Monday, October 28, 2013

Star of the Week...

My sweet baby girl is turning SIX this week, and she happened to be chosen as the "star of the week" this week at school...Ok, actually, she got chosen to be star of the week LAST week, but we had one of "those" weeks, and her precious teacher told me not to sweat it and Lucy could just be the star again for this week and turn her things in this week instead.  I'm not sure why the project stressed me out so much...probably because Lucy was just SO very excited about it, and I was hoping her momma had the skills to help her out so her project lived up to the expectations she had dreamed up for it in her head.  Well, we finally finished everything up this evening, and I definitely had one very excited (almost) 6 year old on my hands!  

For this project, they are given a piece of posterboard (I think she got to pick the color--of course,  she chose PINK!) and they are supposed put pictures on it that tell all about themselves.  We chose some pictures that show some of the things Lucy loves the most, which ended up overwhelmingly involving family.  (I love that she feels family is the most important thing to her!)  I know you can't really see the photos up close, so I'll explain them to you:  
Lucy LOVES rainbows and drawing with sidewalk chalk, so we chose a picture of her jumping over a rainbow she had drawn on our driveway.  I penciled in block letters for her and she traced over everything and colored it all in.  If you notice the yellow drawing to the right of the exclamation point after her name, that is her picture of what a "light" looks like.  She wanted to be sure and include a light on her poster since she takes it very seriously that her name means "bringer of light.":)
Below that is a photo of her and DH at the Breakfast with Dads event they recently had at school.  Lucy LOVES going on special Daddy-Daughter Dates with her daddy!  She also likes to play around on her pink guitar, and I think she hope she can one day play like her Daddy.  It was cute to listen to her tell me what colors she wanted to use for different parts of the poster.  Any time she chose green, she would say, "because that's Daddy's favorite color."  She certainly has a special bond with her daddy, and I'm so thankful for how close they are.  He truly is the most amazing daddy I've ever known.
The next set of pictures shows Lucy trying on a pair of womens heels.  She loves playing dressup and especially enjoys getting into any of my "fancy" shoes.  She also has recently started helping me cook more and more.  I often ask her to help me in hopes that if she helps prepare the food, she might actually EAT it as well (she is SUCH a picky eater!)  My plan hasn't worked out too well, but she still really enjoys the cooking process, even if she isn't in love with the eating process.
The third row of pictures is of Lucy with her grandparents--Nonnie, Opie, and Gi-Gi.  She is so crazy about each of them!
And the last set of pictures shows Lucy with Daddy, me, and baby brother.  She was very adamant about her family being the thing she loved the most.  
It's interesting to me that this poster didn't include pictures of her with a favorite toy, although Lucy has never been one to be attached to toys much.  The things she enjoys most seem to be things that involve being with the people she loves, whether that be watching a movie together, going out to eat together, doing a fun activity together. etc.  Quality time is obviously important to her, and I want to remember that as I seek to show love to her in a way that will best speak to her.

The second part of Lucy's big project involed a box. She was to choose 5 items that represented who she is--hobbies she has, things she loves...basically anything that would help the class learn more about Lucy.  Included in those 5 items needed to be her favorite book.  It was SO hard for me to try and not push certain ones on her (the ones that I especially enjoy reading to her like "Petunia the Silly Goose" and "Cat, You Better Come Home.") but I really wanted this to be HER project.  I did give her some guidance of course as she sorted through her thoughts, but these are the things that SHE came up with, along with the reasons why she felt that they should be included in her 5 things:

First of all, she chose the book, "Where, Oh Where Is Huggle Buggle Bear?"

This is an ADORABLE book that my mom found for like $3 at Ross several years back.  It's one we have read over and over and over, and she never grows tired of it.  It's funny to me that she chose it as her favorite book as it is about a boy trying to find his favorite bear before bedtime, but its off finding all sorts of ways to lengthen the amount of time before he has to go to bed.  Sounds an AWFUL lot like someone else I know!;-)

Lucy was very adamant that this particular Hello Kitty be included in her box.  She is really into Hello Kitty right now, but this particular one is special to her because Nonnie and Opie brought it to her from their trip to Japan, which is where Lucy's "Aunt Bubba" lives.  Lucy has a very close relationship with DH's sister.

Another thing Lucy LOVES right now is Knock-Knock jokes, so I asked her if she might want us to make a book of knock-knock jokes to place in her box.  She LOVED the idea.  Since she's just in the early stages of reading and writing, I wrote out all of the jokes for her (I chose her favorites), but then had her draw a picture to go along with the jokes. I especially loved her picture of the "little old lady Who."  I kept telling her, "Honey, I don't understand where all the lady's hair is?" and she fianlly told me, "Mom, her hair is all up on the top of her head in a BUN."  hehee:) I love it!  I really think this particular item in her box says a lot about who Lucy is, because she loves to laugh and to make other people laugh.
Certainly something that defines a lot of who Lucy is would be that she's a big sister.  It's a role she prayed for for a very long time, and she truly takes it very seriously.  She absolutely loves her baby brother, and it's quite obvious that he adores her, too.  I was just telling someone today how Baby Mustard Seed is pretty much all her doing, because she has prayed so diligently for another sibling.  I am so thankful for the amazing faith my daughter has, especially at such a young age.

And lastly, Lucy placed her ladybug star nightlight in her box.  This was a gift given to her (from a very dear family to us who was extremely influential in our being able to adopt Gabriel) when Gabriel was born, and she has pretty much slept with it every single night since.  I think this is such a great item to be in her box since her name means bringer of light.

Oh Lucy, truly that is what you have done from the moment you entered our lives.  You have breathed light into your entire family's life, and we are so proud of the youth lady you are becoming.  Never stop shining as brightly as you do my precious one!  You aren't just the star of the week this week at school, but you truly have been a bright, shining star from the moment you were born!  Thank you for shining so brightly on our family!

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Letter to Gabriel...

My dear sweet Gabriel,

As I'm rocking you to sleep and your head is nuzzled underneath my I listen to the sweet babbles mixed in with words like "daddy" and "happy" you open your mouth wide to yawn and settle in for the evening...I can't help but wonder: do you know how very much you are loved? Do you know how very wanted you are? Do you know how your Heavenly Father has walked before you to bring you from your biryhmommy's womb to my arms?  I imagine at just 16 months old, these are not the things your mind contemplates...but when I see the way you smile at your daddy, and when I feel the way you lean in so tightly for me to hug you, and when I watch the way you respond to your birthmommy, a part of me feels that you do know to some extent. You know that you are loved, you know that you are wanted, and you know that your beautiful life has a purpose.  And just in case there is ever any doubt in your mind, know that I promise to never let you forget. Every day you will hear that Mommy and Daddy love you...and we will ever remind you of the selfless love your birthmom has for you, too...and we will always strive to point you to your Heavenly Father's great plan for your life. What a precious gift you are, my son, and what a blessing that I have been gifted with the responsibility to make sure that you do know how loved you are, how wanted you are, and how precious you are in His sight...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Willing to Heal...

I remember being on a long drive in my car one February day.  The kids were both napping, and no one else was really out on that stretch of highway at that time, so it was just me.  I'm not sure about any other mommas out there, but the Lord likes to meet with me in my minivan, and He did just that on that particular winter's day.  No, not just the season that day made it winter, for my life was in the midst of a winter season, too. Everything seemed so cold and dead at that point. I was mourning the loss of friendships, being treated coldly by people who once were so warm towards me, and I felt so alone from how I was being so horribly misunderstood.  You want to know what's so wonderful
about those seasons of loneliness in our lives though? When we have no one else in our earthly lives, we realize that all we really need is Jesus, and the more we get of Jesus, the more we want, and the more and more He shows up.  So there He was, right there with me in my minivan.  I shared with Him my hurt, my disappointment, and my confusion at what to do with these wounds I had been left with.  And these are the words He wrote so clearly on the depths of my soul in that moment...

"We are all wounded people. And wounds are not pretty. That's why we need a Healer who can make something beautiful out of what is so ugly."

I'm sure each of us has experienced wounds at many points in our lives.  Maybe your little brother took a bite out of your cheek after church one Sunday, or maybe you were doing crazy 8's on your bike and you fell over and fractured your rib, or maybe you got hit in the head with a pickle ball during PE class, and you have the scars to prove it from each incident (not that I would know anything about any of those types of injuries...*clears throat*;-). But most likely, when you think of whatever wounds you have endured, the physical ones aren't probably the ugliest scars you've had to work's the internal ones that have wounded your heart and often effected so many more areas in your life. It's the unkind word someone spoke to you in haste, or the utter betrayal from a close friend, or the abuse you were subject to.  Whatever the reason for the wound, wounds are never pretty.  And, just like a momma says to her child when they fall down, it seems like the world constantly says to us, "C'mon, dust yourself off and be brave and move on-you're going to be just fine." when in reality, the wound is still there, and you feel anything but fine.  There's a fine line between brushing off the wounds as if they never happened, and living a life consumed by your woundedness...and that's where our Heavenly Father shows up: right there in the middle of the hurt and the healing to provide us with a way to go from one end to the other.  The question is, though, are we willing to go through the healing process, because it's not as easy as just brushing off the hurt...

We had quite a scare this past week.  Lucy and another child accidentally ran into each other at Awana on Sunday evening.  The other child was older than Lucy, so when they hit, she kind of bounced off of him and fell...they think to the grass first, but she somehow ended up landing on a concrete grate. She showed some symptoms of a mild concussion (we aren't really sure if that's what it was or if she happened to come down with a tummy bug at the same time) and her poor lip and gums took quite a beating, not to mention her knee and arms and face.  We praise God she seems to be doing well now (it could have been sooo much worse than what it was) but the healing process has not been an easy one.  Each day her wounds tend to morph into a different shape or color, and even though we know it is a sign of healing, there are some moments that the injury looks worse now than it did when it first happened. And with each dab of peroxide, and each application of neosporin, and each change of bandage, we are met with the cries of our precious baby girl.  Wounds hurt-and not just when you first receive them, but also when you are in the midst of healing from them.  Lucy keeps saying to me, "It's okay Momma, you don't have to put medicine on it-I already have a bandaid on it."  Isn't that so like we are many times?  We just want to stick a bandaid over the problem, hoping if we can push it out of our sight that we will forget about it.  But no amount of covering our wounds, our hurt, will ever make it go away.  We need a healer, and healing isn't easy.

So as my precious daughter works through the pain of healing from a physical injury, I have to ask myself: how am I working on the process of healing from those inward injuries?  Am I holding tightly to my hurt and allowing it to turn into bitterness, or am I allowing my Healer to take me through the process of healing those inward wounds?  It's a daily struggle and a daily decision of dying to myself, and it's often not a very pretty one when you're in the midst of it.  But, Oh what beauty our Healer can make if we will allow Him to take us through the process.  Are you willing?