Friday, July 31, 2009

things i have said, again, this past 5 days!

"ok kids, let's go look for monkeys!"

"sorry, sarah joy, i'm pretty sure we'll find monkeys tomorrow"

"elijah, did you put deodorant on?"

"merry faye, please count out 178 pesos for the toll, thanks..."

"emma, are you ok? you tell mommy if you're gonna puke, ok?"

"katherine, there will be no puking in this van. katherine...are you gonna puke? kat??? somebody pass me a plastic bag, quick! and the wipes! oh sweetie, i'm sorry for you...

"julio, here's some more dishes to wash..."

"please get out of this galley, it's too hot in here to hang around. you guys play top deck."

"i think you have watched pink panther quite enough times, you guys. turn it off and go fishing or something."

"pedro, please....oh never mind. katherine, how do you say in Tagalog 'just put that aside, emma will drink it later?'"

"elijah, stop waving that bamboo pole around, you're going to put somebody's eye out."

"let's go look for monkeys"

"merry faye, pack the peanuts and the fruit loops and the bananas, please"

"julio, please go call kuya ramil, the toilet is backing up again"

"elijah, get off the cord for the aircon, you've disconnected it up there"

"let's go have some icecream, guys."

"please can you turn on the waterslide for the kids? thanks."

"sarah joy, i'm pretty sure we'll see monkeys tomorrow..."

"who threw their wet clothes on the floor in the bathroom?"

"sarah joy and katherine, stop fighting. and katherine, stop eating with your fingers."

"emma, please stay where mommy can see you in the pool."

"pedro, watch katherine please, she's coming down the slide. JULIO!!!"

"time for more sunscreen, elijah. yes, it is. come here right now or there will be consequences."

"merry faye, there will be no further activities until you have finished your math. that's final."

"there they are! there's the monkeys, sarah joy! no, don't stick your head out the window. just watch from in here."

"yeah! we finally saw the monkeys! now let's wave goodbye, and wave goodbye to the bats... and home to the boat we go!"


etc. etc. etc.

'twas a fun 5 days. i'm home now to have a vacation. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a glimpse of the future...



God knows my heart. Because we adopted our Emma when we were in our late fifties, the chances that we will live to see her as an older woman are slim. In the depths of my heart, this hurts. Our oldest daughter is almost 40, and it's a joy to watch her mature and gracefully become a middle-agd woman...but Emma? she's just 3, and when she's 40, we would be 90's...what are the chances?

God gave us this lovely friend of many years- Zonia- to show us what Emma will look like when she's older. Their facial features are the same. Their race is the same (Filipino). the soft brown skin is the same, and as I watch Zonia's black eyes sparkle and her wrinkled face shine as she talks and laughs...I am looking into the future and seeing my Emma's face in 70 years.

Zonia and our family have a special bond. Zonia's husband "Dr. T" was our closest friend, mentor, father and prophet here in our adopted homeland of the Philippines. They spent Christmases with us. They cared for our children. They cheered us on through thick and thin. He has gone ahead to be with God. Zonia, his love of 50 years, is still here, a precious part of our lives. They both believed in us and encouraged us to adopt Emma as an act of faith and love. True friends.

Zonia lives just a few doors down from us now, alone. Almost every day I send some of our dinner over to her so she doesn't have to cook when she gets home tired after work. (yes, she still works full-time!) This morning at church she gave me a hug, as she always does, and said, with eyes full of tears, "thank you for loving me!"

what could I say in return? She is not just a friend. She's a beautiful woman of intelligence and spunk. I could have no better example for my Emma to follow...and I choose to believe that Emma will indeed be just like her "Lola" Zonia...intelligent, strong, ambitious, determined, highly educated, capable, compassionate, funny, and a lover of God.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

when emma was a baby...

here are some writings from when emma was a baby...now that she's 3, she's so grown up!

when i first held her in my arms:

“emma”

a little angel fluttered into my life yesterday-
6 pounds of tiny baby girl
with wavy black hair and scrunchy eyes and a fleeting smile..
oh, that baby smile…
she was born at 5 am, and by 10 am she was "in her home", as she says.
i had forgotten the maternal rush of caring for
a helpless human being solely dependent on me…
i had forgotten the smell of “fresh baby”…
i had forgotten how soft the little hands are,
how the cheek feels like a young leaf…

emma is no trouble, as my heart assured me.
she squeaks when she’s hungry, screeches when her diaper needs changing,
and sleeps the rest of the time. Sometimes
she lays on the pillow in the window, where I have her in the light,
and her dark eyes watch the tree waving outside.
what is she thinking, I wonder…
does she know she is a treasure straight from the heart of God-
a gift of "mercy" as her given name says.
when I feed her, I look deep into her inscrutable oriental eyes
and firmly I say, “emma, I love you, beautiful girl,
and Jesus loves you,
and mommy and daddy are so very thankful for you…”
she’s only been in our lives for a week-
but she will remember that we have loved her and accepted her with all our hearts.

How do you measure baby love..
How do you count the quiet hours, her tiny sighs,
her warm snuggles, her tummy tears, her dark eyes watching..

My life has slowed to the pace of a newborn child.
The nights are quiet, her breath near my ear
As she sleeps beside me on her feather pillow
(fit for a princess, papa says..),
Each little movement a signal that my heart knows..

The days wrap slowly around her growing,
Like a little plant reaching for the sun-
Her hungry little rosebud mouth turning to the milk,
Her little brown body filling out, dimpling, stretching..
Her patience- sometimes frustration- with her carseat and traffic…

Her personality is emerging-
she likes to be up and watching everything-
She is offended by loud noises and too close unfamiliar faces,
She turns her head to papa’s voice
and rests her two little hands
In his big ones
And smiles and goos and he falls hopelessly in love…

The sweetness of this baby is all new.
So long ago were our others that we can hardly remember…
Emma is a fresh treasure.

Life is uncertain; each moment is a guaranteed gift;
All we know is that we cherish each day loving her
As if it were the last.
******
Today was a twinkly day.

My baby, running around in her shiny black patent boots,
her adorable silky black curls framing that tiny face...
the shining shroud of rain,
slamming down on our truck as we inched
through the traffic,
the splashes coming through the window on her
as i taught her “Rain, Emma! Rain!!!”
and her little almond eyes wrinkling up;
...twinkles..
her squeals of delight as she pulls
bright things off the shelves in the supermarket...
and her joy when we get home
and find that they have been bought
quite accidentally
by mommy
who really didn't want them...
red christmas lights on the tree...
yellow lights on the window...
a sparkly ball of lights hanging from the ceiling...
best of all,
the twinkles in her eyes
at everything in her day that's fun-
all is delightful to her.
A bath.
A meal.
A bottle, and her blanket.
Her little crib full of soft stuffed toys.
The way she takes the shoelaces
out of daddy's shoes and prances around.
Yes- twinkles were emma's thing today,
as she mischiefed her way through this happy friday.

three whole years of joy with this precious little girl! how blessed we are. Thank you, Lord of the children, for your gift of love.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

poem

God is not in a hurry, dear!
The work He chose for you
Can wait, if He is giving you
Another task to do.
Or, if He calls you from your work
To quietness and rest,
Be sure that in the silence
You may do His bidding best.

You cannot be a joy to Him
If thus with frown and fret
You turn at each new call of His
To find new lessons set.
The old familiar tasks were dear,
And ordered by His hand
But come and tread another way:
It is as He has planned.

And yesterday He led you there;
And now He wants you here;
And what shall be tomorrow’s work
Tomorrow shall make clear.
So patiently and faithfully
Let each day’s course be run;
God is not in a hurry , dear,
His work will all be done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

safety

sometimes when i talk to people, i get so accustomed to being careful, hidden, cautious, gentle, that i forget what it's like to be able to just "spout" what i really feel. one of the hazards of being the eldest, the most experienced, the wise one, is that you cannot afford, except under certain circumstances, to let your words be careless. little ears are listening...a generation is watching.

occasionally i have found an ear that does what this poem says...and what a blessing. i can spout, i can complain, i can be ridiculously immature...and it's accepted with grace and laughter. this one does not argue or contradict me every ten seconds. even when they know i'm being silly or just plain misinformed.

to be able to talk...relax...and be human.

"O the comfort, the inexpressible comfort,
of feeling safe with a person;
having neither to weigh thoughts,
nor measure words,
but to pour them all out, just as it is,
chaff and grain together,
knowing that a faithful hand
will take and sift them,
keeping what is worth keeping ,
and then,
with a breath of kindness,
blow the rest away."

Friday, July 17, 2009

box breakers

BOX BREAKERS...a learning taken from a beautiful story found in MARK 14:1-10...

MARY OF BETHANY, SISTER OF LAZARUS(the resurrected) AND MARTHA (the busy), WAS ONE OF THE CLOSEST PEOPLE TO JESUS. WE'RE NOT REALLY TOLD WHY...SHE JUST WAS.

A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER WHEN JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BE CRUCIFIED, HE WAS INVITED TO THE HOUSE OF SIMON (the leper). (WHAT DOES THIS TELL US ABOUT JESUS?…)

IT WAS A PLOT, OR SO MARY THOUGHT, TO ENTRAP HIM SO THE JEWS COULD KILL HIM. SHE MAY HAVE BEEN RIGHT...BUT IN ANY CASE, MARY LOVED HIM SO MUCH SHE WAS WILLING TO DO WHAT WOMEN WERE NOT ALLOWED TO DO…ENTER A ROOM WHERE MEN WERE EATING AND SECRETLY WHISPER IN JESUS’ EAR WHAT SHE THOUGHT HE DIDN’T KNOW (oh sweet innocence of protective adoration)… “LORD, BE CAREFUL, THEY ARE GOING TO TRAP YOU AND KILL YOU…”

NOTHING GIVES US COURAGE LIKE DESPERATE LOVE.

SHE BROKE HER BOX OF PERFUME ON HIM...WE ALL KNOW THE STORY AND JESUS' REACTION TO IT..."THIS STORY WILL BE TOLD THROUGHOUT ALL THE WORLD..."

SHE SPENT IT ALL. YEARS AGO A HEART-RENDING SONG "BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT" WAS POPULAR. I EVEN SANG IT ONCE. THERE IS A MORE RECENT ONE CALLED "ALABASTER BOX". MARY'S STORY HAS INSPIRED MUSIC...DEDICATION...PRAISE...BLAME...CONFLICT...

SHE BROKE HER BOX. HER TREASURE. VIOLATED CULTURAL MORES. DARED IT ALL. SHE LOVED HIM. SHE WANTED TO PROTECT HIM. DAYS LATER, SHE STOOD AT THE CROSS AND NO DOUBT THE FRAGRANCE OF THAT COSTLY PERFUME WAFTED TO HIS NOSTRILS THROUGH THE STENCH OF BLOOD AND DEATH AND DYING. SHE AND JESUS WERE UNITED IN HIS AGONIZING FINAL HOURS BY THAT PRECIOUS OINTMENT.

I THINK OF 3 THINGS ABOUT BOX BREAKERS…

1. THEY ARE WILLING TO TAKE A RISK
2. THEY ARE WILLING TO GIVE SOMETHING COSTLY
3. THEY ARE PROPHETIC TO THE POINT OF MOVING THE HEART OF JESUS

THE FRAGRANCE OF MARY’S PERFUME WOULD HAVE LINGERED ON JUDAS AS HE WENT TO BETRAY JESUS…IT WOULD HAVE STAYED ON JESUS' ROBE AS HE WENT TO PILATE’S HALL OF JUDGMENT AND AS HE WAS ON THE CROSS, AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SMELLED BY THE SOLDIERS WHO GAMBLED FOR IT AS HE WAS DYING…

AM I WILLING TO DO AS MARY DID…TO RISK MY ALL FOR JESUS…TO GIVE HIM EVERYTHING IMPORTANT TO ME...AND AS A PROPHETIC ACT TO LAY DOWN MY MOST PRICELESS TREASURE, ANOINT HIS HEAD AND FEET AND WEEP OVER HIS FEET WITH MY TEARS?

THE QUESTION THROBS IN THE SILENCE OF MY HEART.

AND HIS GRACE HELPS ME TO SAY, AGAIN, "YES".

Thursday, July 16, 2009

colds

it's that time of year...time for colds. because we live in the tropics, where our rainy season starts in june, our colds start then too. it's july at the moment, typhooning endlessly, and the air is humid and cool. well- relatively speaking. about 25*. the virus has ensnared us...we cough, hack, snort, blow, ahem, and ache all over. we are all sick.

time to go to bed with a hot cup of lemon tea, snuggle and cough on each other. good night.

Monday, July 13, 2009

brown hands

i watched a woman
wrap some food
today
on the street
a simple snack
deep-fried bananas actually
her hands were so beautiful
brown and slow
with deep wrinkles
and a sheen that only age brings
none of this white fresh flesh
respectable hands
that have worked hard
strong hands
that could tie a tiny knot
in a plastic bag with
infinite patience and gentleness
her life was in her hands
she handed me
two small coins
and her caramel fingers
released them into my palm
so civilly
it was a moment
of clarity

denie


Saturday, July 11, 2009

things i have said in the past 3 days

"ok, kids, we're gonna be there in 2 hours, everybody just relax, ok?"

"franz, can you please stop sneezing on the back of my neck? wipe your nose with a tissue. next time please just pull your tshirt up over your nose."

"julio, please pass the juice boxes up to the front here for the little girls."

"somebody please straighten up emma's carseat, it's falling over"

"sarah joy and katherine, please stop fighting."

"if you don't stop fighting, i am going to have to discipline you."

"sarah joy, do not jam your elbow in katherine's eye"

"katherine. if you grab that away from her again, i will be very upset. say you're sorry"

"sarah joy, say you forgive her. remember our devotions this morning?"

"merry faye, are you ok? do you need some water?"

"emma, are you ok? is the music too loud for you?"

"julio, please tell pedro to turn off the yellow light, it gets too hot"

"julio, please tell pedro to run to the van and get the water bottles"

"who put the tarp over the airconditioner? no wonder it's so hot in here."

"sarah joy, i'm sorry we haven't seen monkeys yet. nini is trying very hard to find the monkeys by driving down all these jungle trails."

"you guys, if you will sit very quietly, i will talk to the jungle and something will talk back to me. WHOO WHOO ...see, there it is..."

"that is the smell of bats, guys. its called "guano". yes, emma, "stinky guano"

"it's just a bird, merry faye, i don't think it's actually a monkey"

"yes, kids, nini does speak jungle"

"who pooped in this bathroom and didn't flush????"

"you guys, please finish all your food. there is no room for leftovers in the ref."

"franz, blow your nose."

"franz, i'm sorry you didn't catch any fish. i promise you, if you keep on trying, you will eventually catch fish."

"merry faye, is someone watching the new snail? i want to take him home for emma."

"pedro, would you please, oh never mind, julio please tell pedro to take these dishes outside and rinse them off"

"merry faye, did you take your medicine?"

"who pooped in this bathroom?????"

"what part of DO NOT STEP OFF THE BOAT BY YOURSELF do you not understand, girls?"

"katherine, please hang these up on the clips outside, thankyou"

"sarah joy, which video do you want to watch?"

"supper's ready"

"franz, put down the fishing line and come and eat."

"chocolate for everyone who cleans their plate...emma that means you too..."

"julio, merry faye and franz, get inside the van now and stop hanging out the windows, we're coming up to the guard house and the main highway"

"is it still raining?"

"who pooped in this bathroom????"

"emma, time for a nap with mommy."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

legacy

he was a superstar. he was planet-famous. he was a multi-talented musical genius. he danced and sang his way into the hearts of a generation.

he was wounded. he was sick. he was mostly alone. he was hounded and sued and accused to the brink of insanity.

he was a friend. he was a son. he was a brother.

in the end, his pain took his life.

and the thing that was probably most important to him was not the fame, the money, or the music. it was to be a father. his children won't forget him. they love him.

he influenced a generation, but that doesn't matter. his daughter loves him- that does matter.

that will be his lasting legacy. for better or worse, his children.

i pray that in his final moments, michael saw the Father, the One he was striving to emulate in his fallen broken way, reaching out to him. God is love. and only eternity will tell us how it ended.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

lost hearts

what does it do to a child's heart to have no mother, no father?

no matter how caring the adults in her life are, no matter how secure and well-fed she is, the one vital something for her well-being is missing. a parent's unconditional love.

i have a little girl in my home from time to time to play with emma. she is quiet, reserved, careful. her eyes are watchful. she seldom abandons herself to childlike laughter or play. she closes up like a clam at the first sign of any trouble.

i've read and researched and studied the wounds of children. but watching it in front of my eyes brings it right home, where it hurts.

when she goes to bed, there is no mommy's kiss and prayer, even tho i kiss her and pray with her. she is not mine. and she knows it. she curls up tight, holds herself distant, inwardly dealing with the issue that she is alone.

when she's hurt, there is no daddy to scoop her up and tell her it's ok. "papa" is not her daddy, and she knows it. she is tough, almost immune to pain. she watched her own father die, and she is alone.

when laughter comes, which is seldom, she laughs briefly, wildly, almost animal-like. there is no one to join her and love her little open mouth with abandon, and kiss her squinty eyes. no one to join her and moderate, lovingly and gently, the all-too-brief joy.

when she sobs, which is even more seldom, it's a horrific gasping drunken episode of complete otherness. she is not there. she is locked in her own agony. she will not stop unless brought back to reality with strong voice and strong words. she is alone. there is no mommy or daddy to hold her and ache with her and rock her so that she doesn't have to agonize alone.

she is in complete possession of everything that is "hers". little bags of stuff...her shoes...her toothbrush...she hides them away in secret places and keeps tabs on them, because she knows thats all she has. her eyes widen when my little emma shares a toy or a book with her, but she doesn't hold it tightly. she knows it will be taken away eventually. she is accustomed to losing things, and she has so little.

my heart breaks for her. what if this was my little one? alone, so brave, so strong, and so wounded. "mommy" should be the name on a child's lips every hour. she never gets to say it. when she screams and groans at night, which she does almost every night, she never calls for "daddy". he's not there.

God. how can you fix this? where is this child's family? when will they find her? send them soon. it's hard to watch her silent stoicism that belies her pain.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

a few things that have happened in the past few days...

i finally got a pain-free dental treatment (prilocaine, my new best friend) and only have 2 more to go to complete this root canal

we are battling head lice with all our natural weapons...listerine...coconut oil...tea tree oil...vinegar...brings a whole new meaning to the word "nitpicking!"

emma puked in my lap while we were in the bathroom at macdonalds...i was sitting on the toilet and she was standing in front of me, upset and whining..."mommy, i need a tissue...raaalllppphhh!" i've never ever had spaghetti in my underwear before

dennis made it to the last notch on his cowboy belt and is so proud of his weight loss

dennis made a new will (since he's going to nepal and all...)

emma has grown out of all her shoes- suddenly, just like that, in the last week, nothing fits her!

our house is once again infested with mice. gotta buy a new electric repellant.

that's just a few teasers. isn't life wonderful!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

thank you, lord

The Wall and the Hedge

The devil may wall you round
But he cannot roof you in;
He may fetter your feet and tie your hands
And strive to hamper your soul with bands
As his way has always been;
But he cannot hide the face of God,
And the Lord shall be your Light,
And your eyes and your thoughts can rise to the sky,
Where His clouds and His winds and His birds go by,
And His stars shine out at night.

The devil may wall you round;
He may rob you of all things dear,
He may bring his hardest and roughest stone
And think to cage you and keep you alone,
But he may not press too near;
For the Lord has planted a hedge inside,
And has made it strong and tall,
A hedge of living and growing green;
And ever it mounts and keeps between
The trusting soul and the devil's wall.

The devil may wall you round,
But the Lord's hand covers you --
And His hedge is a thick and thorny hedge,
And the devil can find no entering wedge
Nor get his fingers through;
He may circle about you all day long,
But he cannot work as he would,
For the will of the Lord restrains his hand,
And he cannot pass the Lord's command
And his evil turns to good.

The devil may wall you round
With his gray stones, row on row;
But the green of the hedge is fresh and fair,
And within its circle is space to spare,
And room for your soul to grow;
The wall that shuts you in
May be hard and high and stout,
But the Lord is sun and the Lord is dew,
And His hedge is coolness and shade for you,
And no wall can shut Him out.
-Annie Johnson Flint

the dental saga continues...

my dental saga continues.

today i went back for irrigation/cleaning.

lidocaine won't work. files keep hitting sensitive areas. once i yelp, jump, and acci"dentally" bite down on file, driving it thru bottom of tooth and into jaw. assistant forgets to suction. i inhale lidocaine & spent 15 min. coughing it up.

after 2 hrs, dentist calls it quits. next time, she'll use different anesthesia and i take a painkiller first.

YA THINK???

(and will this ever end?????)