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! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Last Best Year: Silenced

I have felt like Zachariah, in Luke 1, these days.  Silenced, although so much has been going on: inside me and all around me.  I relate to him: devout but doubtful, faithful and fearful. Dear man, left with no words and buckets full of emotion.  I can only imagine his soul-laden prayers.

When he opened his mouth and spoke, everyone was amazed.  He was praising God, he named his child, and then he prophesied.  Okay, so maybe I don’t relate to him all that much…yet.  (Watch out).

I don’t have much insight into all the happenings of life for me and my Dan, but there is much to report.  Namely, we have entered in to the international adoption world, with one whopping check and mounds of paperwork.  And mounds of paperwork.  And mounds of paperwork.  If you were ever curious about every nook and cranny of your life, there is a process for that: it’s called a home study.  It will only cost you a few grand-ish, plus fees to people like the fingerprinter and the psychologist and the local Office of Vital Records personnel. 

I am not complaining about the process; I see the point of it all.  Really.  I am just wondering what the HELL we were thinking.  But then again, I am not prophesying yet, so don’t quote me on matters of heaven and hell.   We are just busy with the biz and I am a bit bewildered by it all.  Here we go little one; cheers to the pregnant years ahead. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Heaven's Mothers

When I was 25 and suddenly so sick I could barely move, I had my first and only vision.  It revived parts of my soul that were dying, it gave vision for what I feared was lost, and it keeps giving life to me, especially on this Mother’s Day.

What I see is from the vantage point of a rocking chair on a porch.  I am aware of sitting outside a place I call home, although we are abroad. The shade from the wooden-beamed awning is cool and of course there is a gentle breeze.  I see down the dirt road a cloud of dust moving closer and bigger.  To give me a glimpse of why my heart feels such joy and stillness, the vision freezes for a still shot, capturing the giggling brood the dust holds.  Little faces; blurred, like I had forgotten to put on my 80 proof glasses; all different ages, all different shapes, all different colors.  A toe-headed one and a brown one lead the pack.  I don’t know how many; there are many.  And I know they are mine.

Recently I realize there is one more presence in this scene, having been there all along.  A woman rocking next to me.  In her own chair, content, and at rest as I am.  Her soul sings to me about womanhood; what hips bring.  And motherhood; joy of life tucked in you and fear of life birthed out of you.  I know two things about her: she is black and she is the mother of these babies too.

Today I celebrate the hereafter moment of sheer contentment, when she and I will rock, side by side, and watch our children run to us, happy from their play.  We are rocking, mothering hearts intertwined; knowing but unconcerned, in this heaven, who is hers and who is mine. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Year of Plenty

If 2013 is My Last Best Year, then 2012 must have been The Year of Plenty.

This just after discovering we have some hefty tax debt from that year.  We had plenty of work.  Plenty of work I love, to boot.  It is an amazing realization that most of the books on my reading list are honestly deductible to business.  And that my husband is willing to help me keep better track of my income.  (wink, wink).  Blessed.

And plenty of health.  For the first time since, oh…forever, we did not use all of our Flex Medical money by September.  We max that puppy out every year and use it…every year.  Until last year.  No cancer.  No miscarriages.  No surgeries.  No MRIs.  Few specialist visits.  Dan got Lasik in December, so we could use it!, not lose it.   We did some preventative health care for once.  Alleluia.

Oh and plenty of play.  I got to go visit my favorite place down south – La Victoria, Dominican Republic and see a well put in La Canita.  

I stayed with my two nieces for a week while my sister and her husband went to South Africa; we Facetimed with them in Starbucks.   

D and I celebrated 5 years of marriage in Palisade and Ouray, Colorado.   And drank plenty of wine. 

Dan and I flew out east and stayed in a ten bedroom beach house with free-roaming wild horses, with my entire family!, for a week to celebrate my sister’s MBA.    

Weeks later we met my parents at Yellowstone and did the most luxurious tour of a National Park than I thought possible.  

 Then, Hannah came to visit.

We camped several times with friends in our new-to-us-old-as-I-am camper. 

And we hiked these beautiful Rocky Mountains for half days and full days.

We put up a fence and built a garage onto our little house.  I drove to Vegas with a friend to keep her company and flew back to Denver the next morning.   It was a blur; typical Vegas.

We spent Thanksgiving in sunny Florida with old friends and Dan’s Dad, hitting both of the competing theme parks in Orlando.  

And so as not to let the glory fade, we spent Christmas and New Years out east my family, with three packed days in the magical NYC.

Love.  Family.  Friends.  Extravagance, really.  PLENTY of it. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Last Best Year: Norming the Church's Norm

Most of my very best and dearest friends are single women in their 30s.  Two are very close to 40.   Lovely, beautiful, wise, warm, sexy, godly, spiritual, intelligent, brave single women.  They do things like bring in tens of thousands of dollars for meaningful causes, volunteer each and every week for children’s Sunday school, train and orchestrate for disaster relief efforts world-wide with a major missions agency, project manage millions of dollars for a massive company, sit with college students that are hungry for relationship with God.  I mean, these women kick-ass and their lives are full.

Yet, there is something that I am increasingly aware of as I have walked this journey of infertility.  As I have held this place of poverty, while believing and acting on the dignity of my life as it is.  That, just as I sit each Sunday and hear the funny quips and antedotes about “my kid did this”  “when I became a father I finally learned” “when I look in my daughters eyes and tuck her in at night,” these women’s hearts also hear, “my wife taught me” “husbands, just ask your wives how you really are” “sex the way God designed it.”

Now.  I am not saying that these jokes and examples are bad in and of themselves.  Or that they are hurtful every time, or even every other time.  But, really, there are just a lot of them.  And innocently, probably.  I mean, that is who the evangelical church trains and hires to do their teaching: young men who married in their 20s; or 30s at the latest.  And typically have children in due course.  (Or, if they don’t have children, questions would be asked.  I mean, can you imagine a married couple in ministry saying they did not want to have kids…I digress).  So, really, these guys are just being themselves and trying to be transparent with their struggles or messiness.  I am down with that in many regards.

The reality, though, is that I have never heard a pastor talk about infertility.  Really.  Never.  And I have been in the church pew my whole life.  And I have only heard a few blurbs during sermons on living singlely, and most of them are like, “hold on to hope until you get married,”  or “you have so much free time right now…(until you get married?),” (and yes, there is a verse about that…).  And its like…really?  ReallyIs this the best we have for examples of living fully and authentically?   Ones that norm the Norm even more, Norm?  Aren’t we supposed to be norming, or at a minimum inviting, the margins in the church?  Even the micro-margins, if you will?  (I just made up that word, I think).

And are the “margins” of the church really the margins of society as a whole?  I’m going to go ahead and say no, Norm.  I don’t know any smart statistics, but a boatload of people are single later and later life; always having been single or newly single. 

And people are having babies later in life.  And, like it or not, many people drop out of church until they have babies.  And, honestly, I can see one potential contributing factor: there is a bit of a social no-mans-land for people, couples or otherwise, in their 30s and 40s without children in the church.

Solutions?  I can tell you that one of the reasons I went to my church was because they had a single, woman elder in her 30s.  And that, is a really, really good start.  And I am doing my best to share my story and welcome people into my life and home who are single and have kids, married and don’t have kids, recently divorced, in their teens, 50s, 30s, 80s.  I would also love to see more women teaching.  And single men speaking.  And childless or blended family couples preaching.  From the platform.  Regularly.  What do you say, Norm?  Are we ready for that?     

My Last Best Year: Oh My God!

I have always been sensitive to saying “the Lord’s name in vain.”  Probably mostly ingrained by my conservative, Southern Baptist roots.   (And really, the Bible has something to say about it).  But maybe too because its like, “Hey!  What did he do to you?”  Heck, “What did SHE do to you?”  It just feels unnecessary.  

So, imagine my surprise, when I find myself saying these days: “Oh my God!”  “Jesus!”
I mean, I have been known to throw out some obscenities here and there, but this is breaking major Lizzy code!  

Yet, it hasn’t felt like that.  

Last night I was processing something, and here I went…”Its like, Oh MY GOD.  Jesus!”  To which dear Dan replies, “Like a prayer?”  To which I beheld, “Yes.  Like a real prayer.” 

So, just know that when this falls from my lips, I really, really mean it.  It’s more like a petition, less like profanity.  Less like habit, more like praise.