It’s been weird around here.  We are trying to fast track a reno project and addition that had been in the works long before YuChennie was on our radar.  And so my head is full of tile samples vanity designs and adoption to do items and I’m forgetting things like rinsing the conditioner out of my hair and turning the stove burners off.  Which is not precious, unless the house burns down, in which case maybe the project would start quicker?  Something to think about.  We have our last appointment with the social worker in charge of our home study tomorrow.  She’s coming here.  To our home.  Which means that each of the kids had a job to do tonight to help us get ready and most of them involved hiding things.  Weapons and stuff.  The past weekend kicked off the Michigan Youth Hunt, which only meant that my boys were doing things legally that they’d been doing illegally for months.  Sunday night found them up in the tree stand with Dan, my organic baby carrots scattered on the ground as bait.  The girls and I got the heck out of Dodge and went to pick outrageously priced apples at Robinettes since I like to get totally cheated on apples there at least once a fall.  It’s like a tradition or something.  In a non-shocking twist, Robinettes actually charges more for u-pick apples.  Let me say that again: Robinettes actually charges more for u-pick apples.  This could, perhaps, explain why I failed econ in high school, as this makes no sense to me.
Today, Grant was sick until 8:35, when the bell rang.  Then he spent the day working on his rip-stick skills and forcing me to climb up into his tree stand with him.  I sat on the precarious ledge at the top of a billion foot high ladder, clutching Lucy to me and wizzing my knickers onto the organic carrots scattered underneath.  I told him it would help attract the deer, which may or may not be true.  But either way, the view was spectacular, and since I woke the boys up singing a song about underwear in a morning falsetto, I figured I owed it to him.  That’s the kind of thing kids hate you forever for, after all.
In adoption news, I popped onto our adoption agency’s website this weekend for a quick peek and found this:

Is that not the sweetest thing?  Just a week ago, our girl’s photo had “No longer accepting new applications” across her chest and now this.  It brought on both the snot cry and the stupid grin.  At the same time.  Which scared the children enough to come see for themselves and then we all danced like loons around the kitchen.  I have a family!  Child, you have no idea.
This is me being real.  So thankful that somewhere in southern China there is a baby who is being loved from afar and whose family is counting down the days til she can come home to this crazy place and let us love her.  Aching for all the smalls whose pictures don’t say anything across them yet.  Aching for that.



Because months ago I googled babies with cleft palates and there she was.
Because it’s been on my heart for years.  And the Smalls.  And just recently, on Dan’s.
Because we think that when Father said pure religion is caring for widows and orphans in their time of need (and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world), it wasn’t a suggestion.  And even though it means different things for different people, it seems to be meaning this for us.  Clear as mud?
Because doors have flown open, unbidden almost, so quickly we’re are almost afraid to ask for more, quicker, more.
Because we had Isaacs we needed to lay down: trust and time-hoarding and control.
Because halfway around the world, a teeny girl named Yu Chen has joined hands with Father to wreck us.  Just totally wreck us.
And so we are racing to her.  All six of us.  We are racing through paperwork and background checks and forms filled in and double, triple checked before they get notarized, authenticated and certified.  And we are ordering cleft palate bottles at thirty bucks a pop and dreaming of the day we will hold her in our arms and feed them to her ourselves.  And I, especially, after hundreds of whispered prayers about this, will revel in the knowledge of a full tummy.  We are waiting with nerves all ajangle sometimes, despite our best efforts to lean, to see what kind of shape she will be in.  If reports of brain damage are accurate.  If she will ever learn to walk or talk or if the ravages of spending her first years in an orphanage and without proper feeding will rob her of those things.  Waiting for our home study to wrap up so we can send in our E800 form and wait for our 797 and a few other things that are only now in our vernacular but which, roughly translated, mean we are coming.  To our sweet Yu Chen in Nanning province in China.  All six of us, coming to bring her home.  And we are trusting that Father will either use us to heal her with nutrition and love and a sprinkle of crazy or that he won’t, but that he’ll provide all we need either way.  Will equip us to be all she needs us to be, whatever her condition is.  And we are praying that our paperwork goes through smoothly and opens more doors that will lead us to her.  Soon.  Will you link arms with us to pray one more orphan home?
This is me being real.  Pinch me.


a reposting from long ago and in honor of 18 years today.  My love, you bless me so.


She was so beautiful, my cousin, floating down the aisle on her father’s arm to the man waiting for her.  And I cried.  I always do.  A few tears for the parents who surely must have warring emotions, after all, if I can barely stand to see her given away how much harder must it be for them to be the ones placing her hand in another’s?  A few tears for nostalgia and the beauty of the bride, and this one surely was one of the most beautiful.  But handfuls of tears for what she and he don’t know.  They don’t know that this relationship they’re entering into will be the hardest and best and that it’ll test all they are and shape all they will become.  They can’t anticipate the pain and joy and sadness and struggle and laughter and fun marriage holds.  If they did, they might pause.  But thank goodness for innocence or we’d have missed another chance to see a marriage launched.  And to remember how ignorant we were and to be thankful for it.  Because you can’t describe a marriage relationship any more than you can describe the color blue.  You just have to wear it and swim in it for awhile and see how it feels sifting through your fingers and then you still won’t be able to describe it but you’ll just know and you’ll be better for having known and you’ll be so thankful.

Thankful there was no advance notice on how hard it is for one selfish, sinful person to share their life with another selfish sinful person and work toward utter selflessness.  How painful it will be to work through issues that arise, and they will, even if you have a really good therapist and spend hours on your knees.  It’s still hard.  How beautiful it is to lay in a hospital bed and hold your first baby together and know that you did this thing.  Together.  And how equally beautiful to do it three more times.  How lovely to remember the time when you were in a really dark place and the other could to nothing other than rub your back and whisper, “you are safe.  you are safe.” over and over and how you fell asleep listening to that voice and became convinced that perhaps for a blink Jesus was there in flesh and moving through him.  How hard when you discover secrets the other is keeping, because we all are and when you do life together, they will come out.  Eventually.  And you wouldn’t believe it on your wedding day, but listen to me when I tell you that you’ll be thankful when they come out because truth shines light into the darkest corners and exposes secrets God never intended us to keep.  From Him.  From our other.  And you’ll move forward.
On your wedding day you can’t possibly know that you may someday have to explain divorce to your children and will fall all over yourself reassuring them that you will never let that happen.  Never.  And each time you say “never” you become more firmly resolved and something opens up in your heart and you praise God because divorce is not from Him and so it’s not a place you’re willing to go.  You’ll show them the picture in your album (silently cursing your unimaginative photographer and the heavy handed stylist who convinced you that a little rouge would really make your eyes pop) of the part when the pastor took his stole and wrapped it around your arm and the arm of your other and swore an oath that nothing would separate you.  You remind them that you fall deeper in love with them more everyday because you get to know them better and it’s the same with a mommy and a daddy.  And you’ll feel sad even having to speak this conversation and you won’t want to talk about it anymore cause it’s too yucky, but it’s important to reassure them that they can talk to you about anything even things that make you feel yucky inside.  Then you’ll kiss your other and go make popcorn and laugh about something and life will go on.  Only sweeter for the reminder of how fleeting the world is.
You can’t know until you’ve been doing it for a good long while how wonderful it feels to be totally known by another person and loved anyway.  How when you have kids you understand, really understand, for the first time the love God has for his people.  That this teeny person is someone worth dying for.  You’d do it in a heart beat.  And then you remember that this man came before and you’d do it for him too.  You maybe forget that for a while but then you remember and you fall in love all over again.  If you said all this stuff in a toast at the reception, you’d be booed and someone might even throw a tomato, but you can write it on your blog if you have one.  And writing it will make you relive the wedding and the fifteen years it’s taken you to learn a million lessons in a hundred different ways and you’ll whisper one breath prayer and it’ll go like this…”thank you”