Tuesday, March 31, 2015
So, no, I am not sending Elijah to preschool. Insert gasp. It started with me not driving. We could get a ride easily but I just didn't want to. Then it became "I'm so glad I made this decision."
#1 He spent the first 21 months of his life in an orphanage and deserves this mommy time. I know this is not always possible if both parents work, etc. I also know this doesn't work for every child. #2 I want him (for my sake and his) home as long as possible before starting school for forever.
Now this is NOT always an easy decision but I know it's the right one for our family. We do "school " at home, I work with him on gross and fine motor skills, he gets the social aspect multiple times a week from church.... It's not a popular decision where it's just expected that your child(ren) will attend K-3 and K-4 and be enrolled in different extracurricular activities. But why? Are we just trying to keep up with the Jonses?
Monday, March 30, 2015
I used to run around everywhere, bustle, go go go. Since the stroke, I don't. I do ALL my shopping on Amazon (can be more expensive on some items but TOTALLY worth the time saved.) I am not enrolling E in preschool or t-ball or soccer (more on that later.) I'm not cooking intriquite meals. I'm not letting the little things bother me (a crumb on the table, dish in the sink). It's so nice to just...be. To be content doing less.
Friday, March 27, 2015
I've been running this post through my mind for awhile but realized we are only guaranteed right now and it's too important not to share. There are many of you that follow now that didn't follow back in the day. So, without further ado...our journey.
We started trying to have a family in 2007. Struggled with infertility, went through some procedures, became pregnant and miscarried early on and got pregnant again in May 2010. This time everything went smoothly until our 14 week checkup. No heartbeat was found. We were absolutely devastated. We didn't understand. Our due date would have been February 19, 2011.
Rewind several years and I had read a book called, "Adopted for life: The priority of adopting for Christian homes and churches" by Russell Moore. I had told Barry I wanted him to read it and placed it on his bedside table. Where it sat for several years. I never wanted it to be me that convinced Barry to adopt, I wanted the Lord to convince Barry if adoption was His will for us. He picked it up after the miscarriage and by the end we were contacting an adoption agency.
Fast forward to May 2012 (a ton has transpired...you'll have to read old blog archives for more details) we're on our first adoption trip overseas sitting behind the orphanage social workers desk. We're shown Elijah's birth certificate and...HE HAS THE EXACT SAME BIRTHDAY AS OUR DUE DATE!! February 19, 2011. God knew from the beginning of time that Elijah was ours. He had a plan. A purpose for allowing the infertility and miscarriages.
One thing I definitely learned was that the devil hates adoption. We missed my only brothers wedding, received a nasty email from our parent agency because of a misunderstanding, almost missed the notary office because they randomly closed early on a Friday (we may or may not have broken some Russian traffic laws). We waited 5 months with only one update to go back, I suffered a stroke 2 days after getting back home from that trip where I was not expected to live. When Barry and my parents went to pick up Elijah, the judge was sick the day they were supposed to pick him up causing a huge delay in getting him out of the orphanage. There was a passport mixup that landed Barry in border control at the airport. Then all adoptions from Russia to US were shut down less than a month after he gets home.
Through ALL of that spiritual warfare, God was/is faithful. From allowing Barry and I both to go on trips 1 & 2 that require both parents (3rd trip didn't require both parents) to getting Elijah here before the ban, God's fingerprints are all over our journey. So much more than I have space to write.
It is such a good feeling to trust God. To know that I love Him and He loves me. That everything is for His glory. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28).
We all have sinned, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23 NIV). And "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 NIV). He loves us so much that He DIED for me...for YOU. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9 NIV). Wow. What an amazing gift. Freely given. He has forgiven me!! To accept this gift and ask Jesus into your heart you just have to pray something like, "Lord, I know I have done wrong, I've sinned. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me so that I didn't have to for eternity. Thank you for raising Him from the dead and conquering death! I believe in you Lord and I surrender my life to you. I want to live for you. Amen,"
And that's that! If you've accepted His gift - yay! Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know so I can be praying. Accepting Jesus and asking Him to be Lord over your life is life-changing!
Thursday, March 26, 2015
I've been doing this since October, so it's no longer "new", but I've been meaning to blog about it, so we'll pretend. I used to work full time with APAC (Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections), now I am considered a contract staff.
I run/manage the APAC Adoption Support Network (Alabama). It's a closed Facebook group for current adoptive parents in Alabama. I got it started - created a work FB account, mission statement, etc. and now manage new members, ongoing posts, etc. (If you are an adoptive parent in Alabama look us up!) I enjoy having a "job" again and like contributing. I have not mentioned the stroke on that platform. I am not trying to hide it, I just don't want it to define me.
So, that's my job!
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Sunday, March 22, 2015
It's technically Barry's turn to blog (I did my 20) but you may have to wait for that. I just had to share.
We were at Walmart and this girl, who was there with her dad, goes out of her way and says, "excuse me (I thought she was about to ask why I was in a wheelchair or something), I just had to tell you that you're gorgeous". WHAT?!? I have NEVER been told that. Much less post-stroke!
I blog about this to show; a. God knows just what you need when you need it and b. The power that your words hold. It made my day!
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Last night was the APAC respite. APAC (Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections) - a support agency for adoptive and foster parents, as well as prospective adoptive parents. This is the agency I used to work full time for and now work as a contract staff (I just realized I haven't posted about that...I will another day). Respite - many of these adoptive parents are also foster parents and cannot leave their kids with anyone that is not DHR cleared. And/or there are parents who have adopted older kids. These older kids often have emotional challenges. ALL parents need a break! There was dinner, games, crafts, etc. It's a great opportunity for children who were adopted to be around other kids who were also adopted.
ANYWAY, our small group (and some additions), volunteered and it was so awkward/uncomfortable for me. I ran registration (like I always used to do...part of my job was to coordinate these respites once a year) and had a very difficult time. I had a hard time stacking papers, could not take the name tags off the label sheet (in my defense they really were difficult labels ) and had a hard time communicating with one of the parents.
THEN, after registration, I tagged along with one of the groups (because what else was I to do?) and the awkwardness continued. I tried talking to the kids and they looked at me like I had two heads (unless I knew them), I couldn't play games/basketball/do crafts/etc with them. So I just sat there watching. Awkward. Uncomfortable.
I am NOT asking for sympathy. That is seriously the last thing I want. It is just hard being at something you used to run...now being a spectator.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)
Friday, March 20, 2015
So, I'm starting to see a chiropractor for these headaches since medicine isn't helping. I don't know what I think. There was a question on the initial paperwork (that Barry fils out) "Do you want personal prayer for your condition?" And then before the treatment he PRAYED with us, "dear Heavenly Father...." IMPRESSIVE
Then he started the assessment and it was wonky. At least in my opinion. But hey, I am willing to try anything. Well, I'm not going to a witch doctor. So maybe not anything....
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
I am not a very good conversationalist anymore. Here's why. 2 reasons.
One: I'm harder to understand (some people have no problem now, others I have to three-peat myself) so I don't pipe up in group conversations much. It takes me a while to get everything I want to say out when I do talk. Then, I babble, always have, and I get way harder to understand. I don't contribute to group discussions often. (Which I hate because God has given me a unique story with plenty to share.)
Two: When someone is pushing me and I see someone I know, it's hard to know if they're stopping, how long they're stopping...or if I'm having a conversation with someone, I might think the pusher is ready to leave, so I say, "bye", and we don't leave. Church is the worst place for Scenario two. Lots of awkward smiles.
It's just really frustrating because pre-stroke Lisa was very social, talkative and a good comunicator. Now there are lots of awkward conversations and smiles. So, if you and I have an awkward conversation, please know I am not rude and there is a good communicator deep down in here.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Why did God save me?
When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.” (John 11:4 MSG)
I believe I am alive for a reason. The Bible says that my life has a purpose.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
So does YOURS! Are you living out your purpose?
Friday, March 13, 2015
I would totally be a Pinterest mom; crafts, games, meals, the whole nine yards, if it wasn't for the stroke. Now, there is nothing in itself wrong with Pinterest (I have an account!), the problem lies when there is discontent. We can't do it all - we even push it on our kids, we have them in a million after school activities! We want more, we feel like we should do more, be more.... The stroke saved me from that. I know I CANT do all that and I've accepted that. I am content.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Phillipians 4:12