Friday, June 20, 2014

Swimming into Summer

That beloved first day of summer is quickly approaching.  After the dreaded winter we had , I think we are all ready!  Hot days and humid nights are already upon us, but whose complaining.....right? Lucy has been getting ready, taking swim classes.

Overall, I think she has enjoyed learning in her classes, in spite of the initial fears she experienced.   She has gained lots of confidence and has come a long way from those first days in China, and the first year after that, when she didn't want to have anything to do with bathing or water.

On a different note....

I must say this about my wonderful husband:  he has the patience of Job, makes me laugh all the time, treats me like a queen, and loves me in spite of my moods.  And yes, eleven years ago, he married me too.   June 21st may be the first day of summer, but for me, it marks the day I started my married life with the best guy ever.  Happy Anniversary Bri...It has been the best eleven years of my life.  I love you.

Here's to a wonderful Summer 2014!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Blog Hop

I usually think it is a good practice, when the unexpected occurs--and from that unexpected, gifts and goodness flow-- that  a prayer of gratitude is offered up.   Recently, such an unexpected thing happened to me.   This blogging world has opened up doors for me I never could have predicted.  One such door came through a fantastic woman, who has become a “virtual friend” to me.  Her name is Summer.   More about her in a minute.   But she connected with me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in a ‘Blog Hop’.  At first, I thought-- no way.  I am not a “writer” and this is for people who are way more skilled than me.   But after pondering it, and with some supportive thoughts from Summer, it seemed a good way to clarify my purpose here in blogging, and a nice way to challenge myself.

The concept is pretty straight forward:  I answer the following four questions about myself, and then share with you a bit about Summer and her fantastic blog.  First, the questions on me:

Why do I write what I do?     
This entire blog started simply as a means to communicate with family and friends about our journey to bring Lucy home from China. Life with Lucy was inspired by my late mom; she helped me set it up, and was my biggest cheerleader while still alive.  As weeks turned into months, which turned into years, I have thought of this space as a place to document moments and memories for Lucy.   A place where one day she can come and remember her youth, and see her family, and understand what was happening in our lives and in the world around us.  When I was a kid, such a thing was called a scrapbook.  My mom kept one for me.  This is my virtual scrapbook for Lucy.  A way to preserve this thing called life, and all of its twists and turns.  And, in a roundabout way, this blog is also a way to honor my Mom.   

How does my writing process work?  
As I stated earlier, I don’t consider myself a writer—just a blogger, trying to capture some thoughts and moments in my family’s lives.  Having said that, I think I understand the concept some writers describe as being “inspired” to write about something.  For me, often a thought strikes me, and my mind chews on it for awhile… until I decide that I want to get it down in words.  On the flip side,  I also understand the entire “writer’s block” concept.  Sometimes, well…I got nothin’.  In those cases, pictures, and my budding love of all things photography, make a nice substitute for words.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre? 
I think we all have our own stories to share.  And I truly mean it when I say that I think every person’s story is significant and has value.   This is probably why I went into the profession I did (counseling) and why I enjoy reading other peoples' blogs so much.  Having said that, this blog/Life with Lucy/”my writing” is different because it is my family’s story.  Some may see it as different because our family was created through the beautiful blessing of adoption, and this distinction is sometimes documented here.   I don’t see us as different because of this.  We are just a family, like any other.  But we have our own story to tell, and I do my best to share that here.

I love that my 17 year old niece is teaching Lucy all about selfies!

What am I working on/writing? 
This week, I am thinking lots about this, as it is one year tomorrow: Papa Barnes, Rest in Peace

And now, about Summer.  I don’t remember how I discovered her blog,  Running Chatter, but ever since I did, I have been hooked.  Her photography is incredible, and her writing is honest and heart-felt.  I encourage you to go over and check it out for yourself.  She and I have realized we have much in common, and have connected from time to time on these various things.   I will forever be grateful to Summer for her support and advice while I was shopping for my first ‘real’ camera.

I aspire to someday take pictures like her.

So Summer, a prayer of gratitude for you…..   

Summer is a wife, Mama, therapist turned photographer, and runner.  Her blog, Running Chatter, is a place where she muses about life, motherhood, and deeper heart issues by weaving together two passions--words and images.  After the unexpected death of her Mom she developed a deep appreciation for the little joys in life.   She believes that laughter is food for the soul  and enjoys finding the humor in her own chaotic life. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Firsts and Lasts

                    I know I have written about it before.  Lucy and change.  Lucy and transitions.  Lucy and endings.   And how it doesn’t take a lot of analysis, just knowing the basics of her past, to understand why she struggles with these things.  Her history is complicated.  Her experience is different.

                    So it is no surprise, that at this time of year with many things coming to an end, our girl has had some difficulty.  Don’t get me wrong, she has enjoyed many of the celebrations. But inevitably, when they come to a close, tears are shed (and not just by her, might I add). 

               One of my realizations in all of this is that with Lucy being our only child, many of her firsts are also our lasts.  Never again will I see a child of mine sitting in their pre-school classroom, with all their little friends, waiting patiently for their mamas to come pick them up. Never again will a child of mine go through a pre-school graduation. The list goes on and on... (I have been tormenting myself with this type of thinking.)

              Yes, it is true. I get sentimental and emotional too.  And endings are difficult for me too. The similarities between Lucy and I are not lost on me.  I know there is no coincidence here, but rather God’s divine plan in giving me a child whose disposition is in many ways like my own.  In this way, I understand her....all too well.  

              As a dear friend once taught me: as long as I stay one step ahead of her on this stuff, I think we’ll be okay.  After her graduation, one may have questioned if I was a step ahead... or had things under control at all!  But thank God-- today is a new day, and all is well. 

Lucy's end-of-the-year school picnic: 
One of her buddies, Lily.
The drizzly weather didn't deter these kids.

If Lucy could live on a swing, she would.

If I had to guess, she is directing Lily in what to do here.
Lucy with her two BFF's from pre-school, Sophia and Karli, and her best teacher ever:  Mrs. Morgan.
 Graduation Night:

We looove her teachers, Mrs Metcalf and Mrs Morgan.

 End-of-the-year Dance Recital

Yes, she was as nervous as she looks here.

But she slowly started "waking" up....

and eventually enjoyed herself!

As a "stage mom," I got to stay with the girls in between acts, and witnessed this cute moment.

Lucy and Abby.  A job well done!
Thanks to Lisa and Lindsay for coming and celebrating with Lucy in her end of the year recital.  We had a great weekend together!

We love our little graduate and ballerina!