Rainbow, Hold the Rain


IMG_5023.JPG

I woke up late. Like the kind of late where the time I woke up was the time I should’ve been leaving.

I had had a disturbing dream, and it was still bothering me as I went rushing about getting ready.

I woke up the boys, took a quick shower, threw on clothes, and went to take the dog out when I saw it.

The most gorgeous surprise.

The most gorgeous rainbow, end to end in a complete arch.

What was most surprising, though, is that it wasn’t even raining. It wasn’t even rain-y looking. It was a clear day at sunrise.

Any time I see a rainbow I’m reminded that God makes promises, and God keeps the promises he makes.

It had been a stressful morning already so this was a reminder I really needed.

The Next Generation of Basketball


20131129-160949.jpg

I kinda knew when I moved the boys to my alma mater that they’d have some classmates whose parents I knew from my own years at the school.

I couldn’t really anticipate what that would really be like though.

I’ve had a few awkward moments where so-and-so was popular in high school and I wasn’t in their “circle of influence” so I let myself feel inferior. For a minute. And then I’m like, um, hello, this ain’t high school anymore, why am I letting myself feel this way?

So there’s that.

But it never occurred to me that the high school basketball stars would be my sons’ coaches.

Those two guys above were several years ahead of me in school, so they weren’t people I actually “knew” but more people I “knew of.”

Today, they’re Coach Aaron and Coach Daniel, but more than that — when I showed these pictures to the boys — they’re Carter’s dad and Grant’s dad, and while I had the yearbook out I showed them a few others pictures and it was the same — that’s Lawson’s dad and there’s Henry’s dad.

I was a little “star struck” at first, at some of these former players now being every day, normal people  in my life. They had a certain untouchable, popular and cool aura left over from high school.

But they’re just regular folks — just coach or just so-and-so’s dad, and I’m just Finn and Caden’s mom.

Really does show just how stupid the whole caste system in high school is, and how the things we spend all of our time worrying about in high school (popularity, looks, etc.) amount to nothing later in life, when playing fields get leveled.

20131129-160339.jpg

Sew Knot Serious


20131030-150527.jpg

So AKAJaneRandom and I take off for the Allume conference in Greenville, South Carolina last week (more on the conference in a future post), and the Garmin tells us to take some crazy Alabama roads and some crazy Georgia roads on our way to Atlanta, where we can hit interstate the rest of the way.

Ok, so we do what the GPS says.

And at some point we get kinda lost and turn around a few times before ditching the Garmin and asking the iPhone.

(The iPhone, by the way, got it right.)

But, in the midst of being lost was a silver lining, a hidden gem.

We passed this quirky little shop on the side of the road and I commented — “Ooh, that looks like a neat place to shop.”

AKAJaneRandom agreed.

Then the GPS made us turn around so that we were going to pass the shop again and I said, “So, um, seeing as we had to turn around and how we have time … can we go in that little shop??”

So we did and it was one of the cutest, funnest, prettiest, bizarrest little holes in the wall you’ll ever see.

Hopefully you can see in the photo above some of the electic recycled nature of their pieces — an old truck tail gate as the back of a bench, painted hubcaps and tire rims, old license plates and skateboards.

Inside was just as electic with lots of painted furniture pieces, scrap fabrics made into cute purses and skirts, and combined with buttons and other accessories to make all kinds of home decor and wearables.

To find it — well, you’ll need to start in north Alabama and put Greenville in the GPS and see where it takes you.

Just kidding. There’s a simpler way.

It’s located in Cartersville, Georgia. Best way to find them from where you are is check out their website, http://sewknotserious.com/.

They’re on Facebook too.

Also, if you’re a Foursquare user, check in and April will give you ten percent off!

20131030-150555.jpg

20131030-150616.jpg

Sew Knot Serious owner April

Piggly Wiggly T-Shirts


Until a week ago I didn’t even know that Piggly Wiggly T-shirts were a thing.

It started with this tweet from AKAJaneRandom

20130926-104700.jpg

Then a few days later, a friend who recently moved across the pond, posts on Facebook

20130926-104711.jpg

At this point, I’m like Really? What is it that my friends are wearing grocery store t-shirts? And not just any grocery store, but the Piggly Wiggly, which let’s just call it what it is — a grocery store for country folk way out in the sticks.

I wondered about this aloud (on twitter, of course) and a friend from church tweets back, “Have you seen the picture of Pastor Steve wearing a Piggly Wiggly shirt in Nicaragua?”

LOL. No, I had not, but again, Really? Now my Pastor is wearing a shirt from the Pig in a whole other country even? What makes one think, when packing for a mission trip to Central America, “I think I’ll take my Piggly Wiggly t-shirt”? I mean, if the Englishman couldn’t figure it out, what hope can Spanish-speaking third world citizens have?

bro steve piggly wiggly shirt

Pastor Steve wearing a Piggly Wiggly shirt in Nicaragua

I’m told that they sell them at the Pig out near me.

They also sell them at pigglywiggly.com.

Who knew? Not me.

The Summer of ’96 and McDonald’s Monopoly


20130717-112238.jpg

According to wikipedia, McDonald’s has been doing it’s Monopoly game since 1987, which is way longer than I thought.

Oh well. The first year I gave it any attention was the summer of ’96.

I was working my first full time job that summer, the summer before my senior year of high school. I was an office assistant for the same eye doctor that my sister had worked at a decade before and who my parents went to for eye exams. I pulled files, put files back, called patients to tell them their contacts were ready to be picked up, and watched Days of Our Lives during my lunch break in the upstairs breakroom. I felt so grown up.

I got suckered into religiously playing the McDonald’s Monopoly game.

Back then, my favorite McDonald’s combo — the #2, no onions, no pickles — was only $2.99. You had to super size your fries and drink to get the Monopoly pieces so maybe I paid a tad more than that, but it was still an el cheapo lunch.

Some days I didn’t even want the burgers so I’d just get the large fries and large drink, peel of the pieces and stick them to the playing board I kept in my car.

I never won anything of substance. No car, no million dollars. I probably won a free order of fries or free apple pie every now and then, but I wasn’t one of the BIG winners.

I suppose I played it again other summers, but never like I did the summer of ’96. Something about that summer had a special magical innocence to it. Maybe it was the first full time job and feeling so grown-up, or my first summer driving,  or the last summer before the end of high school —  that made be believe I might actually win that silly little contest.

After that summer, all those things that were so magical weren’t anymore. Driving became blase and just something you did, as did working; high school was the end of life as I knew it. Everything changed after that, so that summer was really kind of the last of it’s kind.

Would You Do It All Over Again?


 

There’s a country song that says

“If I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all over with you.”

It’s a song about love and marriage, but its lyrics came to mind recently when thinking about a family who traveled to the other side of the world to adopt a child only to have their child die shortly after they arrived home.

I read the blog posts of planning and anticipation leading up to the adoption, and more posts and photos as they traveled to pick up their child, went through initial attachment, finalized the paperwork, and then journeyed home. I saw the photo of their late-night homecoming, and my spirit celebrated along with them.

Then, less than a day later, social media posts from mutual friends delivered the tragic news, that the little guy’s numerous health problems were just too much for his little body to take.

I can’t imagine.

I’ve tried, and what I imagine is painful and overwhelming, yet I’m sure it doesn’t scratch the surface.

Loss is tragic enough on its own, but such deep loss after extreme joy can only be described as plummeting.

Many friends posted on the family’s social media pages words of encouragement, as best you can in a time like this, and the ones that struck a chord with my heart were the ones who said how their little son knew love and knew family during the short time he was their’s, and that they can be comforted in the good that was done through the adoption even though it didn’t turn out at all like they expected.

It was those comments that me made me wonder … if they knew how the story ended, if they knew that their adopted child would die after they brought him home, would they adopt him anyway? It’s a hard question. I can’t say for sure how they would answer. But my feeling is that they would, do it all again.

They adopted out of love, and after seeing the photos and hearing the stories of attachment and transformation, no one can deny that child was well loved and part of a real family for the last few weeks of his life. If he had never before known the love of a father, mother, brothers, sister and grandparents, he did for those few weeks, and that’s a beautiful, beautiful gift.

Pray for this family. It’s not my story, it’s theirs; read the backstory, see the beautiful photos of their son, and encourage them as they heal and write at A Mei Mei for You You.

They’re Not The Only Ones

It just so happened as I as mulling all this around in my head, akajanerandom shared a link to this post by another family who’s adopted child died after being struck by a car.

The adoptive mom, Amy, said it way better than I can paraphrase:

I was out on my early morning run and God spoke to me. Not in words, but in this blanket of peace. This is what He said, “Was it you who moved the mountains to find Freh’s birth mother? Was it you who placed, at every turn, the witnesses you needed for evidence in her abandonment case? Was it  you who found Ephrim, your investigator who loves Me and trusts Me and bent with you, on dusty knee to praise me during the investigation? Was it you who matched Frehiwot with your family? Was it you who knew all the while that she would only live to be 4 days shy of 2 1/2? Was it you who gave her a personality so fitting to your family’s? Was it you who bonded you together so beautifully? Was it you who made her so smart, giving you conversations so rich?” …
“No. Amy. It was ME. your GOD who knew from before Frehiwot was born, that she would be on earth but for a flash. It was ME who heard your prayer for a daughter in 2010 and saw her growing in her mother’s womb. It was ME who brought you two together. It was ME who led you to Ethiopia to find the truth of her story. It was ME who moved those mountains and got her home to you. It was ME who wove together the beautiful tapestry of your love for her and her love for you.”

… I trusted God with her adoption. I trusted God with her attachment. I trusted God with her life. I assumed it was a long life. It wasn’t. But look at what he did! He gave her the BEST life. He changed us and put us on a Kingdom course that we would have never known. He drew me closest to Him than I had ever been. We don’t say to each other “understand God,” we say “Trust God.” And I did. And I continue.

Her words are exactly why I imagine these families saying yes, even if the outcome is the same, I’ll do it again.

It sort’ve reminds me of Christ in the garden praying to his Father that is there was any other way to take the cup from him, but if not, he would go to the cross and die — humble submission. Similarly, I might beg God that if there was any other way, let’s do that instead. But if not, I’ll trust God knows what He’s doing, even if I don’t understand it.

Won’t you pray for these families, and others like them?

Five Minute Friday: VIEW


So I’m sitting at my son’s ball game tonight when AKAJaneRandom texts me about Five Minute Friday.

This, by the way, was my view at the time.

20130523-234034.jpg

Got home late, got kids in the bed (late), read to them two chapters of Kingdom Keepers II (the serial that we’re reading), grabbed the iPad and gave the Five Minute Friday Party #FMFParty on Twitter a whirl.

The writing prompt for tonight was the word VIEW, to which the immediate thing that came to mind was the view of the sun rising in Haleakala, Hawaii. I had the pleasure of going there with John several years ago, and we drove up to the top of the volcano in the middle of the night to watch the sunrise. It was one of the most glorious and incredible VIEWs I’ve ever seen, before or since. Pictures don’t do it justice. But then most of the best views really are better in person, aren’t they?

P.S. So writing that took five minutes but digging up the photos I wanted to use and adding links took like an 15 extra minutes so this was more like a 20 minute Friday.

Oh, and adding this P.S. just took up another minute, so make that 21. :)