Friday, April 02, 2010

Spring Thaw is Here

The above picture says it all for this week. Not sure what it was after last week's painful evening that triggered the beginning of the thaw, but whatever it was we have had a wonderful, warm and blessed week being a family. The transformation in Angela is nothing short of amazing. Was it that she saw how deeply I love her? Was it allowing herself to crack for just a moment and allow herself that tiny bit of being cuddled and nurtured? Was it bringing her to more awareness? Not sure, but we have a very different little girl living with us now. There is a sparkle that had been missing which we would glimpse occasionally but has been evident all week. There is a warmth that before would come out once in awhile that has been surprisingly present the entire week. Mainly there is an ease within the family and less of a desire to isolate and pull back. I have gotten freely offered "I love you" 's thrown out at me from the bedroom at night, a couple of real hugs, and lots of laughter and gaggles of giggles that have been delightful to hear ringing throughout our home.

I think someone decided this really IS home...not just this place, but this family.

I know we will have other issues to face, I know we will continue to have highs and lows, but we seem to have cracked the ice and the thaw has most definitely arrived.

Last Sunday we had a little Easter party for the kids from our church and a few extra friends. We had a lot of fun planning, decorating and letting our creativity come out. Here are a few photos, as promised:

Angela decorated this cake all by herself, I think she did a great job!

OK...I know this photo is shameful. I hadn't noticed that as friends arrived,a few had brought along beverages and I was being well supplied! I turned around and saw all of this on the window sill, and realized this addiction has to stop! Hahaha!

Joshie loves dying eggs, and what better shirt to wear when doing it than the tie dye one he created for 4th of July this year!

This is the happy girl we have seen all week. How wonderful it is to see her smile!

Today Dominick took the day off work, and we decided to drive up to Telluride where the world famous ski resort is, and take the kids on the free gondola rides over the mountain. We have never done it in the middle of winter before, and it was beautiful! We packed a picnic lunch, and off we went, and the anticipation mounted as we drew closer. Here we are in the gondola before it takes off...

Matthew in a rare pensive moment...

Joshie no longer wearing a toothless smile!

Olesya not sure about this whole "flying over the mountain" thing!

Thank you God for a man my daughters can trust and love so openly.

Unfortunately I can not share the high pitched squeals that filled the cabin of the gondola as we took off! Oh my goodness, they thought this was about the coolest thing ever, and their grins showed it.

My handsome little man, he loves the gondolas too...and his squeal is as high pitched as the girls!

Although not a good photo of the kids, the background shows how beautiful it is...a word Angela kept saying over and over today on our drive there. She thinks Colorado is "Best Beautiful"!

I swear, it is seriously impossible to tell any of the kids have been siblings for such a short time. The love they share with one another is surprising and deep, they are at times equal parts nurturing and protective of one another. How thankful we are for their acceptance of one another, and that the judge and other officials were way off base with their concerns over race. Of course, we already knew before going to court that this wouldn't be an issue, but I don't think we had a clue just how terrific these relationships would turn out to be.

During this Holy Week, we reflect on all that Jesus means in our lives. Themes of sacrifice, of forgiveness and of grace abound. One that is not often mentioned though is the theme of strength. Our Jesus was strong, our Jesus was willing to stay the course all the while knowing how it would end. What courage that required! What boundless love that exhibited!

And yet we often overlook the fact that our Jesus also expressed sorrow and fear during his time at Gethsemane. This Jesus cried out to God in his darkest hour, and had anyone looked only at the Jesus depicted at Gethsemane one would not think him courageous or enduring, one might even consider him weak.

But Jesus showed us it is NOT weak to express our fears and lay them at the throne and receive the comfort that comes from that place in which we all can find rest. In his weakness, he actually showed incredible strength, for it can be difficult to appear to be less than what others think we are. That requires a different kind of courage.

Our family has gone through a Holy season of it's own. As we approach Easter we can reflect on our own period of Lent, which actually began back in December as we slogged through the most emotional, difficult period of time our family has ever experienced. We all cried out in our darkest hour, as Jesus did. Kenny in his fears honestly expressed, I on the blog over and over again throughout this transformative time in the life of our family. Some might see that as a weakening of our collective familial spirit, I choose to see it differently. I see it as a time of great blessing and abundance of love, a time in which we grew in ways most families never have the gift of experiencing. We were strengthened, we continue to be so. Part of that strengthening comes from being honest about all things with ourselves and others...the good and the bad, the difficult and the rewarding. We have had so many others walk alongside us as we carried our own version of a heavy wooden cross, bearing the tough stuff and pain. Others have prayed for us and felt great anguish over what was happening with 7 people gathered to form a family at God's heeding.

There was a resurrection of sorts as well, a resurrection of spirit in the lives of 2 little girls. As it is for all Christians in all things, it has been our job to allow space for the real Spirit to enter and inhabit, to recognize the proper role we each have in this minor "Passion Play".

Watching the change take place in our daughters has been astounding. I am humbled to have a minor role in what has transpired.

Thank you, Jesus, for showing us the way.


Janet said...

Hi, glad all is going well. I was wondering if Angela will continue in the sports that she so loved in Kazakhstan - if you are planning to homeschool?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your family with all of us. Love the photos! Happy Easter to each of you...Vegas

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter to all you LaJoys! What beautiful smiles that show so much love and trust and hope as we celebrate new life. Would love to see YOUR face, Miss Cindy! Thanks so much for continuing to share your journey with us. Just cannot begin to tell you how your story inspires me and gives me hope, keeps me positive and so thankful to have you in my life. Love you all! Miss Joan

Kelly and Sne said...

How wonderful that you have experienced a big breakthrough! It looks like everyone is having a wonderful time together... the Easter party and gondola looked to be a riot! Beautiful family! Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

Spring is blooming in hearts.

Happy Easter!

He is Risen!

Peggy in Virginia

Kimberly said...

Cindy - I am so happy to hear of the thaw in Angela's heart - that she is letting in and expressing love is just amazing and beauatiful! I will be praying that it continues. The pictures of her are remarkable - there is a brightness inher smile and eyes! Yay God!
Happy Easter - He is risen!