Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Blessed are we.

Oh yes, how blessed are we.

As I look out my window this morning and see,
Winter's coat draped over my front yard tree.

Out the back my eye lingers as I ask how it can be
That despite all the trials how blessed are we!!

So nobody ever said I was a poet...or a writer for that matter!  But I just had to share these photos of our yard with you taken earlier this week after a wonderful new snow had fallen.  We don't have a beautiful yard as many of our friends do, and we are not at all interested much in gardening.  However, there is something about winter blanketing everything...the silence that arrives with it...the crispness of the air...and I love every single moment and flake.   It can transform the most mundane landscape into a virtual magical canvas.  

Tonight I found Christmas, a mere few minutes after sharing with someone seated next to me that this was one of those years when it just wasn't going to seep into my soul.  30 minutes later, and the mystical magic of music and community had worked its wonders on my heart, and by the end of choir practice I walked out with a lift that only choir can offer.  While we certainly don't sound quite as professional as the quartet below, this is one of the pieces we were working diligently on tonight, and eventually found our groove.  Janet, if you are reading this, I think I prefer this version to the link you sent earlier:

What began in November as a little bit of a rough patch to get over has grown ever more comically into a pothole large enough to lose an 18-Wheeler in!  You've all shared in the saga of the medical bills, the car repairs, the unexpected fridge breakdown (which the jury is still out on about whether it is actually repaired or not...Dominick gave it one last desperate attempt), and even our house telephone has kicked the bucket.  This afternoon we were pre-heating the oven and I smelled gas.  Sure enough, the oven is now on the fritz and Dominick has ordered a part hoping he can repair it.  Oh yea, and the part won't come in until Monday.  

Somehow though, as frustrating as it can be, I think I needed today to nudge me back to a place where I saw things more clearly than I have in awhile.  I have been living a less-than faithful period here, worrying and fretting about the future, letting financial concerns eat at me in ways they haven't in a very long time.  We have a tough year ahead of us on several fronts, and doubt was creeping in ever sneakily, settling in for a long winter of torment...a torment that exists only if I allow it.  

Today was sort of the last straw, and had me throwing my hands up and laughing.  What else can you do?  Every single one of us has walked through times like we are encountering, and there is nothing you can do but recognize, as I posted to Facebook, that there really far worse things that we could be facing right now.  It actually COULD get a lot worse!  And standing side by side in the kitchen today with the girls and Kenny as we made candy...and ruined a double batch of fudge thanks to Matthew's haphazardly reading the was a strong reminder of what really matters.  The joy, the sharing of good times and bad, the laughter and messes we make together, the cleaning up together.

As I thought this evening about why I have been so tense about our finances lately, I had an "Ah Hah" moment when I recognized  something I hadn't thought about. Why is it feeling so scary?  What is it that is causing such great concern all of a sudden?  We've certainly had really rough times before and it didn't affect me to this degree.  Then it clicked...we were told by so many people before adopting the girls that we would find ourselves in dire straights, that we were making a huge mistake and were too foolish to recognize it.  Now, we are stumbling a little and it feels as if I ought to be ashamed, that others are being proven right, and our faithful step in adding to our family because we felt called to do so was indeed folly. I think much of what I am personally dealing with is sadly all about losing face, caring too much about the predictions of others, and failing to trust that our needs WILL be met.  

The difference too is that maybe our idea of "needs" is different than others.  Oh, we all need food and shelter, but I think that "Needs" as defined by Dominick and I lean more toward needing to feel as if we are being the change we wish to see in the world, needing to hold others and be held, needing to nurture and cherish others, needing to laugh, and needing to be part of a committed and caring family.  As I really thought about it, the truth is that if we were ever to lose our house (we are not in danger of that at this time, just taking it to the worst case), and we found we had to live in a small apartment with seven of us, we really wouldn't be all that upset.  A house is simply a container for the love between us all, and any container will do.  But if we lost the laughter we all share, then life would be terribly difficult.  

I think we ALL feel as if we are hanging on by a thread sometimes, our family isn't the only one.  Much of the pressure we feel lately is due entirely to choices we have carefully made.  They are choices that I still maintain were 100% the right ones for us, and we knew ahead of time they would demand lifestyle changes and sacrifices.  It's always been hard, and right now it is just harder.  The truth is, I am sure it will get even harder than it is now.  So what?  God is STILL providing us with what we all need...each other.  

We all went to support Matthew in his endeavors with Civil Air Patrol on Monday night when they had their family banquet.  We goofed around a little prior to going and took some pictures:

Taa Daa!!!  The King for the evening.

Matthew showing off his rank advancement ribbons and pins, he's worked hard and accomplished a lot in a short period of time. Just noticed the ornaments with photos of him as a little boy hanging over his shoulder.

Happy, handsome men of mine.  Was there ever a better set of smiles on any young men?

The LaJoy women...ALL of them!  The girls insisted that Sunny needed to join us so  we were equal in number to the boys.  How many years did I wish for a moment like this, our daughters home where they belonged, family photos in front of the tree.  Dreams do come true.

How wealthy we are!!!!  We have what many yearn for, and I have no idea why we were so richly blessed. It isn't easy, nothing good ever is.  Many will toil to move their way up the corporate ladder, many others will spend years burning the midnight oil as they work toward advanced degrees in their chosen fields.  Our "work" looks different, but it is hard work nonetheless.  It doesn't lead to promotions, titles and parchments hanging on the wall.  

It leads to these smiles, this warmth, this family created where once there was none.

As I contemplate the whys and hows of this life of ours, as I fret and stew once in awhile and let fear have its way with me temporarily, I will keep in mind what this season is all about.  In the words of the hymn we were singing this evening:

Original Text

Psallite unigenito
Christo, Dei Filio,
Psallite Redemptori,
Domino, puerulo
jacenti in praesepio.
Ein kleines Kindelein liegt in dem Krippelein.
Alle lieben Engelein dienen dem Kindelein
und singen ihm fein.
Psallite unigenito...

English Translation
Sing your psalms to Christ,
the begotten Son of God,
sing your psalms to the Redeemer,
to the Lord, the little Child
lying in a manger bed.
A small Child lies in the manger.
All the blessed angels fall before Him
and sing.

Sing our psalms to our Redeemer, who redeems our life in ways that go well beyond forgiveness of sin or heavenly homes.  It is the Christ that walks with me here and now that helps me make it through each challenging day, it is the knowledge that my life before walking with Christ was so much harder, so much emptier, so much less meaningful.  

I rest tonight knowing my true needs will always be met, that the Christ who comes assures me of that.  

And I shall fall before Him and sing!!

(Tomorrow is Pie Day!  The photos today look WAAAYYY cleaner than the photos tomorrow will look!)


Ohiomom2121 said...

I am trying to sort out the last two posts, both of which deal with finances. Your thoughts are always so inspiring. However, I think the angst in this post should inspire some additional sympathy for the thoughts of the blogger who was the subject of the last post, as your recognizing the "embarrassment" of fearing others' perception of you as foolish might be swaying your faith is dangerously close to her fear of being embarrassed by not having a showstopper Xmas and it affecting her faith. We are in some of the same areas, as we embark on an adoption journey for our new daughter's sister that we can ill afford. Lots to think about!

Jeffrey in Virginia said...

U are so lucky u have snow in colorado here it is like fifty degrees.

Cindy LaJoy said...


Interesting comment, but I do think it is a little different. The prior blog post about the other blogger was about making sure we develop in our kids the right values, that the desire to provide a "showstopper" gift makes you a good parent. It doesn't and I'd hope we all know that.

My sentiments on this blog post are not about BELIEVING we ought to give our kids a showstopper Christmas...or college education...or a brand new car at 16...or anything else the world feels is "absolutely necessary" for a kid to have a good upbringing. It's about my recognition of how the comments of others can make us perceive our own situation differently than we might otherwise do if those comments had never been made. It's about how we all tend to foolishly measure our lives against the wrong yardstick. And yes, as I try to always honestly share here on the blog, of COURSE we do the same things!!

The difference? Perhaps I didn't word it well enough and show enough disdain for my own thoughts of which I am not proud, but I am not embarrassed at our current situation...I am embarassed to discover that I am giving much weight to those commments made by others long before the girls came home. I am NOT asking God to change our circumstances, to provide a new oven, or a showstopper gift. I am not asking God to "fix" it, I am askimg myself to rest in the fact that WHATEVER we have, it is enough. I want to remind myself that "need" and "want" are two very different things.

And trust me, you will find yourself conflicted over and over again as you approach another adoption. And judged. People naturally do it, for everyone thinks they can live your life better than you can :-) The important thing is to "call yourself" on it, hold yourself accountable to keep your head on straight (as I am trying to do in this post!), for we all slip from time to time and care too much about the judgment of others.

And GOOD LUCK as you approach another adoption! Wishing you all the best as you move through the process!


Anonymous said...

There is a value to money. It provides us food, shelter, comfort, access to health care, and beyond.

There is no value to children. They are beyond price. They cannot be exchanged for what money can buy. They cost us. They cost us in tears, anguish, frustration, annoyance, heartache, anger.

They give us things money cannot buy. They give us love, laughter, joy, delight, amazement, compassion, softness, patience--or they give us the opportunity to develop all those things in ourselves.

Faith in God, God's faithful response to us, our response (when we choose and remember to make it), guide us through tough times. Our children's needs and gifts to us and others undergird our journey. We love. We give. We fret and worry with just cause. We call out to friends and family, but we are undeniably enriched not impoverished by the children God has gifted us with.

To those who said it was folly I offer a prayer that their eyes might be opened to the joy and love and, yes, worry that a child, that five children, can bring into a life.

You--Dominick and Cindy--have chosen wisely and well. You continue to be an inspiration to me and many others.

A little humbler for knowing Team LaJoy,

Anonymous said...


Yes, people can be judgmental. People say things that might be better left unsaid. I wonder how many people who know you, know your family, know the situation your children come from...told you not to do it?

We, too, made a huge change this year...and were told we were reaching too far, risking too much...and we did it anyhow. It wasn't always smooth - and you were there when it wasn't...but that doesn't mean all those naysayers were right, it means we hit a rough patch...and our true friends were there to help us navigate out of it.

In life, to be blunt, shit happens...what matters is how you deal with it. What matters is that you have people to support you and help you through, what matters is that you have a roof over your head, food in the kitchen (though an operational fridge would be nice..but hey, it's cold outside!), and an incredible family.

In what matters, my dearest Cindy, you are so very wealthy! What continues to amaze me is how, sometimes, you let worry cloud your ability to see how very rich you are!

Think where you were a year ago this time of year...when your heart despaired over a beautiful young lady who had turned her back on your family...and those bleak, so hopeless...and what that would have meant today, had she not had a change of heart...those days, my friend, were difficult and challenging. These days, with the worries over an oven, the fridge, making ends meet...these days are easy and light in comparison. Don't let the small shit get your down, dear...and, by the way, it's all small shit.

Your tree-goddess worshiping friend

Anonymous said...

Dear Lael,

I love to read your comments.

Today, once again, you are right on target.

Before we brought our kids home, a dear friend (father to three) said having kids was the hardest thing we would ever do -- and the most worthwhile and rewarding.

Eleven years into the blessing of being a parent, and I agree.

Without love, a mansion and millions mean nothing.

Prov. 15:16 ¶ Better a little with the fear of the LORD
than great wealth with turmoil.

Prov. 15:17 ¶ Better a meal of vegetables where there is love
than a fattened calf with hatred.

Prov. 16:8 ¶ Better a little with righteousness
than much gain with injustice.

Prov. 16:16 ¶ How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to choose understanding rather than silver!

Prov. 17:1 ¶ Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Prov. 19:1 ¶ Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse.

Prov. 21:9 ¶ Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Prov. 22:1 ¶ A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Our culture has it all backwards as to what is important -- especially this time of year. What a sad way to honor the birth of our Savior -- who did not have possessions, only an abiding relationship with, and obedience to, God the father.

I don't mean those who are truly in difficulty, without shelter or food or other necessities, but our sense of what is important, what is necessary, what has value, is very confused.

Peggy in Virginia