Friday, February 20, 2015

Without my better half

 So these are all pictures from earlier this month.  We got Busch Gardens tickets and tried out the new Falcon's fury!  It is an amazing ride that takes you up 328 feet.  Flips you on your stomach so to speak so you are staring at the ground, and then drops you.  Just as you near the bottom it swings you back out so you are sitting up again. 
 Fun Life Hack- peel an orange so the pith is still connected in the middle.  Fill with any kind of veggie oil (we used olive) make sure to wet the pith with the oil.  Then light it on fire.  They actually burn for quite a while. 
 Another project a friend of mine had done with her kiddos.  You take a cup- has to be #6 I think it is (think red solo cup, but ours were not name brand).  Write on it- the bottom of the cup will be what shows the most.  The sides will end up squishing so to speak....
 Preheat the oven to 275F (Yes I was doing this at 10pm experimenting... because if it went wrong I wouldn't have done it with kids. 
 Imagine a clean oven door- not this one because well you know that is just not on my radar most of the time.  Being real! 
 It literally all of a sudden "drops" and when they become almost totally flat as a pancake- I think ours took maybe 4-5 minutes (this may vary a little)- you take them out of the oven and you can flatten even more with an oven mitt. 
 Tada! 
 LOOK!!! I DID A CRAFT WITH THE KIDS!!!  Write this down in the record books!!! 
 The boys putting together our second shoe cabinet from IKEA.  Our last shoe cabinets final bit the dust after 11 years!!!  Which I happen to think is pretty good.  Actually if we could have found one more part- we could have just repaired them.  IKEA does have spare parts to furniture- so it is always worth asking even if it is an older product! 
 Michael looking especially cute!!!  I can't believe he turns 5 next week!  How is that even possible?  STOP GROWING! 
 Kiddos playing candy story.  And if you play candy store you have to dress up.
Good thing their smiles are cute they wanted to charge me $14 dollars for some candy.  :)

So Jason left this past Monday... and can I just say I have a whole new respect for single moms, or those whose husbands have to be gone for extended times for work.  I am not good at being on my own.  I pretty much stink at it because I am an extreme extrovert (henceforth the 9 kids)!  Today depression hit... and it stinks.  I know he will be home, but I just don't like not being with him.  This is the longest I think we have been apart since his grandmother died after we were first married (and I didn't have any kiddos then). 

I know this is a trip that he needed.  He is gone back to England for 9 days to visit family and hang out.  There were some specific things he wanted to do.  Managing the cost of a trip like this for all of us is hard- would take a while to save up for.  Going with him seems like it just isn't an option because of the obvious.  Who wants 9 kiddos for 9 days? ;)

It's not the kiddos they have actually been fine.  Well, you know....  It is just me not being good at being alone.  I don't sleep well at all- even with being tired and having oils (which hello I didn't even try until last night).  I feel easily defeated and then this crazy weather. 

Now you have permission to laugh because as I am writing this I am chuckling at myself.  I mean come on I was born and raised in Iowa (30 years) for goodness sake!  We cancelled our trip to go to Busch because it was too cold yesterday.  Ridiculous for Florida!  The start of the day it was in the high 20's low 30's.  I couldn't bear the thought of riding a roller coaster and having the wind be that cold.  So we stayed home which sent me on this pathetic place of sadness. 

122 hours and counting..... please hurry up!!!  I can't stand it!!!  Next Wednesday better hurry up!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Story- shared at Created For Care February 2015



My Story….. by Dawn Wright
 


My story starts with an 8 year old child on vacation.  Who all of a sudden feels pain and has to be swept off to the nearest hospital.  With concern and obvious fear on her parents faces we are told the words that no one wants to hear- ever.  Your daughter has cancer.  Stunned and taken back we head back to our home state for immediate surgery that took 7 doctors 14 hours.  There were no answers or real hope as this kind of cancer usually only strikes women over 40. 
For months afterward our family is torn apart with brothers at home with grandparents rotating in our lives, my dad on the road truck driving, and my mom and I waiting….. waiting for the next appointment, for the next treatment, for the doctors, for my counts to be high enough for my next treatment again, for hope of the words everyone wants to hear- YOU ARE HEALED!  For more than a year we battled with sickness, healing, low counts, and much more.  Finally 10 years later at my 18th birthday I was declared HEALED!!





Because of having a total hysterectomy there was a lot more to my story…. What happens when my prince comes?  Will he love me even though we will never have biological children?  Will he join me on the path to adoption whatever that looks like?  While working at a Christian Summer camp for the bazillionth year in a row after I had already started my career as a music teacher- my prince came and he definitely was meant for me, along for my journey that became our journey!  Thank you Jesus!

Next waiting the 4 years, that back then you had to wait, in order to start the adoption process….. then for some crazy reason through friends started the classes to do foster care.  Through that same friend we had a connection to a possible placement of a 14 month old girl.  Over the next several months she would stay with us.  After passing the grueling preadoption interview along with other families we were chosen.  





Next came her 2 brothers who also joined our family eventually in the coming 2 years and we had a great family right- 3 children 1 girl 2 boys Abigail, Andrew, and Matthew….and we were done right?  Then a move to minister at another Christian Camp in Louisiana …and signing on to do foster care all over again.  This time not really to adopt a child necessarily, but just to help out some families.  Well, 3 years after we took in a placement of a sibling group of 2 - ages 3 and 1 and then added a baby sister- we finalized Joshua, Sarah, and Elizabeth’s adoption.  

Knowing that we were maxing out our numbers for foster care and that something had to be “easier” we decided to do international adoption joining the AGCI Ethiopia program.  I mean if you have 6 kiddos might as well have more, and by this time we loved our chaos.  So we rushed through paperwork to bring home our miracle child who was born with scoliosis and spina bifida- Hannah Grace.  





In a trial of grief that no one should ever have to go through we had to let our Hannah go as she went home to be with Jesus.  There is nothing that prepares you for that loss…..  we took some time and prayed and thought God has a child for us still and we brought home our toddler Jonathan.  Months later we signed on with AGCI to do another Ethiopian adoption- matched with a special needs toddler girl.  This time being told by USCIS that our ministry income wasn’t enough to bring her home (long story, but we had free housing and utilities, but arguing with government isn’t easy).  We were devastated for another loss of our Naomi- God….. please…. We don’t understand – another loss!!! 
That is when we found out about domestic adoption- would anyone really want a family with 7 children?  Within a week we were holding our daughter in our arms and she was legally ours!  A whirlwind of grace and healing of our wounded hearts!






After a couple of years, a move, and a few job changes we brought our Michael home through a special needs program at age 2.  A beautiful match with our family- he amazes us every day what he can do despite the millions of odds against him in his short life.  Being HIV positive which in his case had become devastating to his body with high counts it caused so much brain damage and CP.



Our lives are hard.  Parenting is hard.  Most of you know parenting an adopted or foster child is harder!  It isn’t flowers and unicorns, but it is beautiful as well.  Beautifully broken together.  God’s mercies are new every morning…… 



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In Need of Community

 This picture brings back a lot of memories for me.  When I was younger our family played a LOT of games.  As in all the time!  Now we play games, but sometimes it gets crazy just because of the amount of people.  It is something we love to do. 

So we pulled out The Farming Game- which is one I played a lot with my brothers growing up.  Especially on those snow days or when we went to visit my grandparents and the adults were talking for what seemed like way too many hours ;).
 The other day I needed something notarized and we stopped by our friends home who lives down the road.  They are fellow church members.  When we stopped by it was almost as if what we did was strange.  Not to them however because they loved seeing us.  It was so casual and easy going. 

It reminded me of when I was a child as well.  A time when we would just stop by our friends house and not call ahead.  Times when we would say hey, wanna go somewhere with me even at the last minute.  Times when we just didn't care so much about having to be so formal.  Times when we just popped over at the neighbors. 
 Who remembers the last time they popped in at someone's house?  Even a good friend's house?
 When is the last time you picked up the phone and called someone just because with no real reason? 
 You know what I believe.  That we as a society have a really big issue.  Well let's be honest we have plenty ;).  But when it comes to needs I believe there are several every family and or person has- spiritual, relational, mental, and physical. 

The relational aspect I think has been something we used to concentrate on however with social media, with cars that we drive everywhere, with moving a lot more often, long work hours, and many other factors- we are missing out!!!
 2 things brought this to my attention lately- one of our pastors spoke about it last Sunday, and there was an interesting FB discussion as well where a friend asked about how much we share about our family online and why?  The reason that it cut me to the core is realizing the reason I started this blog.....because we used to live 45 minutes from the nearest town.  Which pretty much guaranteed that we didn't have friends. 

Oh we had wonderful co workers (one that lived on site and was a true friend, but the rest lived all over and were only seasonal), we had plenty of people we "knew", and we had each other, but that was it! 
 So it reminds me of why we left the camp ministry and moved here.  WE NEED COMMUNITY!!!!! 

REAL COMMUNITY! 
 What does that look like?  May be different for everyone because let's face it we are all very different than each other.  Some are more introverted and some like myself are as extroverted as they come!  I am sure you are shocked now. 
 If any of you have longed for the past- or wished you lived in simpler times you are probably already nodding your head.  Was any time period perfect- no!  People died of diseases that are eradicated are very rare now.  They had to actually break a sweat to do laundry (well some of us still do, but that is because of the sheer piles we have in our home he he he). 
 It's about the community that we see in the movies that they had!!!  That is what we crave!!!  That is what our heart wants! 
 My heart wants that- which is why the retreat I went to OASIS was amazing because we broke into small groups and shared our hearts!!!  It gave us community!!!  Others cared and shared.  We cried and laughed with each other about our crazy, hard wonderful stories. 

Do you have someone like that- I mean really at least one person?  Do you have a handful of people like that?  People you do life with.  You talk to, text message any time of the day, ones that get you for real.  All of you- your imperfections as well as what you put on facebook.
 I think the worst part about doing life is when you are in need of community!  I am just saying that for us we had to leave our job at the camp because of it.  It HURT. 
(Thankfully God has given us jobs that we absolutely love now, but at the time it stunk!!!)
 Now your time with your hubby or wife is great, but I am talking friends outside your family!!! 
 I am praying for all of you who do not have this!  It is on my heart.  I know too many people who can't share those secrets deep down with anyone.  They can't share their real hurts because they don't have a deep enough relationship with anyone.  How can that be?  How can that be in the Body of Christ? 
 I am thinking that we all have growing to do.  To be more open!  To be more hospitable to strangers and friends.  To share more deeply.  To trust more.  To allow God to move in ways that sometimes feel impossible. 
 Because if we have felt that way, and many many many others feel that way then we have a relational issue. 
 What is the solution?  PRAY!  Pray first and ask God to show you people.  All the people around you.  Teachers of your children, co- workers, maybe even family members that are around (but still may not be a "friend" in the real sense of the word), people you meet at church, or in Walmart.  Show me people Lord!  Help me to see who I can connect with. 
 Give me words to speak to them.  Words of life.  Words like- come over for dinner tomorrow night!  :)  Words like we would love to go to the park with your family this Saturday. 
 Now, don't just say you will- follow through!!!  Come on you have texting, FB, and the phone- you can do it!!! 
 BE INTENTIONAL! 
 Ask God to really dig deep into your heart and show you how to be a friend.  Someone who cares and loves!  This was posted by a "virtual friend", but I love what it says: 

I like messy people!  People who don't fit in a box or stay between the lines.  But whose integrity is greater than any rule book and whose loyalty is stronger than blood. 
 Do you have any of those people?  I believe that if God's desire is for us to minister to each other than He will send you people to minister to.  I believe God wants us to have our needs met and give us community.  Sometimes that means leaving a job.  Sometimes that may mean stepping out of our comfort zone. 
 It means risking sharing your life with people - and it will get messy! 
 It may even sometimes hurt because someone says or does something.  But remember a true friend also will be loyal and have integrity as well!  They don't leave you because you may be crazy.  Or in our case extremely crazy. 
 They love you no matter what! 
Thanking God that I have people like that in my life that I text, call, or drop by.  I am always challenged though who else could I be in need of?  I know there are others who I could need as much as they need me!

Oh and if you are around - I will give you our address anytime- stop by.  Don't be afraid!  Well maybe of the dirt and toy explosion, but I promise we have a laughter and sincerity and big hearts!