plan interrupted

plan interrupted

When I was 15 I had a plan.

  1. Graduate college
  2. Find a man
  3. Get married
  4. Adopt a dog
  5. Be adopted by a cat
  6. Have kids
  7. Live happily ever after

My life soooooo didn’t go according to plan.

I didn’t graduate college till I was almost 30.   I had two failed marriages.  The dogs and cat didn’t come till after I turned 30. And children of my own body will never happen.  Some of the reasons my life didn’t go according to plan are my fault, some were things that were never in my control to begin with.

Like many couples, we struggled for years to have children.  Eventually we made the life altering decision to open our hearts to adoption.  (Let me just say here that this was not a decision we made lightly, nor was it an attempt to replace childbearing.  Adoption is an entirely different emotional adjustment and needs to be approached with prayer and care)

That said, we went through the process and were eventually selected by a young couple to raise their baby that was due in approximately 5 more moths.  We really bonded with them.  They said it was very important to them for their child to be raised in a Christian home.   They let us pray with them.

Just a month later we got a call from another agent.  An Emergency Situation – a baby had been born in a local hospital and the mother had just walked out.  Classic abandonment.  Did we want the baby?  Martin and I looked at each other…we were tempted.  Oh so tempted.  We could honor our agreement with the first couple and wait for their baby, or go right now and come home with a baby today.  Oh we were tempted.  That’s when grief unresolved rears its ugly head.  My arms ached to hold a baby, any baby. But we prayed, and felt a sense of peace about honoring our agreement with the first couple.  We felt good about that decision.

Then it happened again, the very next week. Similar situation.  This time it was twins.  Oh my word!  But again we decided to wait and go with the couple we had already committed to.

We were now just a month or two away from her due date.  It looked like our happily ever after was just around the corner.

But …(why is there always a but?)

A week later this couple, that had been so open and sweet turned out to be dishonest.  They chose to disappear with a large chunk of money and a huge piece of our hearts.

We were devastated.

We were in shock.

Why had God allowed us to connect so well with this couple? Why did He allow them to defraud us? Why had He given us such peace about continuing with a couple that HE knew was going to wrong us?  A couple that he knew was lying to us and their own extended family?

Some good things came out of the situation.

We watched our agent display integrity and compassion.

We were able to be a witness to the couple through our opportunity to show them mercy and not press charges. As well as the various kindnesses along the way.

Maybe God’s purpose was the timing?  For those of you who have met Ginny,  you know the story turns out well.  But did you know that she is a miracle of timing?

The very same weekend that we had been invited out to meet our first couple.  The very same weekend that we were supposed to go to an ultrasound appointment with them

Is the same weekend, even the same HOUR that Ginny’s birth parents  were having an ultrasound that showed them Ginny.  That was when they were making their decision that would lead to us adopting Ginny.

We didn’t know it at the time of course.  All we knew was that we had been hurt by one couple and we didn’t know what to do next.  Weeks later when I eventually saw the ultrasound for Ginny, the time and date stamp just leaped right off the page at me.  I got chills.

Was that the purpose of the whole mess with the first couple?  Was God just trying to keep us on hold with them so that we wouldn’t jump at those two abandonment situations?  Was he trying to make sure we would be ready and waiting when Ginny’s birth parents were ready to make their decision?

Maybe.  It is certainly one pattern that I can see. But was that God’s purpose?

I don’t know.

I may never know.

But here is the key to the whole thing

I don’t need to know.

It is enough for me to know that God is good.  I can trust that God did have a purpose in everything that lead us to Ginny.  NOT because I finally have my fairy tale, but because all things are in God’s control and he works all things together for HIS GLORY

HE interrupted my plans (multiple times, but who’s counting?) so that He could give me something far greater than anything that was on my pristine plan.

Yes Ginny is nearly eight now, but I still marvel at how beautifully God orchestrated events so that Ginny would be part of our family and we would be forever part of hers.

 

 

shocking isn’t it?

shocking isn’t it?

If you have known me at all in the last 5 years you know that I identify as a Figure Skater.

I’m a mommy, and a wife and a Christian, but my major identifier has been “figure skater”

It’s different.  It’s something you don’t run into very often.    I skated as a kid for 8 years, took a 28 year break from the ice and I’ve been back in competition for 5 years now and it’s been great. When he heard my story, Scott Hamilton hugged me once and said “Welcome home!”  He is right,  I feel like the rink is home.  All it takes is to walk in and breathe in the myriad scents of the ice and I feel better instantly.

spiral in color

 

Yes, that’s me.  I’m rather proud of that spiral actually at age 45 (or 46, I forget when this was taken) decent height and form.

That all changed at the end of May, 2016.

We finally took a good hard look at the budget and realized something had to give.  Ice skating is expensive so, skating, for both myself and my husband had to go.  We let Ginny finish her semester and then she had to quit too.  It was a very sad moment.  Ginny has gotten a lot out of skating.

ginny at magnolia

 

She has learned so much control, both of her emotions and of her body.  People are constantly remarking on it.  Seriously, strangers come up to us in a Starbucks and ask if she is in ballet or gymnastics because she is so poised.  And frankly I enjoyed having all of us involved in skating.

family of skaters

But….

It’s been two months now.  I’ve had a chance to catch my breath and come out of the dumps about it and now I’m about to say something shocking…..

I don’t miss it.

I do miss the FEEL of skating.  I miss the physical challenge.

hangtime magnolia

I miss my friends (both locally and at the national level).

freinds

I ache for the feeling of flying across the ice, and Lord knows I miss performing ! Skating has awoken the utter HAM in me and I’ve got to find an outlet for that off-ice….

light 20

BUT, I don’t miss the space it was taking up in my life.

It was a HUGE drain.

  • on my energy level
  • on my schedule
  • on my mental energy
  • on my families schedule
  • on our vacation time
  • on my interactions with my family

The freedom to have an entire, uninterrupted weekend with Ginny & Martin is fantastic.  It almost makes each and every weekend feel like a mini vacation.  We get so much done!  Playing, cleaning, laughing, eating, cooking, hanging out with the neighbors without having to watch the clock and go to bed at 8 p.m.  There is also more space in my car!  Three Zuca’s can take up a lot of space people !

3 zucas

 

The one who always had to go to bed early was me by the way.  I had to get up at 4 a.m., so going to bed late was not an option.

but it is now!

There is so much free space, emotionaly, logistically and mentally. So, as much as I miss skating…..I’m actually okay with the net effect of walking away from it.

shocking, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

examining anger and freedom

anger stems from a sense of personal entitlement.

“I have the right….”

  • to keep my schedule
  • to be heard
  • to get my own way
  • to be understood
  • to have my life plan work out the way I want

 

The real, ugly, horrifying truth is that I have no rights at all…..

……… except to be condemned to burn.

By birth, as a human being it is my birthright to be damned.

Read that again.

My only birthright as a human being is to be damned.

my HUMAN inheritance is damnation.

However it is my JOY to be forgiven through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. and there was not one blasted thing I could do to earn it. Not one.

my SPIRITUAL inheritance, through Christ Jesus is the inexpressible Joy of Forgiveness.

When we understand that concept, fully, personally and completely…..

When we understand that we have been  freely forgiven of our very humanity,

THEN, and only then, we will be able to reach out from a place of love and be able to offer loving forgiveness to others.

FREELY

be free. my friends.

BE FREE !

 

did the world just end?

did the world just end?

My mother and I had an actual conversation about politics last night.

We spoke to each other about who we will each be voting for in the presidential race and why.  No, it is none of your business who is voting for whom, and it’s not really germane to this post.

Here is what is germane:

  • We actually listened to each other.
  • no one yelled.
  • no one vowed to pray the other around to a right way of thinking.
  • no one said anything insulting.

Obviously we are on opposite side of the voting question.  Basically if you put us in one car to go to the polls we may as well go shopping, because we cancel each other out.

nomakeup

From a family dynamics perspective this conversation itself was a miracle.

and I’ve been happy about it for a little over 12 hours now.

but…..

Neither one of us is overly thrilled with our own choices.  Both of us feel we are choosing the lesser of two evils. Even though we disagree about which candidate is the lesser evil.   We each acknowledge the flaws in our chosen candidate, but choose to ignore them because we see something bigger and ickier in the other candidate.   And we each see the flaws in the other candidate as being too big to ignore.

Our reasons for our choices are basically identical.  Reasoned out logically and thoughtfully stated.

But we came to exactly opposite conclusions.

I find that troubling, but not for the reason you may assume.

It is far too easy to think of people who are on the opposite side of the political fence (or any other fence actually) from you as “ravening hordes” “masses of ill-informed cretins” “unthinking persons swept up in a near religious fervor” etc…. but this my own mother.  And her mind, though approaching elderly, is pretty dang sharp.

No, I’m not re-thinking my political choice based on her stated position. What I am  getting to is this:

We all desperately need to re-think how we paint those who disagree with us. 

Life is not about “US vs THEM”  I’ve been guilty of this far too often.  So, for my own benefit, and perhaps my one or two readers, I’m going to spell it out:

Painting ANY group or person with a broad brush is NEVER going to produce TRUTH.

  • women are not all excessively emotional
  • black people are not looking for trouble
  • gay people are not twisted sickos out to harm kids
  • men are not all cheaters
  • rich people don’t all spend loads of time and energy avoiding taxes
  • poor people are not looking for a handout
  • teenagers are not making your life difficult on purpose
  • democrats are not trying to destroy this country
  • republicans are not trying to destroy this country

If we stopped having such sloppy thinking, a whole lot of the problems of this society would evaporate.

Look at it this way….if  you hired a portrait artiste to paint your portrait you would have certain expectations.

They will show up with paints, canvas and brushes.  The brushes will be varied in size, but will typically include some small enough to do justice to the details of you.

If instead the artiste shows up with one color and a single large house sized paint roller you would dismiss him, right?  He can’t adequately convey the complexity of you using only one color and a paint roller bigger than your head !!!

How would he capture your smile? the light in your eyes when you are about to get creative? the tiny, barely visible scar from that time you and your best friend decided to play super heroes and you learned that you don’t really know how to fly?

Do you see what I’m saying?

If YOU DESERVE to be SEEN IN FULL DETAIL, SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE

So put down the paint rollers people.

Instead, pick up a palate with a full rainbow of colors to work from and for the simple love of accuracy (if nothing higher) please learn to look for the details and use a smaller brush to paint the truth about each individual in your life.
Lets commit to see, and create, works of, Human, Earthly, ART.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hypocrite

hypocrite

This Thursday, at 7 p.m. there will be a gathering/vigil on the green in Snellville, GA.

My church is right across the street from the gathering and we have been told that anyone who wants to can park in the church lot for free so they can go to the gathering.

It is a peaceful gathering of people to mourn and to ask for healing for our communities and our nation.

So why do I not want to go?

Because I am afraid.

My stomach ties up in knots just thinking about going there and being gunned down.

Is my community violent? no. But I’m having an unreasoning, gut-level, panic just thinking about going to this.

I’m also not sure I want to take my 7 year old along.

We have, so far,  raised Ginny in a way that she doesn’t know that people’s skin should make any difference.  To her all people are just people.  I know it sounds impossible, but it’s how I was raised too.  She knows that some people are horrible to others based on skin color, but she also knows that behavior like that is horribly wrong. She is an innocent child and I am fighting to keep her that way for as long as possible.

The idea of going to this gathering scares me, in part because I won’t be an adult alone in a potentially hostile situation.  I would be an adult trying to keep a tender 7 year old girl safe too.  That may not be possible.

But if I’m totally honest with myself, even if I were an adult, alone or with body guards, I would still be terrified of going to this gathering.  The idea of being gunned down simply for being white is something I’ve never faced.

Someone could shoot us.

Someone could yell at us or threaten us.

The crowd could get ugly even if nothing is directed at us personally.

Sure, it could all go beautifully. We could all join hands, pray, cry, and beg God to heal each heart.

But it could all go wrong.

 

Is this what black people feel every time they go places?

Do they fear being hurt, threatened, yelled at, cursed or blamed at every turn?  I can’t imagine living with this threat hanging over my head my whole life.

I’m struggling with this.  Really struggling.  I’ve never marched before or gone to a public vigil like this.  Not because I was afraid, but because it is not really my thing.  I think you get further by helping individual people.  But the events of last week seem to call for something more than my usual. It seems to call for me to step outside my comfort zone.

The problem is that as soon as I even contemplated going to this gathering…..the fear hit me.  I don’t want to be a hypocrite……

but I’m scared.

I sincerely welcome thoughtful comments or dialogue.

 

 

mourning

I stopped wearing purple today.

You may not have noticed, but I was wearing purple every Thursday because Prince died on a Thursday. But I have to stop now. I’m still sad about Prince, and Bowie and Alan Rickman….but they lived larger than life and are being mourned by millions. I’m far more horrified by the news coming from Minnesota this morning, and from Dhaka over the weekend, and Orlando last month.

We all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and until people realize (each individual person, you can’t legislate this) that they need a higher power helping them from the inside, the mess will just keep getting worse.

I know I will lose some friends for having the nerve to say this.

We all, individually, need to get right with God.

This is not about politics.
it’s personal.
No, I’m not going to tell you what to think.
This is what I believe.
I also believe that I needed to state it in public.
We.
All.
Need.
God’s.
Help.

 

this is what I posted on FB on July 7, 2016 in response to the murder of Philandro Castile

so….what happened?

People keep asking me that, so I guess it is time to answer.

Last post I mentioned that I was going to U.S. Adult Nationals to pit myself against other ice skaters at my same testing level and see if I could better my finish from last year.

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Last year my best placement was 5th out of 6 skaters.  I skated the best I could at the time.  But it wasn’t enough.

This year I was determined to do better.

This year….I also placed 5th.  But it was 5th out of 15 or 16 competitors.  Trust me, that feels WAY different.

I was so proud!

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It wasn’t the best skate of my life.  but it was good enough to place in the top third.  That felt good.

But it was only the  beginning of my week at Nationals.

My husband Martin and our daughter Ginny had come along for the fun.

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Or maybe I should say “fun” because for that first day Martin’s time was almost completely occupied with trying to convince Ginny to come into the arena and let him watch the skating.  Ginny is an active child.  She loves to skate…but will tell anyone that she hates to just watch skating.

The second day we spent away from the rink (sorry fellow competitors, sometimes a mommy has to pay attention to her family) and it really helped.  But the third day mommy needed to compete again and Ginny wasn’t thrilled….UNTIL somehow she got to be on the list of sweepers.

For those who don’t know, sweepers are the kids who get to skate out between competitors and clear the ice of all the flowers, teddy bears and what-not that gets tossed onto the ice after each performance.

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Once Ginny (and Martin) became a sweeper, she got to be involved, useful and entertaining (since she made faces at the various stuffed animals and giggled along with the crowd as she picked up each one) !!!!  All of a sudden, the termagent who wanted nothing to do with the rink couldn’t be pulled away.  Martin had trouble getting her to even stop long enough to eat.

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She was the hit of the week.  Seriously.  She got a medal for her volunteer work and random strangers came up to us in various restaurants to shake her hand and thank her for the great job she was doing!

Anyway, my program that day was my dramatic skate to a song from the Prince of Egypt movie.  It is called “deliver us” and is basically Moses’ mother singing as she gives him to the river.

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It is an angst ridden program and I remember almost collapsing into my Coach Davin’s arms afterwards.  I wasn’t quite crying, but I know I was shaking. I did okay, but the program had some spots in it that could use work, so I had no expectations of high placement.  I can still (over 2 months later) feel the shock that went through me when I saw the score sheet and realized I was going to get my first ever National Medal – a silver !

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It didn’t feel real until a team member asked me how I did.  I held up 2 fingers and grinned like an idiot and we both squealed and jumped up and down like silly cheerleaders.  Thank you Annette for sharing my joy in that moment.  That was special and I know what it cost you.

The next day Ginny could have had a break from the rink, but she wanted to be a sweeper again, so we let her do it again.  and she loved it. all day long.

Day five I got to compete again. One more program.  One more hour of Ginny being a sweeper before she and Martin had to leave on a plane to return to Atlanta and the “real” world.  They had to miss my third competition.  One more chance to perform.  My light entertainment piece.  Known in our family as “Trixie”

Trixie is a dog.  Trixie is also a drama queen.  Trixie likes to act tragic about it when her owner leaves her alone…..for just one minute.

The program is funny.  IF you get to hear the voice-over at the beginning which sets the scene.  The only other time I had competed this program the sound guy had turned the voice-over WAY down…..nobody got to hear the set up. And without the set-up, it is really really hard to appreciate the joke.

This time I was blessed.  The audio was up and clear and the audience GOT it and was screaming with laughter before I ever even moved.  I’ve never had anything like that happen in my life.  Merciful heavens what a feeling!

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It is a tremendously fun program to skate and even though I fell at the end I managed to work it into the  story.  Sure my jumps could be higher, and my spins could be faster, But I came off the ice so high from audience reaction that I honestly didn’t have a care in the world.  If that is what it feels like on a good night for theatre actors, no wonder they are addicted!  I would tell you in precise detail just what that much adrenaline feels like, but this blog could be read by children one day, so….I won’t.   

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ahem….

I got to wait for a while for the scores to come up and in the meantime I was privilidged to be a witness to my friends Keri getting her first ever National Medal (bronze!)

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Very cool moment.

and then…I eventually found out that I actually won.  Very very cool, but nothing compares to getting on the ice, somehow knowing I was about to own it.  and then having it actually come true. I loved that feeling.

 

(This post was hiding in my drafts folder from 2014.  I have just started blogging again and realized that I never published this.  So forgive the hugely out of date news, but this was a big accomplishment for me and I wanted to post it.)