I is for Inner Circle #AtoZChallenge

A to Z Letter IFrom the beginning of our adoption journey, we had a small group of friends with whom we shared the details of what was going on.  These were close friends, people we knew we could trust completely, who would rejoice with us and grieve with us through the ups and downs, and who would faithfully pray for us throughout.  Several of these dear friends honored us by providing references.  What an act of love that was to us, and as much as I love language, I can’t find adequate words to express how grateful we are to them.

We needed this group.  I needed this group, especially.  I needed some pals who knew, intimately, what I was going through.  I needed friends to confide in when I needed to talk…share…vent, and I did all of those things.

venting sessions

What I (we) also needed was a group of friends who, while they knew all the details of our experience, shared many other things in common with us, so that we could go out together, have play dates with our kids, laugh, cry, and talk…all without ever discussing our adoption.  We talked about it when we needed to, and the rest of the time we lived life with these friends.

This was not a large group of friends.  Sure, most everyone who has known us during the past 10 years knows we were somewhere in the process of adoption, but most did not know the details.  We didn’t talk about it a lot, not even between the two of us.  Our biological son knew that we wanted to adopt a child, and he prayed diligently for a sibling, but he didn’t know about the sadness we felt over not being matched the first time around; he didn’t know about the matches that fell through; and he didn’t really know about his baby brother until it was a foregone conclusion.  We wanted to protect him from the ups and downs of the journey, and we proverbs 4 23felt we needed to protect him from the disappointment of the disruptions.  He didn’t need to have that heaviness on his heart at age eight, not when he needed to focus his attention on school, and friends, and play.  We also didn’t want him to start feeling as though God was disappointing him by not answering his prayers.  We knew that wasn’t the case, but it’s sometimes hard to convince myself, and I’m a lot older than eight.

Frankly, we wanted to protect ourselves, too.  We didn’t want every conversation to start with answering adoption questions and giving adoption updates.  There were so many months when nothing happened, so there was nothing to tell anyway, so we intentionally stayed quiet about it.  Especially with the matches that fell through, because worse than dealing with it between the two of us (and sending an update to our inner circle), was to have to address it over and over and over with everyone we knew.  So we didn’t share much of what happened with many.

Now that it’s all over…and with a happy outcome…I want to share our story.  First and foremost, I want to have it written down for us, and especially for our adopted son to one day read.  However, I also want to share it publicly, so that those who know us and are curious about our story can read it, and those who are considering adoption can get a glimpse of what it is like.

silly girlfriendsWe still have the inner circle, and we (I especially) still need it from time to time.  Things come up, and they are not only cherished friends in whom we can confide, they are riotously fun friends that laugh and enjoy our quirky silliness, and they are praying friends who lift us up to the Lord regularly.  There are no better friends than that, and I am grateful for them.

Red Ink is Mean, and Other Random Thoughts

red inkYes, you read the title right.  Apparently, red ink is too mean, and teachers can no longer use it to grade students’ work.  Well, so says the administration at Mounts Bay Academy near Penzance, Cornwall, England.  Here is the news article.  If you think this is an isolated case, think again.  I’ve heard these stories for years, and this is just another step in the utter wussification of the current generation.  But no worries, it’s just a first world problem.  Carry on…

Feeding the political junkie that is me requires a lot of reading.  It’s fortunate I love both…politics & reading.  The thing is, there comes a point where personal sanity is at stake.  Seriously, there are days when I have to laugh at the absurdity of our current political situation, otherwise I would cry.

In the interest of seeing the absurdity in action, watch this:

I feel the same way about the increasing hostility toward all things Christian.  It’s not all things religious, because the vitriol does not spew toward Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Druidism, Wiccan, Agnosticism, Atheism, and any number of others the way it spews towardwar on christianity anything Christian.  I do not get it.  In the United States, the only country in the world that has religious freedom codified into its Constitution, Christianity is becoming the unpopular, ugly stepchild that is fun to pick on because those of us who believe in Christ are not as “enlightened” or “cool” as those who don’t.  If I didn’t laugh (somewhat bitterly), I would cry.

Lest you think the above is exaggeration, I direct you to this blog post outline the lawsuit filed by Mike S. Adams against University of North Carolina – Wilmingtion, accusing them of violating his First Amendment rights by denying him promotion to full professor because of his religious and political beliefs.  Next, read this column by Mike S. Adams himself.  Finally, note here, herehere, and here that he won his trial, and UNC-W was found to have violated his First Amendment rights by denying him this promotion.  A judgment for damages is still pending, and yes <sigh>, UNC-W is considering an appeal.

Oh, and then there’s Bill Maher, and this “giraffe crap.”  To his credit, he did the obligatory jab at the world’s religions, but his ugliest words were for Christians.

Speaking of Christians, don’t you find it ironic that someone who is a staunch believer in Jesus Christ can also be a harsh and completely unforgiving person?  The acknowledging and receiving of the most profound and unselfish example of forgiveness simply does not translate into grace and mercy when dealing with other people, and there is no opportunity for redemption of the relationship once it has failed.  I find it the starkest – and saddest – illustration of irony I have ever seen, not to mention one of the things that continually tarnishes Christians.  Striving to follow Jesus while simultaneously rejecting anyone who has failed you.  Irony, thy name is <insert name here>.

a to z badgeI’m contemplating another go at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  You can read about it here.  I participated in 2012, and it was great fun, but terribly time consuming.  In 2013 I was all set to do it again, but I got sick and life got b-u-s-y.  I missed it.  So here we are again…I haven’t planned ahead this year, and I haven’t signed up…and the start date is rapidly approaching.  I’m wondering if any of my blogging friends are considering it (again for some).  Woman Never Sleeps, have you thought about jumping in again?  What about you, Good Food: Savories, Sweets & Stories?  I know you did the challenge in 2013…how did you like it?  What about you, Joy in LifeLiving Loving Breathing BoysA Homemaker in Training?

Dexter

Dexter

For the first time in 21 years, my pets do not include cats.  I’m a little sad about that.  I love cats, and I’ve had several really great cats over my lifetime.  However, our family has entered the season of young boys and dogs, and after watching our sweet new pup Dexter follow our 8yo son around today, plus seeing the look of sheer delight on our 6mo son’s face when Dexter licks his face/hands/arms/feet/legs/whatever part he can reach, I can’t say I’m disappointed.  It’ll be a new experience for me, and I’m embracing it.

And with that, I’m tapped out for now.

Regurgitated Ruminations: A Random Selection

Reunion:  I made a trip (home) to Tennessee to attend a sweet friend’s wedding.  What a fun weekend it was, seeing her googly-eyed with happiness, staying (and having a blasty-blast) with some of my favorite people, hugging more friends than I can count, and making a long-awaited visit to my very favorite used bookstore…McKay’s.  So glad I made that trip.  I have missed my TN friends so much, and it was nice to indulge in a weekend with them, and without responsibilities.

Relatives (relating to the above):  What did not happen last weekend was contact with the family I have in TN.  I had the time.  I even had a fleeting inclination to do so, but I could not make myself do it.  There has been a fair amount of rancor in our “relationship” over the past several years, and the geographical distance gained by my cross-country move has helped (me).  Nonetheless, I could not overcome the gulf, even for something as small as a “Hey!” while I was in town…even to save myself looking like an asshole.  Maybe next time…

Honey. Dripping out of the wall. Dead bees. Yep, that’s a new one for me!

Returning:  Back home to AZ and hitting ground running.  School, meetings, homework, another wedding, relatives visiting, piano practice, HONEYBEES in the front wall…it’s been a breathless week and a half.  My mom’s birthday came and went while I was out of town, and it was only yesterday that I finally was able to get to the post office and mail her gift.  I am such a slug with birthdays – all birthdays, not just my mom’s.  In fact, the only birthday I’m routinely ready for on time is my son’s.  Apologies to all who are affected, but it’s unlikely to change.

Click HERE to check out what they’re doing!

Relatives (relating to the above):  Our nephew and his beautiful wife of two years spent the past several days with us.  We had such a great time with them…catching up with them, going to church, playing games, eating good food, taking pictures with cacti (or cactuses, if you prefer), and watching our 7yo son absolutely soak in as much of their love and attention as he could get.  They left this morning, and we miss them already!

Racket:  There is a lot of construction in our subdivision right now.  When we moved in, things were fairly slow, but it has been non-stop for the whole of 2012. Good for them, but it does create racket…and dust.  LOTS of dust.

Racing…to November, when the NASCAR race comes to town.  More importantly, when one of my BFFs comes to visit for a week.  Yes, she’s coming for the race (it’s an annual thing), but she’s also my shopping (and thrifting) soul mate!  My husband gets kid duty, and I get to marathon shop with my bestie!  Happy, happy, happy dance!

ROSS, Dress for Less:  A favorite place to shop, because I am nothing if not a discount shopper.  I love a good deal…a good sale…a clearance blowout.  The less I have to spend for something I need (OK…something I want), the happier I am.  So tell me, why is it that, in order to procure these deals, I have to endure regularly horrendous customer service.  Honestly, Walmart often has superior service, and that is s-a-d, because they’re on the service sh*t list too!

Rude!  Don’t be.

Rogue Thoughts:  If it’s ribald or raunchy, It’s usually funny (to me).  Can’t help it…that stuff makes me giggle & snort.

Recurrent Rapture:  Pumpkin spice latte is back in season.  I love fall, and pumpkin spice latte…or indeed, anything pumpkin…is largely the reason.  Well, that and cooler weather.

Romney/Ryan:  No way around it, they’re the lesser of two evils.  In truth, I’m voting less for them than against Obama/Biden.  Hoping for change this November.

Ready or Not:  The older I get, the faster life flies by.  There are days when I just want to stop the race and savor what’s going on for as long as possible.  On this note, I am going to savor a hot shower, a working vacuum, and time to practice the piano uninterrupted.

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on | cleveland.com

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

To reach this Plain Dealer columnist:

rbrett@plaind.com, 216-999-6328

via Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on | cleveland.com.