run the race, or hobble, whatever

Perseverance.

Just keep running. Or walking, limping or even crawling along.

Even when you can’t see progress.

Even when you don’t know if you are doing any good.

Even when no one is thanking you.

Even when it all seems hopeless.

Just. Keep. Going.

Long after you have stopped asking “why?”

When your shoes wear out.

When the strength seems to just be gone.

You find a way to dig deep, find inspiration and keep going.  Just one foot at a time.

This is perseverance.

And so is this.

Kiran

Oh, and here is some inspiration to persevere.

Haven’t joined the race yet?  Click here to find a child who is already running a harder race than any of us here in middle class America can fully comprehend.  You can partner with them.  Encourage them.  Send your love through letters and photos and real tangible on-the-ground assistance.  To help them, and you, carry on.

Run the race.

Persevere.

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familyupdate

Just a quick post to show you photos of Ginny’s siblings.

I can’t wait to someday let these kids all meet. Ginny looks so much like Kenna did when she was little.  Or at least, the photos I’ve seen of Kenna…..

Anyway, here are the new pictures:

Kannon.  the youngest (other than Ginny of course)

Kannon. the youngest (other than Ginny of course)

Adrianna.  growing up so fast!

Adrianna. growing up so fast!

Kenna.  Oh,I can't wait to meet her!

Kenna. Oh,I can't wait to meet her!

three happy kids on a sofa

three happy kids on a sofa

Mel (Ginny’s birthmom) sent me these so I can show them to Ginny.

We plan to eventually have all the kids meet.  Probably not till Ginny is 3 or 4 years old though, so she can understand a little bit.

Continue to keep all the kids and Mel & Stevie in your prayers as they are still seperated for many miles.  It is hard on them all to be so far apart.

humility of purpose

This past week a preacher I heard prayed this at the beginning of his sermon

Lord may anything I say be forgotten as quickly as possible.  May anything YOU say through me be remembered and may it grow in the hearts of the hearers

wow.

I want that kind of humilty of purpose.  Too often I want to be remembered.

Lord make me utterly transparent.  Let them remember YOU.

the perfect mother’s day gift

I got the most amazing gift ever this Mother’s Day.  My first mother’s day.

Was it the email from Ginny’s natural grandma congratulating me on my first mother’s day and wishing us well?

No.  That was wonderful, but that wasn’t it.

Was it Manchester United beating Arsenal to go to the finals of the UEFA Champions cup?

Nope.  good game, but that wasn’t it.

Was it the phone call from Mel, Ginny’s birth mother to say “Happy Mother’s Day”?

Nope. That was really nice and we are thrilled that we are still so close to Ginny’s birth parents and we hope to remain so for a very long time.  We made sure that Ginny “sent” flowers to her birth mommy too.  Daddy paid, but Ginny picked them out.  Purple flowers to match her room and a teddy bear holding the vase.

Was it the plane tickets Martin’s mother bought for us so that we could come out and see her in Dallas for Mother’s Day?

No.  It was great to spend time with Martin’s siblings and his mom, but no that wasn’t it.  Though it indirectly helped with the delivery of my perfect gift.

Because we were in Dallas for the weekend instead of at home we were in a hotel room type setting, with all three of us in one room.  Martin and I in a bed and Ginny in a crib that the hotel staff had waiting for us.  So when the alarm went off early Sunday morning it not only woke us up, it woke up Ginny.  She is not used to hearing an alarm clock.  Normally Martin and I are in a different room of the house and Ginny gets to wake up gently, on her own time, at her own speed.

But not on this particular  Sunday.

So now the alarms has gone off.  We are all “awake.”  Martin and I both rolled out of bed, groaning and grumbling and shuffled to the bathroom for the usual activities.  On the way I visually checked on Ginny.  Yup, she’s awake.  Thumb in her mouth, looking  sleepy.

When I came back out of the bathroom I went to her crib again and smiled at her (since I was awake now and all) she took her thumb out of her mouth, gave  me a huge grin , put her arms up to be picked up and said “MAMA!”

Martin popped his head out of the bathroom door and said “wow!”

I laughed, swooped her up and hugged and  kissed my Ginny girl for giving her adoptive mommy such a wonderful gift on Mother’s Day.

she’s been working on her mamamamamamamamamama sounds for a while now and has been saying mama to everything and everyone for about a week, but this was absolutely intentional and directed at me.

Thank you Ginny.  You are amazing.

p.s. she also started saying “Elmo” this weekend and she can make “elmo” and “mama” sound different.  Not bad for 8 months old.  Oh and we started her on “dada” on the way home on the plane.

mothers day MAMA

strawberry fields for ginny

Ginny has now gone through the basic veggies.

carrots, sweet potatoes, green peas, squash, green beans

all were accepted without a fuss.

She is ready to graduate to fruit next week.  But there is one fruit we will not be starting any time soon: strawberries. Because I don’t want this to happen to Ginny like it happened to Ike.  Also it is recommended not to introduce strawberries till at least a full year, some folks even say two years.

So how do you torture a child on a lovely spring day? A child who at 8 months wants to put everything in her mouth and is enjoying new tastes every day?

I’ll tell you how.

When your mother calls in the middle of the day and says “I want to go strawberry picking” you, the sensitive mom blithely says “sure! and don’t forget to dress Ginny up and get photos of her in the strawberry patch”

Sheesh I am SUCH a goober.

poor kid.  She did have fun though.  Even though she REALLY wanted a strawberry.  She doesn’t even know what it is, but she was certain that she wanted to put it in her mouth.

Here is the photographic evidence of my baby brother Stephen and my mother torturing my sweet little Ginny (kidding)

walkin in the berries

walkin in the berries

mmmmm can I have one?

mmmmm can I have one?

I know her face isn't showing but this shot was just too cute

I know her face isn't showing but this shot was just too cute

if you're happy and you know it......

if you're happy and you know it......

um..can I puhleeeeeeease have one Uncle Steve? please?

um..can I puhleeeeeeease have one Uncle Steve? please?

how many different sweet, yummy, makes you wanna just eat them up cutie-pies can we pack into one photo?

how many different sweet, yummy, makes you wanna just eat them up cutie-pies can we pack into one photo?

tips for praying in traffic

In honor of tomorrow and the National Day of Prayer I thought I would post a few tips for Praying in Traffic…since that is where a lot of us actually pray.

  • do not close your eyes
  • pray out loud  (it might help you stay awake so that you don’t hit someone)
  • bless your enemies****
  • remember to start your prayer with PRAISE.  Thank God for what you have.  Whether it be a roof over your head, a job, your health, or “just” that you are alive.  I am assuming here that if you are reading this blog that you are indeed alive.  If you read this blog and you are already dead…….I don’t want to know about it, ‘kay?
  • pray for our leaders at ALL levels (local, regional, national)
  • and remember Genesis 18:14 “Nothing is too difficult for God!”

**** enemies here means ANYONE you dislike.  From the guy who just cut you off in traffic to the member of the opposition party who just got elected to public office.  God has very explicit instructions for praying for our enemies: we are supposed to pray SPECIFICALLY for blessings to rain down on them.   Luke 6: 27 & 28/Matthew 5:44/Romans 12:20/Proverbs 25:21/Exodus 23:4

miles of smiles

I want to make people smile.

Not like a comedian, Not laugh like haha, but smile with quiet joy.  I want to make people happy.  I want people to feel good just by being in the same room with me.

Yesterday I gave someone a smile when they needed it and when they commented on it I happened to be near my computer which has this photo of my 8 month old girl on it.

Without thinking I said “I want to be more like her” and pointed to the photo.

7th-month-005

Ginny makes people smile.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look at this baby girl and frown.  Or even remain neutral.  EVERYONE smiles. Most people bubble with laughter.  She just does that to people.

Then I thought about that.  What is it that Ginny has that people can see and that makes them smile?  It is very tempting to ascribe her joy to innocence.  And to a certain extent that would be accurate.  Ginny expects good from everyone, because she has received only good so far in her life.

But innocence is not a permanent wellspring for joy.  It is not a safe thing to depend on for lifelong, sustaining, bubbling joy.  Innocence can be eroded.  It can be shattered. It can be stripped away by any number of things, acts, or people.

We cannot hold on to innocence.  It evaporates.

So then what?  Where do we find joy?  Especially a joy that allows us to give happiness and joy to our fellow creatures?

Some people find joy in celebrations. wedding-july05-set4-033_jpg Weddings,  parties, holidays, family gatherings   (of course some people find those things incredibly annoying, but that’s another post….) . Some people find joy in making other people happy. But that is not a safe source either.  It too is fleeting.  Requiring energy and efforts that will eventually wear out.

Others find joy in gifts.  Giving or getting.  But that too is human based and will eventually wear thin.  Or the budget will run out.

Joy, at least the kind that can be given away freely, and unreservedly shared with others HAS to come from an inexhaustible source.  It cannot come from anything mortal, or anything influenced by mortal, fallible, fragile humans.

Joy of that kind has to come from an infinite source.  God.

A heart filled with God’s joy, God’s own blood, God’s desires.  This is not something that can be achieved.  You can’t work hard enough to make it happen.  There is no possible way for any human being to know the heart of God.  You would have to somehow have a heart transplant from God himself.  How could you possibly perform spiritual heart surgery on yourself?  You can’t do it.  I can’t do it.  Another human being can’t do it for you.  But God can.  And it’s not just that He can….he WILL. He promises that He will.  In Ezekiel 36:26 he explicitly states that he will do this for us.  He will give us a new heart.  HIS HEART.  But you have to allow it.  You have to just give up to God.

Only God can give the kind of joy in the midst of trouble that makes THIS smile possible:

kiran

This girl, this child has every reason not to smile.  Go read about her here, marvel at her joy-filled smile.

A mile long smile that could only have come from God.