Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Movie Night

Tonight I had a movie night with several of my teacher friends.  It was loads of fun ... and there is only one picture of the night.  One.
And, I did not take it.  I totally swiped it off Christine's Facebook page.  I forgot to take a picture of the friends who came and ate and laughed and celebrated summer with me.  I forgot to take a picture of the too much food I made.  I totally and completely forgot.  Clearly I have summer brain.  

But, as you can see, there were movie snacks.  And they were delicious.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Happy Memorial Day!  And a great big thank you to those who fought and are fighting to preserve our freedom.  We do not forget and we do not take it for granted.  Some left home as mere boys and returned as men.  Some never returned.  We are grateful.  Forever grateful.
 We could not mention Memorial Day without giving a shout out to Dean's Dad who proudly served in WWII.  We are thankful for his service ... and thankful that he was one of the lucky ones who returned.  (Um, and can I just say, I love the "Love, Ray" up in the corner.  Love.  Love.  Love.)
 Where were we? Memorial Day.  Well, we headed up to Linda and Paul's ... only it was only Linda's because Paul was in Germany (boo to working for a German company that doesn't celebrate American holidays!)  Dean had to fill in for Paul.  We brought the food and when I told him I was bringing chicken Dean said we could do burgers ... but, remember how many times I have said no one crunches a bun like Paul?  Paul ... you were missed.  For more than your bun crunching abilities!
 There was corn on the cob ... that made us smile.  He makes me smile.  A lot.
 We swam in the pool.  And played catch over the bridge.  And talked.  And laughed.  And ate.  And were just generally happy that summer is finally here.
 And tried to keep Hattie from jumping on us in the pool.  For real.  She forgets her size.  She could drown one of us one of these days.  Good thing she is cute!
And, speaking of cute.  We were glad to have this girl home to celebrate with us.  She had a blast on her trip to Canouan ... more on that soon!  Hope your Memorial Day was fun and full of remembering those that made it possible!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Before and After

Torrey was invited to go to the Caribbean with a friend from school and her family.  She was thrilled.  Dean and I were thrilled jealous, but let her go anyways.  She left last Saturday for a week on an island we had never heard of before in a group of islands we didn't even know existed.

Here is the girl we sent to the island of Canouan last Saturday.
 Please note the pale complexion.  We know she tans easily.  We knew she would come home with a tan.  We just weren't expecting this ...
 Hello Miss Coppertone!  Hard to tell because we took these around 1 in the morning when she finally got home ... but, boy is she dark!
And, just because it made me laugh, I made her lie down on the floor to see if she would be camouflaged ... she is almost as dark as our hardwood floors!

Hello Summer!  We are glad you are here!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Home.  Just one itty-bitty 4 letter word, but it has so many different meanings.  Love. Peace.  Hope.  Rest.  Place of belonging.  Place where I can truly be myself.  You get the idea.  It is where we come home to after a long day ... that place we long to be.

For two months this winter we thought we might be moving to Canada.  And, whatever just went through your mind is exactly what went through mine during that two months.  I struggled with many things about that possibility, but one thing I did not struggle with was the fact that I would go.  And go semi-willingly.  Because Dean and Torrey are my home.  Where they are is home.  Even if it is in a foreign country where you buy your milk in a bag.  And have temperatures in the winter  that would make a polar bear smile.

I spent a lot of time praying.  Asking God to show us clearly that this was His plan for us. We could push open the door ourselves, but if God wasn't in it, it would be miserable.  Eventually He closed the door.  Home is still Houston.  And, when that door closed, we all breathed a sigh of relief.  Because we knew without a shadow of a doubt we were where God wanted us to be.

Today I was at the airport to see two littles finally make it home.  There were a lot of people there.  A lot.  And when the big sliding doors finally opened and they came through, we cheered.  A lot.  And then swarmed.  (Natural instinct, peeps.  Natural instinct.)  Over and over the dad told the little boy, "All these people prayed for you buddy.  All these people love you."  Oh yes we did and yes we do.

And, I got to hold little sister.  Big sister went to her grandmother and told her, "My teacher needs to hold her."  And then as I held her she said, "We prayed a long time." Sigh.  God is faithful.  And He is good.  

I wonder what those littles thought as they came through those doors.  Because a week ago they thought they were alone.  That they had nobody to love them.  Meanwhile, a world away, we were waiting.  And praying.  And longing.  For them to come home. They were not alone.  We were for them.  God was for them.  

My sister said it gives her a picture of what it is like when someone comes to know Christ.  We prayed for my Uncle Hillard to accept Christ our whole lives.  So many friends and family who knew us prayed with us ... not because they knew him, but because they loved us.  They cheered right along with us when he finally accepted Christ days before he went home.  They were for him.  God was for him.

Today will stay with me forever.  I am grateful that I got to be a part of this story.  That I got to watch from the side lines.  I know that people will say that this family changed those two little lives.  Duh.  But, really, that family will never be that same. I will never be the same.  Because of those two littles.  Because of the day they realized they had a home.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Morning Miracle

Today has been a good day.  As in good in epic proportions.  And it is Monday ... which is enough of a miracle.  But, that isn't my Monday Morning Miracle.

I told you in my post here that my class has prayed for the adoption of a little brother and sister of one of the girls in my class.  I told you that on the last Wednesday of the year it became official.  But there was more to the story ... as Paul Harvey would say.

Little sister has been sick for almost 3 weeks.  More sick than any child deserves to be.  The fact that she is still alive today could be the Monday Morning Miracle.  But it isn't.

Sweet Mom and Dad flew to Ethiopia to go to court to become the parents of these two children knowing they would have to leave them in Ethiopia until their paperwork was taken care of and they would then return to bring them home.  The returning part could take a few weeks or it could take months ... there was no definite timeline.  That was the plan all along ... but, when God is writing your story, expect to be blown away.

Little sister's sickness was quite serious.  Life and death serious.  There really isn't anyway to care for this child in Africa serious.  You MUST get her to the states serious.  And while her parents were doing everything they could in Africa to get her home, we were doing the only thing we could do in the states.  Begging God to bring her home.

There were three health tests the children had to pass for the embassy to even consider allowing them to leave early.  This morning word came that they had each passed the tests.  Praise you Jesus!

(On a side note ... I found out they passed the tests while at Starbucks.  I burst into tears just as it was my turn to order.  Poor guy behind the counter.  I promised him they were happy tears.)

And then there was an embassy appointment which would decide whether or not the children could come home early.  Tonight the Mom and Dad are on a plane headed back to the states ... with little brother and sister.  Unexpected.  Unbelievable.  A Miracle.  Praise you Jesus!

There is no part of the journey to these two that hasn't been filled with emotion.  The overwhelming emotion being pure unconditional love.  They are terribly loved ... ached for, wanted, anticipated, prayed for, loved.  Tomorrow morning I will be at the airport to celebrate their homecoming.  To watch them meet their new brothers and sister.  To join together with others who love them to just say "Praise you Jesus!"

Go here to read their story.  I promise you will not be able to read it without falling in love with them too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where My Heart Is

I haven't blogged in forever.  But, do I really need to tell my faithful two that?  I started this post with the title "Where My Head Is" ... but changed it to the more appropriate title above.  Because my heart is full, full, full.

We are at the finish line of the school year.  Friday is it ... the last day of school.  If you know me, you know that the month of May is hard for me.  This year feels the hardest of all.

I am struggling with the "HOW"?  How do I say goodbye to 18 littles who were strangers in August and a part of me by May?  (Ok ... by the second day of school!)  How do I let go of 18 littles who loved me on my best days and worst days?  How do I let go of littles who taught me more than I taught them?  How do I let go of littles who changed my life?

This year one of my Kinderfriend's family was in the midst of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia.  We started the year praying for "little sister" and walked the journey with a God-filled family.  In January we found out there was also a "little brother" ... um, the jumping up and down ... you would have thought they were coming home with all of us.  (I may, or may not, have been the worst!)  On Wednesday we will celebrate as the Mom and Dad go to court in Ethiopia to officially adopt the littles we have prayed for all year.  And we did. not. miss. a. day.  Not one.  That may be one of the sweetest parts of this year ... praying those two cutie-patooties home.

We desperately asked God to heal a sweet mom from cancer.  Again, we did. not. miss. a. day.  She is in remission.   The sweetest part of that journey (if there is a sweet part in watching a family journey through icky cancer) was watching my littles become strength for her child.  They helped him stand when he couldn't.  They loved him through this year.  They gave him a year of joy instead of a year of hard.   They never stopped trusting when it was difficult for adults.  They never stopped believing in the One who heals.

We have learned a lot.  We learned how to read.  We learned how to count and tell time.  We learned lots about dinosaurs and rocks and shells.  All things I have taught before and could teach with my hands behind my back and my eyes closed.  But, the greatest things we learned this year didn't come from me.

The greatest lessons we learned this year came from loving a Saviour who gives us good.  Whether that good be walking through cancer.  Or traveling an adoption journey that isn't easy.  Or trying something that we think might be beyond us, He promises us good.  He promises us He is enough.

So, tonight, my heart is full.  Full of the goodness He gave me this year when He gave me these 18 littles to love.  And that is "How" ... that is how I can send them on.  Because as much as I love them, He loves them more.  Look out First Grade ... not only are they ready, but they are amazing!