Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Starving Dragons*

In our home we live with a hundred students and, despite our no pet policy, an equal number of dragons. Specifically in our home there are three. One in a tiny cave with blonde hair, one in a puny sort of structure and the other in a manly, bear-skinned rug sort of space.

Most days I meet and greet others and from all appearances assume their small dragons are fast asleep deep in the recesses of the darkness. But on days like yesterday and the one before and the one before that, I secretly find solace in knowing that everyone has a dragon of some size lurking inside. This thinking comforts me when my dragon is very much awake and ready to breath fire in exchange for breakfast.

It happens quickly most times. All is well. Thoughts in check. And then someone hurts me or annoys me or threatens to deny me of what I think I deserve, and before I even realize it the dragon rouses, hungry. Very little stops a hungry dragon. And like so many times before, the fire starts bellowing. It escapes sometimes through gossip or evil glares or blow-ups. And then I've done it. I've thrown meat to the ravenous animal and appeased him yet again. But worse still, sometimes it doesn't escape and self-hatred or bitterness sets in as a sort of vitamin-fortified beef jerky to sustain and grow the beast bigger still.

The effects of a hungry dragon can for a while go undetected. We learn and we hide them. Often on any given Sunday among the polished and seemingly perfect, I sit convinced that they never have bad attitudes, days filled with crying and sleeping, and surely not days where they blame their Maker. Because I never see in them the rawness of a dragon fully enraged. Maybe they've starved them to extinction? Or maybe they've designed some clever canisters to encase their smoke screens?

Yesterday I had a lesson on the dragons in our home. I laughed at the ridiculous behaviors they induce when Levi began spinning in a circle with his head throw back to the ceiling until he collapsed in the floor in an utter leg-kicking fit. All because he couldn't have chewing gum. Those dragons.

But in our house we have a manual about taking care of them. In my manual readings, I find two types of instructions. Surrender oneself to The Dragon Tamer and follow the Tamer's lessons in creature starvation. Those dragons can shrink you know.

Even on days when the smoke fills our eyeballs or causes us to spin in circles, we have faith that denying them meat and most certainly jerky will lead to shrinking. And someday, hopefully, to a glorious extinction.

So we're hopeful. Smoke will billow sometimes. Things will wake the creatures. But we can be incredible pet owners. And having hired our very own Dragon Tamer, we're in the midst of lessons in starvation.

*A popular dragon name we hear often is Sin Nature.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The School of Men

I grew up an only child with girl cousins as sibling surrogates. Rarely did I ever have a peek into the heart and perspective of a man. Granted, now I've had six years of intense man schooling and a few elective courses on mini men through nannying and now mommying. But to this day, guys still perplex me.

I spent the weekend with three minis and one fully grown. I watched about forty half-dressed collegiate men run from the bushes with sticks and war paint at a recent soccer game, and I spent some time with four guys, a sword and a daggar. What makes guys come alive can be so much different that girls. And, sometimes, I've noticed, it can be the same.

Tonight while typing I can hear voices through the closed door to our living room. A group of men are meeting to study and pray. They pray to be stronger leaders and better men.

I've been scrambling to take down notes this week. Being married and a mom means there are pop quizzes all the time. While I don't have the subject even close to mastered, I'm doing my homework. And this week class has been all but boring.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yearly Forecast

Male voices bellowed up the stairwell Friday, "party in the lobby." An unplanned flash mob soon appeared and performed synchronized moves. Such a fun group!

Today is Sunday and our silent lobby now constantly rings of ping, pong, ping and of voices making introductions, of girls laughing nervously and of those playing it cool like they've got this whole college thing figured out. In the middle of it all is a little boy squealing with delight. He likes the change and the attention.

The air is filled with promise making our fifth year more exciting than ever. Resident Assistant training with all of the food prep and teaching went smoothly. Team unity emerged and even a growing sense of family as we attended a Hillsong United concert in the week where some moments we half expected Jesus to descend through the ceiling.

We'll have a lot to share this year from a host of awesome people. Below are our photos for the year's Angry Birds theme. Someone had to be the evil pigs so we volunteered. Notice that cute little piglet in the corner.

The time now is 11:57 pm. It's after quiet hours but far from bedtime for most. Chairs scrape the floor above us, people laugh outside our door and the ping, pong is ever steady. Some have expressed sympathy for our family living in a small apartment in a college dorm made up mostly of freshmen. But five years into this thing, we're awed by the incredible position we find ourselves in. There are beautiful possibilities here and this year we're looking to make the most of every single God-given one.

We're calling it. It's gonna be a good, good year!

Friday, August 5, 2011

If this is your first time reading our faith story, please start from the beginning by selecting our Walking by Faith tab in the left column and read through to the present.

Months and months ago we got a call. I was surprisingly calm and surrendered. An adoption agency had somehow approved us to adopt from India even though we didn't meet the age requirements. Thirty is the minimum. Jason is twenty-seven.

But the agency was small and pricey. And the website, we'll be honest, was a little sketchy. Add to this the issue of adopting before the age requirements and we landed at an uneasy place. As we sought God, we felt Him say "wait" followed by a nudge to pursue fostering and possible adoption through DSS. We were ready and willing. And we were equally excited that during the praying, Jason felt God confirm in his heart our daughter from India and felt an urgency to pray for her.

Our DSS process began with everyone approving us even though we live in a dorm. An amazing DSS worker confirmed the need for loving foster families. The poking and prodding, read exorbitant amounts of money, left us with three pieces of paper to satisfy the authorities, "they're healthy as horses." And now our latest welcome-to-foster-care adventure has been replacing a window for our old dormitory bedroom. Not as easy as our initial speculations.

To date, these have been our steps.

But three months ago when we were in the throws of making decisions about work and adopting and fostering, I prayed asking for direction. And God spoke.

"Wait three more..."

Three more months, God? Three more years? Three more what, God?

"Wait three more."

When it comes to waiting don't we all hope for the shorter option? And this time my spirit sensed he did indeed mean months. So I counted forward. May to June. June to July. July to August. Something in August. And so, I told Jason and we waited not knowing what we were exactly waiting for.

Today is August 5th. And it is the day, a least in part, that we've been waiting for.

In August the Indian authorities released updated information on their adoption requirements. And now, in what we see as a complete miracle, you must be between twenty-five to fifty-five years old to adopt from India.


I had to read the words and call an adoption agency to convince myself my eyes were working. But, according to an incredibly reputable agency, the age requirement has changed. And in August.

So what does this mean for us? We're asking the same questions. We can't pretend we know where she is. America? India? Or that we have the bedroom space we need to be approved, but we know that one huge obstacle has been removed should she be in India.

We wanted to include you in the beautiful miracle God gave us today and ask for continued prayers as we travel this road to find and bring home our sweet girl.

Thanks for journeying and believing with us. We'll keep you posted.