Sunday, March 30, 2008

In the future, thoughts will travel beyond my mind.

Thought about blogging earlier today. Didn't. Thought about working today too. Didn't. I think about doing a lot of things but then don't. I guess I must like it that way.

I did, however, do other more Sunday-appropriate things, like journal and also clear a chair of months-old photos and cards (that were all jumbled because Anna had tried clearing that chair several times herself). I also cleared off my computer desk yesterday. I took a nice "before" picture of it--at least a month ago. But I apparently deleted it since I didn't then actually clean the desk and it just got worse, although I did remove the dead moth. So I will spare you the before and after shots, but trust me, this desk is actually brown and made of a wood-based substance. Who knew? I'm as surprised as anyone. Thought it was made of paper. Maybe I will take a shot of my office floor before I clear that and we can play a round of "guess what color the buried carpet is."

Anyhoo, by popular demand, I hope to manage to get back to tales of Ethiopia and maybe even figure out how to post a little video snippet. Because we have a tiny little harmonica player here, people, and it's quite freaking cute.

However, we also have visitors coming at the end of the week and work doubled-up, so don't set your expectations too high.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dunk Tank

A couple Sundays ago I went upstairs to do something and left Anna downstairs and the bathroom door open. I came down the stairs to see her with her little flannel blanket in hand, dunking it up and down in the toilet.

Of course when she heard and saw me, she squealed happily and came running at me with it. "Here you go, Mommy!"

Much like she presented me with a coffee mug this morning--the one I'd left in reach with a bit of cold coffee left in it. That would be why we got the super-stain-protected carpet. I'm happy to report it is doing its job so far.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection Sunday

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008


The Procession to the Tomb, mural painted by Jan Henrik DeRosen, Washington National Cathedral

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You've just lived through history.

Did you watch it yet? Or at least read it?

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. . . . We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. . . . This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care. . . . This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

Please, America, let this man lead us . . .

Yes we can heal our nation.

My shirt came just in time for my surge of pride. I just heard that Obama is going to be in Oregon this week, but it's Good Friday and my other favorite preacher has a gig. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, I got the form to re-register as a Dem (Oregonians must do this by April 29) so I can vote in the primary. Not gonna miss my chance.

Meanwhile . . . five years, $503,910.280,701, give or take $12 billion a month. Where can I find a bumper sticker that says "IRAQ: I TOLD YOU SO"? Sigh.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Genius Is Born

Congratulations are in order for my Too-Smart Brother Guru and Brilliant Sister-in-Law Piscis who are brand new parents! They welcomed Samuel to the world early Saturday, a couple weeks early. They are all home and doing great (except probably annoyed that they are half-buried in the random baby items I mailed them. Hey, I had to do something with all that grandma overkill.).

My mother can now turn her energies from worrying that he wouldn't be born by the time they visited to distress that three and a half whole weeks of his life will pass before she can plant her grandma smooches all over him. Alas who knows when I'll get to show him my auntie love. Why does this country have to be so big?

I must say he's quite a handsome little boy. And takes after his parents.

Just kidding. That obviously isn't him. He's smaller and prefers the classics.

But it runs in the family. His cousin finished the seventh Harry Potter by the time she was half its size.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Goodbye, Winter . . .

Hello, Spring!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sit 'n' Swim

Last week Anna stayed home with someone other than us for the very first time. It was pretty last-minute, because I had to go see someone at the hospital due to our town being in the news for all the wrong reasons. (Sigh. Google News if you must know.) That was probably good since it gave me no time to worry about it/her. I dashed out the door as casually as possible, and Anna spent the next 2 1/2 hours running circles around ShyGirl. And going over to the door and wanting to look out. She did miss me! But not so much that someone else's undivided attention didn't make it worthwhile.

I had been feeling like Anna was ready to be left, since she's been home over six months and doing so well in her attachment--but you never really know how it will go. She did want extra holding at bedtime, but I was needing some extra hugs myself that day, so I was certainly happy to oblige. It's nice to know that she seems to be ready for the occasional sitter here at home. I think we will start calling on one from time to time, and perhaps also sometimes when I'm here but really need to get some things done (see: current project that really feels like brain-hurting homework).

Aaron had a checkup with his eye specialist Thursday afternoon and a CT scan of his heart (also just a checkup) Friday morning, both up in Portland, so we made it a mini vacation. We had dinner--like at a restaurant, like with menus and a waitress--and went to Trader Joe's to stock up on cheap wine, those chocolate orange sticks I can't stop eating, and strange olive- and jalepeno-based experiments Aaron likes to try.

And then, at our hotel . . . to the pool! She was too cute waddling down the hall in her little Mary-Lou-Retton-esque patriotic swimsuit (Christmas gift from Great-Aunt Nancy) and duck robe.

Which way to the pond, little ducky?

At first Anna wasn't too sure about this idea. That's an awful big bathtub, and it's kind of cold. But then she realized There's splashing? All right, this is fun!

Then we chilled amongst our bed's abundant pillows. Ahhhhhhh.

The CT scan took annoyingly long, but on the way home we even hit Starbucks and Target (actually Starbucks in Target--or was it all an amazing dream?). Then we were exhausted and spent the rest of the weekend catching up on all 27 hours of American Idol that aired that week. 'Cuz we tire easily, 'cuz all of a sudden we're old. Really, really old.

Sorry the pool pictures aren't great. It was strangely dark in there (even with my high level of reflectivity) and I was trying not to get my camera wet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bittersweet Milestones

Anna has passed some bittersweet milestones in the last couple months:

The day she was born.

The day she entered the orphanage care center.

Having lived longer with us than in Ethiopia.

As these dates pass and I remember what we were feeling a year ago . . . I wonder what Anna was feeling. And I wonder what her mother, assuming she is still alive, so far away in Ethiopia, feels now. I wonder if she thinks of her child a hundred times a day—or a thousand.

The circumstances of our adoption provided us with zero information about Anna’s family. We know only her home city. Even her birthdate is an estimate. On the days surrounding I wondered about the circumstances of her birth and prayed her mother would be able to trust that her child is being loved and cared for. I wish she could know that though she is unknown, she is not forgotten.

I do not think so much about Anna’s father—I suppose I feel a maternal connection to her mother that I do not feel toward him—but her mother has been strong in my mind and heart even as we waited for our referral. At times I would feel a strong need/desire to pray for our child’s mother as she carried her child, for everything from peace of mind to good nutrition. Was she strong and healthy? Was she sick and afraid? Was she wondering how she would ever care for her child, poor and alone? Or was she glowing with excitement, picking out names and dreaming of all her child would do and be? What happened to tear her away from her own flesh and blood?

I wonder if that tiny baby had any inkling what she was losing that day her story changed course, that day of new rooms and nurses and other babies fussing in their cribs beside hers. I wonder did they tell her she would have a home again soon, and did it stop her cry.

I wonder what she remembers and how to keep it alive. I wonder how to tell her that although she’s been with us longer than not, she’s not more or less American than Ethiopian, not more or less ours than her first family’s, not anyone’s or anything except Yegetanesh, You belong to God, born at the right time and in the right place to become who He made her to be, for such a time as this.

Jesus, write me into your story
Whisper it to me
And let me know I'm yours

Rich Mullins

Sunday, March 09, 2008


There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.
And there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
Redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Needing What I Cannot Give

They declared a young man something other than what they thought he should be.

They ganged up on him.

They beat him to within an inch of his life.

They tortured him.

And he said, Father, forgive them.

I must remember where I stand in this story.

I am not innocent. I am not a bystander. I am the abuser of Jesus. I am complicit in his death.

And each day I continue to abuse the gifts and love he gives me through his resurrection.

I am sorry to admit that despite it being Lent, I have thought little about Jesus's suffering until this week. But holding my precious, unmarred baby in my arms, my mind's eye sees a young man in pain, echoes of sad and shocking news that has fallen close to home this week.

I have been thinking about the words justice, mercy, forgiveness, and how supernatural it is for God to embody and dispense them all. I am far from this. Too often my stated desire for justice is really for vengeance; for mercy, one-sided; for forgiveness, selfish. I want these things for myself and those I love but not for those I hate but yes, someone else loves.

Justice. Where there are crimes, justice should be done. But in an angry heart I want it not just done but done to the perpetrators. Not just that the scales should be balanced but that the hammer should fall. This is why ultimate justice should not, cannot, ever be for me to decide.

Forgiveness. I do want to see forgiveness--for the victims, so their hearts will not be poisoned. Justice can draw out the arrow, but only forgiveness can heal the wound. But can there be forgiveness without repentance? There cannot be reconciliation . . . but I think there can be forgiveness offered without request. Indeed there must be, else we would all stand condemned by a thousand offenses a day we fail to even recognize we have committed against our brothers and our God.

Which brings us, perhaps, to mercy . . . the thing I cannot now bring myself to desire for others even though I would beg it for myself or my own. I feel it would undermine justice. How can they coexist? But if mercy were fair, it would not be mercy; it would be justice, just as something paid for is not a gift. Mercy is God's gift to give. Mercy is a sovereign God's right even as justice is his requirement. Only a sovereign God can be merciful and yet ensure justice is fulfilled. And now we are back to the story again, wondering how dare we ask for mercy after what we have done yet knowing we cannot stand without it.

Sometimes we know not what we should ask. But we know a man of sorrows who is familiar with suffering, rich in mercy, and willing to forgive. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

“You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”

—Graham Greene

Monday, March 03, 2008

I told you I don't do numbers.

In getting our tax stuff together I discovered that I'd never been paid almost $500 from one of my freelance clients. (I think it's my fault, not theirs.) How could I not notice missing $500?! Must be 'cuz I'm just so, so filthy rich.

Did I mention my aversion to numbers?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

This Little Piggy . . .

. . . is also cute in a headband!

A note from little Cindy Lou Who's mother: Please don't look too closely at this little piggy's parts. All this hair experimentation is still very much in beta testing around here.