My Best Girl

This is my girl Ella JoAnne. She turns 8 tomorrow. It's also the first day of school for her. Big Day all around. On the day she was born I was secretly nervous I could never love another child like my first (Noah). Boy was I wrong. Really Really Wrong. The second I held her in my arms I felt a rush of love that was powerful, primal and eternal. I have never been the same. She makes me a better person. Every day. She makes the world a better place. Every day. To quote one of my favorite books "There is no me without her".

At her party today, we had her grandmas, grandpas, aunts & uncles go around and say one thing they loved or appreciated about Ella. There was quite a list. Here are just a few of the things we blessed her with ...

*I love how your smile reaches up to your eyes. Your smile is especially beautiful. So often when I look at you you are smiling.
*You are such a good reader. You read book after book to your cousin, and for being in 3rd grade you are smooth and comfortable and excellent at reading.
*You are a thinker. You are always thinking about what's going on around you. You are even thinking today about what you're going to wear to school tomorrow. Keep on being a thinker. It will serve you well.
*I love how you like to talk. Almost everytime I see you you're talking to someone about something. Even when you stay at my house I hear you talking to your brother late at night.
*You are a good sister and I love you
*You have a love for God and Jesus. I see you reading your Bible often; without being told. You make good decisions and I love how you've asked Jesus to be your God.
*You are the oldest girl cousin. You don't have a lot of cousins your own age who are girls, and yet you don't complain about that. You act as an excellent role model for the younger girls in our family.
*You are an awesome friend. You have a lot of friends and a lot of good friends. You treat other girls with kindness and goodness and are a lot of fun to be around. I hope this is true for the rest of your life.
*You make me feel loved when I'm with you.

I couldn't have said it better myself! Happy Birthday to my Best girl! I pray God gives you many many many more!


What's in a name?

Saturday night we were able to gather with the group we traveled to Ethiopia with. It was so fun to see how much changing all 4 boys have done in just 1 year. They all looked so alive and healthy and adorable! I wasn't surprised, and yet it reminded me once again the power of family. And food. And security. And hope. It's remarkable really.

We met at an Ethiopian restaurant. It turns out the man who owns the place lived just 18 miles from where Felmata was born. And speaks his native language!! When Sam spoke to Meta in Oromo Meta just looked at him. "Say it again!" he shouted. But, saying it again didn't help. Meta followed Sam around most of the night and kept asking him "say something else in Ormo!" It seems that Felmata has lost all of his original language. This was sad to me, and to him as well. We knew it would happen eventually ... as there is no one in his life for him to "practice" with, but I was surprised that just a year later he didn't recognize any of it.

The best part of the night for us came when Sam asked us if we knew what "Felmata" means. I have researched and asked and questioned several Ethiopians to no avail. No one seemed to know what his name meant (I think this is because most of the people we met were from the Capital and not from the Oromio region). Sam smiled a little grin and said Felmata means "prone to argue". Oh boy! We laughed and laughed and laughed. If you know Meta at all, you know why we laughed. Let's just say his birthmother had amazing intuition. We'll just leave it at that! :)


Lifting my head...

Sometimes when the dishes are done, the kids are tucked in and kissed good night, the "estate has been locked down" (as my husband likes to joke); my thoughts are not so easily put to bed. Sometimes I fall asleep before my head hits the pillow. Sometimes I do not.

Sometimes my mind runs a little wild. I ask questions. To whom I'm not sure. But I ask questions. Do we have milk for breakfast? Will the clothes I left in the washing machine be stinky by morning (OK ... by late afternoon)? Is the garage door shut? Will I lose my parents at too young of an age? Will my (adopted) son ever grow to resent me ... his "2nd" mother? When was the last time that ceiling fan was cleaned? Will my daughter tell me when she's hurt ... scared ... lonely? Did I insult my friend with my words? Does my husband really love me ... for real? Am I a "good enough" sister/daughter/friend/wife/mother/employee/neighbor

Today I was once again reminded of God's Words to me. He wants me to look up. Not back. Not ahead. But up. He wants me to be present in today. To smell the fresh cut grass. To love my children right where they are. To love as if I'll never be hurt. To tear down walls. To seek Him. To listen to that still small voice and obey.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep having questions. Questions are just part of who I am. But I love how the psalmnist reminds me to look up .... "But YOU, oh Lord, are a shield about me; my glory, and the lifter of my head."

Thanks, Lord, for reminding me to lift my head, and for being there in the midst of all of my questions. There is NONE like You!