Thursday, October 22, 2015

US to Europe with a Babe

I've been meaning to write about our travels with Maisey, but somehow with the life, work, and, well, travel!, it's been seriously delayed.  But I just went through Dan's iPhone photos and found some real gems.  So, here are my best tips on traveling with a one year old from the U.S. to Europe. 

In May, soon after Masiey's first birthday, we went to Europe for ten days for a work trip for me, and a little family adventure. 
   My first tip is to travel with as much support personnel as you can!  We had both Dan and I and our good friend, Susy.  Amen. 
And let that baby wiggle and move  whenever it's available.  And when it's not, use whatever is on hand.  (Pro tip: try to resemble the bedtime routine as much as possible on the overnight flight. Footie PJs for the win!). 
Tip number two/three: be prepared to be up and feed that cute little baby at all hours.  Example: blueberries at 5am in Brussels. 
And don't forget your sense of humor. 

Next. The stroller will be your best friend. For eating, napping, and living. 
Also!  Enjoy all things local.  

And finally, make sure each has their designated beverage at all times. 

But seriously!  We had a great time!  Thankful for meaningful work, the best life partner, and family adventures! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Miracles Are Messy

From dispensationalists to the deists to those being slain, healed, and delivered regularly, “miracles” are as controversial as politics in a room of more than three people. 

But talk about birthing a baby and the chatter and philosophizing and proselytizing dies down.  There is little debate as to the miracle of life: prolife, prochoice, homebirth or a quick train to anesthesia…99% of humans agree: new life is a miracle.  (And the other 1%  had a lobotomy).

You and I both love a good pastor’s story of staring into the face their newborn for the first time.  (We all assumed that the pastor was a man, am I right?  Go with it for now.) And all of Hollywood that feeds that clean image.   BUT, AND, ALSO, just minutes before and steps away, there are two beautiful, bloodied bodies that have just been through an experience that is way messier than is often described.  I will spare you my now-experienced details; sufficed to say, friends!, miracles are messy.

You don’t have to troll mommy blogs for long to get the goods on the mess that it is and the “war” stories emerge.  (And oh the debate between it being beautiful or traumatic or archetypal or unique).  Regardless, please tell me that we can all agree that giving birth is not a tidy experience.  Its messy, messy, messy.  And the metaphor concludes: miracles are messy.  Or at least come out of a mess, most of the time.  We don't have to listen to our stories too long, or read the Bible that in depth, to get this simple truth.

Because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Mark 5:28

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blessing From That Side of It

Have you ever heard the word “blessing” more than when you are having and/or have had a baby?  I’m telling you, no.  (But I am open to a challenge).    So, lets mix it up.

I am “blessed” regularly in a certain way that I am just finding words for. A space and place that is often overlooked, and certainly not honored in a public or systematic way.  Friends without babies staying close. And even more, friends longing for babies but are still committed to staying close.  Close enough that I get to hear that side of it and be called back to the Beatitude blessing that we humans resist with all our might.

And close enough that I get to see these friends hold Maisey with joy. 
I remember the work, the holy and hard work, on that side of it.

I spent many powerful moments on that side of it.  That side of wanting a child, of holding a child, of losing a child.  Strangely, on this side of it, I miss something of that side.  And it is not the sad addiction to darkness that can often creep in after many years of trouble. 

Especially now, on this side of it, I see my friends on that side of it know something intimately I do not.  At a minimum they know how precious it is to hold this little life in my arms and heart.  And at its deepest ends they know what it is to long, desire, and to not be ashamed of it.  And so I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes on this side of it, I forget the many years and moments on that side of it. 

They bless by not living in spite of the want, but more fully because of the want.  Is it possible, to live more fully because of an honored, unmet desire?  But you, brave beauties, keep me honest.  And whole. You keep me centered and mentor me in the ways of longing and meaning.  You testify to me of the goodness that is in my life and the answer to prayer that Maisey is.  You keep me hoping, dreaming, and believing for more of God and less of that.  Even when that is so very good.  (And adorable, in fact). 

Which, quite honestly, is quite a bit more valuable than mom-to-mom’s about which diapers to buy.   

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

PS:  Not all my friends that don’t have kids want kids.  Lets go ahead and state the obvious that that is not just okay – that that is a blessing too.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Last Year at This Time

I keep a daily one sentence journal that circles back to the same page each year.  On this October 1st, I have a little breathing room and am inhaling the present, (a baby from our bodies sleeping in just other room, Dan working on a little painting project, me organizing files for a baby from the Dominican Republic), and exhaling all that last Fall held (a third first trimester in 2013, my husband and I working as much as we can to fund our hopes and dreams, and a home study finally complete and sent off to Homeland Security).

Today I write: Baby sleeping and sitting with the hope of another one on the way.  Yes - another one is on the a Biblical sense...which means, any day... in the next two to three years.  And so I wonder, what will I be writing next Fall?

What a year it has been; and all our little world rejoices.   See?  (photo credit: Taylor Casey)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Glorious: A Woman's Body

I have grown up in a culture that markets almost exclusively to women's bodies.  Advertising to women targets women's bodies.  Advertising to men targets women's bodies.  White culture, Christian culture, middle class culture, targets women's bodies.  Hide your body, ignore your body, flaunt your body, work your body, "hot wife" your body: body, body, body.

Being a women with a body, my journey to peace in my own skin has been bombarded with these messages.  A journey that faith in my not-teeny teen years, massive health issues in my 20s, and being pregnant multiple times in my 30s has graciously shaped and softened.  A shift in focus from form to function has ironically made me feel, and dare I say even look, more beautiful as I move through life.  

(With that I will say, that obviously God puts a lot of detail into our appearance.  Just look at us - each so uniquely designed; we could have been clones on the outside at least.  And there in is the lie: that sameness - looking like the other - is better than unity that celebrates diversity).  

So it crushes me, breaks my heart, to hear again and again, comments about weight, appearance, and blah, blah, blah during pregnancy from so many of my dear friends.  What horse shit!  (I say again, horse shit!  Henceforth to be [HS], so as to let the offense die down).   I mean, its not HS to listen to your midwives, doctors, stay active, keep moving, eat healthy.  Its not HS that your body feels the burden of extra weight and has to loosen and strengthen in different places.  I am committed to my prenatal pilates, yoga, and walking.  I just swung by Whole Foods to pick up my daily allotment of fruits and vegetables during my very full work day.  

But the truth is!, it is glorious to experience the design of carrying a baby.  Double-dog dare I say more glorious than my body keeping its pre-pregnancy form.  My seminary friend's can help me out, but isn't there a mixed-meaning with "kabod" in the Old Testament: "glory" and "weight" and "heaviness."  I mean, our words mean something.  And our women-speak around the glory of our bodies is skewed: "…but it's all worth it though…I mean, you lose your body but you get a baby…you can always get it back…I was awesome until I had a baby"  And let's not even go there with adoptive mamas, "The best part is you get a baby and your body!"  Lord have mercy.  

A woman's body is glorious - in all shapes and sizes, doing all the things it was designed to do.  Attractive, alluring, inviting, curvy, and changing.  Active, moving, working, feeding, and caring. Weighty, and heavy, and glorious.

PS:  I narrowly said something terribly culturally-bound at four months pregnant, when I was bloated and belly-banding it, and fortunately my very dearest friend caught me, "OH NO you don't!  Don't you even go there.  Not you."  What grace.  I hadn't even gotten three words into my sentence, but she felt the pull and knew I needed that "gentle reminder" too.  Bless it.  Lets all help each other.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Is This Your First?

The Wagner’s have some announcements to make, …, in no particular order.  Because, after all, who could chose which to pick to announce first.  So,…, I just flipped a coin.  Like, really, I just flipped a quarter:

#1 – HEADS – Our Dossier is complete and on its way to the Dominican.  I blame the home study process for sucking all my blogging-ness out of me.  Alas!, it is off.  We are celebrating and thankful.

#2 – TAILS – I am pregnant!  And not just a little bit, (she says ironically).  Truly, my body holds a little girl that will waken to this big, beautiful, and terrifying world in early May.  Imagine our joy.

I am six months bodily pregnant, (oh baby yes), and just started really showing this week.  And so, with the new found freedom I feel with a healthy ultrasound, I have been slowly telling people that don’t know our sweet, long, desirous tale of entering parenthood.  And they innocently they ask: is this your first? 

Oh the answers I could give and the ones I have tried on.  The most simple and honest one I can muster is: kind of.  I say with all grace; I do feel deep grace for the question.  Because who would guess that we have had many firsts, and all deserve celebration, and all ask for patience, and all have brought me here: expectant in more ways than one.  And most fully open to all of it. 

Disclaimer: It is so common for a pregnant mother in the adoption process to hear about an aunt’s friends sister who “had the same thing happen! “  And all the reasons why this may be.  Dear friends, at best it is an urban legend and at worst it speaking for God where we cannot.  Trust me, we have all heard these stories.  And trust me, they are not true of everyone.  Lastly, trust me, it is all good.   

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Screens: A Fundraiser

Dan and I count ourselves among the lucky.  The lucky middle-classers of the United States of America that have just enough discretionary income to make some decisions about how much to give away and where to invest in what.  We are, indeed, blessed.  For no apparent reason.

And yet, we are faced with a $30,000 bill to build our family in this way.  Which, to even the most stable of middle class American family, will give pause.  Should we really get that mini-van?  Send our kid to that school?  Or, in reality, entertain ourselves that much? We fully own that this is in fact, a decision; financial or otherwise.  And yet, we also have this powerful current in our lives that we honor in words like “calling,” “obedience,” “open doors,” “Spirit-led.”   Those two things combined with the fact that we CAN receive tax-deductible donations for this venture, lead us to fundraising. 

We are, to steal the idea from Bob Goff, raising our own funds; (using our own money); and raising outside funds; (receiving others money).  And, to me, this can be such a drag on both fronts.  (You mean, no more home improvements and trips to TJ Maxx?  What am I supposed to do with my inner foodie?  Not to mention that I am fiercely independent and an extreme “J,” for you MBTI nuts).  And yet, I am encouraged that this CAN be connecting, creative, carefree, and, yes, even entertaining.

Enter Stage Left: nostalgic movies, snacks, drinks, and Colorado evenings outside.  See below…Sha-bam!  Please come if you can and bring your friends.  XO!