Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Extreme Makeover - Hair Edition

We all got haircuts yesterday. Two of us had big changes.

Cupcake has been asking for shorter hair. I was reluctant, but Daddy gently coaxed me.


I gasped as I saw all her beautiful curls land on the floor. It doesn't really look like it here, but it filled a dustpan to overflowing.

She had a few inches cut off and the whole thing thinned out.



And me...I have been wanting not-gray hair for a while now. :-)

This is the first time I've had my hair colored all over. I've had highlights before. It was a little scary for me.



I feel 10 years younger.

What do you think?

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

As You Wait

This is for my friend, Dawn. This song got me through some pretty tough times...and still does.

God is faithful. He hangs on when we are in despair. At the lowest point, He is there. He cares.

For those of you who don't know Dawn, she has been waiting for nearly 5 years for these two:

And these two have been waiting almost 5 years for a mom and dad.

It's time for them to come home.

Please join me in praying for the completion of their adoption. There are still mountains to be moved, papers to be signed, approvals to be had, bureaucracies to navigated, hearts to be softened, and hoops to be jumped through.

God is faithful and these two have not escaped His notice. Pray that He opens the way for these precious kids to come home.

Blessings to you,

Monday, March 22, 2010

It Was a Zoo

On Friday, we attempted a second trip to the Zoo this week...this time with friends.

It just so happened to be a GORGEOUS day and it also happened to be a spring break day for ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS within 100 miles.

It was a perfect storm...

The place was a zoo, figuratively and literally.

It took around one hour and 15 minutes to get from our driveway to the parking place. We were one of the lucky ones. We found a parking place. Oh, it was about a mile from the gate.

But that's okay. We made it!

We had a lovely time.
Saw some animals.
Fought the crowds.
Enjoyed ourselves.
Took 3 good pictures.
Basked in the perfect weather.
Wore ourselves out. :-)

Blessings to you,

Decisions, Decisions...

I have a decision to I am going to think out loud here.

I am currently working with the Middle School Youth Group. I have a small group of 8th grade girls that I love. A while ago, our Youth Pastor asked me if I was planning to move up with my girls to the High School Youth Group or was I planning to stay with Middle School and take a new group of 6th grade girls.


Decisions...I'm not good at them.

Now, I know at this point that most of you are thinking this is a no-brainer. Most people run screaming from anything having to do with Middle School students, but I honestly like working with Middle School kids.

Here's why:

1. Middle School students are teachable. Even though they act like they know everything (especially to their parents), they really are open to learning new things. They are just coming to the point in their lives where they really think about serious stuff on their own and not just mimicking their parents. They are eager to know the truth about the Truth. If God can get a hold of their hearts now, they will become a force to be reckoned with.

2. Middle School students are squirrelly. They laugh at my terrible puns and feeble jokes. They make me laugh and remember what it was like to be a kid. They accept me just the way I am. They remind me not to take myself so seriously. 6th graders are way squirrellier (I just know that's a word) than 8th graders, so the giggles would be multiplied.

3. Middle School is tough. It was tough a hundred years ago when I was in Middle School. It is infinitely tougher now. Middle School is downright brutal. These kids deal with unbelievable pressure on a daily basis. If I can help them see clearly through the chaos, keep a big picture perspective, and make wise decisions, I will be truly serving them.

4. Because my hardest stage growing up was in Middle School, I have tremendous compassion on these students and I'm also a great resource for what not to do. Boy, do I have stories. ;-) I experienced all the normal pitfalls of early adolescence (zits, glasses, greasy hair, awkward, clumsy, etc.) I also experienced some much more serious issues that many of our kids are going through. I can relate to these kids.

5. Sugar will be a 6th grader next year. I would love to be her small group leader.

6. It will be easier for our Youth Pastor to find a volunteer to take the High School position.

Ah, but what about High School: Well, I like High School, too, for many of the same reasons.

1. High School students are also teachable. They ask tough questions, but if given a reasonable answer, they will truly think about the truth presented. I love the intellectual challenge that High School students bring to the table. My 8th grade girls are already asking the tough questions and thinking about deeper things. And I love, love, love them so much. I strongly desire to keep mentoring them. Their spiritual growth is something I want to stay involved with.

2. High School students are more mature. There is more time for serious discussion, which is really where my strength lies.

3. High School is tough. The pressures are more intense. The stakes are higher. The potential consequences harsher. Decisions that will affect the rest of their lives come at them without warning. I love to prepare students for the pitfalls that are out there. I love to share a more excellent way. God's plan is both reasonable and good. And when they've messed up, I am glad to show God's grace and His redemptive power, offering healing and forgiveness..

So, there you have it. It's ALL GOOD. It's a win/win for me. No matter which way I go, I'll be making a difference in the lives of young people.

Even as I'm writing my thoughts out, I think I know which way I'll go.

What do you think?

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whooda Thunk?

( Blogger decided to publish my post before I wrote anything...sorry about that.)
(And then it published again in the middle of a sentence.?!?!?)

Who would have thought that visiting the zoo on St. Pat's Day would be so impossible?

I loaded up the girls for a day of fun at the zoo this morning. We left home around 10:00. It's a 15 minute drive from here. As we neared the exit, traffic started backing up. From the back seat, Cupcake pipes up to ask if all these people are going to the zoo.

"No, Hun. There must be a stalled car up ahead or something."

It turns out Cupcake was right. The cars were all trying to squeeze onto the exit at the zoo. We drove past to the following exit. As we try to maneuver through Forest Park, we make note of what seems like thousands of people dressed in green, carrying chairs and coolers. We see people in kilts and girls in Irish dance costumes.

Then we hit the real traffic snarl. By now, I'm sure that we will never get to park within 2 miles of the zoo.

Apparently, half of St. Louis is attending something?

We spent over an hour trying to get out of the park.

I called Daddy to ask him to find out what in the world we were stuck in.

It turns out that we unwittingly got caught up in the frenzy associated with the Ancient Order of Hibernians' Parade.

I had no idea.

I've been in St. Louis for 24 years.

You learn something new every day. :-)

Plan B: Take the girls to the mall, McDonalds, and a park.

It was a perfect day. :-)

The girls really got along well. :-)

I had fun taking pictures. :-)

They had fun posing. :-)

This one totally cracks me up...

Who would have thought we would see a green dog?

Who would have thought that such a disappointment would turn out to be so much fun?

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Puppy Love

We have entered a new phase of our lives, uncharted waters, strange territory...

Sugar has become smitten with a young man. The feeling is mutual. He is a good kid from a nice family. They are both in 5th grade, but at different schools. They see each other at church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. It's all very innocent. They just talk and giggle and smile whenever they are together.

They exchanged special valentine's with each other. He got her heart-shaped Junior Mints and she got him a big Hershey's Kiss.

There are times where she walks around with a silly grin on her face and a far away, dreamy look in her eyes.

Oh, we are so not ready for this....

Blessings to you,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Emotional Healing

When Cupcake came home, she was not emotionally a four year old. She was emotionally a zero. Her life experience had taught her to be strong, to be tough, to keep the walls high and not let anyone in. The level of pain she experienced caused her to shut down emotionally.

The only emotions that were real were fear and rage, and she didn't even acknowledge them. She only acted on them. She would rage and rage and rage, and then turn around and act as if nothing happened. It was maddening.

When normal, emotionally healthy people have a nasty encounter, it affects their day. They think about the conflict. They replay it in their mind. They question what went wrong. They consider how it could have been different. This is because their emotions are integrated. Who you are and what you feel are connected.

Cupcake was completely detached from her emotions. After a rage, it was like she didn't grasp that her tantrum hurt me...that I might be angry or sad. She didn't even grasp that she had rage - almost as if it was someone else or that it never really happened. She would not and could not talk about her "big feelings" of anger, sadness and fear.

Many times, when we would see a smile, hear a laugh, or enjoy a playful encounter, she wasn't actually joyful or happy. She was pouring on the charm in order to survive. Little by little, real giggles would bubble forth, genuine smiles would emerge, real joy would show up as she relaxed and let it happen. Talking about happy emotions came a little easier for her.

So, here we are, almost two years home. We've been working on integrating her emotions from day one. We have named them and described them and given her an outlet for expressing them. She has made tremendous progress in this area, and I'm so proud of her.

This week, God allowed me to see just how far she has come. It was a milestone.

Cupcake has a teacher's aide that she adores. You might think that this woman can walk on water if you listen to my daughter. Every day, I hear...

"Miss H. smells like sugar."
"Miss H. likes my hair today."
"Miss H. has sparkly eye shadow."

"Miss H....this."
"Miss H.....that"

Well, Tuesday, Miss H. had to become very stern with little miss Cupcake.

When I picked her up from school, she was in tears, sobbing.

"Miss H. hurt my feelings..."

Did you catch that?

Her feelings were hurt.

All evening long, every time she thought about the painful encounter, she would burst into tears and run to me, bury her head in my shoulder, and cry it out.

Oh, it was painful.

But she came to
me for comfort.
acknowledged the pain.
felt the sting.

It was so hard to watch my baby go through the hurt. My heart was breaking for her. But at the same time, it made my heart sing. She allowed herself to feel the pain. Her heart is tender. She is on the road to just being a little girl. The open wounds of trauma are becoming scars. Emotional healing is happening. God is working in my little daughter's life.

And that makes for one thankful Mamita.

Blessings to you,

P.S. By Thursday, apologies and forgiveness were given. Things are back to normal...well, normal for us. ;-)

I'm a Rock Star!!!

My garage band is opening for Mercy Me!!!

Just kidding... ;-)

But that's how I feel.

My dear friend, Lisa, over at A Bushel and a Peck asked me to guest blog.

She has actual readers...not just family and 2 friends. People read her blog because she is genuine, she has something worthwhile to say, and she is a veritable treasure trove of wisdom. Every time I read her words, I learn something or am encouraged to press on. I am so honored that she asked litttle-ol'-me to share my parenting thoughts over there.

Lisa is a hero of mine. She is an amazing mother of 11, including 4 from Ethiopia. Her wisdom extends to many areas of life, most especially parenting, both therapeutic (kids from hard places) and traditional. She also writes about large families, adoption, trauma, HIV, sensory issues, and homeschooling.

So head over here to read my post and head over to to check out some of her incredible wisdom. You'll be glad you did.

Blessings to you,