Monday, December 28, 2009

Mindful Monday

"I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit."

~Dawna Markova

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the Horizon

We now have a new tentative travel date for January 27th. It's only a two week difference from February 11th, but it feels much more reasonable somehow.

The Great Eastern Sun is rising.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mindful Monday: A Proper Cup of Tea

sam sa ra Sanskrit word meaning going or wandering through, undergoing transformation. In Buddhism, the pain and suffering of life and the journey of living it.

"Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea."

~Chogyam Trungpa

Saturday, December 19, 2009


On Friday we were given a tentative travel date of February 11th. At the earliest.

After Erik and I picked our hearts up off the dirty ground, dusted them off, and put them back inside, we realized this is 7 weeks before the year anniversary of when we were matched with Yonas. A year.

The holidays both here in the States and in Ethiopia are causing added delay. January 7th is Genna, Ethiopian Christmas. People like to celebrate this time of year. They like to take breaks from work. They like to be with friends and family.

This time of year people stop to remember a birth and re-birth. That life on earth will begin to return because soon there will be more light in our days. And hope for better things to come.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Move Over Emily Dickinson

A few weeks ago, Ava decided she would write a poem. 15 minutes later, she came back with this:


In all sorts of shapes,
with their beautiful capes,
and all the colors there are,
the sage and the rose
and all that grows
the flowers
the colors
the shapes

Nice, no?

On Sunday I was helping her type up a Tall Tale she'd written at school for part of her homework. I'd asked her to read it to me, while I typed. Around the second conflict, she paused. I looked at her.
"What's next?"
Her face turned red and tears started rolling down her cheeks.
"What's wrong honey?" We'd been having so much fun up until this point.
"Sometimes, when I have to show someone something I wrote it makes me feel worried that they won't like it." she managed to sob.

"Oh, honey!" I wiped her cheeks with my palms. Pulled her to me. "You're a writer!" I said.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mindful Monday: Expanded

I began a post Thursday morning to tell you that Erik was meeting with someone from our congressman's office at the urging of our specialist to try to help speed up the processing of our adoption case. I didn't finish that post. Later that afternoon we received a letter from USCIS, which is the governmental agency that processes international adoptions. It said our update was incomplete. The one we sent three weeks ago after the Social Work Scramble. Erik quickly made an appointment online and drove to the USCIS field office in San Antonio Friday morning. He met with with the officer that has been handling our case. It doesn't change the time we've lost, but we did put a human face to our names. A desperate father wanting help to bring his son home is hard to forget.

If you only recently began reading this blog, you might not even know we were adopting a son for as little as I've been able to write about Yonas lately. You might not know how my heart aches for him. How much I miss him. How I can't stare at his picture anymore. How I no longer look at the clock in the living room that reads Ethiopian time multiple times a day and wonder what he's doing. You wouldn't know I can't go into his room without my stomach hurting.

Sitting 9 months post referral with no travel date in sight, it begins to feel like a fantasy. Or maybe not a fantasy, but something so far away, so nebulous, that I begin to lose my sense of it. I begin to feel as though I've made the whole thing up.

Sometime over the summer, I made peace with this process. I was full of genuine grace and patience. I could see and believe and trust. Last Thursday night it all fell away. It broke me. I'm a "where's the lesson here?" kind of gal. Because if I'm struggling, then I'll be damned if I'm not going to try to see the bigger picture, find the lesson. So I've been searching. And I can't find anything. But I have an annoying, gnawing suspicion that it's the searching that's enough. I don't want it to be. I want to shut down, to fill up on tequila and dark chocolate and movies. And I have done that a little bit. But what I see through the lens of my busted heart right now is a hint of that idea that all of it; the waiting, the uncertainty, the love and sympathetic tears of friends and family, our pain, the occasional shutting down for self-preservation, the moments of grace; it's all just how it's supposed to be.

And it kills me. And it doesn't feel bearable. But it is, just because it has to be.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mindful Monday

It is my intention to keep Mindful Monday posts short and leave space for people to get something out of them without mucking things up with too much of my own interpretation or laying my baggage down on whatever the gist of the post is. Today I'm going to depart from that plan a bit and talk about my weekend.

A while back Erik and I negotiated a weekend-off trade. A last hurrah before bring Yonas home. He went to Big Bend a few weeks ago for some backpacking/hiking on some primitive trails. This past weekend it was my turn, and I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with some of my favorite women at a condo by the lake. It was perfection, save the friends that couldn't be there. I didn't want it to end. On the drive home I felt a little panicky. I had fantasies of not stopping, just driving until I couldn't anymore and the finally checking in to a motel. Alone.

I felt awful really. I actually started to cry in the car when I hit our neighborhood. The tedium came rushing back. The constancy of need. The reality of searching and then finding yourself pushed into in the tiniest spaces of life, a flagging shadow of the woman you meant to be. Did I mention I felt awful? Guilty? A whole weekend alone and I couldn't come back filled with gratitude and a full well.

As we talked later, I told Erik maybe it's like this: imagine the disturbance of pouring water into a deep well. Water sploshes the sides; bubbles, ripples. The re-entry after a break is this way. The water takes time to settle and become still again. The pressure re-distributes along the sides of the well, things shift and finally settle. The well is solid and full again. The energy has shifted for me. I have slipped back in to reality, a full and quiet well. The trick, we all know, is to not let your well get so empty that it's such a shock to feel the water again.

I leave you this Monday with this quote:

"It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts."

~K.T. Jong

Wishing you all some silence and truth today.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

How To Tell You've Grown Up In Texas

I got the kid Christmas tree down from the attic today. It's about 3 feet tall, fake, and really bent up. It started out as a tree for Ava when she was a toddler. It was great for those years when the babies were grabby and pulling the ornaments off. All non-breakable ornaments, nothing too special, but really sweet, and the girls decorate all by themselves.

Safa picked up a sweet, wooden birdhouse ornamant.

"Look Mama, this one has pretend bird poop on it." She was amused. Pleased.

"That's snow, honey."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

World AIDS Day FIFTEEN Campaign

This is from AHOPE for Children:

"Today on World AIDS Day, please join campaign FIFTEEN: 15 days to find 15 sponsors for 15 orphans with HIV in Ethiopia.

Beginning on World AIDS Day, non-profit AHOPE for Children urges Americans to support some of the world's most vulnerable AIDS victims – the children that have lost their parents because of AIDS, and then were found HIV+ themselves. There are more than 1 million of these children in Ethiopia alone, and AHOPE for Children exists to serve them.

AHOPE Ethiopia is a children’s home to orphans infected with HIV, which has recently moved to a larger residence with room to care for 15 more orphans. The space is available for 15 more children, but the funds are needed to provide them with the basic necessities such as food, medications, education and holistic care. A child sponsorship is just $35/month ($420/year), and we have hope that there are 15 people out there that will feel inspired to help these children. Consequently, AHOPE for Children has initiated FIFTEEN, a campaign to find 15 sponsors to support 15 orphans infected with HIV in Ethiopia, within 15 days. Will you please join us on this journey to give hope a home?"

Erik and I support a 10 year-old boy. We receive bi-yearly updates on him and so enjoy seeing his progress. This is such a worthy cause. $35 dollars/month can do so much!

For more information please click the following link:

Or shop this season at the AHOPE store: