The past couple of days have brought surprising requests, as the blog post ended up in the hands of social workers and adoption agencies across the United States. In fact, Bethany Christian Services liked the post so much they asked if they could reprint it in a future issue of their magazine, LifeLines, which has 40,000 subscribers!! It appears that it will be used in their January 2014 issue. I have heard from 3 other adoption agencies asking for permission to share it with prospective adoptive parents, and a hosting agency/ministry which may even want us to come and speak at a host family training, and video tape it to be used at other trainings.
You just never know...
It completely surprised Angela, as I had told her I had shared what we had talked about, but it wasn't a big deal in either of our minds so it wasn't something either of us expected. She was quite pleased, and said it was "so cool" that other families might be helped.
On another note, I spent an enjoyable, relatively quiet weekend at our church conference annual meeting, where I met folks from all over Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. I learned a lot about our wider church ministry, but I learned a couple of things about myself as well, and came to a few conclusions.
#1 - My life is louder and more complicated than I thought. It is still far quieter than many might expect with 5 kids, but it definitely caught me a bit off guard when we arrived home and I had to ramp up quickly to get back in Family Mode after a more subdued, calm few days away. I love the energy of family life, I deeply love my entire family, but being away and returning helps me understand why folks sometimes look at our life and are exhausted for us! Hahaha! But it is such a wonderful, love filled exhaustion. There can be nothing better than coming home and being gleefully and excitedly greeted by so many warm arms wanting to wrap around you, and so many wide smiles awaiting your arrival.
#2 - I have a need to draw stronger boundaries around my time, and what I am willing to do. I have spent an inordinate amount of time the past year and a half or so engaged in activities that were necessary, but not always soul filling. Soul stretching, yes, but not what I would always wish to be doing. I am going to be very intentional about the things I agree to do in the coming months. I need a little less "have to" and a little more "want to". We all go through periods where we find ourselves needing to step up, but I've done a lot of that recently and now it is time to step back a little so I can find a little more heart space and get filled up again.
#3 - There is something warm and wonderful about compatibility...with friends or with family. Being with those who are "easy" and flexible is a gift that we don't always have. Being you, and being accepted for being you is just so nice. I am lucky to find it in unexpected corners of my life, and I appreciate it so much.
#4 - As I am growing older, I may not yet have figured out what I want to be, but I am making progress in figuring out what I don't want to be. That's progress, isn't it?
#5 - I need more patience. I have changed a lot in this area, but could use a passel more. Maybe mostly with myself.
#6 - I don't find God in the traditional places. The Spirit is predictable for me only in its unpredictable appearances. Every once in awhile worship is the place I encounter God, but more often than not it is in the car on a mountain drive, at the kitchen table, in an embrace, or in an email. I no longer feel "less than" because of that, and in fact would prefer it that way.
#7 - I like my life. A lot. I like what and who I am surrounded by, I like what I am engaged in on a daily basis, and I like the simplicity of it. I have no need for much more than I have, and I think that my life is just about perfect...for me. I know it is not many people's cup of tea, but it is mine.
#8 - My life can also be frustrating, difficult, challenging, and hard work. But #7 makes all of that much, much easier.
I have another trip to Denver ahead of me this coming weekend, a Girls Trip as we go to celebrate the graduation of a friend of Angela and Olesya's. I am so glad we are doing this, and we are taking along another friend of ours who we all enjoy being with very much. I was explaining to a friend this weekend that we have priorities that others might not understand, but I am blessed that Dominick and I are both on the same page about so many things. We have to be careful with our money, and this trip might appear frivolous to an outsider, but to Dominick and I it is important. The young adult friend of the girls was originally their camp counselor their first summer home, and this young lady has gone out of her way to show great love and friendship to the girls, writing them many times a year, driving an hour to see them when she comes home, and meeting us in Denver just to say hello. Her commitment to the girls has been very touching, and we feel a strong need to help model for all the kids that if you want great friendships in your life, you have to go out of your way to show you care...you have to show up for the important things and share in both joy and sorrow. A lifetime of no relationship modeling (or poor modeling) means extra effort must be made during these precious few years. Olesya and Angela are so excited, and their friend is quite touched that we are coming that far to share her big day with her. The girls have been debating what to get her for a graduation gift, and I love how thoughtful they always are with everyone.
So, you just never know when a friend will come into your life. You just never know when you will have some important insight. And you just never know when something will turn out to be more important than you ever imagined.