Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hardworking {Favorites: Part 4 of 4}

Everyday in Ethiopia I was floored by how hardworking the people were.
There was an urgency in their work - they moved quickly, bent under heavy loads or hustling a food order back to the kitchen. They concentrated to get their English right when telling us about their restaurant and patiently tended beautifully displayed fruits and vegetables.
Watching them accomplish such difficult tasks with joy, care, and precision was humbling. And after learning how little they were actually earning for their labors, I gave myself a mental tongue-lashing for every time I have ever complained about a job.

Again and again, I found myself inspired and rethinking the way I approach my work.

I am so grateful for the things I experienced in Ethiopia. What a blessing this trip was - even after being home for five weeks, I still get so excited every time I get to share about Ethiopia with someone new.

And, ohmygoodness, I cannot wait to tell our boy all about it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Perseverance and a Swear Word

A few years ago, I trained for and ran a half-marathon. Now I know, that for a lot of people, a race consisting of 13.1 miles is small beans. But for me, this was a HUGE deal.

HUGE, I tell you.

I remember that on race day, I was really enjoying myself, right up until about the 10th mile.

As I rounded the corner at the 10-mile marker, all I wanted was to see the finish line. I knew that if I could just see where I was headed, I would be able to make it.

So I increased my speed a little bit, rounded that corner with hope in my heart, and found myself staring straight ahead at


I. Felt. Defeated.

And I lifted my eyes to the heavens and cried out,

Real mature. I know.

But I did, I said it loud and clear, and I'm pretty sure that the 77-year-old who was passing me at this point messed his Depends. (I know he was 77 because the back of his shirt said so. If my memory serves me right, I think that the fact that he was 77 and running past me made me use another word that was not so becoming of a lady either.)

People often say to me that adoption is "just like being pregnant." I can tell you what I think about that analogy on another day, but for now I'll tell you that I think that adopting is less like being pregnant and more like running.

Running for a very.long.time.

As we continue to persevere in this adoption process, I feel like I've reached my "mile 10." I've completed 75% of the race, I know that the end is soon-to-be in sight, and I just want to lay down and go to sleep for a very long time.

And I desperately, desperately want to see the finish line.

It's been a month since we appeared in court to adopt our little guy and we have no better answer to the question of "When does he get to come home?" than we did on that day.

We've rounded the corner at mile 10, only to be met with the sight of another corner.

But do you know how I finished that race? I finished one corner at a time. I kept telling myself, "Just run to the next turn, and then you can decide if you want to lay down and die." Corner by corner I finished the next 2.5 miles until I could actually see the finish line and then it was a cake-walk. A painful, sweaty, grumpy cake-walk.

Likewise, I'm doing my best to take my days one moment at a time. I tell myself, "Okay, just get one bowl into the dishwasher and you can go back to bed," or "If you get dinner made you can drink a whole bottle of wine while you eat it."

Okay, I'm exaggerating, it's not THAT bad. But the cheesy one-day-at-a-time strategy is indeed working out quite nicely for me.

And do you know what I've found to be the best stress-relieving-attidude-adjusting activity?


Yesterday, I ran 4.65 miles.
And I did it without using even one swear word.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Three Hundred Seventy

I know I don't usually do this, but today I would like to offer a bit of an explanation for my photo-of-the-day.

This is my friend Mary. Will you please keep her in your prayers over the next few months?

Mary was experiencing some intense pain in her belly. She went to see the doctor and within just a few days, she was undergoing major surgery.

A surgery that ended with doctors using words like
stage 3
and chemotherapy
and we just don't know.

Mary is also the little sister of my dear, dear friend Emily and you can read more about Mary's surgery and the road ahead here.

I've prayed alot of things for Mary and her family over the past few days, but most of all I've prayed for them to have peace.

God promises us a peace that passes all understanding and I'm asking him over and over to let this peace rest right on the top of Mary's head and fill up the inside of her heart.

Will you please join me?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Joy {Favorites: Part 3 of 4}

I was deeply moved by the people of Ethiopia.
They were humble,
and so, so kind.

I wish I had a photograph or a story to express to you just how kind they were. It was just unlike anything I had ever experienced before. At the risk of sounding cliche, I have to say that I was truly blessed by nearly every encounter. It was as if kindness just radiated from them.

What I was able to capture was their joy.
I found many people - particularly women - who were especially joyful.

They were quick to flash a beaming, genuine smile,

and quick to burst into laughter - deep, loud, belly-laughter.

Even though I could not understand 99% of what was being said, I often found myself feeling as if I was in the presence of friends - friends that I CANNOT WAIT to go back and visit.