Friday, December 21, 2012

Finding Peace

The soul always knows what to do to heal itself.   
The challenge is to silence the mind.

sunrise...out the bedroom window.

Silencing the mind has been somewhat of a challenge lately.  I imagine that just the typical preparations of this time of year make it difficult for most to achieve this sought after silence.  Prior to last Friday, I was already feeling a bit dismayed with what was going on nationally, internationally, and even locally.   This, combined with thoughts of my Mom and her absence, and the thoughts of those who were going through the holidays for the first time without loved ones, was enough to push me into a melancholy that I didn’t invite, particularly during this joyful time of the year.  And then… the school tragedy in Connecticut.   Not since 911 do I think that our nation as a whole has mourned to the extent it has over the Sandy Hook occurrence.  My heart has been aching for those families who lost their children and loved ones.  And I am sure that like many, I try to stop myself from envisioning the “what if’s” with my own child…

So, in an attempt to calm my mind, prayer has been helpful, particularly for all those suffering so horribly.  Focusing on the purpose of the season has been helpful.  And thinking in the micro (all the blessings of my own life), instead of the macro (all the evil and problems in the world) has helped. There is so much I have to be grateful for.   I am reminded that wherever gratitude is present, so is God; and wherever God is present, so is peace.  

Lately, I have been that much more grateful for all the blessings in my own life. 

God is always there, as long as I keep looking for Him...

like here... in our backyard again.

and here...Lucy  insisting we go outside to"catch snowflakes."

and here...Lucy saying "Grammy!" when I first got this out for Christmas.
(something must have reminded her of my Mom...the glasses?)

and here... African Violets--from my Mom's funeral-- that just bloomed for the first time since her death.
(Notice how the flowers are advent colors.)
and here... making my Mom's cut out Christmas cookies.

and here... Christmas pottery for Forever Family Day.

 And here... The Nutcracker.  Twice!

The first time to the theater: my friend Julia insisted on taking Lucy.

We had a great time afterwards...downtown with our new friends.

The second time was last minute, when my friend Molly came upon some extra tickets.

I think Lucy liked it even better the second time!
 Irons Fruit Farm (again!) for our own little ginger-bread-house class!

Mr. Irons, the owner of the farm.

Marie, our loving and patient 'teacher'.

And finally, Lucy's first school program.  Words really don't capture how filled with happiness and gratitude I was while watching her.   Who knew a parent's heart could swell with such joy?   Priceless.

Thank you God, for all of our blessings.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Recently I have been following the blog of a couple who is over in China. They are welcoming their precious little daughter into their family.  It is fascinating to read.   They are basically following in our same footsteps of three years ago: staying in the same hotels, driving in the same crazy traffic, eating the same foods, having the same translators, going to the same tourist destinations…  As I read about their journey, all I can think about is how long ago it seems for us, and how changed the Lucy of then is to the Lucy of today.   

Today is our Forever Family Day;  the day we first met Lucy in the lobby of the Galactic Peace International Hotel in Nanchang, China.  So often other moms have told me to treasure each and every  moment with your child, because being a parent will assure you of one thing:  

“time will fly…”

“she will change so quickly…”

“before you know it she will be off to college...”

After three years, I think it is safe to say… they are right.   It is hard to believe that the Lucy who falls asleep so easily every night, who talks and sings so readily and fluidly, who expresses so much affection and love….is the same scared, timid, quiet, restless, reserved Lucy of 3 years ago.   

Amidst my reflection and reminiscing, I realize there is one thing that hasn’t changed.  And it is this: 

No matter where we have been, or what has been going on with you, Dear Lucy, the love so deep in our hearts has remained.  I can honestly say that the love we feel for you today is the same love we felt for you in those first moments and days when we met you three years ago.

The realization of this constant love leads me to one final thought.    What a wonderful blessing it is to have hearts that have the capacity to love in this way.  

How grateful I am to be your Mom, Lucy, and to know love in the way only a parent can know.

God, you are so good.  Thank you for the gift of our dear daughter, Lucy.

Lucy, we love you to the moon and back.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Let the Holidays Begin

We are very excited to be celebrating the holidays in our new home.  A year ago who would have known that everything would be so different in just 12 months time?  After all, at this time last year we had just started house shopping!  Yet here we are.

I have been waiting patiently for my first deer sighting.  Look who showed up in our backyard this week...

 Lucy and I affectionately named him Precious.

In addition to the serenity of our surroundings, the new house has provided many other blessings.  One of them came in the form of family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Everyone (meaning my sister and brother, their families, my dad, and my dear friend Julia) gathered at our house to celebrate. It was wonderful to have them all here.  My Mom's memory was near and dear to my heart the entire time.  I couldn't help but think, "you helped create this, Mom."  Having her family together was always the thing that made her happiest.

One of the moments that warmed my heart most over the weekend was this one: 

Right before eating dinner, we had just finished praying and talking about how the various facets of our families' history was interwoven into that moment, when Lucy said this:

"Mama, we are a family!"


I can only hope that a new tradition has begun.

Oh, and did I mention that Ray and Jessica gave us a chainsaw as a housewarming gift?    Brian has been out in the back woods cutting down trees like he is a real renaissance man.  Scary, I know.

So Thanksgiving came and went, with our hearts full of gratitude. 

We have now started the preparations for Christmas...

Back to the same mall, and the same Santa, with our same dear friend Abby.

And look what happened!  Lucy sat on Santa's lap for the first time!

Off to get our tree..

The first snow flakes of the season (albeit very minor) occurred while we there. Perfect. 


Here she is!

Putting the first ornament on the tree

Enjoy your season!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Life lately...

Recently, we took Lucy to her first political rally.  Maybe objectionable to some, indoctrinating our child so young! Lets just look at it as giving her a piece of history to store in her memory bank....

The "4 More Days" chant that was heard so resolutely throughout the entire night by the some 30,000 in attendance, still pops up  from time to time coming out of Lucy's mouth.  (yes, I know, indoctrination).

I have to lovingly correct her, saying "Lucy, actually, it is now '4 more years'."

I won't go off on any soapbox, so as not to offend.  But one observation: it is amazing how different things can be in just a week and a half's time.   I say this is a testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit. The silver lining in it all:  at least we got to see us some Kid Rock.

On a more hopeful note, we got to spend time with friends recently.  Our annual trip to Lexington to see the Wildcats play football and spend time with college friends did not disappoint (despite the fact that UK is terrible and lost big).  Come on,  I don't go for the football--just the friends! 

don't ask about the red wig....

but I can tell you, the Wildcat didn't like it!

Our routine picture in the luggage terminal of the visiting team's bus.

Lucy had a great time with Lily Kate and Ella, and the karaoke at the end of the night was a hoot! 

Happy (early) Thanksgiving to all!