"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Told You He Is Stealthy

I probably should not post this, but it is just too hilarious to forget!

I have mentioned other times that Jamison is a prankster.  He loves a joke, and he is forever making me laugh with his good natured tricks.  This week he may have outdone himself.

Yesterday he and 2 other classmates realized that they sit in the same desk in the same class during different class periods.  They decided to see if they could leave a note for each other without getting caught.  (This teacher is on the lookout for note passing.)

As Jay was sticking the note under the desk for his friend to find, a girl sitting next to him asked to read it.  He passed it her way.

Unfortunately the teacher intercepted this pass.

After class the girl asked Jamison what the note said.  She could not understand why when the teacher read the note she smiled and tucked the note into her locked drawer without reprimanding Jamison.

Jamison explained that he had written, "Dear (friend's name) Mrs.  (blank) is the best teacher ever.  Jamison"   He figured that his chance of getting caught was pretty good, but if he wrote something nice about the teacher, he would probably not get into trouble.

He thought right!

Oh.  My.  Stars!  I have laughed about this all day.

That boy can not stop himself from accepting a challenge, but he is smart and stealthy enough to turn something that could get him into trouble into something that wins him major brownie points.

Only Jay!

(For the record, he does know I think this is hilarious.  I also told him funny or not, he can not do this again!  Good mom or bad one?  I'm not sure!  But a good laugh made my day!)

And yes, I am a bit scared!  If this son decided to use his pranking skills for evil instead of silly, we are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  I am WAY thankful for his dimples!  He can not tell a lie.  When he tries, his dimples pop right out and give him away every time.

They are a gift.

He agrees.  The girls love them.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Daughter, the Cheerleader

Ever since Sierra was big enough to walk my mom has said, "She is going to be your cheerleader!"
To my mom, the thought was both hilarious and delightful!  You see, my mom was once a cheerleader.  I, on the other hand, went through high school saying snotty things about cheerleaders.  (Not one of my kinder and gentler moments, but true!)  My mom, being a former cheerleader, did not approve of my sarcasm.
As Sierra has grown, I have often described her to people as irrepressible.  Nothing gets her down for long.  She is loyal, joyful, and full of heart.  She would do anything for a friend.  She truly oozes enthusiasm, pure sweetness, and absolute love.
All of these pure, beautiful, and very real characteristics make her the perfect cheerleader! And I can honestly say this cheer scoffer has been reformed! I am sincerely proud of my cheerleader!

Monday, January 28, 2013

All-City Choir Concert 2013

We spent the evening at the All-City Choir Concert.
Every Public Middle School and High School choir performed.
There was also an all-city elementary choir (grades 3,4,5) that performed.
Brenna was a part of that choir, along with her friend Camaryn (and dozens of additional kids).

Think she had fun?
(I love that smile.)

It was a long event - 2 plus hours!
But it was fun for me, bringing back all kinds of happy memories of high school choir experiences.
I'm hoping one of our kids decided to love choir.
I would love to attend a bunch more events like tonight's.
(Yes, Jay!  I am serious! I actually DO like choir concerts!)
Thanks Ashlee for getting Brenna to choir practice each week.
Without you, she would not have been able to participate!

(And the fact that I was organized and rested enough to have all my camera gear packed and ready to go makes me so happy!  I have pictures!)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Moments that Melt My Heart

Guess who went to a party today?!?
Joshua Gebeyehu Chad Dietrich!
Since starting day care last year, Joshua has been invited to MANY parties.
But he never felt comfortable attending.
He worried about everything -
what will we eat?
who will be there?
can you stay momma?
what if the mom yells at me?
what if I miss you?
what if I get hurt?
etc. . .
I reassured him that it was OK to skip parties if he felt uncomfortable.
He was relieved.
About two weeks ago he received an invitation to yet another party.
He asked his standard questions, and said he would think about it.  But he thought he would probably be busy that day.
About a week later he told me, "Mom!  I want to go to the party.  Call my friends mom!"
So I did.
Today he had a BLAST choosing a gift.
Complete with a $7 musical card. 
Because, "Sharlene always buys noisy cards.  They are the BEST!"
(Mom never buys cards.  Mom is too cheap!)
When we drove up to the party he said, "Will you walk me in?"
I told him I would and that I would stay as long as he wanted me to.
He held my hand as we crossed the parking lot.
When we got close to the door, I could hear all his little buddies yelling
We said hello to the mother.
He introduced me to his buddies.
I helped him take off his shoes.
And he said,
"You can go home now.  I'm going to have FUN!"
I had NO doubt that he would.
I returned and he was not thrilled to leave.
At one time transitions were very hard, they are still a bit sticky sometimes, so I was a bit worried.
However, he dug deep and chose to listen nicely.
As we put on his shoes, I explained that it would be polite to thank the mom.
He said, "Oh, Good idea."
He politely told her thank you and good-bye.
And guess what?
She gave him a treat bag?!?
Did you know that kids sometimes get treat bags after birthday parties?
Joshua does now!
He was so, so thrilled.
It was a extra-sweet, melt my heart weekend with our smallest son.
Here are two more stories that I want to hide in my heart.
  • I came home recently feeling very sad and overwhelmed.  It had been a really discouraging morning at work.  I did not tell Joshua how I was feeling, but when he raced up to tell me hello, he wrapped his little self around me in the biggest hug ever.  He simply held on and on, not letting go.  He finally whispered, "Mommy I love you.  You are the best mommy ever and I will hug you until you feel better."  There are so many layers to that huge hug.  The top layer of pure sweetness, and the core where a once detached little boy now knows his mommy's heart just by the slump of her shoulders.  This mommy is THE luckiest mommy ever.
  • One night Chad tucked Joshua into bed.  Now when mommy tucks him in we read a book all snuggled up, say prayers, and sing our good night song.  It is sweet, snugly, and one of my favorite activities of the day.  When Daddy tucks him in, it is a tickle fest!!!  They laugh, wrestle and tickle like crazy!  In fact there was so much tickling and giggling that Joshua told Chad, "Daddy!  Daddy!  You tickle me so much, I laugh so hard that my eyes are dripping."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Loudest Movie Night Ever!

It is a historic night here at La Casa del Dietrich's.
Our first boy/girl movie night.
Sierra is our social butterfly  - and although (much to her dismay) she is NOT allowed to have a boy friend in seventh grade; she does have many friends that are boys.  Girl drama stresses her out, so she often chooses to hang with the guys. 
And tonight we are lucky enough to have the whole crew here.
(I love having a house full.)
I love these little ladies!

And the rest of the crew is growing on me, too!
It may be the loudest, goofiest movie night ever - but I hope it is the first of many.
Having a house full of crazy teen-agers makes my heart happy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

3 Years Later

January 19, 2010 was one of the defining moments in my life.  It was the day we first saw Joshua's face.  It was the day we said we would be honored to parent this beautiful little Gebeyehu.

That day was NOTHING like other defining moments in my life, because although on that day we said "YES!!!" we also committed to wait.  We saw his face, but we did not know the details. We could not hold him, feed, him, soothe him.  He was absolutely our son.  Unless you have lived that moment, it sounds crazy.  He was my son.  Even before I saw his face, I knew he was out there.   I knew God was calling us to find him, fight for him, and love him like crazy.  Once I saw his face, my commitment to him was complete.  Having my child living in an orphanage half a world away was nearly unbearable.  My desire to go to him was just as deep and desperate as if one of my biological children was stuck in terrible situation and I could not get to him/her.  It was terrible.

It was and IS divinely beautiful, as well.  I will always wonder just how God did that.  How did He so alter the plan I had for me?  How did He make a bond so deep, so rich,and  so pure between myself and a little guy half a world away?

But God.

The last three years have not been easy. However, I am beyond thankful for them.  In the last three years, God has done much work in my life.  I am no longer the person I once was.  I see the world differently.  I parent differently.  My priorities are more defined.  My faith is much deeper.

And our son?

He has been completely transformed.

Not long after Joshua came home another adoptive mom told me that she noticed a distinct difference in her children after they had been home longer than they had lived in chaos.  While she meant this to be an encouragement, it sent my heart into a minor panic.  You see, she had brought home babies.  So in a matter of 4 or 6 months, she really felt like they were "settled."  I remember thinking 2.5 years. . . 2.5 years?!? 

At this point Joshua Gubs has been home slightly longer than he lived in choas.  And though some days during those 2.5 years have been really, really long - really, really sleepless - really, really prayer focused - and really, really hard; they have all lead to THIS moment.  And THIS moment is beautiful.  It is EASY.  It is fun.

Right now Joshua's favorite saying is "I love you more than you love me!"  He repeats it constantly, with a giggle.  He is overflowing with love.  And where those words would have once been empty, questioning of our love for him, needy, and filled with longing - they are now just simply how his joyful, confident, and secure little heart feels.  He loves when we respond with "False!  We love you more!"  or "No way!  The mommy/daddy always love the kids the most!" or "I'm not sure about that!  I think we love each other the same!" or "We are sure lucky to have so much love in our family!"

Where once he was fearful and unattached to his dad, he is now his Daddy's shadow.

Where once he could hardly walk, he is now completely caught up in gross motor skills.  He also has endurance similar to his classmates.  It amazes us.  Just last winter Jamison and I would giggle about how Joshua would never be a distance runner.  Our Ethiopian had no endurance.  He was also so uncoordinated.  That has all changed! Just a few weeks ago Jamison was watching Joshua play and he commented, "He is gonna be an athlete, Mom!"  Then we both laughed in amazement at the change that has happened this year.  It is truly unbelievable.

Where Joshua was once hesitant and fearful in peer situations, he is now a kind and confident friend.  He excels socially.  He plays nicely, is liked by his peers, and listens to his teachers.

The only delays we still notice are small motor/school skills.  They are far from alarming.  In fact, I think he has very similar skills to Jamison at the same age.  Both of my boys had no interest in preschool stuff.  Joshua says, "Why do I have to go to school?  I am going to be a worker like my dad.  He can teach me!  I do not need school!"  He hates coloring, drawing, writing, and painting.  Cutting is better - but not nearly as fun as hammering!  So Kindergarten will be another year off.  We will send him when he is 6 - which is actually what our pediatrician recommends for all kids anymore.  It just feels a bit old to us because the older kids all went at 5.

In many ways it feels like "it is over."  In many ways "it" is.

Yet, I also know "it" will never be over.  There will always be questions - from Joshua and from others.  There will be prejudices.  There will be school assignments that pick on old scabs.  The past, present, and future will always come together in a more complicated and fragile recipe for Joshua than the older kids.  It is not fair, but it is true. 

Today, I am thankful.  Thankful for easy.  Thankful for healing.  Thankful for confidence.  Thankful for true love.  Thankful for deep attachment.  Thankful for snuggles, kisses, and tickles. 

And today, just as every other day, I am trusting God with tomorrow.  It may not be as easy as today.  It may be easier!  It may also be much harder.  Either way, God has a plan.  It is a plan that will prosper each of us, not harm us.  A plan that WILL give us hope and a future.  For with God, all things are possible.

Praise Him!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mundane Moments Captured by Momma

Further evidence that I am returning to normal is that I am once again having fun snapping pictures of the mundane moments that make my heart happy!
Boys!  They just love to rough house!
"Spin me FASTER Jay!"
Look at the joy in his eyes as he plays with his big bro.
I am so thankful they have each other!
She ADORES him!
All her friends know that you don't mess with her Gubs!
Joshua is addicted to YouTube.
Watching Handy Manny videos is his favorite.
Even if they are in Spanish.
Joshua dressing classy like Reshab, Krissy's boyfriend.
If Krissy likes him Gubs figures he must be cool. . .
Our Domestic Deva?
Krissy volunteered to make dinner tonight.
She found a recipe online and made chicken alfredo from scratch.
The occasion?
The boy was coming for dinner, of course.
However - IF having him here for dinner gets me out of cooking, he may be invited every night.
It was a yummy meal!
At long last, Daddy's birthday present arrived - a bigger TV.
Funny that the non-TV watcher would agree to buy it for him, isn't it.
His comment about it, "It is so nice that on HD ugly people look even worse."
It that a complaint?
Or high praise?
Boys and their toys. 
Our beautiful Brenna Joy.
I just love her eyes.
She saw the ortho for the last time this week.
After 6 months of rechecks, he finally called her clavicle fully healed.
So thankful.
And Sierra?
She is feeling crummy!
We see a doc tomorrow and hope to learn more about why she has hives all the time lately.  She also has flu-like symptoms tonight (seperate from the recurring hives) so the doc will have many issues to discuss with us!
I am so very thankful to have the energy and peace of mind to snap silly photos again.
I have missed "me."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


One of my top priorities since December 26 has been to rest.  Outside of my work responsibilities and the bare minimum household duties, I have done zero tasking.  As evidence, my Christmas tree is still up in the living room midway through January.  That has never happened.

After 3 weeks of rest, I am finally starting to feel like myself again.  I am shocked at how long it took for me to feel relatively "normal."   However when I realize that, in all of 2012, I rarely slept more than 5.5 hours a day, I guess I should not be surprised.  I was absolutely weary by December,and  if I had to continue at that pace I would probably have totally collapsed.

It is funny how when I was so stressed for so long I became unaware of subtle changes in my personality. This fall, I began hating music.  If there was music playing in the background while I worked, drove, cooked, or even painted in our house  - I thought I might lose my mind.  In retrospect, there was so many thoughts running through my exhausted brain all the time that the extra stimulation of music made me crazy! Similarly, having to resort my planned daily schedule sent my heart into a triple-tap.  Each day was so busy that any change felt totally unmanageable, and I am normally pretty flexible. 

As my body and brain have rested, I have noticed my reaction to stress and music both returning to normal.  However even still, I feel a bit fragile.  I am careful not to overreact to stresses, and I prefer to work in silence.

Having my brain be in a survivor type mode for a prolonged period of time has really given me a glimpse into how kids that are functioning with "trauma brains" must feel.  I can not imagine how hard it is for them to get through each day.  I was nearing a melt down, and I have every advantage over kids from "hard places."  I have years of good brain function, successful decision making, positive self talk ,and a thriving support system.  Kids who have suffered trauma do not have any of those (or few of those) advantages.  I can not imagine the weariness, the fear, the desperation, the chaos that they feel each time they are faced with an uncomfortable situation.

If you are parenting a child who is struggling to overcome past traumas, I know how hard it is.  The extreme structure they need is stifling.  The control they try to hold onto is exhausting.  The melt downs over seemingly minor changes are frustrating and embarrassing.  On the flip side, I now can see how hard it is for these kids to function at all.  Thinking through the fog, feeling out of control, weary, hopeless it a terrible, horrible, out of control feeling.

I just want to encourage you to empathize with your kids.  Love them right where they are at - crazy controlling, people pleasing, or totally indifferent - just love them.   Provide them with tools and stability so that eventually, with a lot of practice, they will be able think in more healthy patterns.  Get them the help that they need from other professionals when necessary.  Asking for help is not failing, it is teaching our kids an important life skill.  Please fight for them because I can not imagine how terrible it would be to forever exist in the swirling chaos they are currently caught up in. 

I know! I have just broken free.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm Content to be a "Jogger"

Once upon a time I called myself a runner.  Running was where my brain rested, my heart worshiped, and my spirit listened.  I adored my runs.

Over the last year running became impossible.  I truly did not have the time or energy to run.  It was one of the many things that were sacrificed while we built and rebuilt the house.

The funny thing is, during the time I was unable to run, my son became a runner.  A serious one. He has only taken 2 weeks off from running since last August.  His coach insists that he not break 7 minute mile pace this summer as they "take it easy" and lift more during the off season. (I have never run a sustained 7 minute mile pace in my life!)

Now that he is a runner, he tends to critique other people he sees running, walking, or jogging as we drive by them.  The other day he commented, "They may call themselves runners, but we call them joggers." with a good natured chuckle, as we drive by a trio of middle age ladies trudging along the path.

I laughed, because Jay's dimples, the twinkle in his eye, and the kindness in his tone even while joking makes me laugh.

Today, I got home from work and decided I felt good enough to run on the treadmill.  I am still coughing, but I felt almost energetic this afternoon.

As I changed clothes and laced up my tennis shoes, I gave myself a mental lecture.  "Be kind to yourself!  Take it easy!  You have taken a looong time off and you are still sick, be careful!"

I climbed on the treadmill and said a quick prayer of thanks that it still worked after the summer in a moving trailer before starting to run ever so slowly.  Running felt good. And as my stride became relaxed and rhythmic, I was tempted to "go try hard" - to push hard.

However, I was stopped by this quiet whisper, "Love yourself as your neighbor."

I quickly corrected, "You mean love your neighbor as yourself?"

And I heard, "Love yourself as your neighbor."

Hmmmm.  Many nights I pray those verses over my kids. "Brenna Joy Dietrich, I pray that you would love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  And that in doing so you would love your neighbor as yourself."

So why was I hearing this verse backwards?

As my feet continued to trod along, and my mind continued to relax, I really feel like God whispered, "Alicia, you do a pretty good job of taking care of your neighbor.  But can you love yourself the same way?  This body worked hard last year. It served you well. Now take care of it.  Be gentle.  Love yourself.  Even in exercise, rest."

Long, sweet, sigh.

That is why I love running.  It is then that I hear God best.

So I am officially a jogger!  I am trudging along like an old lady, and I am perfectly content with that!  I will exercise, but slowly and carefully.  Not Jillian Michaels style, for sure!  But for now, for this season of rest, jogging just feels right.

And if my son sees me trudging down the road he will give me his handsome dimpled grin and say "Mom, you suck!"  Which translates to, "You are sloooow, but I am proud of you for trying."

Which do you need to work on?  Loving yourself?  Or loving your neighbor?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Reasons I Love Living in the Country: Geese

I grew up living in the country.  When I moved out, I vowed to NEVER live out of town again.

You see, while I loved having horses and riding horses, I did not love the inconvenience of living miles from work, school, gas, groceries, etc...  I felt like I spent as much time inventing things to do between activities while in high school as I spent at activities.  It does not make sense to drive home if you will need to leave again in less than an hour, so I spent much time at the library, mall, and doing homework in parking lots during my high school years.

Going to college, I LOVED living on campus.  Even after Chad and I had Krissy, I refused to move out of our teeny, tiny, one-bedroom campus apartment.  Being so close to my classes and the library was something I adored.

When we built our first home I insisted it was within walking distance of a school.  I do not love being  a taxi mom,  so being within walking distance of the school fit my needs nicely!  Last school year I was totally spoiled.  Krissy drove herself to school.  Jamison and Sierra walked.  Brenna rode the bus.  The only child I had to transport was Joshua.  I loved it.

Fast forward one year and we are living in the country.  Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?  (sigh)  And I am a taxi mom to the max.

Every morning I drop Krissy at CHS (we have asked her not to drive this winter), Jay and Sierra at HMS, Joshua at Montessori, and Brenna at Northridge before I go to work.  At 12:30 I have to pick up Joshua.  We then either head to one of my offices or home for a bit.  After school we pick up Brenna at Northridge, Sierra and Jay at HMS, drive Jay to CHS for practice, pick up Krissy and head home (unless Brenna has an activity after school.)  Chad picks up Jay from practice on his way home from work.  On days Krissy works we head back into town at 10 to bring her home.  And like all families, we are constantly running to one activity or another in the evenings.

This is HARD for me.  I am a homebody and all the yo-yoing causes me to feel rushed and unsettled all the time.  While I rest in the FACT that next year will not be as crazy as this year,  (Next year Krissy and Jay will drive together to CHS.  Sierra will ride the bus to HMS.  Brenna will ride the bus to her new elementary school.  So, only Joshua will ride with me!) I have also decided I need to work at appreciating our location even though it is not my first choice!

As in other areas, I wish to choose gratitude rather than grumbling, so I have decided to document some of the things I love about living in the country rather than focusing only on how annoying all of the driving is to me. 

My very favorite thing about our current location is watching thousands of geese fly from the field where they feed during the day over our house to the water each evening.  They are truly glorious, and I find myself looking forward to watching them each and every evening.

I am grateful for the predictability, beauty, and tranquility God's geese provide in my life this winter

Friday, January 4, 2013

Evidence of Healing

Joshua has had a cold for about a week.  It was just a nasty cold, with acough that wakes him (and me) at night - but nothing I was really worried about.

Until this afternoon.

This afternoon, Joshua went from a slightly lethargic, yet still happy-go-lucky little guy to writhing in pain in a matter of 15 minutes.  Joshua is one tough cookie.  He almost never cries from pain, so when he cries, I have learned to pay attention QUICKLY.  When his cry was, "My mouth hurts!  Ooooohh Mommy, help me!  Owie, owie, owie my mouth!" flash backs of the summer tooth trauma sent me into a near panic.

I gave him a dose of the pain killers left from the tooth trauma and headed straight to the walk-in clinic.  Let me tell you, the walk-in clinic was THE LAST place I wanted to be.  There are so many seriously sick people, and I really did not want to sit surrounded by their germs!  However, when JG cries something serious is going on, so to the walk-in clinic it was.

We waited for 2 hours to see a doctor.  (simmering in sick germs)  Poor Joshua, I think I made him use hand sanitizer 5 times before his name was called.

The nurse called his name, asked him to step on the scale, took his temp, tested his oxygen level - and he shyly, but willingly obeyed.  The doctor came in and did an exam.  He had never met her before.  He allowed her to peak into his mouth, do a throat swab which made him gag, listen to his heart, and check his ears without "freaking out" whatsoever.

She did a great job listening to my "mommy-gut" based concerns.  She was kind enough not to quickly dismiss my very quick reaction as crazy!  When she looked into his ear she gasped.  "We have a very nasty ear infection here," she said.

Prescriptions were written, and we were on our way.

Walking to the car, I was almost in tears as I thought about how far Joshua has come since the first time we saw a doctor.

I will NEVER forget that day.  I blogged about it here.  It was a moment forever etched in my mind because it was one of several moments when I realized just how "damaged" our son was.  His reaction to simply having his temperature taken was totally alarming.  He froze.  He had sweat pouring from his forehead.  He squeezed his eyes shut, tipped his head back, trying to block out the entire world, and cried the most lonely, sorrowful cry I have ever seen.  I will never forget it.  It still brings tears to my eyes.  I will never know the root of that traumatic reaction, and I probably do not want to know it.  I do know that at that moment, I realized just how much work we needed to do to help our small son heal.

Over the last 2 and a half years, Chad and I have worked hard to help Joshua heal in so many ways.  We have done everything we could to learn about attachment, bonding, and all sorts of methods which will help to healing the hearts and minds of kids from hard places.  We have parented in "strange and unusual ways."  We have prayed, and prayed, and prayed. And God has been faithful.

It took two and a half years, but TODAY our little man made it through a doctor's appointment with NO extreme trauma reactions.  He even commented to me, "last time I was here, I kind of freaked out about being on the scale (true that!) but I was littler then.  Waaaaaay littler!  I am big now.  I can be brave!"  (Last year when we were in for a well child check, the scale was NOT his friend.)

He is correct.  He has become "strong and courageous.  He is no longer terrified or discouraged, for the Lord his God has been with him wherever he has gone."

I am encouraged tonight.  And I want to encourage you to pray scripture over your kids, yourselves, your husbands, your friends.  I believe that the root of Joshua's healing was in prayer.  There has been a rare day that I have not claimed Joshua 1:9 over my son.  I have no doubt that the word of God has seeped into his heart, mind, and soul bringing more healing that all my "great and wise" parenting techniques ever could.  Use good parenting techniques, people!  But always remember that the true healer is God.

To Him be the glory, great things He has done.


These two crack me up!
They are constantly pranking each other.
Jamison is stealthy.  He is king of the pranksters.  He loves a joke, and his favorite person to pick on is Sierra.  He loves to mess with her phone.  He has switched contact names around, so when she thought she was texting her dad it was really her BFF.  He has deleted contacts, so when she got a text from her BFF she asked "who is this?"  He has also hidden her toothbrush, relocated her drum set, and tricked her into believing all sorts of crazy stories.
Because it is all meant to be silly and fun, it is hilarious to me!
However, Sierra does not always agree.  The last time Jay messed with her phone she was seeing red!  Unfortunately for her, that only makes us all giggle.  There is no one as cute as Sierra when angry.  She means to be rough, tough, and mean - but in actuality she is just so stinkin' cute we all just laugh.
This week, to make up for all the times I have laughed about Jamison's pranks, I helped Sierra prank her big brother.
He knew it was coming, so he hid all his "valuables" and locked his door.  He then put all the keys to the bedroom locks (you know the little pokey toothpick looking thing that comes with a lock set) in his pocket for the day.
I may or may not have helped Sierra find a key I had hidden, and while Jay was at winter training, Sierra got to work.  She sprayed glittery perfume on all his clothes and on his bedding.  She hid his underwear, shampoo, toothbrush, etc...  Then she toilet papered his whole room before relocking it.  The only foreshadowing of her handiwork was a sign she posted on his door that said "Karma" and was signed SD. 
I wish I had taken a picture of that sign, it made me laugh out loud.
When Jamison got home, he was one cool customer.  He surveyed the damage, cleaned up the mess, washed a couple of loads of clothes, unpacked his valuables, and said "Hmmm. I thought it would be worse."  (Is that a dare, or what?!?)
I am a bit worried to see who gets whom next!  Not!  I am actually totally enjoying their good natured bantering, (while watching to make sure it does not become mean-spirited or our of control, of course!).

Pranks or not, Sierra thinks Jamison hung the moon.  The photo above is her current FB cover photo.
And Jay?  He may love to pick on his little sis - but I have a feeling if anyone else tried to, they would have to answer to him!
I am so thankful for the energy, joy, and laughter these two bring to our home.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013: Back to the Basics

I can not explain how healing the last week and a half has been.  I actually felt rested.

Chad has given me a beautiful gift this Christmas break, rest.  He has done all the errands - I have not left our house since last Friday at 1pm.  He has also done the majority of the cooking.  And I have chosen to accept his gift with deep gratitude.

I am a worker-bee by nature.  Tasking is my comfort zone, and I can get a lot done in  not much time.  I have come from a long line of worker-bees, and I follow hard in the example of my grandmothers, my mom, and my dad.  Fun and rest are not things that come naturally to me.

But as 2012 came to a close, I was all worked out.  I could not go any more.  My brain was turning to mush, and my ability to handle stress had almost disappeared.  I had been through more than I could handle, with NO rest, and I was melting down.  I knew I was in over my head, but there had been no opportunity to just chill.

Truly no opportunity.  I had looked deep into my schedule trying to see the things that had to be completed to keep my ego intact (like cleaning out the fridge, buying gifts for the mailman, etc) and I truly could not see a way to downsize my to do list.  I just had to keep pushing.

That push has come to an end!

The house is complete.
The insurance settlement is done.
Christmas is in the books.
And I have rested.

Normally this would be where I come up with a fairly realistic list of aspirations for the year. 

I was headed in that direction early this morning.  Joshua woke me very early, so I jumped online and found the read through the Bible in a year plan that I aspire to follow.  I decided to read the passages for the day and then hop online and order a set of workout DVDs I have been eyeing.  After that I was going to sit down with Chad and figure out how to get my work schedule under control.  Then I was going to take down all the Christmas stuff, clean the whole house, and put all the "normal" decorations up.  Then I was going to start organizing the storage room. 


However a verse in Genesis stopped me in my tracks, "And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done." Genesis 2:3.

It was the word "HOLY" that stopped me in my tracks.  I DO NOT consider rest holy.  I consider it fun, on occasion, - but really unnnecessary.  There is work to do people, I do not have time for rest.

But God considered rest holy.


It hit me in that quiet spot in my heart where only God speaks.

Rest is holy.

So this year, I aspire to rest. 

Yes, I do know that the Bible calls us to WORK.  There is much that talks about good works, working as if working unto the Lord, etc...  Work is important.  And it maybe should be the goal of many of us for the year.  For me, work has become an idol of sorts.  It is a comfort zone.  A place where I feel important, in control, needed.  I am good at work.

Rest. . .  well, I am not so good at that.

So in 2013, I aspire to rest.  Not to be lazy, but to rest in Him. 

I hope that many other things will also happen.  I would love to start working out again.  I would love to adopt another child.  I would love to rearrange my schedule so that both of my jobs have some structured time.  I would love to get the storage room organized, the yard landscaped, some trees planted, more concrete poured, a fire pit built. . . 

But I KNOW that before I add or change anything, I must make rest a priority. I must learn to pause, sleep, listen and then procede with all of His crazy plans.

Happy New Year, my friends!   May we each follow His plan for our year.