Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two years ago...

Though by date, it hasn't been quite two years yet, today was the day.

This particular Thursday...the day of Farm Progress (a huge deal in our parts). I was walking side-by-side with the Mister on our way in to a H-O-T day of food prep at the Farm Progress. You have to walk a good mile just to get in, and then there's exhibit after exhibit of farm-y stuff before you can find the D1Naz food tent.

Half-way through our trek through the parking lot, my cell phone rang. The caller-id told me it was our case worker for Dillon. His adoption was not final at this time, so we were always waiting for good news regarding that. I answer with hesitation, hope, and a question or two already forming in my mind.

"Everything's fine with Dillon," she starts the call. "There's a baby."
Me: "A baby?"
Her: "Yup. Birth sibling."
Me: "Birth sibling? Oh my goodness."
Her: "You're the first call, and I hate to do this, but I need an answer fast."
Me (now crying, blubbering, and trying to let Mister know what's going on on the other side of the line): "Yes...yes yes yes. We will never turn away birth siblings." (This is something we had discussed prior and already knew our answer. That makes it easier for sure when this emotional time comes around.)

Then the flood of questions: "Is it a boy or girl? When was he/she born? Is he/she healthy? Can I see him/her in the hospital? When will he/she be in my arms? How will I get ready for a baby this fast? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!?!" {Thankfully, our case worker is amazingly calm and doesn't panic at the rate I do.}

Her: "We don't know anything. Literally. Just need an answer, and I'll text you things as I know them."

And so we went about our merry way, working the hot Farm Progress Show. I told a few close friends because I felt like I was going to burst. What was I going to do? A baby?! A newborn? Straight out of the hospital? And a birth sibling to our amazing little {at the time} 5 year old.

We had her a mere 50 hours later. It was a girl. And she was given my name {bizarre}. And she was born on my Daddy's birthday {bizarre}. And she weighed 7'7'' (my favorite # - bizarre}.

And we called her Ruby, after my maternal grandmother {who I never had the priveledge of knowing, outside of Marmi's memories}. And Dillon wanted to call her Gracie, so that is her middle name. One day, there will be official papers that say those things...until then...we know she's ours in the end {though it doesn't stop us from praying daily that this adoption moves a little faster}.


And I can't believe it's been 2 years. 

She is wild & zany. She loves to laugh, and she loves any form of mischief. She now understands {fully} how to push her brother's buttons, and she annoys him on a daily basis.

She is our joy, our laughter around here. There is {quite literally} NEVER a dull moment with her around. She knows what she wants and wants it NOW. She is stubborn, and tends to have anger management issues {so early in life}.

She loves music and really loves to sing. If she sees anything that remotely reminds her of Elmo, she sings "La, la, la-la, La, la, la-la" at the TOP of her lungs and hopes others will sing along.

She is obsessed with Dora, Princesses {"pay-sayses"}, and Elmo. And she is enamored by all things animal. She loves to "read" books, and she is starting to use 2-3 word phrases and communicating better.

She is gorgeous. Those blue eyes and blonde hair...a story for another day, but an answer to my prayers. She is a hugger, and she loves deeply.

She loves THIS GUY more than anything. {And he reciprocates, as you can see in this picture.}


She's a Daddy's girl sometimes, and a Momma's girl others. And I'll take it.

And the only time she likes to snuggle is in the middle of the night when something has woken her out of her slumber. And again...I'll take it.


Gracie - a few days before your birthday, and a few more days before our "Gotcha Day," I'm celebrating that moment...the one where we first found out about you.

We are so blessed. How could we ask for more?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Funny thing about grief. How it comes in waves.

How one minute, you're giggling with your 7 year old over a silly book, and the next minute, you're fighting tears because of a memory.

A beautiful memory...a funny one...a sad one...or just in general remembering what a total goofball your Grampa was.

How do we cherish the moments we have with those we love? How do we make the most of our time?

Because, I tell ya what...tonight, I miss my Grampa Vic. And so I will therapeutically write...

Dear Gramps (he chuckled when I called him that):

I thought of you tonight while reading Big D a book about Jesus. It mentioned some of the questions we might have when we get to heaven...some silly ("Why did you make spiders have 8 legs and humans only 2?") and some serious ("I wonder if Grandma is doing well and if she's making friends in heaven."). And there it was - a flood of memories and emotion. {Try explaining that to my 7 year old.}

Sometimes my husband does a perfect impression of your know the one...the belly laugh. And it makes me giggle and smile remembering you and all the things you laughed about. Some of it was honestly lost on me, and a piece of me wishes I would have asked about it.

Duck tape is all the rage in Kid's Ministry...that makes me think of you. Though you would NEVER have gone for checkered, dotted, or fire-laden ones, you certainly always had plenty of the old gray stuff. And you used it for everything from car repairs, clothing malfunctions, bruises, and my personal favorite: open wounds {smh -_-}.

For some reason, mashed potatoes reminds me of you. It's something Grandma would fix a lot when we were there, and it always grossed me out when you just piled all your food together and just...dug in. And you would chuckle at me, and say, "What? It's all going to the same place...them's gonna stick to your ribs."

If you saw how big D & Miss R are getting, I'm sure you would have some classics to say (that only you would say): "Where's the bricks? I need to put one on your head to keep you from growing." And that hug...more of a chokehold than an embrace...but at least we knew what to expect with you.

I'm so thankful for all the memories I have with you. Sometimes I wish I would have just grabbed a pair of cowboy boots that you offered (every.single.time. we came to visit). Who woulda known they'd be "in" again? Both my kids would LOVE to have a pair, and how fun would it be to have those stories to tell about your hoarding of all things...non-essential.

I miss you.

And I do you, too...

Friday, August 2, 2013


Ever feel like you're just...under attack? Maybe you have this big huge project to strive for...plan for...and even execute. But your sights are unable to set on this said project because it appears/feels/seems like "life" is swirling all around you. It's confusing. It's sad. It's unsteady. It's hard. It's messy. And most of all, it's unknown.

This is where I am tonight. VBS is just ahead (a huge project that I love and am passionate about...also part of my job description, as far as I know). It starts a mere few days away. And this week, I've been plugging away at all the tasks at hand (though there are still a million to do). But my's not there.

My focus is on me. Health issues, concerns, problems, pain, issues, and about 300 unanswered questions.

Yet tonight...I was able to stand on Holy Ground...A random series of events led our church to have an "impromptu" worship gathering tonight...a hundred or so of my family gathered in the presence of Jesus and sang praises. There's something about the corporate worship setting that gives me clarity like nothing else. Maybe it's my music roots...the effect of music on my soul...but clarity was found tonight.

The first song sung was "Blessed Be Your Name." A beautiful, slow, acoustic version. And to be honest, it's not one of my favorite songs. I mean...I love it. I love how scripture is just straight up sung in the song. I guess I just mean that it's not necessarily one of my "go to" worship songs right now.

And then this part came: "Blessed be your name when the road's marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be your name." And I had to stop singing. Did I mean it? Do I really want to bless His name when I don't know what He's doing...when I don't know what the future holds? When I don't know if my hopes and dreams are about to be shattered around me?

And then this part came: "Every blessing you pour out, I'll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord..." And my heart cried, "YES! I will bless your name. Because the one thing I that You are good. Your plans for me are good." And I will...with tears filling my

And the follow up song? "Your Grace is Enough."

The lyrics that hit home: "Your grace is enough," "You use the weak to lead the strong," and then more of the "Your grace is enough" over and over.

I don't know what's going on. I don't understand the timing. I don't want to be devastated. But you know what? Sometimes this is just how it is.

Jesus, you are enough. Your grace is enough.

I open my hands, I give you all that's swirling around me.

And I will bless your name through it all...

"I don't know what You're doing, but I know who You are." {See below video for a great song by JJ Heller with these lyrics.}