Coyotes and Bow Holds

I have this amazing five year old student.  She has red hair.  She is about 17 inches tall.  Okay, so she’s normal five year old height.  But she just seems like a tiny pixie of a person.  She frequently avoids talking in complete sentences.  We are working on using our “big girl voices” in lessons.  But seriously, she is so darn cute!

Last week, she had a story to tell that she thought was the most hilarious thing ever.  She had all the words she needed to tell the story!

She was riding in the back seat of her family car with her two brothers.  Apparently the subject of hobos had come up and one of the boys happened to see a person he thought to be a hobo on the side of the road.  Little sister did not see the traveler.

When the brothers said “Look!  There’s a hobo!”

Little sister screamed from the back seat:  “LET’S KILL HIM!!!”

You see, she thought hobos were coyotes. She was scared.

During this same lesson where my little student was feeling so talkative, she decided the hand shape for her bow hold looked like the “rock on” hand symbol.  So each time we practiced her bow hold she would whisper….”ROCK ON!”

I love my job.


Adventures in Adoption Fundraising: Massage Table and Fire Boots

We did not expect them to buy anything. I guess they just looked like garage sale lookers rather than garage sale buyers. Can you tell that by looking at someone?

When my uncle died in 2004 he left behind a bit of a mess. There were so many belongings…so many memories. Most of his stuff has been sold or donated over the years. I have an old glass cabinet. There is a lovely figurine in the guest room at mom and dad’s house. But really, most of the stuff that remained when he died has a new home. Except for the massage table. My uncle was a massage therapist and he had purchased an extraordinary portable massage table. It was still in the basement, so it came out for the garage sale. Since we were focused on raising funds for the adoption, there were a few big ticket items that we just were not interested in negotiating price. If they did not sell, we would put them back away. One lady offered us $100. I said no. I should have tried to negotiate, but the soft blue doe skin table just would not bear up to a negotiation.

The boots had been sitting in the garage. Dad decided to donate a few incredible pieces of fire equipment to the fundraiser, the boots were included. Do you know how expensive boots are for firefighters? Oh my goodness! They cost nearly $400. Granted, they have to be specially made to protect in a fire. There are steel toe guards, Kevlar casing (isn’t that what they make bulletproof vest out of? fireproof as well…) and heavy soles. The boots were a size nine. What are the chances that a firefighter who wears size nine boots would show up at our fundraiser?

But GOD…
The garage sale lookers turned out to be garage sale buyers. They were a mother-daughter pair and they were so sweet. The adoption really touched their hearts. Then they touched ours. The daughter, probably about my age, was in a serious car accident a while ago. Her neck and back were hurt so severely that she could not stand, sit, or even lay down comfortably. Her husband worried about her because she would moan from the pain – in her sleep. The only relief she ever felt was when she went to her massage therapist’s office. Something about laying face down on a table that still allowed her to breathe freely gave her respite from the pain.

Mom and I had tears in our eyes. I think we almost just gave her the massage table. Who would not want to help?

Mother and daughter stood looking at the table for a long while. Daughter’s husband was called a few times. He was at work. He is a firefighter. He wears size nine boots. He had never had a pair of boots quite as fancy as the ones Dad had for sale.

Mom and I watched. There were a lot of other shoppers to attend to, but I do not think either of us took our eyes off of mother and daughter for long. They whispered. They talked. Then mother made a decision. She decided to buy the massage table to give relief and rest to her daughter. She decided to buy the boots to give protection to their firefighter’s feet.

They did not negotiate.

As we stood in the driveway with a few hundred dollar bills in our hands and watched mother and daughter drive away, Mom and I cried. Daddy’s career as a firefighter has ended, but he still found a way for it to help raise money for his grandbaby. My uncle would have loved the idea of me adopting my first baby. And now, as his gear went to serve in a new home, my uncle contributed to bringing my baby home.

Adventures in Adoption Fundraising: Beware of the Me-Monster

Lest you think I came up with this gem of a term, you ought to familiarize yourself with the comedy of Brian Regan.  The bits of his comedy that I have heard are fairly clean and extremely funny.  My sister, Belle, gets all the credit for introducing me to this concept that reared its ugly, if comical, head at the fundraiser.

We had a sign out front letting visitors know that this sale was an adoption fundraiser.  Most people did not notice it.  We talked about it though.  We talked about adoption to every person we could get to.  I would say we talked about adoption with everyone, but there were a few power-walker-garage-sale-ers and they were in and out before we saw the cloud of dust they kicked up!

It was so fun to tell folks that Dave and I are adopting.  It was fun to talk about China and babies and special needs and fundraising.  Adoption stories, it seems, bring out the Me-Monster in everyone.

I mentioned we were hoping to adopt two babies.  Garage Sale Shopper Lady told me  me her cousin who adopted seven babies.

I mentioned we were adopting a baby that might have some special medical needs.  Mrs. That Coach Purse Is Worth $2 told me about her neighbor who adopted a baby with severe learning disabilities.

Do I do this?  Well, it is official that I do….and sad that sometimes I just cannot resist.  Yesterday while at school one of the young teachers mentioned how difficult it was to read Screwtape Letters in 8th grade.  I tried to bite my tongue.  It just came out.  I read Screwtape in 4th grade.  Of course I did.  And of course I just had to say it.  How I long to be the kind of person who can hear a story compassionately and empathize with the importance the teller feels!

So we learn new faith lessons in this fundraising process.  We learn how to behave from some.  We learn how not to behave from others.  Part of being human is a desperate need to be seen.  To be noticed.  We are all similarly desperate.  Praise the Lord He sees us.  He values us.  We can find our value in Him and in turn reach out to a hurting world and share His love.

We are adopting a baby.  In the process, there are people for us to bless.  There are people for us to love.

Adventures in Adoption Fundraising: Mr. Georgia

When you participate in a once-a-year neighborhood garage sale in a neighborhood the size of a mid-sized American city you are likely to meet many interesting people.

And we did.

He was out for a stroll on the eve of the big sale.  He walked down the slight incline of the driveway to see what treasures were to be found.  There was an air of pride about him as though he was the bearer of some great accomplishment, like a Nobel prize or the like.  He carried himself in a kingly fashion.  If the king was recovering from recent knee surgery.  Okay, so he hobbled down the hill.  But he definitely had a story to tell.

You see, Mr. Hobbles won the Mr. Georgia pageant a few year back.  Yes, it is true.  At least as far as I have fact-checked.  Which is not far as I do not actually know his name.  But he bills himself as a former Mr. Georgia and that is quite enough for me.

He was hilarious!

He had a sense of humor for days!

He picked things up off our tables to ask what they were for.

He laughed easily and loudly at his own jokes.

When he saw the clothes rack though, he got truly excited.  Next thing we knew, the Former Mr. Georgia was slipping into mom’s 1980’s Tibetan Lamb coat and accessorizing with dad’s custom-made leather fireman helmet.  It was something to behold!  Thankfully I am the daughter of a photographer.  So there is proof.

Thus goes the story of our adoption.

Adventures in Adoption Fundraising: God’s Faithfulness

This is a story with many chapters.  Rather than starting at the beginning, I am going to jump in at a middle-ish point and eventually get back around to the beginning a good while before we ever get to the end.

We have wonderfully supportive parents.  We are so blessed!

Our road to adoption began with Africa.  The Lord closed some doors and told us to wait on Him.  Then when He opened the possibility to adopt from China, we were THRILLED!  Both times, as we have ventured into the adoption world, my mom has surprised us with her thoughtfulness and resourcefulness.  Last weekend mom and dad hosted a huge garage sale fundraiser for us.  I was blessed to have the opportunity to go down to Atlanta for it…and I am so glad I did!  Oh, the stories I will tell!

The first story is of God’s faithfulness though.  That seems like a perfect place to start for this adventure that is so completely based in what the Lord has called us to do!

How much money can you possibly raise at a garage sale?  Seriously, how do you even begin to plan for it?  As it turns out, we all had our guesses for the amount and we were all excited to see what God would do – and prepared to be exceedingly grateful for any amount.

Dave and I : $100

Momma : $250

Daddy : $300

Belle : $400 (I remember loving my sister’s optimism when the sale started!)

Dave and I are at a point in our process that is about to require dollars.  We didn’t tell my family, but to take the next big step we needed $900.  Of course I never expected to make that kind of money at the fundraiser.

But GOD…

HE stepped in and SHOWED OFF!

He said to our hearts “allow ME”.

When it was all said and done, and believe me, there are many blog posts coming to tell you about what happened in the all said and done process, but when it was all said and done….

I deposited $1,932.23 into the adoption account.

Besides bringing tears of joy and gratitude to my eyes, those dollars mean that we can not only finish the next step in our adoption – we can get to the point of being ready to mail our paperwork to China!

Some friends and family have been confused about where in the world we will get the money to adopt our firstborn from China.  I keep telling them – when God calls us to do something and we step out in obedience and faith, He provides for every need!

Does this mean we don’t work for it?  No.  I have taken on extra jobs.

Does this mean we don’t need to ask for help from our community?  No.  And we are blessed as they step up in support.

This means we have front row seats to watch what GOD is going to do.

This means we have the opportunity to grow our faith.

This means we will get to TELL THE WORLD……our GOD is faithful to complete the work HE began!

Tune in tomorrow for a story involving Tibetan Lamb, a high-dollar custom fireman helmet, and a former pageant king!


The perfection of discipline….the discipline of perfection.

When I was in highschool I was that kid who did exactly what she was supposed to do.  I was passionately chasing after the Lord’s will for my life and the very musical paths it would take me on.  I practiced my viola for three hours.  Every day.  Every. Single. Day.  It made a difference.  That kind of dedicated practice turned me into a professional musician, a career I knew I was called to from an early age. (side note: Do NOT attempt a career in music if it is not what the Lord has absolutely called you to.  DO find His will for your life.  The adventure is so worth it!)

The bar is set now.  For the rest of my life it is likely that I will measure my disciplinary success by the yard stick of my highschool viola practice.  Here is the problem with that: I have a life now.  I have jobs and a husband and dogs and housekeeping and cooking.  There is grocery shopping to be done, darling friends to connect with, and television series that absolutely require my attention (can I get an amen for Downton Abbey?!?!).  When I was in highschool I lived like a highschooler.  I obeyed my parents, ate the food momma bought and cooked, slept in the bed that I (barely) managed to get made in the morning….and I practiced.  My whole life revolved around viola for that season of my life.  Now I am grown, I must put aside highschoolish things…hmmmm… inner Paul appears to be surfacing.

So what does discipline look like now?  In real grown up life?  How do discipline and grace intersect?  Join me for this journey of discovery.  This is not a step by step commitment to add certain things to my daily routine.  Tried that.  Doesn’t work.  Rather, I am choosing to pursue the plan that the LORD has for my life.  My REAL life.  With all of the mess and hours of driving and schedule changes.

For starters, welcome to my blog – untouched since the 2012 Olympics.

Picture for fun….