Sep 30, 2009

So many possibilities

Last night, I couldn't sleep.  My brain was full of possibilities.  The world seems SOO open right now and the possibilities limitless.

I love this part of the process ... when you haven't been told NO yet.  When the wind hasn't been knocked out of the sails yet.  When you only share it with supporters so you know you'll be getting just that ... support.  When you're getting lots of "we're here to support you" instead of "we're here to discourage you every step of the way".

Eventually, I faded off.  After getting the older kids off to school this morning, I took a minute to grab a book.  I opened to the next page to read and on the top was this quote:
"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."  - St. Francis of Assissi

Love that!

When we went to China in March, I felt it was possible to do "Something".  I remember telling people, "I don't know how to get feeding trucks to Africa, but I certainly can get shoes and socks on kids so they don't lose toes to frostbite."  I felt I was doing what was possible.

Now this next step seems so very impossible.  It's big.  OK, let's be honest ... it's HUGE.  I can't imagine how much money this will be.  The start up costs, the daily running costs, paying caretakers, food for the children, diapers, heat, auuuugh!

Then there are the questions ... a few that leap to mind:
Do I make frequent trips? Short ones? Long ones? Temporarily relocate?
Do I start looking to find funding through corporations or churches or college clubs?  Which model do we use?
How do I get a new 501 (c) 3?  Do I need one? Can I use the one we already have access to and do a DBA under it?
Is there someone who can walk me through some of this early stuff so I don't reinvent the wheel?
What about volunteers to do some of the massive amounts of coordination?  And what all needs to be coordinated?
When should I schedule a trip over?  Soon? Wait a bit?
How do I go against my every instinct and start asking for support (help, prayer, volunteers, donations, funding, sponsors, etc.)

Just to name a few.

But I feel that the step from the "possible" to the "impossible" is just taking one step at a time.

People have been asking what they can do to help.  Here goes:  Think about YOUR resources you have access to.  Think of people you know, churches, corporations, etc and who has a heart for the Children of China?  If you're like most people, we have resources in our network that we don't even consider as resources.  Once you figure out someone(s), we can decide ways to talk to this person/group.  (For example, I'm creating a proposal for Churches to see if they would like to come on as a regular supporter, to "adopt" this new orphanage alternative.)

At this point, we need EVERYTHING!  You might think that what you have to offer isn't very helpful, but the truth is ... it's going to take our whole village to raise these children!

Sep 29, 2009

Overwhelmed (in many ways)

Head still spinning.

Overwhelmed by the number of people who would love to support me in the next adventure, people who share a similar vision and a lifelong dream of running an orphanage.

Overwhelmed by the amount of work that has to be done.

Overwhelmed by the amount of money that has to be raised.

But also overwhelmed by the God who is granting a lifelong dream ... and it landed in my lap.

This March, when in China ... we could tell things were being built. Things were coming together.  Bridges were being built.  But we didn't know what for or when or what it looked like.  Yesterday, that began to come into focus.

Friday I had been lamenting the fact that I wanted to help kids, really help them in something sustainable.  I even used this one particular group of kids as example of the type of kids I was wanting to help.  Wouldn't you know ... less than 72 hours later, THOSE kids were offered to me to care for ... not kids "like" them .. but THEM.  (insert Twilight Zone theme song here).

So don't be shocked at me asking strange questions and having odd requests over the next few months.

I'm thinking of some working models - like New Day Foster home in Beijing.  Wouldn't it be awesome to be like that someday?  But we also can't forget that we are starting at the beginning and we need to take baby steps.

Meanwhile, if you would like to be involved in some way ... let me know what you feel you could do/would want to do.  We need everything!   Welcome to the rollercoaster ride.

Sep 28, 2009

An answer to prayer ... how to have IMPACT

Ever put out a question to God and then IMMEDIATELY get the answer from an unexpected source?

I think that just happened to me.

I have been pondering a way to truly help and serve orphans, not just throw stuff or money at the problem.  How do I make the most IMPACT?  This has been on my heart for a while now.

Last night, I put it up to God again.

This morning, I wake up to an email from China.  Quick version:  H. was instrumental in helping us during our last trip to China.  We came to find out she was the director of all the foster homes and group homes for all of China Care.  They have since changed their direction and no longer do fostering so H. went with Half the Sky (in the merger).  She helped us meet the various overseers of the various China Care homes.  She was with us when we met the Director of the Taiyuan Orphanage.  She was instrumental in helping us get the supplies purchased.

H. is asking if I will start a Foster Home (probably in Shanxi).  *I* do not have a clue how to do this.  Where to start?  What kind of funding would this take!?!  Can we really pull it off?

Then I wonder - is this the answer to my question?  This would certainly fall in the IMPACT area.

And H. knows all the answers to the questions.  She has been there to start up several foster homes and group homes.  She has been around to hire nannies and leaders.  She has worked with the system.  She says she is confident we could do this together.

My heart is a flutter.  My brain is a buzz.  My head says "What the heck are you thinking???"  But I feel in my gut that this is an answer to prayer.

So ... anyone want to help me figure out how to start an orphanage in China?
Anyone want to help me make an IMPACT?

Sep 27, 2009

push or hold, what to do "until"

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what we do "until".

1) You know how you are expecting to do something exciting in just a little while ... what do you do "until" it's time to go?

2) Or you have a problem and you haven't figured out the solution yet ... what do you do "until" you decide?

3) Or what about how you've asked God to do something for you and you even know He will ... but what do you do "until" it arrives?

I personally think it is THOSE moments where I can get myself into the most trouble.

For example one, while I'm waiting for something to happen, I can get distracted, get off course, waste time. It's hard to use that time productively.

For example two, I can find all sorts of trouble to get into. From the time I discover the problem until I act on the best solution ... my mind can come up with lots of crazy ideas.

Like Jacob is having some trouble at school - but only with one teacher. All the others think he is a great, loving, well-behaved kid who loves to learn, gets along with others well, is getting good grades, etc. But this one is saying he is a behavior problem, is not there to learn and is failing. (In a subject he LOVES by the way). So my head gets around the problem and I come up with all sorts of CRAZY things to do. If I went with my heart, I would have already been to school to deck her for making my son cry. If I went with my cunning side, I would have already been to the school to talk to the principal (she has become a good friend and a great advocate). If I went with my mommy heart, I'd have pulled him from school and been back to homeschooling to protect his heart. etc etc.

But none of these are really the best answers. I know I will let my calmer head prevail and come up with a solution that works for all. But in the MEANTIME or "until" I do, sometimes I'm full of swirling thoughts, negative emotional churning. And if I let that get the best of me, that's not OK.

For example 3, I know that I do the same thing (like with Jacob) when it comes to God. I know that He has promised X but "until" it arrives ... I'm not exactly sure what to do. And with the Jacob story, the answers seem pretty clear cut of which is right, which is wrong, which is doable/not. But there seems to be a lot more "gray" areas when it comes to waiting on God.

I find scriptures that back up 2 completely opposite points of view.

One says to wait and look and hope. Be paitent and rest in Him. Stand still and see the deliverance.

But there are just as may scriptures that show we have not because we ask not. Or we weren't like the widow who kept going to the judge. Or the person whose friends lowered him through the rooftop so he could be healed. These examples show going above and beyond, of PUSHING and not holding still.

I find myself completely caught in the middle of this argument many times. I KNOW that God will ultimately do. I KNOW that it will be perfect timing.

But the question is ... push or hold?

What to do "UNTIL"?

Sep 26, 2009

Spoiled Brat

Wanna know a secret?

I'm a spoiled brat.  OK.  Must clarify.

This does NOT mean I am "high maintenance"... as I am not.  Quite the opposite in fact (a fact that dear hubby loves).  Proof?  I cut my own hair, color my own hair (the $2 bottle stuff, can't see paying more for it), buy all my clothes at Salvation Army or Good Will (other than undies, but that's another story for another time), etc. etc  So definitely NOT high maintenance.

This also does NOT mean selfish.  I don't think I'm that really either.  Sure, I like my way (who doesn't).  Sure, I think everyone tends to a bit of selfish.  But if you lined up every American woman from least selfish to most selfish, I'd end up below the halfway mark.

So how am I a spoiled brat?  Why thank you for asking.  I love the extremes.  I love those wild adventures of life.  I love when life sweeps me up and I'm carried away my something fun, way silly, scary, intense, passionate, etc.  If it's full of drama and intensity ... SIGN ME UP.   But I also love the other extreme of those quiet times.  I love snuggling with a child, cuddled up with a good book, rocking a sleeping baby, sitting quietly watching my waterfall in the back yard.  You know, *those* times.

I somehow dislike all the stuff in between (the hard work part) and I have just begun to realize (last Saturday) that makes me pretty spoiled.  You know all the stuff in the middle ... dishes, laundry, cooking, shopping, blah blah blah.  The "ordinary" the "typical.  Y U C K

OK .. still think I'm pretty "typical"??  Me too.

But HERE is where the rub is:  Our church has been pretty "ordinary" and "typical" lately.  No real sweet quiet times, no real grand adventures.  Just the hard work in between.  Sure there are moments but mostly hard work.

Last Saturday at church, God had done this really cool miracle of bringing people off the street and into our Church.  They were amazing ladies ... they had similar stories of God's testimonies.  They were fun, loving, Godly ladies.  God clearly LED them into our church.  What a GRAND adventure it was!  So much fun.

After they left, the praise team (I'm lead singer) got up and started into our set and we were plain giddy.  We were dancin' and laughin' and having a grand time.  The worship sounded better than usual, the praise went higher and I KNOW God was glorified.  At the end of the last song, I broke into a prayer ... and in the middle of that prayer, this "spoiled brat" thing hit me like a ton of bricks!  I apologized to God for it.

10 minutes later we were packing up and God led us to that next adventure (see post What are the odds?)  After that, a guy walked in from a meeting in a different room and Dan asked someone to pray for his girlfriend ... I was the closest so I did.  Apparently, God was giving me words of knowledge as I prayed because afterwards, this guy was like, "You were right on with x and y and x".  He even left, came back later and asked when our church is - he may want to pop in from time to time since God clearly shows up here.

As I face church tonight, I keep having those "spoiled brat" thoughts.  I am SOOOo hoping we have one of those quiet, grand times, those sweet times with God.  Or we have an amazing miracle.  I'm bored with the mundane things.  I think God shows up even in some of those times we consider "boring".  But I don't want to go back to the proverbial dishes and laundry.  And I think THAT makes me spoiled.

They say confession is good for the soul ... so my soul must be doing pretty well right about now. (sigh)

Sep 25, 2009

The ebb and flow (Kids in School)

It's officially been a month now that the kids have been out of homeschooling and into public school.  We've had a few bumps along the way.

Among those lows: Sam's lunch got in Jacob's backpack.  I put notes in each kid's lunch and got bad reviews.  One kid is learning the value of bringing home homework to do and not put it off until Mom discovers it missing.  Kaley did get sick and have to stay home a few days (but truthfully, she's doing better than I thought she'd be doing!) Some nights, I'm spending more than 5 hours doing homework ... THEY are not doing that much, but by the time *I* get through each of them, *I* have spent 5 hours!!!  Yikes (that's more than a homeschooling day)

Among the highs:  They are all still enjoying school.  They get up easily in the mornings and don't complain.  (I do, but they don't.)  They are getting great reviews from their teachers and are well liked.

Yesterday, I got a note from Kaley's secondary teacher saying she had scored a 95% on her math test (that is a HUGE praise report) and he added that the students all seem to like her.  (I'm not surprised.)

When she got home, she told me she had done well on her math test.  She said, "Mr. Morgan asked me in front of the whole class, 'What do you think you got on your math test?'  and I said '11'.  The whole class laughed and thought I was funny.  He asked again and I said '15?'"  The great part is that she knew they weren't laughing AT her (they weren't), she knew they thought she was funny.  Made her glow talking about it.

Then Sam and Luke both had an "AR test" ... never heard of it but it's some kind of computer reading test.  Sam scored an 80% and was fairly satisfied with it.  He's a glass half full kind of guy (which I love about him because I was the kind of kid who beat myself up for the one question I missed and not the 95 I got right).

Luke was soooo excited to take his ... if he got 100% he would get THREE gumballs!!  (That teacher knows his love language for sure.)  I didn't want him to feel so pressured so I told him *I* would give him 3 gumballs if he just did his best.    But guess what?  He made 100%!!  He was sooo proud. I asked him what the questions were and he couldn't remember! (Typical) but at least he got them right.

Jacob is continuing to amaze me.  He has some "issues" we're working on .. but overall, he's making friends and loving school.  His teacher has a real heart for him - she has a 3 year old nephew who has recently been diagnosed with autism - she watches Jacob with real, personal interest.

Zoe is kickin' butt in school too.  3 hours every day plus 2 days of speech therapy.  At the beginning of the year she could already do all the goals for the END of the year.  So she is having fun, learning to socialize with others, learning to articulate for strangers.  Her only complaint is that she doesn't have homework!  She actually makes me do some for her every day.  So I happily do.  Her little mind is just a buzz waiting to be filled.

So there's a (semi) quick version of what is going on in the land of the Gores with school.

One month down. 8 to go.

Hope I make it. Them?  They're doing great!

Sep 24, 2009

Odd or Normal (Autism behaviors or child going nuts)?

Jacob (11) is one of the coolest kids on the planet.  He is sweet, kind, smart, funny, loving.  He is a (relatively) good communicator and an avid reader.  He can spout facts like a trivia book.  He has basically a photographic memory.  If he's read something - even a year later - he can cite the book.  If you challenge him on it, he can find the book, the page and the paragraph in 2 seconds flat.  And then you'll notice not only did he get it right, he did it in his own paraphrased words (showing comprehension not just rote memorization). 

Jacob has always been the kind of kid you can count on and TRUST.  For example, when he was 5 and at a preschool event, all the other kids crossed the small street to go to the playground.  He did not.  He was highly praised.  I was not surprised ... he is just like that. He is very, very rule oriented. You tell him to do something, he WILL do it.

Most of you know, he recently started going to public school .. after doing grades K-4 at home.  Long story why we did this ... let's just say it was time.  As a result, I'm noticing a few things.

He's no longer rule oriented.  He does what he wants.  He makes stuff up as he goes.  For example, I would ask where his math homework was and he would say, "I did it at school."  Well, I know the first few weeks are often review and I thought not much of it.  But eventually, I started getting suspicious.  Then last week, I got an email from the math teacher on the benefits of homework and how I should be doing a better job of helping him so he can master the concepts.  I was horrified and livid.  I kept my cool though and read it to him. 

"What's going on?"  Eventually, he is able to tell me that he felt the homework was too hard and too long so he just didn't want to do it.  So he didn't. He thought I wouldn't notice.  He thought his teacher wouldn't notice.  I showed him how a teacher's grading book works - she knows what homework she gave out and which ones came in.  She puts the scores in her book.  "Oh." 

I made him write a letter of apology to his teacher and what he was going to do to remedy the situation.  We've been working diligently on catching up.  (And he realized it really wasn't that hard or long.)

This is something that would have NEVER occured to me that he would do.  In homeschool, I give him the work and he does it right then and there.  Sometimes with my help.  Sometimes alone.  But when he is done he turns it in to me.  But now ... we have to rely on him to bring home his homework and take it back. So now his 2 teachers and I are on the same page, working together to help make sure I know what he is supposed to be doing. We still have to rely on him as the "transporter".  Like yesterday he said he only had one page of math, nothing in him math notebook so he didn't bring it home.  I do not know if this is true or not, so I wrote a note in his book asking. 

This isn't the only thing going on, just an example of it. 

So I guess I'm asking ... is this just "typical" boy of age 11?  Is this just a phase?  Is this just "him" testing the new boundaries? (never done that before)  Is it possible I'm seeing a ceiling to his capabilities?  Is this "typical" in autism spectrum?

And furthermore, suggestions for how to make sure we're on top of it? 


Sep 23, 2009

Misled (part 2)

Thanks for all the wonderful comments on "I feel misled".  Great discussion. 

Time to clarify.  143 million children were identified by UNICEF as needing extra services.  They put the label "Orphan" on those children.  Technically, many are not orphans.  But they still need services of some type and need help.  But MOST do not need a new family. (This was all news to me as I'd only heard it as 143million kids need a new home.)

Meanwhile. The Bible tells me to take care of the orphan.  Now the Bible doesn't clearly define orphan so I will not either.  But it also urges me to take care of the poor, the needy, hungry, sick, etc.  And it tells me to take care of my neighbor.  And it tells me to help those who ask for help.  (I could cite verses for all of these but I'm not really trying to do a Bible Study here.) 

Therefore, 143 million children need some type of help.  True.  The TYPE of help is what is in question for me. 

When I speak about adoption now, I will make sure to use the right data.  It's not 143 million who need to be adopted.  In fact, it's a relatively small number (which is actually GREAT news).  It's still a huge need.  Of those that need to be adopted, MOST (estimates are 95%) are above the age of 5 and many are in sibling groups.  Most are not Caucasian but are African, Asian, Hispanic.  So as I help people identify the need, THIS is the clearer picture.  (And Yes, there are still little ones needing a home.)

Next, as I speak, I will be sure to include the need for services right where the kids are.  That emphasis needs to be a part of the story.  To help the child who is living with his grandmother and they are not eating every day.  The child who cannot go to school because he does not have clothing or shoes to be able to go.  The child who drinks from polluted water every day.  The child who is sick and has no access to medical care.  THESE are among the 143 million children - whether they have parents/relatives or not. 

I was among those giving out misinformation.  Now, I am on the track of giving the right information.  I'm hoping that I can better identify the actual needs and help meet THOSE needs, not the ones we "thought" or were "told" were the needs. 

My heart has not changed.  My personal mission has not changed.   ("Speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves" from Proverbs 31:8.)  The mission of S.H.O.E.S. will change but only slightly.  We have a lot of work to do. 

What will YOU do to help these children?

Sep 22, 2009

I feel misled

I've been dreading writing this for a while now.  Here goes. 

What does the word "Orphan" mean to you?  To ME, it means - has no parents (No mother or father).  I was told (and it's everywhere in literature and on the internet, in sermons ... everywhere), that there are 143 million orphans in the world.  I even wrote an article about it, had it on my website. 

Turns out, they have a new definition for the word "Orphan" ... meaning - having lost one parent.  There are 143 million "orphans".  You are called a "double orphan" if you have lost both parents.  There are approximately 16 million of those in the world.  (Still a lot, but a huge difference.)

According to Unicef (the noted expert on this subject) says of those 16 million "double orphans", 95% of them live with a relative (grandparents, aunts, etc.) and are not available for adoption.  Now I have NO clue if this data is correct or not. I'm not even going to cite where I read this - just google it for yourself if you want.  I'm simply saying, I feel misled.

Does this change the fact that these 143 million children NEED help?  Of course not.  But it DOES change what things they need.  They don't need a family, need to be adopted.  They need services around them, services for their family and community.  It completely shifts the focus for me at least. 

My head has been spinning.  As the director of SHOES (a non-profit designed to help these orphans), I have to rethink what we are doing and if we're meeting the actual need, not just the one I was told was there. 

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Where does my ministry go from here?  I'd love to hear from all of you on this. 

Maybe I'm the last person on the planet to have figured this out ... I highly doubt it. 

Sep 21, 2009

Sibling Rivalry: The Luke and Zoe story

When Zoe came home 2 years ago at age 2, Luke was 4.  He was very, very excited to be getting a little sister.  I was seriously THRILLED because he was so gentle, kind and loving to my niece so I knew he would make a good big brother.

Zoe came home from an orphanage and she had some, er, um, "issues".  She played nicely with everyone, everyone except Luke that it.  Him, she hit, bit, slapped, and generally made his life miserable.  (Of course we tried to stop it and intervene.)  He took it for a long time.  Eventually, his feelings got enough hurt and he started doing the natural thing.

A rivalry was born. That was not going to be OK with me.  Ever since the first day home, I've been trying to build that bond.  Some days there is a lot of hope that it's working and then 5 minutes later, they're at each other's throat. 

I know many people say that sibling rivalry is fine, normal, no big deal.  But until this ... we had NONE.  And I want that back.  And the hitting, pinching, etc is over.  It's mostly just a verbal battle now.  But still. 

One thing I make them do sometimes is hold hands when they are upset with each other.  Then I give them a chore to do that can only be done with 2 hands so they have to do teamwork.  By the end of the 2-3 minute task, they're usually laughing and having fun with each other. 

This school year, they all started public school.  Zoe found a little boy to be her playmate.  He's blonde headed and blue eyed and looks a lot like Luke.  You'll never guess his name.  OK, maybe you will.  LUKE.  Her playmate at school ... out of all the kids she could have picked ... is Luke.  Hmmm.

Then Luke has been telling me about his friends.  Joey, Ricky, Ukari and Logan.  He tells me how they play together, have fun together.  Last week, I asked which was his best friend and he said Ukari.  Then I met that friend ... you guessed it.  An Asian girl.  Ukari is an Asian girl.

So ... it has birthed in me the HOPE that they are finding friends that are similar to their siblings.  Maybe all that stuff I am doing is actually working on a subconscious level. 

Isn't parenting grand?  Especially the parts where we make stuff up as we go?

Sep 20, 2009

What are the odds? (Getting to be God's hands in a miracle)

10:45pm last night. Church was over. Standing around fellowshipping. God tells me to go into the children's room.  I do. I wondered why but have learned to just do it.  I look around and see nothing out of the ordinary and go to turn off the light.  The switch is right by a glass door that looks out upon a deserted courtyard not really used very much.  I see this young girl stumbling around, clearly drunk, can barely stand.  She looks hurt. 

God tells me that Andrea (a 20 year old in our church) and I are supposed to pray for her.  I go get Andrea who is fellowshipping with everyone.  I grab her by the hand and say, "Come".  I take her to the door and I'm going to tell her, "See that girl? God says we're supposed to pray for her."  But before I can do that, Andrea says, "That's Tina*" (name changed).  It's a 23 year old ex friend of hers she hadn't seen in over a year. 

I run into the courtyard and yell "Tina, Tina. I know you don't know me but I'm here to help."  She grabs me and hugs me in that way a person does that just can't get close enough.  She keeps saying over and over, "Help, please".  The other ladies in the church and I lead her into the church for some privacy, a chair, it's cooler in there. 

The ladies and I sit around her praying quietly, asking God for a word of wisdom on what to do.  Elsa, one of the ladies realized she had this girl's mother's phone number on her cell.  (She has know Tina since she was a little girl.)  They call her. 

Meanwhile, Tina went back and forth between hugging me so tight it hurt to trying to hurt me.  I know she wasn't trying to hurt ME.  She had no clue who I was.  She was just expressing the pain she was feeling.  Over the next half hour or so until the mother could arrive, we just prayed for her and tried to keep her safe. She would try to stand and then fall and hit her head.  We prayed for a calming spirit and then she finally almost went to sleep.  (And I ended up with no bruises or scratches - I know how to protect myself and I know I had a little extra help.)

At the same time, Dan was outside of the building.  (He told me all this after we got home.)  He noticed 2 very suspicious guys with a 6 pack of beer trying to find Tina.  They had been following her.  (She had no clue.)  Dan was standing guard, making sure they didn't try anything.  (It helps that Dan is a BIG man.)  But they couldn't find her ... we'd moved her into the church.  She was hiding under the wing of the Almighty.  She was under covering. 

We then shifted our prayers to the mother - how would she handle this?  What would she do?  I know if this was MY daughter, I'd want help in knowing what to do.  Sure enough, the mother arrived and was in a panic almost about what to do. 

Turns out, this girl has had a history of drunken binges but had gotten her life together.  She was in therapy and counseling and had been doing a lot better.  Until yesterday, her boyfriend in Iraq broke up with her and it sent her into a sprial. 

The men walked her to the car. She could still barely walk.  (and she was covered with pee, making it difficult to carry her.)

Tina has a 2 year old daughter.  The grandmother had been babysitting her so she had to come to.  She was freaking out seeing her mommy like that.  Everyone was telling her nothing was wrong.  She's not stupid, she's just young.  So I say to her, "Mommy is walking crazy, isn't she?  But it is going to be OK."  and she calmed down.  I had to show her we were not out of touch with reality. 

As we put Tina in the car, the mom told us some more of the story.  She realized Tina was gone and so she called a friend.  At the same time God sent her our way, she was praying, "Lord, hedge her in."  This mother was so grateful to God knowing that He had indeed answered that prayer by sending her daughter right into our hands. 

We all shudder to think what would have happened if.  The amount of details that had to be coordinated are astronomical.  Humanly, I still cannot get my head around it.  12 hours later and I'm still reeling from it.  She happened to go to the bar right where we are now meeting (she didn't know that we had moved nor did the mother). The bartender took away her keys, put her in 2 different cabs (she jumped out of both).  She went to the back side of the building.  She happened to walk up the one hallway where we were (out of 5 choices).  She was there at the exact moment I was looking out the door.  I happened to listen to His proddings.  etc etc etc.

Why am I even amazed?  I pray that I get to be God's hands.  I pray for miracles.  Yet I sometimes get shocked when it happens.  There were so many details to this miracle that I cannot begin to tell them all (and that's just the ones *I* know about!)

When I got home last night, my sister had taken the kids home from church early and put them to bed.  The girls get a special treat of sleeping in my bed until I get there.  As I carried each of them to their beds, I hugged them a little tighter.  I cried as I kissed them on the forehead.  I asked God, "How do you get from here to there?" 

I just feel so small.  And I feel God ever more present.  If you wonder if God is truly involved in the day to day things of our lives, I beg you to consider this miracle.  Thank you Lord!

Sep 17, 2009

A New Beginning

The alarm goes off.  Way too early. But if I don't get up, the kids won't get up and then they'll be HERE all day instead of at school.  So I drag my tired self out of bed.
Not that long ago (last school year in fact), I could sleep in as late as I wanted ... we homeschooled. But this year, all that's changed.  And while I enjoy SOME (Ok, most) of the things associated with not having that role any more ... there is one thing that gets me: getting up.

Because I'm staying up as late as ever to work.  Later even now that I'm trying to meet a deadline for my book.  So somehow the evening melds into the morning and all of the sudden - WHAMO ... beep, beep, beep. Time to do it all over again.

I don't even drink coffee.  (I know, I know).
As I sit here, the house is quiet.  I can hear the birds outside.  I can even hear my own thoughts.  I'm getting used to this new schedule.  And while I might not enjoy every moment of this new schedule, I am mostly glad I can work on projects that *I* want to work on.  I am making dents in things I've put on the back burner for years.  I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment of who I am as a person again (not just as a mother, a wife or the other roles).  I'm rediscovering what *I* like and what *I* have to contribute to the world.
So alarm ... you might not be that bad afterall.  (But don't be shocked if I still yell at you tomorrow morning when you go off waaay too early!)