Mrs. Weeda

Lauren (8yrs) and her friend Cirsten were sitting at the snack bar eating a piece of Jack’s pizza after school the other day. They were engaging in their usual tantalizing conversation about things like lightning bugs and how many times they could burp after drinking a whole can of pop. Lauren wanted to ask for more juice but instead of saying “Mom?” She said, “Mrs. Weeda?”

Mrs. Weeda is her teacher. She loves Mrs. Weeda and so do we. She has been teaching for many years, she’s a pastor’s wife and has volunteered much of her time at the school. She is a gem. Our small Christian school is very blessed to have her.

So I turned around and just to be silly with the girls asked her, “Mrs. Weeda? Do I look like Mrs. Weeda?”

They both giggled because she and I look nothing alike.

I said, “I’m much taller than Mrs. Weeda!”

Lauren laughed and nodded as she announced, “oh yes, and you have a lot more meat on your bones too!”

I threw a pie at her.

NO, I cracked up and thought about how I just had to tell you all about it.

More meat on my bones. Sigh. Yup, I sure do.

Here is a picture of Mrs. Weeda and I. If I didn’t love her to pieces I would have to throw a pie at her too. 🙂

Thank You to Lauren’s Birthmom

I don’t know your name or what you look like. I imagine that you saw the tiny disformed face of your new child and it brought you to tears. You opened her pink lips and saw that the cleft was also inside the roof of her mouth. You may have feared this with every tiny flutter those months you anticipated seeing your precious baby. You knew the immense cost and care that would be needed, and understood that the only hope for a good life would be in the hands of someone else. Perhaps an American would lovingly care for this daughter that your country would punish you for birthing.

I imagine that held her tight as you carried her quietly in the night and gently laid her on the steps of the very busy Buddhist Temple knowing someone would soon open the doors and find her. You kissed her one last time and your heart broke as you slipped away from that tiny piece of yourself.

She was found “red and crying” by the monks. Still very much in need of a mother.

I thank you sweet woman for giving life to the little girl of my dreams. I kiss her everyday for you.

I tell her that you left her where you believed god would help her and God made sure that she found her forever home in our family, learning that she was created by Him, on purpose.

I will probably never see you in this lifetime but please know that you did the right thing, that she is safe and loved and that all her needs are met. She turned 8 years old today.

I can’t hug you, so I hug her.


Thank you.

GREAT! The Lid Came Off the Mayo Jar

I just got back from a glorious run on this beautiful Michigan day!

Not really…wouldn’t you hate me if that was the truth??
The truth is, the weather IS beautiful for Michigan today, 40’s and sunny. But the run was tedious and tiring and I wanted nothing more than to stop and drive to McDonalds for a McFlurry.
The glorious part is that it’s done. Amen.

I don’t usually write on the weekends but Lauren did something today that I wanted to tell you about.

First let me warn you, there is nothing spiritual or redeeming about this. It’s kind of ugly and nothing like the beautiful things that Ann Voskamp writes on the weekend.

Lauren (7yo) opened the fridge, started rifling through it and grumbled in disgust, “Don’t we have any cupcakes?! Where are the chips?! GREAT! the lid came off the mayonaise jar!”

Now, it should be noted that I don’t think we’ve had cupcakes in this house in a month and I never keep them in the fridge. Apparently she wanted the chips because she spotted french onion dip and I have no idea why she feels the need to take on responsibility for the mayonaise container.

If she was 10 years older I would assume we were dealing with PMS but evidently we’re just dealing with an ornery seven year old who needed some time on her quad, thankfully she got that.

Now you should probable head over to Ann’s website because she does sweet things on the weekends that make you feel happy about life, not me, I’ve had my nose buried in the book “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey all weekend and I’m feeling a bit snarky.

Creative Way to Apologize

Hello! Happy Friday!

After yesterday’s post, I thought something a little more light hearted would be good. But let me just say, wow. Not only was that the most traffic my little blog has ever seen, but I was overwhelmed with email and messages after that post, many of which brought me to tears. I said a prayer for each of you, and I plan to write more about abuse in the future.

Late yesterday afternoon I jumped in the shower to get ready for these sweet ladies who were coming over.

They are planning to start their own Praise and Coffee Nights here in West Michigan. We had so much fun!

But as I stepped out of the shower, this letter was slid under the bathroom door, along with a marker that clearly took some time to jam under the door.

It said:
Dear Mom and Dad I em sry I was men to you do you frg m yess or no srk wun

Dear Mom and Dad, I am sorry I was mean to you, do you forgive me? yes or no, circle one

She waited impatiently outside the door with constant requests that I “circle one.”

I opened the door and asked what she was talking about. When was she mean to us?
Evidently she felt that she was mean to us the night before when she had a bad attitude. I had forgotten all about it, hello-just another day with a 7 yr old.

It’s so funny sometime what their little hearts hold on to.

Of course I wrapped my arms around her and gave her lots of love but that wasn’t enough, I had to “circle one.” And she wanted me to go back in the bathroom and slide it back under to the door to her.

I obliged.

So, next time you blow it and need to apologize to someone I suggest you write a little note, feel free to use Lauren’s words, and slide it under the door when they are showering. It is hard to stay mad at someone who spends 10 minutes jamming a marker under the door.

The Nightmares

Lauren’s been struggling with fear. Fear of bad guys. It overwhelms her at bedtime. She’s afraid that they will come in during the night and take her from us. It plagues her nightly. She begs me to lock all the doors and windows and questions me repeatedly if I’ve followed through.

It breaks my heart. What brings this on? We’ve never given her reason to worry. Our house is in a quiet safe neighborhood in the country. Her Daddy is a proficient marksman, her 250lb 6’1″ brother lives here, we have a security system and this.

Sure, she looks harmless NOW, and she is recovering from being hit by a car but I guarantee you, she would get all kinds of ugly on someone that tried to get in this house uninvited.

But how could she feel unsafe in this house? Why doesn’t she trust us to protect her?

Night after night she simmers and stirs on the irrational notion that someone could burst into our home and snatch her from her warm bed. I sink exhausted into my chair when she falls to sleep but it’s a temporary pause until she wakes shouting at strangers that she imagines in her time between sleep and wake.

She mumbles and cries, thrashing in bed, “Momma!! Mommy! No no no!” and my heart aches as I try to quiet the anxiety pouring out of her cleft scarred lips. She’s not fully conscious and eventually she quiets and falls back to sleep. Often I’m summoned back during the night to lie next to her after the bad guys come back in her dreams.

As I wrestle with how to convince her that she’s safe, I think of how God must feel that same way about me. He’s given me no reason not to trust Him, no clue that He would abandon me. In fact I’ve learned that even when it looks like He’s walked away and left me with my fears, I find that He was there all the time. He was just quiet for he moment, watching to see who I’d run to. Like mine, His arms ache to comfort His children.

Just like I long for Lauren to rest in the security of her home, I know the Lord wants the same for us.

Psalms 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Life is a Series of Moments

I am thankful.
My family and friends give me reason to smile every day.

Even when I look back at the events in my life that brought intense pain, I see how they have served to mold me into the person I am. I was not always thankful for those times but I was thankful in them because I believed that God loved me and even if I couldn’t see His purposes at the time, I trusted in that love.

There were desperate days that I clung to the hem of His garment begging for things to change…and in His grace they didn’t. But that past pain has now brought depth and feeling to areas in my life that could have remained numb. It’s brought deep growth when complacentcy could have kept me shallow.

Most of all, it’s made me thankful. Embracing the good times with family and cherishing my sweet friends that I share laughter and tears with. Holding moments of love tightly in my heart and turning from the clutches of bitter unforgiveness and offense.

Life is a series of moments.

Don’t let the moments get lost in the momentum.

And laugh. Laugh a lot.

This is an entry from a my journal when Lauren was 5 years old…it still makes me laugh, I hope it brings a smile to your face today too.

Hearing loud music coming from her bedroom, I crack the door to hear Toby Keith blaring and see this child siting on the bed with her motorcycle helmet on surrounded by our two large dogs while “talking” on her cell phone. She looks up at me and says without a second’s hesitation…”oh good you can be the Grandma.”

I hope your Thanksgiving has many wonderful moments.

Much love,

No one else looks like me

My heart broke.

Lauren had the day off so we went to the grocery store and then to Pizza Hut to redeem her book-it coupon that was burning a hole in her pocket. She was sorely disappointed when she realized that all she received for her coupon was a pizza. I think she was expecting balloons and pony rides, or at least a prize box from which she could pick a super ball or plastic necklace. Nope, just a pizza. But that’s not the heartbreaking part, at least it wasn’t for me.

As we sat there and talked she complained about her swollen lip. She had a slight accident while sledding the day before and her top lip was red and swollen making the scar from her cleft lip surgery even more pronounced than usual.

She was very self-conscious about it, constantly checking in the mirror to see if the swelling had gone down.

I assured her that it would go away and look just fine by the time she went back to school. This didn’t satisfy her. I mentioned that it was right on her scar so it looked worse than it was. The minute I said that I saw the life drain from her beautiful brown almond-shaped eyes.

Her head dropped and she slinked out of her booth to crawl into my lap and weep.

“Mommy, why does my lip look like this?” she asked with tears streaming down her face.

With every mommy bone in my being aching I answered, “honey, you were born with a cleft lip and the doctor fixed it but it left a little mark but it will fade.”

“No one else in my school looks like me, NO one.” she lamented.

I held her tight and kissed every inch of her I could reach.

She calmed as I told her how beautiful she is and how special God made her. That she was also the only one in her class that came all the way home from China. This seemed to appease her for the moment.

As she climbed back in to the booth across from me I asked her to give me a great big smile so I could take a picture of her.

I know that not one of you looks at this picture and sees a “flawed” little girl, but you see her heart and passion and know that she is a precious gift of God.

I pray that you would remember this the next time you start to compare yourself with someone else. Think about how you wanted to convince Lauren that she is beautifully and wonderfully created by God…and look yourself in the mirror and say that same thing to your reflection.

The Father feels just as heartbroken when we compare ourselves and rate our own worth.
You are His daughter, He loves you.

Sometimes the Past Haunts Us

I originally posted this 3 years ago but this message has been going over and over in my heart lately, hope it touches you too.

As many of you know, we adopted Lauren from China a little over a year ago. She was 2 years old when we brought her home and she had lived in an orphange for all of her 2 years.

We struggled for several months and still do at times, with her attachment to us. I would say she is strongly attached now, but it has been a struggle.

We have come leaps and bounds and I believe she is very securely attached to me, but there are so many little “quirks” that she has that reveal the past fears and insecurities. Sometimes I really wish she could tell me about the things she has seen and experienced. We get glimpses, but never the whole picture.

That brings me to what happened the other day. I was unpacking all my Christmas stuff and she was sitting with a basket of last years Christmas cards looking at each one of the pictures. She was there for a good 10 minutes just studying them while I was busy decorating. Suddenly she yelled “MOMMY!” and ran over to me with a card in her hand. With a very sad and upset face and tears in her eyes, she kept yelling-

Mommy! No Mommy! No Mommy! and shaking her head.

I looked at the picture and this is what is was…

She was very upset and said, NO MOMMY!….MOMMY GO BYE-BYE…!!!

She kept repeating it over and over and I realized that she was saying that the little girl in the picture was sad because her Mommy had left her. That’s when I saw that the little girl was Chinese.

My heart just broke and I held her and assured her that this little girl’s Mommy had not left her, she was just praying to Jesus.

I wish I could get inside that little mind and know all that she thinks and how she processes things, but it is clear that she has glimpses of the past that haunt her.

Our job is to love Lauren and protect her and pray that she will be healed from her past and that it won’t affect her future. I believe God has big plans for my little darlin’ and He will use her past to bring healing to others.

So………………………………. what about you?

Do you ever have glimpses of the past that remind you of past pain? Does a picture or memory send you reeling in grief?

If so, the Holy Spirit is there to bring the love of God into your heart and show you the protection and security that only God can bring.

Eph 4:22-24
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self,
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I pray you are able to trust that Your God loves you and will never leave you, and that you can put your past behind you and be made new in Him!

*Video* Lauren’s First Motorcycle

We have some awesome friends in motocross and a bunch of them pooled together to get Lauren her first motorcycle. We are so thankful, and clearly see their plan to get us back to the racetrack! 🙂

I have a feeling we’ll be there soon, I can’t wait!

Yes, it is me taking the video and doing all the screaming…

Thank you all so much!

Tears of Sadness and Joy

I will never forget this morning 8 years ago. I was teaching Bible study and I felt a pull on my heart to drop our lesson for the day and devote the morning to prayer. In fact the only thing written on my agenda was one word- pray.

As the ladies and I sat praying for the different needs in our families that morning our youth pastor came in and said “pray for NY, a plane has hit one of the twin towers.” I admit, I had no idea what that meant, I was picturing a little twin engine bumping into a building.

Then he came in again, a second tower has been hit and they think a plane is headed for the white house, they have fighter jets in the air…then the scope of what was happening started to hit us. Our nation was under attack.

As the day unfolded, the horrors were made clear. I just remember thinking…the world has changed, everything changed today.

We need to remember…we need to keep praying.

And then…I never dreamed that 5 years later I would be waking up in a hotel in Xi’an China. Nervous, excited, scared and overwhelmed at the thought of meeting my 2 year old daughter for the first time.

11:00 AM finally came around and we sat in the lobby waiting for them to bring her to us. I’ll never forget when they walked through the door. I grabbed Mark’s arm and said- it’s her!
So tiny and frail. Her little face emotionless. The nanny carried her up to the hotel room and it was there that I reached out to her and put her arms around my neck for the first time.

She was beautiful, she was perfect, she was mine. I didn’t let go of her the whole day. She had captured my heart instantly. I looked at Mark after the others left and I said, “I love her, I really love her.”
She’s never stopped capturing our hearts, and I’ve never stopped falling in love with her.

So needless to say…this day is an emotional rollercoaster for me. The news and radio make me cry with sadness but this little girl with the almond shaped eyes makes me shed tears of joy.

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