Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dreaming for 2013

I am a huge dreamer!  Steve laughs at me because he always says that he's two years behind my dreams.  It may have taken two years to bring Steve on board w/ adoption, but there's no doubt that some dreams are meant to be reality.  I am overwhelmed by God's grace as I sit here during this quiet time in my house watching the snow hail down on my back porch.  It feels like I'm looking at a snow globe.  The kids, dogs, and my husband are all still sleeping, and I just sit with my coffee and praise God for all He is doing.  It's as if I'm sitting on one end of the wardrobe looking out into Narnia, wondering what's out there.
I wonder, I dream, I hope.
2013 is knocking on our door, and I'm thankful for all of the possibilities it could bring.  I am so excited to get my new website up to be able to use it as a tool to connect more with God and others.  I literally can't wait to promote it as a dialogue site, something interactive, where we can talk about this journey and how God is moving.  I have learned through Young Life that the greatest conversations are the ones where I shut up and just listen.  I want to hear you and pray for you, but most of all, I want you to hear each other and pray for one another.
I have had many conversations with people, especially over the past year, that has inspired me and challenged me.  I want to encourage more of that.  To be honest, there's so much useless chatter.  What if we cut all the bull crap and talked about what mattered?  What if we dreamed together and allow God to work in those conversations to do something more than having the perfect home or the perfect outfit or the perfect whatever.  Because when it all comes down to it, there is nothing perfect other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is in Him, with His compass that we find a way through this messy maze.  I am also learning that my free will sometimes gets in the way and everyday I have more to surrender to Him.  There are corners inside of my heart that need some serious cleaning out, and there are corners that I don't even know exist!  I'm trusting everyday that He is leading me right where He needs me to clean out the gutters of my heart and to use that process and the gifts He's given me to do something that glorifies Him.
When we moved to Indianapolis six years ago, Steve and I thought our family "needed" certain things. We made certain decisions about what we thought we needed in order to be happy and settled as a family.  Everyday I find myself more and more certain that we were reaching for the wrong dream, the American dream rather than God's dream.  At the same time, I know God has not moved us out of this situation because He has more for us to learn and process, and for that, I'm grateful.
I know many would say that it's because of the American Dream that I even have the opportunity to dream of anything else.  I get that, but I think I've realized that the things that I thought I needed are not the things that inspire me and stir my heart; they more or less make me feel like I'm on a hamster wheel.  And yet it's hard to find a balance between not being a slave to your things and being a good steward of what God has given you.  I'm praying to find God's perspective on where He wants me to be with that.
Anyway, here are some of the big things I'm praying for in 2013:

  • My website, hopefully to launch on January 1!  I'm literally giddy about these conversations and to see what comes from them.  
  • Going to Ethiopia this summer with Alex and friends.  CAN'T WAIT!
  • Hopefully selling our current home to move into something simpler.  I know there is a family out there who needs this home a lot more than we do. 
  • Growing more with God and His ministry in Young Life.  I LOVE these kids.  They have become a part of my heart, and I'm so excited to take this journey with them! 
  • Trusting God more and more each day and being thankful for His grace.
Dream big, dream far. 
Much love, 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kick the Door Down

As a parent, I think one of the most challenging things to navigate is when your kids have to deal with disappointment.
My crazy, coo coo ten year old, Alex, has dealt with disappointment and heart ache this week.  For the fifth year in a row, she didn't get a part in her school's Christmas program.  Now, I'm not writing this to gather your support to tear any walls down, that's not it at all; but I am praying on how to walk through this with Alex and emphasize Christ's love in all circumstances. 
At the heart of it, I know my sweet girl just wants a chance to shine, to be recognized out of the crowd, to be seen as someone special, even for just a three word part.  Alex intellectually knows that she is God's girl, His child, but emotionally that's hard to stand on in moments like these.  It's times like right now that God is building her faith and character.  To be honest, she's not buying my well intentioned encouragement and exhortations. 
On Fridays, I do a 5-10 minute read aloud with my students; it's a nice way to end the week.  We are currently reading from an awesome book called Love Does by Bob Goff.  In order to make the stories work for a public school setting, I modify some parts.  All in all, the stories are classic and quite character building. 
Today's story started like this, "I used to think God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down."  It proceeded with Bob's personal story about how he kicked the door down to get into law school; it's pretty cool.
I keep thinking back to the past few weeks with Alex.  Everyday she would get in the car and announce to me how many parts were left to be handed out in the Christmas program, in hopes that maybe one would be hers.  I would pray for her, and I KNOW she was praying about it too!  Finally, just the other day, she hopped in the car and said, "Well, I have really good news.  Mrs. ___ is adding one more part to the program."  Oh, my heart was hoping that it could be for her, but I cautiously told Alex to pray about it and that, no matter what, we knew she would do an amazing job in the program and that she didn't need a part to shine and contribute to the festivities to celebrate Jesus!  She accepted my advice with hesitancy...
As you can guess, Alex didn't get that last part.  In order to teach her "good sportsmanship,"  Steve and I filled her with many of:
Not everything is fair.
God is not through with you yet.
Sometimes God's plan is a million times better than we could ever imagine.
 These are moments where God builds our faith.
Amidst all of this, she asked if she should talk to this particular teacher about her feelings.  We tread carefully with this, and encouraged her to write down what she wanted to say and to word it in such a way that would ask, more or less, how she could improve.  She ended up writing three drafts; it obviously meant something to her.  So, she tried to seize the moment, and it didn't go so well. 
What can you do?
I was reminded by Bob Goff's story that sometimes you need to kick the door down.  Bob Goff readily admits that he was not as prepared for the LSAT as he ought to be, nor was he the most studious of students, but he felt determined.  If you know the story, he sat outside the dean's office for a whole week before law school started and then five more days after it started, hoping that the dean would instruct him to, "Go get your books."  And finally it happened.
If you know anything about Bob Goff, he's extraordinary.  His international work through Restore International has helped many children through the justice system.  It's one of my dreams to go and visit his school in Uganda, where many of these children have a home, are educated, and loved. 
Where would Bob Goff be if he didn't sit outside the dean's office?  What if he just accepted the simple rejection letter? 
There could be a number of answers to those questions, but I can't imagine Bob Goff doing anything else than what he's doing right now.  He couldn't be doing any of it without his law degree which he only accomplished because he first did not accept a simple no. 
So, what if I go home tonight and tell Alex that if she really wants, she can express her thoughts without trepidation; sometimes we don't have to accept the no.  It's a risk, but maybe it's worth it. I don't know if the elementary school Christmas program is her place to claim her stake, but I wonder if the advice I gave her was really what I should be telling her; to just politely accept the No's in life. 
I'm not saying that every battle is worth fighting, but some are.  Seeing my child cry herself to sleep over something makes me think that this means something to her in her ten year old world.  Maybe it is worth kicking down the door.  I don't know if she's going to become a Broadway actress, but perhaps this could teach her to fight for the important stuff. 
The "great perhaps" is definitely there.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  It could be a great dialogue for us! Much love and God bless, friends.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two, To, Too, TUEsday

Today is TOO cool.  Today marks many things that I love about the word TWO, TOO, TO, TUEsday (btw, an underrated day).  First and foremost, today is birthday # TWO for my Jesse Getiso. 
This is a picture of him from the other day after opening birthday gift number TWO from Grandma Donna and Grandpa Bobby.  He loves anything that moves.  Jesse continues to light up our lives.  I still cannot believe that I get the privilege of calling this sweet boy my son. 
On that note, I would be lying if I didn't share with you some thoughts on how my boy has TWO mamas.  I think about his "Mama Alemetu" every day, especially days like this.  We pray for her every night.  We pray that God sends her comfort and peace that her little boy is loved beyond measure.  These feelings especially arise as J cuddles in my arms each night before he goes to bed.  We have a pretty solid bedtime routine, and he often takes his TWO sweet hands and pulls my head down, so we are touching forehead to forehead as we sit in a big, comfy chair in his room.  There, I remind him each night of all the people who love him so very much; the last TWO things I say are, "and Mama Alemetu loves you" (he usually gives me a "aah") "and Jesus loves you"  (with a final "aah").  It is my dream that I can meet this special woman who gave everything up.  TWO years ago, this young woman lost her husband to malaria and was forced to give up her son, so he wouldn't die from starvation.  She means so much to me.  If you think of it, please pray for her by name.  She is a special part of our family.
Speaking of dreams, I have one that I'm working on, hence the journal picture at the top of this post.  I'm kind of technological ding dong, so I apologize about it being sideways; I couldn't find the option to turn it around on this blog :(  My dream is to create a new blog; something that will invite more people to celebrate the journey they're on with God.  I will be giving you more details in the future, but my hopeful launch date will be the infamous January 1!  I'm working on designing a logo, button, etc.  to share with others.  My dream is that it will be interactive, something that people can feel that they converse with me about and find meaningful and relevant to their lives.  I hope that it will inspire dialogue with me, God, their friends, and family.  I'm really really TOO excited about this.
So, I thought TOday was a symbolic day to share some of these things:  it's TUESday, I'm TOO excited, and Jesse turns TWO TOday. 
The final cathartic moment came when I started teaching during period number TWO in class TOday.  This is a small class of kids who find reading a challenge.  My job is TO inspire them to read and fill in the gaps of their reading journey, so they can springboard into grade level curriculum.  We always start the period with a short time TO journal; these are kiddos who often have TOO much on their minds and need some space to vent about stuff.  I journal along side of them and noticed that TOday was the last page in my journal; it seemed TO mark the end of a chapter.  I loved it.  So, I wrote about that. 
I'm thrilled TO share chapter TWO with you in my new blog that you'll hopefully see on January 1.  There will be more information TO come. 
Happy TUEsday.  I'm so thankful for you and You :)