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Monday, October 24, 2011

Jina gets married.

My friend Jina got married on Friday. I am so excited for her. She is a godly woman who really waited for the right guy & God really brought her the perfect match in Andrew. Above is a picture of her dad Bill, doing a puppet show for a bunch of kids at church. Jina & I are in the front row together. That's how long we've been friends. We have known each other from the playground, to the awkward Jr. High years, to High School camping trips, & we event went to college together in Georgia. It's fun to see someone's life from this perspective. A year will go by without much connection & then we will have a talk & I will see God's work in Jina, softening, strengthening, growing & renewing. It's a beautiful thing.

The Rosses with Rachel & I

This picture speaks for itself

Rachel dances with grandpa, shows him how to be ghetto

Mother & Father of the Bride

my parents like to boogy down

beautiful bride

The Gaws

The Daniels

The Kuhns

Jill, Linda, Rachel & I
We had a bridal shower for Jina at my house about a week ago. I was too busy being hostess to take any pictures but it was great fun for me. I love the feeling of Fall & so I was able to do Autumn-inspired food with apple cider & fun Fall decorations. It was a wonderful mix of women who had known Jina since she was young. It has the feel of a mini-reunion. At the end we did a funny "video" with her fiance in a refrigerator box painted like a TV. Since the Hawks are a creative & humorous bunch it seemed just about perfect... plus it gave us an excuse to bring Andrew to the party so we could get to know him.

Friday night was the wedding. It had a beautiful woodsy feel. Here are a few pictures of the dancing. Dancing is always one of my favorite parts of the wedding & I am forever being pleasantly surprised at how many of the people I've grown up at church with love to break it down when the occasion allows it!

G's 1st Birthday

 Last week my nephew Gregory (everyone calls him G) had his first birthday. Since my brother & sister-in-law just moved back here from Texas, I really understand what a blessing it is to able to celebrate these milestones with them. Kelly got into the event, she did an adorable barnyard theme since G loves animals right now. As you can see, the barnyard cake above turned out amazing & the animal cupcakes were so fun too! She also made "milk jugs" below out of Starbucks bottles. She also had plates with animal arms, legs & tails & even the food was kid/animal themed, deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, haystacks (sweet potato fries).

G himself just kind of played among the hubub but was supremely happy when given his new found love, corn on the cob, for dinner. Kelly was afraid he would be upset to have to trade in his corn for a cupcake but there was no need to worry. G literally sucked down the cupcake- he loved it! Jesse put together a picture slide show & by the time it was over the sugar crash had begun, G barely made it through is presents before he started staring into space. We were able to wrap up events just in time for bed.

One of the other thoughtful things Kelly & Jesse did was have all the important people in G's life write a letter for his scrap book. Kelly has been writing monthly letters to G on her blog throughout his 1st year so it all tied together. G is a very lucky guy, he has a caring a thoughtful mom, a deep, funny & kind dad & he has a bunch of relatives to love on him & look up to.

A Wrench in the Plans

Last week was one of those weeks I'd seen coming on my calendar, every night was packed, no room for extra commitments, sickness or crisis of any kind to hit. Well of course, we know things rarely go so smoothly.

Well nothing tragic happened but sadly the girl who had been living with us was kicked out of the program she lives with us through which means she had to move out on Wednesday. She had never really bonded with us. She had been pushing herself away from me pretty fiercely so it wasn't a relational loss for her to leave, but I was still sad. I guess she's the first kid to get "kicked out" of my house. Even though it wasn't my decision & there wasn't really anything I could do about it something about is smacked of failure to me. It's the cost of working with foster kids but it still stinks.

On the other had Rachel was "relieved" that she left. Rachel had been in the middle, the recipient of the information about all the sneaky decisions our girl was making, & ultimately she made the right decision to tell me what was going on. Our girl wasn't supposed to know that it was Rachel who told because she has some scary friends Rachel didn't want to get on the bad side of, but in the way things often do the world of social workers & placement moves, the truth came out. I felt pretty angry that Rachel is going to be walking around anxious about getting jumped by those kids, but then I started to realize it could be re-framed to teach her something about character. I want her to know that it is good to do the right thing even if it puts you at some risk & I hope this will help her learn that.

It was funny because the first reaction she & I both had was, "who is going to live with us next?" Right now it looks like it may just be the two of us for awhile. It's been a long time since it's just been the two of us, over a year. It was sweet to see how she has become used to this funny lifestyle we have of people living with us. Having an open home definitely seems to be a part of our calling as a family.

Well I have a lot of happy things to post about from last week... time to get busy making up for last week's postlessness. The spooOOOKKKky photo is a silly preview!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dance till it hurts!

Rachel went to a dance this weekend. Sometimes it's a shame blogs are such public places because I do believe I will have to leave out the more colorful pieces of the whole experience but I can tell you this, she looked amazing! The theme was "Hollywood Premiere" & Rachel chose a beautiful Marilyn Monroe inspired look. Rachel's date was Captain America, she was relieve to see he did not choose to wear tights. My friend Jessica did Rachel's hair. Rachel sat in her black robe getting primped by Jessica & said with her dramatic air, "I feel like Marilyn right now." "Depressed & ready to overdose?" I responded. Rachel did not find my response humorous. Jessica on the other hand was invaluable, she is great with teenagers & with hair. This is her second time doing Rachel's hair for a dance which takes the pressure off me as I am horrible at it.

Rachel is a real fashionista. She knew exactly what she wanted to be what she wanted to wear. The dress she is wearing we found this summer for $4 at an antique/2nd hand store. Her last dress for a dance we got for $10 off the clearance rack. Let me tell you, if you are raising a fashion lover it helps when she is also a bargain hunter. I remember hearing my friend Alyce share recently that it's a great joy for her watch her kids & grand kids excel in areas she's not good at or where she may feel timid or fearful. I totally agree. It is so amazing to see the natural bent Rachel has for fashion, hair & make-up. Her bio-family is really gifted at that as well, it's a special bond they share. She comes at it with an assurance & vision that is somewhat foreign to me. I delight in watching this blossom in her.

Tess gave a us a ride to drop her off as my car was in the shop. After leaving her at the insanely amazing house of the boy she went to the dance with, Tess & I drove away a little depressed that Rachel gets so many more dates than we do... so naturally we went & got a beer (OK, I got a beer & Tess got coffee). We consoled ourselves with the thought that there are a lot more single guys at her age. In all seriousness though, Rachel definitely has that boldness with guys neither Tess nor I possess. As a parent it's frightening, but sometimes I quite admire it. It's not usually manipulative, it just straight forward. If she has feelings for you, she'll let you know. If she wants you to take her to the dance, she'll let you know. If she is mad at you, she'll let you know. Of course I pray this will be tempered with age & wisdom but I admire the ability to put herself out there.

So I think the end of this story is the best. The dance Rachel went to was actually for her date's school where my brother & sister-in-law teach. Jesse & Kelly actually chaperoned the dance. Jesse sent me a picture during the event of Rachel doing her thriller dance. I guess she & uncle Jesse had a great time dancing together. She danced for 4 hours straight (even though her date didn't dance at all) & in the middle of it she got major leg cramps which Jesse had to help her stretch out. Sunday Rachel was walking like a 90 year old woman. She literally danced herself into a crippled state. That's my girl... she is over the top, even when it comes to dancing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad!

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. We had a family dinner on Monday night to celebrate.
In case you didn't already know, I really love my dad. He has been a wonderful father to me & his presence in my life remains so important. He is kind, funny, encouraging, honest, insightful, intelligent & faithful. He is not perfect but he listens to his children, he dialogs with us, he repents to us, he enjoys us. These are all things that have greatly impacted me as a person & as a parent. Dad loves Rachel & she loves him. He has 100% accepted, supported & loved her as his granddaughter & she feels it. My dad seeks to know & enjoy people of all kinds. He is hangs out with the underdog & schmoozes with the big shot all in the same day. His love of life & people has been passed on to all of his children. He has taught us that life is interesting, & colorful, & wonderful, even when things in front of us might be a little scary or rough around the edges. Seeing the world & myself through the eyes of my dad I can tackle challenges, explore possibilities, & put myself out there without fear. Let's be honest, it's nice to have a dad with what my sister Emily has dubbed, "street cred." I will always remember Jessica, Alina, & I sitting at a restaurant in college arguing about who's dad could beat up who. I am still pretty sure my dad would win... just sayin'.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It Takes A Village (to get me to work)

So what have I been up to this week besides not posting on my blog? Well I've worked, hosted small group, helped with a training at our foster parent meeting, done a visit with Rachel's family, & attended a parade, but really all it feels like I have done is deal with my car.

 I have an ongoing car saga that began awhile back when I started to notice some "hiccups" & "jumps" in my car. I took it to the mechanic a few times... they drove it... nothing. Since it was occasional & nothing seemed to be breaking I just chalked it up to the fact that my car was getting older & decided not to worry about it.
Fast forward to last Sunday, my sister Emily & I were sitting at a stop light & my car starts sputtering & stuttering almost dies. I gave it some gas, it came back to life & everything was fine. Then on Tuesday I go from work about 30 minutes South to meet Rachel for a visit with her bio-family. We have a visit with the fam & drive the hour back to our house. We are at the stop light closest to our house when the car starts acting very strange. Every time I accelerate it almost dies. We jerkily ride home. I thank God for getting us perfectly home before we had these problems. I pull into the garage & call my mom to ask if she will drive the girls to school in the morning & then follow me to the mechanic. She agrees.

So Wednesday morning my mom follows me to the mechanic, the car drives fine on the way, I drop it off & my mom takes me out to her house to get my dad's truck to borrow. I drive it the 40 minutes to work. The thing's a gas-hog but I'm thankful dad was out of town so I could use it. I get a call from the mechanic, nothing is wrong with the car, it's driving like a dream. Ahhhhh!!!!!

Thursday morning I pick up my car, drive to & from work (40 minutes each way) & all goes well.

Friday morning I am almost to work when it begins again, the strange jerking & sputtering. I take a break from work & drive to the mechanic, it sputters all the way there. I get out & tell them to jump in the car quick to feel the problem.... nothing. We drive for 15 minutes, it goes smoothly, the mechanic says my car is "shy." I can think of a few other choice words for my car. He explains the car computer system won't always indicate when a part is wearing out or glitching until it actually breaks. I'm about ready to call myself crazy when halleluiah!!, the check engine light comes on (never thought I'd be so thrilled about that)! The code reads that it might be the ignition coil which seems to match the symptoms. They have to order the part. So I hitch a ride home from someone after work & try to rearrange the plans for my 3-day weekend minus a car.

Can I just say that my mom has been the sweetest mom/grandma ever this week? She drove Rachel & I all over the place, even though my dad was gone & she had lots of extra duties. Also about 3 friends have already given Rachel & I rides & Tess even let me borrow her car Saturday night. Also I'm a little bit happy to be stranded at home, so I can catch up on my blogging of course :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pugs not Drugs

I got the most unexpected package in the mail this week. I can rarely remember getting a gift in the mail so unexpectedly & let me tell you, it's the best! It was myriad of pug-related items that are so stinkin' cute (unless you are a certain friend of mine who hates pugs). My friend Hannah sent them to me from some design company she found online (Etsy, I'm guessing???). Anyway it was super fun & I hope you all see the joy I get from unexpected packages & start sending me cute things in the mail for no reason too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Coming & Going

These are a few less that philosophical insights I had about making the effort to leave kids & responsibilities & go somewhere. On the way to the retreat last weekend everyone I was riding with agreed that they had wondered if it was worth it to go at sometime that week. The planning, packing, & delegation of responsibilities, just feels like added stress. I personally had wonder if it wouldn't be better to just stay home & get caught up on sleep, but I went knowing that once I left town I would be glad I made the effort.

After all that blustering about leaving it turns out that once I left, I didn't want to come back home. I love my life but it includes a lot of responsibility & unending needs to be met. I rode home from the retreat with the dread of laundry and other non-energizing duties ahead of me as well as the cinnamon roll induced stomach ache dragging me down. Inside I was kicking & screamin,g "don't make me go back there!"

What I actually found when I got home was that sometimes when you come home, the dog has peed in the living room but greets you with enough tail wagging & heavy breathing to make up for it. Sometimes you find everyone sitting around the coffee table eating lunch together & and laughing & you almost don't care that you can't get rid of those pesky ants crawling to the dog bowl. Sometimes you come home to find a teenage mom who can't quite keep up with her one-year-old running around your house, but she has made the unusual gesture of emptying the dish washer & the one-year-old is cute, so you laugh & chase them both around too. So I guess what I am saying is that going away is good (in spite of all the work it takes to get there) because it helps you to see thing a little differently & teenagers, dogs, ants, dust & all, home is where the heart is (cheesy, I know). Hope you all have a great weekend whatever you're doing!