Friday, January 13, 2012

Picture Post!!

I've been a very bad blogger (but a very good mommy) so I'll just give everyone what they want anyway - pics of the baby! Also, this is my first go at using the blogger app on my phone so if this post ends up a mess, if I can't comment on the pictures, or the pictures look distorted like they do in my preview, I apologize and will blame the issues on google! ;) Here goes...

Love Wins
So I've been reading a book by Rob Bell called Love Wins. Whoa. Goooooood book. Really makes you think and has some very different views that you just don't hear much. I've read so many books on Christianity that in most cases, I can tell you what the book is going to say without reading much of it. Not to say that I'm that all-knowing - no, no, no; this speaks more to a lack of variety in Christian writing which baffles me. God in all his creativity can be summed up in something I can predict in my 30+ years of life? Give me a break... So, when this came along it was a refreshing change.

Apparently, prior to picking Love Wins to read, I didn't realize that this book had created quite the stir amongst the conservative Christian community as a whole. I shouldn't be surprised but now that I have read it, I don't get what all the fuss is about. Are there thoughts presented that challenge current evangelical Christian doctrine? Yes. But is that such a bad thing? I don't think so.

The response, which I came across by accident, shows the exact issue that Bell is trying to push back against. People getting so caught up in their theology, their argument, their view of what is right and wrong that they missed the point.

The book's theme is that God loves people.
Plain and simple.
And people are up in arms over it.

He takes a different way of getting to the point. He wants the emphasis taken off of judging each other. He offers other views of heaven and hell that are not traditional. But once you get to his point, there should be no argument.

Traditional view: Heaven is this separate place where we suddenly change into these perfect beings and live in mansions.
Bell's view: Heaven is a place that we need to be ready to live in (in a more dormitory style, by the way) so we should prep for it now. Is the way we're living now going to fit into heaven?

Traditional view: Hell is this separate place where non-believers go for eternal damnation.
Bell's view: While that place may be, there are people on this earth that find hell to be a very real place right now. Is there a way through our love for Christ that we can alleviate their current hell before getting them to be concerned with the one characturized with the devil & his horns & pitchfork?

At least that's what I got out of it.
New thoughts but ones that challenged me to be a better Christian now.
And what's wrong with that?

I mean...sure, the theological differences could be debated all day long. At the very tiny Bible college I went to, where most people held similar conservative beliefs, there were debates all day long over similar issues. Issues with much more minute points to debate than what are offered here.

But if somone picks up Love Wins and hears that there is a God that loves them, that maybe his love is so vast that he may offer opportunity on the other side of this life to be with him in eternity if we chose wrong here, that despite all the theology that's debated over and over what really matters to God is that we experience his love - is that really that bad? Do people honestly feel so threatened by these ideas that they think God can't take it? That somehow the emphasis on a loving God and not judging others will somehow diminish God's power?

There's such a concern with making sure that people understand the "law" so they can follow it to a tee and can put expectations on each other to live a perfect life that clearly isn't attainable in human form. There is very little trust that God can deal with people individually and therefore teachings (not just group teachings but private ones as well) are directed at the whole rather than the individual. Anyone with experience working at a company that forms a policy binder should know exactly what I'm talking about...

The company starts small. The owner knows each employee and when there are issues, the owner knows them and deals with each person individually. Employee #1 is given leniency because he shows he can handle it. Employee #2 isn't offered the same leniency because it's clear he can't handle it. Each person is dealt with at their own level of competence, experience, learning, etc.

The company grows. The owner doesn't know everyone so well anymore. Suddenly, where Employee #2 would've been dealt with individually before, now a policy is put into place that everyone has to follow. It sucks for those who can handle the leniency. Everyone ends up getting brought to the same level - the lowest one. And there is clearly a fear for anyone who tries to take what leniencies they had before because then everyone will want to have it.

Sound familiar?

So back to Bell - the thought is that if the Christian community doesn't rail against these new thoughts, there will be people that <gasp!> actually believe them and they will think that just because Bell alluded to the fact that you can still get to heaven even if you make bad choices on earth that no one will choose to follow now and then what if that's not true and then those people go to hell and then God holds us accountable for not standing up against the false teaching and...

You get my point? We're so worried about all the what-ifs that it's hard to just meet people where they are.

Maybe, just maybe, people aren't that bad. Sure...there are those who would see an easy way out. But no matter how you present it, they're going to find the easy way out. No. I think there are more people that would respond to a God that loves his people to the point of giving them another chance, even if it took seeing the whole picture to get it. You know, it means very little to me when my son does the right thing b/c he's afraid of getting into trouble. It keeps the consequences from happening which is good but it shows no effort in his heart. But when he does the right thing because he WANTS that means the world to me. And if I'm made in God's image, wouldn't that be at least a basic of God's immense love and desires for his children? I believe that actually acknowledging God's love to be that big might just be what people are longing to hear and want to respond to it without the threat of punishment.

I'd have to agree with Bell. Love does win.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You Are My Sunshine

Wow! Look at how much Sonnie has grown! I wish I'd taken a picture of her by this lion right when we got home from the hospital for another comparison. 

One Month Old

Two Months Old
Here are some other favorite shots of my gorgeous little girl. I'm so (so, so, so, soooooooooo) sad to have to head back to work next week. I've got nothing planned for this last week of freedom except for loving on and holding my little girl all day, everyday!

Captured some of her very first real smiles

The "Ours" shot of our "Yours, Mine & Ours" family

I love this kid

On her playmat - this is a definite favorite of hers!

I love the dainty things she does with her hands

Kicking up a storm on the changing table!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Greater Understanding

Well, it's been a while since I've been on here. It's been a pretty busy month. Sonnie is getting more active (fun!) and her colic has definitely been in full force (NOT so fun). My oldest also came back mid-August from a summer full of camps & time up north with his adoptive dad. Now we're officially back into the swing of the school routine & almost to "normal" life with me returning to work next Monday (boooooo!!!).

I'm not gonna lie....these last few weeks have been STRESSFUL. I'm learning that with a trauma-related adoption, each developmental stage means that many things that were learned before emotionally have to be re-learned or processed at the new developmental stage. Let me just say: we've hit a new developmental stage. Add that to my growing belief that we've made less attachment progress than I would have hoped to by this point and you've got one stressed out mama.

I find it so hard to talk to people about this b/c most don't understand it. They see a kid that can talk easily with them, "seems to be a happy kid" in school (direct teacher quote every year), etc. When I try to express our difficulty at home, in moments when I just need to talk, I'm often seen as only seeing the negative or getting down on him. My least favorite quote: "all kids his age do that". I know it's all well-meaning. I don't doubt those who mean to help. I love them for it (well, there's a few that just offer "advice" to hear themselves speak and put me down to make themselves feel better; those folks can take a flying leap. The rest of you I love your heart & intention.). But sometimes, all I'm really looking for is to be understood.

Well, tonight in my worry-induced insomnia, I found it. An article that describes in many cases EXACTLY how I feel about parenting a child that struggles to attach. One that acknowledges the love and uncertainty that can uniquely be found in this situation. Every day I feel like I've given him every piece of me; and every day I feel like I've failed him. I imagine many people would say that all parents feel the same way but trust me, they don't. Not like this. Every day I feel like I have nothing left to give; and every day I feel like I've not come close to giving enough.

So here's the article written by Marleen Kasbee. One that I'm certain I will reference often as I continue to seek out the best helps for my son and our journey to attachment. Hopefully it helps explain the times that I seem a little less than myself.

Taken from 
SELF-BLAME: Many moms have the misconception that they should be able to solve their child’s problems (super-mom syndrome). The worst of all feelings! We are angels, not gods.
          GUILT (on many levels) ........:
1) Without knowing any better; most of us have lost our tempers (or worse) with our RAD child
2) about how we often feel toward our child: (let’s face it -------- their disorder makes them hard to "like" let alone "love" sometimes)
3) that "we" let our family fall apart (the God thing again)
4) that we don’t spend enough quality time with our other children, our spouse, and, in taking care of ourselves
5) that we are having trouble forgiving our child for past behaviors ………….. BIG ONE!
6) that we are angry with God for this tremendous challenge
ANGER (or betrayal or feeling frustrated......)
1) at our HUSBANDS: for not believing us or noticing the child’s strange manipulations, for not understanding, for not supporting us emotionally, for countermining our new parenting techniques (usually by loosing their temper), for not being as committed in using the new parenting techniques or reading the materials, for "saving" the child when he/she didn’t need saved, for not helping us when we needed helped, for leaving it all to us
2) at the system or adoption agency: Cries for help went out for years - bad advise and blame were given in return
3) at our Attachment Disordered child: for doing this "to us" - we took it personally (saw the child "as" the disorder, instead of a child "with" an emotional disorder)
4) at family and friends: for saying things like, "All kids do that!" ….and not understanding what our life was like
5) at ourselves: for not being our "old self" or fun anymore
6) at God: Why me?
7) at everyone you have had to explain the disorder to and that you have had to explain it to so many.
           DISTRUST of:
1) ourselves - our abilities (feeling un-empowered)
2) the system
3) helping professionals (We have been given so much "bad" advice; we question even "good" advice)
4) other supports
DESPAIR - LOSS OF HOPE: "Will it ever get better?" "Why read another book; nothing helps." "I’m tired."
ISOLATED & ALONE: no one understands and we "believe" we can’t get respite from our problem child
OVERWHELMED: Many moms suffer from Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

DISCLAIMER: I struggled with whether or not I should post this in the interest of our family's privacy but really feel it's something I need people to understand. It's part of who we are, it's something we truly struggle with and I think it's important for people to have a greater understanding of what this is like. Too often we hide things in an effort to protect ourselves when really, it's more detrimental to hold it in. This is one of those times.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Toy

Happy early birthday to me!!! My sweetheart of a husband bought me a digital slr camera - so fun! I've really only learned about one setting to play with so far but that's my thing at a time so I might actually remember what it all means. :)

And since I'm only in a position to type one-handed right now, I'll let the rest of this be a picture post of what I've played around with so far - the aperture settings... I think. ;)

So THAT'S how you get the background blurry and the subject in focus...

This one has nothing to do with the settings...she's just plain cute ;)

Monday, July 25, 2011

A New Kind of Church

So first I have to share that I'm typing this blog entry while utilizing Mommy Skill #437 that I've learned in my rapid on-the-job training: typing WHILE holding the sleeping baby. She's on my chest/shoulder which has freed up both hands - wahoo! I should just put her down but it's our evening "storm" time, as I've coined it where she typically screams & cries without a whole lot that can be done until she decides to stop...fortunately tonight's episode only lasted about 10 minutes before she crashed and I'm not taking any chances. Well...except the chance I took when I went to grab the laptop and she kinda rolled into the crevice between the recliner and my leg but it was a quick recovery and aside from making a little face, she seemed none the wiser.

Actually, I'm on here because I had some thoughts while in church Sunday that I wanted to get down. We currently don't have a home church. I went to a bible college and was once a youth pastor's wife so this not-going-to-church thing is kinda big for me. But it's where I need to be right now. I've had such an overhaul of the way that I think about religion and church that I need some time to sort out what I believe before diving into a congregation. Because of my experiences in various churches, I know that in many ways they are all the same: there are some really amazing, God-loving people that will help you sort these things out and there are some really hurtful, self-righteous people that will do everything they can to get in the way of that. Unfortunately, sometimes you get burnt in the process of figuring out which one is which and I don't need to try to sort that out on top of everything else.

I know what God is stirring in my heart but I also know that it doesn't jive with a lot of the current conservative evangelical way of thinking. I have finally figured out that I am a post-modern wonder I really gravitated toward reaching out to "those" people when I was in the church - I WAS one of those people!! Conservative evangelicals see postmoderns as people who see a lot of gray area...too much gray area. They enjoy their black & white rules where "God said this. Jesus said that. End of story." But I found that in being in that type of an environment for years left me feeling trapped, empty and without real relationship with God. It was all just a bunch of follow the rules, you're a great person. The end. Not to say that we shouldn't follow God's teachings or that I wasn't authentic in my's just that it became rote. Predictable. It left me thinking, "is this really all God had to offer?! Emptiness? Sadness? Predictability?!? How big of a God could he be if he could be predictable like these black & white rules suggest?!"

No. I knew there had to be more and so I sought it out. In leaving the black & white theology behind, I have found the "freedom in Christ" that I'd heard people talk of a million times before but never really understood it. Yet this whole going to church issue is still obviously a somewhat black & white thought in my mind because I question it every time I walk into a church. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be seeking out a church now? Should I wait? I'm still working some stuff out. Should I find an alternative like a small group? Actually, I really like that idea but where? So many questions...and then, there's an infant in the mix which brings me to the thoughts of Sunday.

We're sitting there with my family. My dad was singing that morning and we showed up to surprise him. I tried to listen to the various pieces of the service...I truly did. But this amazing little bundle took much of my attention. In an effort to keep her from distrupting everyone else, I was completely preoccupied with her. Finally at one point I just caved and stared and smiled and made eye contact with her, thanking God for the millionth time for putting her in my life. And then it hit me...

I'd been in church a lot recently. Every day, in fact.

It's not what many would classify as "church" but I sure do. Every time I look at that beautiful little angel, I replay the miracle that she is to me. The joy of a promise that God kept even though I'd given up on it. The healing the last several years have brought to my soul. She is the culmination of stepping out to do what I felt I needed to and what I felt that God needed me to do. God and I commune every time I gaze at her and ask him yet again, "is she really mine?! Thank. YOU."

So while I'm still trying to figure out just what church will look like for me and my family on the other side of sorting through my post-modern thoughts, I know that in the meantime, I'll be okay. It's not as important that all of the "rules" are followed as it is that you commune with God in your journey to please him. If I'm taking time to figure things out, that's just fine. All that matters is that I'm looking for him in the process. Seeking him out. Showing his love. Talking to him and about him to my kids. And most importantly, that I'm finding him. Even in... no... especially in the smile of a beautiful baby girl.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Instagram app - way too much fun!

So....I found this fun app for my phone called Instagram. It makes it look like I take these amazing pictures when really, it's all about the filters that they have to put over the pics. Here's some of my creations :)

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