Monday, December 31, 2007

It's getting a little bit Little House on the Prairie around here....

So, I made homemade Christmas gifts & ornaments this year! Mane requested slippers, a hat, pants & a shirt - all matching, all crocheted by me. Well, I got the slippers & the hat done, and she was thrilled Christmas morning:




And Vespera had some knit slippers, which she wore almost constantly. So, I crocheted another pair:



And the homemade ornaments:





Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Strangeness

I am still surprised sometimes by my children. I mean, of course, they do and say surprising and wonderful things. But I mean surprised by their presence, their existence. I am amazed that they are here. Sometimes I wonder how the stars all aligned to put us together in this place. I look at Mane and wonder how she ever came from my body, how our DNA tangled up to make her. Intellectually, of course, I know. But, somehow, that doesn't really explain it. Not really. And Vespera? How did our life stumble into hers? Is it really divine appointment? Does that really happen? How did we ever end up adopting her? How did some come to really belong to us? How did this life become so familiar? What was life like without these two girls? What would it be like? I cannot even wrap my brain around the possibility. Their presence is something I take for granted, yet, when I really begin to think, I can hardly believe how they came to be here.

And when I stop and think like this, I have a look at what my children really are, apart from their role in the family, in my life. And, in this indescribable way, they are strange to me. They are so utterly "other." They are familiar, yet unfamiliar. I know them, but I don't. They are wholly their own people, with their own private thoughts and feelings, their own expressions and ideas. I can never know fully what makes them tick. Maybe even I understand Mango better than I understand my own children. It is so amazing. And so alarming. Wonderful and humbling.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh, and I forgot to mention....

The tough also eat chocolate. Not just me, Mango eats chocolate, too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

When the going gets tough...

The tough take hot showers and call their friends.

Try combining teenage development, dreary MN winter weather, two completely different families (culturally and otherwise), immigration politics, grief, and PMS and see what kind of chemical reaction YOU get.

Life is tough over here. And we're counting on the attachment we've built so far to carry us through. Thanks be to God for hot showers and good friends.

Jesus be with us.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Am Bound For the Promised Land

I was listening to Jars of Clay the other day. They have a song on their Redemption Songs album that goes like this:

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie

All o'er those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns
And scatters night away.

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land

No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land

When shall I see that happy place
And be forever blessed
When shall I see my Father's face
And in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land

And every time I hear the chorus, I get all choked up, tears spring to my eyes, I get chills. And I've been completely puzzled by my own emotional response. What is it that gets me about this song? So, it's about heaven, the promised land. It's just a regular song. Not even any especially provoking lyrics. (Though the musical artistry is amazing.)

I was pondering this in the car the other day. And I had this instant of clarity. The promise of heaven means that I can spend my life on this earth to the very last breath following God on every scary, dangerous, wreckless, extravagant path, and I don't have to be afraid or anxious. Let's see if I can say this right. I can do that, not because life here doesn't matter, but BECAUSE life here really matters. It matters too much to sit around on my hands and do nothing. And since I have the promise of eternal life with Jesus, I can spend this life, I mean SPEND it, use it up, squeeze it out and it's ok because the end is not the end. Then I'll go be with Jesus. God arranged it so that we can live our whole lives here for things that really matter, and, if we have to, even sacrifice our lives, and it's not over. Hmmm... I've no idea if this is coming out right. But there's something about being bound for the promised land that means I can live this life without fear. In fact, it means I can put away the anxiety I keep struggling with. It isn't relevant.

None of this is to say that life here doesn't matter, that the small things are irrelevant. Maybe it's an oxymoron. Maybe it makes no sense. Yet, somehow, the relationships we have here, the community we build, the way we treat people, the things we fight for, the way we live our lives...those things really matter. I believe that. I don't believe that God has us all here on earth living pointless lives. God is a God of relationship, and each one of us is an infinitely valuable image-bearer. In some way, for those who choose God, the relationships we have here will exist for eternity. Though we have no idea what that means or what form they will take.

What we do here is valuable, it's meaningful, perhaps eternally meaningful. And yet, the hope of heaven, the promise of eternal life, the Promised Land that lies before us means that this life here, this human life does not have to be handled with kid gloves. As much as it matters, we can still dive in, drink deeply, live freely, and TAKE RISKS because when it's over, it's not over.

I am not a risk-taker by nature. God has led me into some of the most serious risks of my life recently, and I can only hope that somehow it's because God believes that I am ready for this stretch. I cannot begin to think that somehow I've earned this, nor am I willing to believe that this is God's way of teaching me a lesson. I only know that I am finally becoming ready to open my heart with faith and really and truly live fearlessly.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Simile & Onomatopoeia

Today Mane & I talked about simile & onomatopoeia. I know this is boring for everybody else out there, but I we're having fun.

So, here's the simile exercise we did today. Mane's words are in bold:
The slipper was as soft as a sheep's wool.
The car crash was as loud as fireworks.
The cranberry bog was lonely like a sad person.
The fire seemed cheerful like mom.
The hotel was as homey as our house.

And Mane's onomatopoeia list (those are words that describe sounds, for those of you who aren't in the know):
crash
clumpity
moo
meow
bump
waaaaa
quack
click-clack
ding-ding-ding

Words are so fun!