daddy the wallet she got.  She kept wanting him to open it early.

Dillon with his new bike(with a spedometer on it!!).  It is in the shower because we had a treasure hunt for him to find it.  The last clue was "Look where Carter gets clean."  Such fun.  When he pulled the curtain back and saw it he yelled "Thank you Carter."  Uh--wrongo--that was from us!

Me with my darling neice Kylie at my mother's side of the familiy Christmas. 


Christmas day Mike took the kids to his mothers.  I worked :(  They had fun riding the mule in the country with Nana and the cousins.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday season update

Happy Birthday Jesus


Yep, it is Christmas Eve and I'm blogging.  Therapy for me really.  Santa came to our house last night, since he knows mommy works tomorrow.  We told the kids they couldn't wake us up til 6:30 and  low and behold--Abby "thought" her clock said 6:30am, when in fact, it said 5:30 am!
We've had fun today going to church(Mike let Hudson hold the little candle and I was terrified he'd light the man in front of us on fire).  Then we had a party with my mother's side of the family.  The kids were pooped out and I'm about to hit the hay.  Mike got me 3 new books that I'm dying to dive into:  The Ragamuffin Gospel, Half the Sky, and I am Nujood, age 10 and divorced.  Only problem is that Mike just flipped the channel and Pretty In Pink is on--my all time FAVORITE!!

   So happy to report:  
 we didn't swipe one single time this holiday season!!  And, yesterday I sent the last of Carter's ER payments.  Dave Ramsey debt snowball---here we come!!!!!!

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And, as for our Christmasing, we have 4 events down, and 1 to go.  Actually, I'll be working tomorrow(seems people have lots of heart attacks on Christmas).  It's stinks sometimes to be an ICU nurse, but it's okay, I've had my fill of fun Christmas events--and let me declare here, they've been a blast(food, fellowship, music, toys, friends and family, tacky clothing and such).  I'll make a fat check this week with critical shortage differential(we are short staffed) and holiday pay.  I think I'll survive missing out on one last Christmas get together. 

In a few days I'll post some pics of the last few events.  I'm also working on a long post about why I'm so weird--especially at Christmas time :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas fun

We kicked off our first Christmas celebration at Mike's Grandma's house.  Fun times with cousins.  They played for hours and hours with their new toys. 

Christmas celebration number 2 at my parent's house. We had a tacky Christmas outfit contest!  Mike's sweater was hideous,but an almost exact replica of one he wore when we first dated as seen above.  Don't ask me why I wore clothing 3 sizes too large or white hose with red satin shoes!  Hey, it was 1992!

The whole tacky family!  The funny thing was that my mom and sister, Emily, bought their sweaters at resale shops.  When checking out, the salespeople exclaimed over how cute they were :)  My brothers-in-law looked AWFUL---slicked hair, awful sweaters and sweatshirts including one with a Christmas tree made of stacked cows!!  Abby was in the spirit and wore Uncle Wayne's obnoxious snowman tie.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anybody have a little more room?

My sister Melody, the one involved in foster care, told us a heartbreaking little story about a sweet 10yr girl needing a family ASAP. She's been in foster care for a long time now.  Her parental rights are being terminated anyday.  She will be free and clear for adoption.  The little girl told Melody "I'm going to be on a bulletin board!"
 This excited her. 
It broke our hearts.  A 10yr old girl, excited to be have her picture on a bulletin board because she needs a forever family.

I've been around this child twice now.  She's darling, engaging, loving, super affectionate, healthy, smart, and basically---terrific.  Pray about calling this blonde sweetie your daughter.  It will be a free adoption through the state.
Here is a poem written from a waiting child's perspective.

The Waiting Child

By Debbie Bodie
I saw you meet your child today

You kissed your baby joyfully

And as you walked away with him

I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet

Inside I'm aching miserably

I want to plead as you go by,

"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today

In love with her before you met

And as I watched you take her out

I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!

I knew I'd seen your face before!

But you came for a second babe.

Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today

But this time there was something new

A nurse came in and took MY hand

And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!

And there are infants here, you see?

But then you kissed me and I knew

The child you picked this time was me.

Copyright 1997

Friday, December 17, 2010

So tired of my kids being "aliens"

Here is a ranting that must be done.  I am soooooooooooooooooo sick of dealing with beauricratic idiotic policies regarding adopted children. 
The simple story.  I have made 4 trips to the Social Security Admin office in the city since Hudson came home.  Only one of those trips was simple and successfull.  I went this morning to have a simple name change on his SSN card since his first one is with his Korean name.  After 3 different workers couldn't figure it out, a supervisor came over and asked if I had his green card.  I said "No, that is the one thing I didn't bring"(had adoption decree, amended birth certificate, original sscard, my identification).  She informed me that I had to come back with the green card and they'd change his name, but he'd still be classified as a lawful alien. I told her that this was our 3rd Korean adoption and we'd been dealing with this for 10yrs.  The Child Citizenship Act of 2000(11yrs ago people) states that adopted children would be considered full American Citizens after the adoption is finalized and WHEN could I see SSA reflect that law??  Of course, she had nothing to do with the SSA's policies, she's a worker bee, I get that.  But, this is ridiculous!!!!!!!!! 

I've made 3 different trips to the bank to open Hudson a savings account and they always need something else.  They wouldn't open one in his name until we had a new birth certificate.  Now they won't open it because his SSN card has his Korean name.  The SSA won't give him a new SScard until I come back with the green card.  Then his SScard will be flagged as a lawful alien until we get a Certificate of Citizenship from the Dept. of Homeland.  The Department of Homeland charges 460.00 to process one Certificate of Citizenship!  You can't claim an adopted child on your taxes until he/she has lived in your home for 6months but if you give birth Dec.31--there's your dependent claim.  AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH 

I can't deal with this anymore. We have jumped through hoop after hoop for these children.

At the office, I stood, spoke sweetly, face beet red with tears coming and told the women
     "I know you guys have nothing to do with this, but over and over and over, it is made clear to me that adopted children are considered second class."

I left.

No more guys!  It is not right and it is not fair.  Our adopted children do not deserve this.  We pay thousands of dollars of taxes every year and we don't deserve this.  An illegal immigrant can show up at a hospital and give birth--that baby is instantly an American Citizen and granted as SSN.  What gives people?  I don't have 940.00 to file for Certificates of Citizenship for Dillon and Hudson.  I shouldn't have to do so.  They ARE citizens NOT aliens.  I beg you other adoptive parents, start calling or writing your senators and the State Dept.  There has to be a better way.  If anyone knows who or where to write--let me know.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the 3yr old dictator

Occasionally, I think Kim Jong Il is in the house.  I know, not really funny since he is deranged, but go with me on this.
Hudson is chalk full of personality and zest for life.  He also, is chalk full of attitude.  We lovingly tease that he is the Kim Jong Il of our family.  2 funny stories for you, but first a picure to  laugh at

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Anyone else notice a similar pout expression? 

So, a few weeks ago I gave Hudson's little hiney a pinch.  He turned his head around and in no uncertain terms told me "YOU NO PINCH ME BOTTOM" then his hand went up in the shape of a claw and he growled at me!!!!  No lie!  It is hilarious after the fact and I've written it in his journal.  But, that day it wasn't.  I got down in his face and made it clear that he would not speak to me like that.

Last week he had been in a foul mood all day.  I finally put him to bed at 7:30 a screamin' and a kickin'!  He laid on his bed screaming and crying "MOOOOOOMMMMYYYYY".  I did what any therapeutic mother whose been through many attachment parenting classes would do:  ignore the kid.  After wailing a few minutes I hear "Mommy, I crying"!  Poor kid.  He won.  I scooped him up, headed for the wooden rocking chair my parents gave us, and sang to him.  I sure taught him  huh?? :)

Off to clean and bake.  I'm hosting a neighborhood Christmas party for the ladies.  I have no business blogging at the moment--so much to do.  But, alas, I love to blog!  I always wanted to write a book. I guess this in my writing outlet.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas post part 1

I love that video!  I love the people that started the Advent Conspiracy.  What awesome swim against the stream people :)

So, here it is....I don't like Christmas much.  It is no surprise to those who know me or if you've followed this blog the last year and a half.  Here is what I wish Christmas was:

 giving to those in need(lonely, sick, hurting, poor,orphaned),
no flash and bling,
candlelight Christmas eve service at church
time with family,
sweet music,
simple and lovely little green trees,
loving our Saviour and Lord. 
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Because you see, that is exactly how it was when Jesus was born(which, by the way, nobody on earth knows the exact date).  Our Messiah came in the lowliest of circumstances: 
outcast from society,
unexpected circumstances,
teen mom,
adoptive dad,

Here is what Christmas in most of America has become:  loud, obnoxious, credit card swiping, frantic, wasteful, battery-sucking, Santa loving, bloated, overfed, junk kids and adults don't need, stressful.  Our pastor says that Christmas is like having a huge birthday party for someone and everyone buys themselves presents, but ignores the birthday boy.

My very favorite blogger lives in Haiti with her family.  Here is an awesome post she wrote about her thoughts.  I loooooover her and her posts.  They are truly a swim against the stream kind of family.  And, since I've walked in the exact streets and visisted the ministries where they work, it means so much more to me.  I think you'll enjoy or be challenged by her.

I'll post a bit more in depth about my personal Christmas journey later. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not your grandma's christmas carols

First, scroll way down to the far right of the blog and pause my music player.  Then, enjoy a snippet of our school's praise band playing Christmas carols.  Carter plays acoustic guitar.  You guys know I'm a non-traditional kind of gal so this rockin caroling is much more my style!

And, while we are talking about Carter, Lord help us!!!  He turns 15 in Feb. and yesterday we signed him up for Driver's Ed classes(not the driving part yet).  He is currently grounded for making stupid choices.  Oh, my, we have no idea what we are doing as parents of a teenager.  But, last night, we saw that it was going to fine.  He jumped in our bed, snuggled with us, wrestled his dadddy, and basically, for a moment--we were cool again :)
I'll never forget that moment.  It reminded me of when he was about 15months he'd play on our bed every night and we just thought he was the most funny and amazingly cute child ever. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2011

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I am thrilled to let you guys know about our exciting travel opps.  I am so lucky.  Mike takes the seniors from his school on a mission trip every year.  This year he is returning to Nassau Bahamas, where he took the kids a few years ago.  Now, I know what you are thinking....Bahamas??  Mission trip??  Really???  Give me a break.  Before you discount that there is a need, read about the place we will be working
The All Saints AIDS Camp:

Rennovate, Rebuild &; Restore
Once a leper colony, the residents of the All Saints AIDS Camp, in Nassau Bahamas, find their day-to-day activity about survival in a run down facility where they've been cast aside by society to live out their final days. Our hearts desire is to raise enough funds to renovate, rebuild and restore, not only the facility, but the lives of the people who live there. It's our hope to provide them with a beautiful refuge they can call home while bringing dignity, hope and the Love of Jesus to their lives, as well.
They also care for orphans and people with disabilites.  Mike loved working there and was struck by the stark contrast of luxury tourism and then a few blocks away children living with AIDS, cast off, not to be seen by wealthy tourists.

The reason I say I am so lucky?  I am going!!!!!!!!  Yep, the 2 teachers who were to be the lady sponsors couldn't go.  It didn't take a twisted arm to make me say YES!   Not only am I going to serve in the Bahamas in May, but I don't have to pay, my fee is paid for!  Unbelievable.

Next, this opp just fell in Mike's lap a few days ago.  We are 99% sure that he is going to S. Africa over Spring Break!!   They will be looking into partnering with a ministry that provides hospice care for children dying of AIDS.  I'd like to say I'm the mature and kind wife, BUT, I'm so jealous! ;)  Really, I'm thrilled for Mike and this amazing opportunity.  What an incredible experience.  But what about money you ask?  Aren't you guys doing Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover?  Yes, we are, but, God!!  That is a fragment sentence, I realize, however, with God, that is all you need.....God!  He works out the details.  He has provided a very large chunk of the expenses already.  And, to be flat honest guys, when Mike and I are on our deathbed and looking back over our lives, I'm pretty dang sure we won't say "Gee, if only we'd put more money into our new truck account(or our 401K, or our new furniture fund, or our kids college fund, or whatever).  I think it will be more like this....
    Mike:  "Honey, do you remember that crazy time you flew to Haiti with 4 days notice and emptied our little savings, and did medical care in the jungle and played with orphans?" 
    Me:  "Yeah, deary, that was INCREDIBLE!!!  What about that time you were asked to go to South Africa and it was a huge leap of faith because it  made zero sense on paper?"
    Mike:  "Oh man, that was so sweet of Jesus to send me there and show me how He is working around the world."

Anybody have some cool trips coming up in 2011?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

conspicuous family

I don't notice it much anymore--you know--the stares.  The looks like, "wait, how did this family come to be?"  When Abby first came home, it was big time obvious that we caused great confusion.  That was April 2001.  Transracial international adoption wasn't nearly as common as it is these days.  Mike and I were super sensitive that people were staring or saying rude things about our looooong awaited beautiful princess!!  I think I was defensive and was looking into strangers eyes daring them to make a face ;)
Now, we rarely get comments or stares.  Or, maybe I'm just so busy trying to corral all these kids.  Last night we ate at a hamburger joint near the college in the city.  This one lady was having a really hard time figuring out what was happening at our table.  I mean, the woman probably has a crick in her neck this morning from staring.  Bless her buttons, because the table next to us had 2 ladies at it and one of them was a little person.  The starer could hardly eat her dinner!!!  I think I shared this last year, but it is the best response I've ever heard and must share again.  Our dear friends Mark and Ruth have 2 biological daughters and a little boy from S.Korea.  They were in a restaurant one evening.  An older lady was staring like crazy.  As Mark and the boy walked by her, she rudely stated "He doesn't look anything like you!"  Mark deftly replied, "Yeah, well you don't look anything like God, but He adopted you!!"  Classic.  Any other adoptive parents out there want to share funny comments or retorts?

I don't know why I'm posting about this.  Maybe delaying my Grinchy comment about Christmas in middle class American suburbia---kind a makes me nauseated ya know?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

for the gal who has it all

I just ordered 2 glass beaded necklaces for 2 women in our family.  They have all they need and want(and could buy anything they wish for), but I wanted to to get a little something for Christmas to show our appreciation.  So, where did I turn?  Ten Thousand Villages, of course.  Everything sold on that site supports fair trade aritisans, fights human trafficking, and is hand made.   My mother gave me a purple beaded necklace a few years ago that she bought from Ten Thousand Villages.  It was made by women in S. Africa supporting orphans.  Everytime I wear it I feel like I'm helping orphans! 
The necklaces I ordered were made by women involved in an organization that helps persons with disabilities in India.  They were very reasonably priced.  Check it out!