Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome to Holland

When our children are born and are handed to us we immediately have a multitude of hopes and dreams for their future, but along the way these dreams change. For example, my son Spencer played football for a while, not because he liked it, but because he knew I did. After a few years he verbalized this and we allowed him to quit to pursue something he enjoyed. Then we have Hannah, Spencer and Sterling who love to sing and act, talents not shared by Kevin or I. I remember assuming that Hannah would inherit my flexibility and gymnastic skills. Hannah is not flexible and really not very athletic (by her own admission). I have learned that often our hopes and dreams for our children do not coincide with their own dreams (nor should they). We have to allow them to be their own person.

Then sometimes our hopes and dreams change when they are diagnosed with a handicap, illness, or mental illness. I once read a story about this entitled 'Welcome to Holland' by Emily Perl Kingsley. It's about someone who dreams of going to Italy. They spend all their time learning about Italy and plan their trip and are fully prepared for the culture, the language and the experience, only to find out the plane has landed in Holland and can't go to Italy. They are sad because they planned to go to Italy but once there they see that Holland has it's own beauty and that they hadn't thought that something other than what they had planned could be good, in fact it was more than they had dreamed of just different. We learned that when he was diagnosed with ADHD and then later Bi-polar and OCD. We embraced Holland. We sought out information and medication which would best serve this new reality.

Then one day recently our hopes and dreams changed again when we learned that our 16 year old son was using drugs and had become dependent on them. We realized that he had worked very hard to conceal his addiction. He began lying and stealing from us and became very irritable and irrational. He told us of his problems and asked for help.

Today we picked him up from the hospital and drove him to a drug treatment center. I never once imagined that we would make this trip. As we sat in a restaurant the three of us, I thought about how I like to watch people and try to imagine what their story is and wondered if anyone could guess what our story was.

My heart aches. I am broken. Our family as a unit is currently broken. There is so much anger, pain and emotional exhaustion. We will never be the same. I believe we will be better in the long run, but for now, we are like bowling pins, bowled over by this big thing called drug abuse.

To make matters worse, this afternoon we made the difficult decision to put our black lab, Lola, to sleep after she seriously injured another dog this weekend. She has become increasingly aggressive with people too. It's so sad that it's almost comical. Really, today? I watched as my children wailed and screamed and curled up in a fetal position. Their cries were a culmination of a very difficult 12 months having moved to a new state and starting over completely.

In the midst of our pain today, there were gentle reminders that God was holding us. Monday is usually Kevin's surgery day. ALL of his surgeries were cancelled for one reason or another and we were not aware of this until this morning. This has never happened in the 15 years he has been a surgeon! We were able to be together as a couple and as a family, something we needed very much. What a blessing!

I had made an appointment with a counselor for our family for later this week. She called just as Kevin was walking out the door with the dog. I've never talked her before but her call was not a coincidence. She heard my voice and asked if I was OK. Poor thing, she got a loud sob answering her question. I explained to her our day. She prayed a very heartfelt prayer that I so needed at that moment. Thanks Lord for reminding us that you are holding us.

Jill Broscoe said that it is in the lows that we find the highs. I have experienced this but it's easier to see in hindsight. Maybe that's what it takes for us to truly depend on him.

Several years ago a friend watched as a truck crossed the median and smashed into the car in front of him occupied by his wife and son. As a respiratory therapist he performed CPR on her at the scene. She had died instantly. At the hospital as friends arrived, he said "This will hurt so bad but we are not going to get mad at God, we will praise Him." He lived out this statement, blessing all who knew him. It made me think what my knee jerk response would be. That was NOT my knee jerk response in this situation. It is however, the response I am choosing at this moment.

When we can't escape our circumstances we must trust God. Period. I promise you that is easy to type and harder to do but I am choosing to do so. I can't carry this by myself.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for yet will I praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Life is hard but God is good. Yet will I praise Him!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Africa Adoption

I worked in the field of adoption for 7 years. It became something that I am very passionate about. I don't know if I will ever work in adoption again, I've left that in the Lord's hands. I do know that adoption will forever be important to me.

My sister Marybeth and her family have recently announced that they are adopting a child or children from Ethiopia. I couldn't be more excited! Since Marybeth was a teenager, she has loved Africa. She's been there many times on mission trips. She told about her most recent trip and how she was riding a bike through the rain forest while being chased by an elephant on her way to pray with someone. It made me laugh when I pictured her doing this but I realized just how deep her love and commitment to Africa is. Her dream is to open an orphanage and to be used by God to help the children of Africa. This dream may soon come true through her passion and the help of her church. She cares about the children of Africa very deeply. I am very proud of her!

She has a talent for taking great pictures. One way they are raising money for their adoption is to sell some of the photos she's taken while in Africa. I've included a link to her photos for you to view along with a price list.

Sizes and Cost


She also can Mat and frame the pictures. Ask for pricing.
Please contact Marybeth directly to place an order.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Bucket List

I need to make plans. I need to have FUN! I'm posting my summer bucket list so I make sure I actually do them.

1) Canoeing at Taylors Falls
2) Try to water ski
3) Spend lots of time at the beach working on my tan.
4) Jet ski
5)lose 10 more pounds to add to the 25 I have already lost.
6) Watch a Twins game at the new Target Center
7)Make a new friend or two.
8) Ride all the roller coasters at Valley Fair.
9). Redecorate our bedroom.
10) Re-connect with an old friend.