My mother has been bothering me for years to write a blog. Every year I have the same answer… “What would I have to say that people would want to read?” I tell her when I have an answer for that question, I will write a blog. I seriously don’t know how people have time to write them. I don’t even have time to take a shower. Literally. It’s a problem. I don’t know how all these women out there write blogs. Not only are they writing blogs, they are writing blogs about all the crafts and food they make. How are they finding time for that? And most of them have more than one child. I only have one, and I need a shower, badly.
Now, I have something to write about. It’s been a long time coming and I stay up at nights thinking about it. I have been waiting for the perfect time, and I realized, there is no perfect time. I have to stop wasting time and do it …now. Four years ago, I went to Africa. Four years ago I made promises to people there that I would not forget them, that I would tell their stories. Four years ago. What have I done in four years?
My mom thought of the title “Before and Africa” and I actually love it. There are a lot of things my mom and I agree on, but usually when she has an idea “for” me, I politely turn her down. But this title struck a chord in me. I thought about all the blogs out there about style and fashion and craftiness and I thought about how my blog would probably be the antithesis of that. Maybe I do always buy the same long sleeved shirts at the GAP every three years when the old ones get holes in them. Maybe I do still have the same tennis shoes I bought for 30 bucks 6 years ago. Maybe I do only get my hair cut once a year. Maybe I am in desperate need of a style makeover, but I think this blog is more of a before and after of my soul. My soul before and now my soul (after) Africa…
So thanks mom, for the title and for recognizing there has been a change in me and that even though I have a hard time finding the words, it’s time to start trying.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

School days are here...

I am killing it at this school thing.  Just killing it.  Max’s first day of school we wake up at 7:30 (maybe the first time in our lives our kids have slept in that late) and he has to be there at 7:55.  I had these visions of his first day…we would get up early, we would have a big breakfast and talk about what he was most excited about, I would take pictures on the doorstep and then again once we got to his school, we would pray with him and walk him into his class.  Not exactly how our morning went.  We tear out of bed, I race downstairs to let the dogs out, change and feed Lucy, throw whatever I can find in a lunch box, and I go upstairs to check on Max’s progress.  He has his socks on…that’s it.  I throw his stuff in his backback, take a quick blurry picture of him and we haul butt out of the driveway.  Traffic, of course.  We speedwalk into the building and get to his door just as the tardy bell rings.  I hear one mom whisper to her daughter “Make a difference!” and I just think “Please don’t make farting noises.”  #goals   I give him a hug and start to walk away…when I shut myself in the car the realization hits and I sob like baby.

My firstborn is in school EVERY day now.  It’s been an ocean of books and trains and forts and playdates and zoo trips and morning snuggles for the last 5 years…an ocean.  We have made it to the mainland and I am supposed to just let go of his hand and let him find his way.  What?! I don’t think he can open his yogurt on his own…Will he know how to sit and listen?  Who will hold him if someone is being mean?  So I sit and cry for a bit then drive away.  I’m driving away from my lil buddy, my best little friend for the last 5 years.  Now I get the kid I don’t really like from 3:00-5:00 (in my opinion the most terrible hours of the day). He now spends most of his days with his peers…and I pray we have equipped him to be a leader and to be kind.

One thing that gave me a window into Max's little heart this week; He decided he wanted to make a package for Moses (Tony and I don’t have the heart to tell him he has no way to receive it right now) He picked out 3 of his transformers (if you know Max you know these are like gold to him) Some crackers and granola bars (because “he needs more food mommy”) His one and only dollar in his wallet (because he needs some money mommy) And one of his books called “What God is like.” When I asked him why he picked that book he said “Because I don’t know if he knows God and I want him to meet Him.” Cue me running into the other room to sob for a hot second.  Then I came back in as him and Tony are taping the box shut.  This boy.  He’s gonna be just fine, I think.  He has a sweet heart.  Now whether or not I will be ok is another story.. as I sit and listen to the birds sing and watch some of the leaves fall… it is so strangly quiet in the house today.  I miss the noise, but the silence is nice too.  One tiny chapter has ended and I can’t wait to see what God does with this little man that I have come to love so much.  As I watch Lucy (more on her later) I am amazed that Max was once that tiny.  When we got our most recent update on Moses (more on him later) I am amazed that God has taken care of him in the way that He has…without my help…just my prayers.  God is going to watch over these kids….because they are HIS and most certainly not MINE…although I am finding  so much joy in the time God has been lending them to me. 

Afterschool we made up for it!

First ride on the bus!

Our sweetie guy with Lu

Labor day fun with dad...first time on the big zipline at camp...absolutely NO FEAR...he can be shy, at times, but definitely a risk taker.
Canoeing with dad!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year

We find ourselves not counting the milestones of our little one's life, but counting the anniversaries of special days that we wished we had shared with him.  The number of these days continues to climb.  We got this picture New Year's Eve 2013.

We were instantly in love. We had no idea two years later we would be sitting in our home on New Year's Eve without him.  But here we are.  Last year I said 2015 was going to be a good year and I that I had faith he would be home with us.  I will not make the same proclamation for 2016. It will be a good year (We have lots of things to be grateful for) but I won't say that I have faith Moses will be home this year... I have learned the hard way that God doesn't always give us what we want when we want it.  Sometimes there is so much to learn in the waiting.  I'm learning a lot about lament lately, knowing that I can still cry out to God in the waiting.  Listened to a sermon on Sunday, the pastor spoke on "living in lament",  I realized I had gone silent...feeling like my prayers didn't matter to Him anymore.  Apparently it takes faith to pray in the midst of pain.  "Lament is better than silent despair." He said.  This is what I felt...silent despair.  God may not answer me in the way I want this year, but I won't be silent.  I will continue to cry out "How long oh Lord? How long, how long, how long..."

Journal Entry November 2015
I went up to the roof to see the sun rise over San Francisco...I went to listen for God. I heard the caw of the seagull and the slow drumming of tires on pavement. I heard one lonely basketball bouncing on a court below. I watched the clouds move over the city like a remnant of a smoldering fire... And slowly the world was light. And I was small on this rooftop and God was big and majestic. The lights dimmed in the windows and on the big steel red bridge and I was quiet...waiting. But the world grew louder and busier still as the sun made her grand entrance. The birds gathered in frenzy on the wire and the street cars whirred on their wires and everyone came to life and started in with the busy.  But I see the pink settle into the clouds and I want it all to stop. So I can sit here with Him forever. Listening to His voice. The clouds roll away and the sky is clean and new and fresh and ready. But I am not. Not ready to start another day, because each day brings with it the waiting. Waiting for answers, waiting for His voice, waiting for my son. And I ask God to stop the world from turning so I won't miss my days with him, but I know I ask too much.  So I wait, and ask again for what I know He will give me right now; The strength to meet the new day, with a desire to live in the waiting, knowing He will wait with me.   

I and will choose this year to find find find the words to cry out to God when it hurts.  To live in lament.