Saturday, February 11, 2012


I have just been so tapped out emotionally here lately. It feels like there isn't enough of me left to try to form words over the last few days. But then I start typing and the words pour. They were locked in their somewhere all along I guess.

We are entering a hard season. I dread spring and I hate that. Spring has always been my favorite. I loved Easter, birthdays, and spring. But now those things are so interwoven with loss and pain that I really struggle with them and tend to deal with that by just ignoring them. Fortunately, my kids just won't allow that. We have 6 birthdays in 5 months this spring. Add to that 4 children in 3 different dance recitals, one child working on his eagle scout requirements, 5 playing sports of some kind, and I can't just put my head under the covers like I really want to. I really really want to. I have to face the world and face the spring, for good or bad.

This season started last weekend with Malachi's first birthday home. Sweet boy had such a good time at his first ever party. His slightly older sister, on the other hand, did not understand why it wasn't also her big day. It's going to be a long wait till June for her, lol.

Then this week, that same sweet boy had to go through some minor surgeries. That was rough. Watching him react in terror and fear that I was abandoning him broke my heart. I love that kid. He is doing ok now, but again Grace doesn't understand why he is getting Popsicles and jello and she isn't.

Next up is Eli's birthday and the day he passes Abigail in age, followed closely by her birthday and the anniversary of the day we lost her. This year, Easter is going to be nicely rolled into that weekend, so all 3 will be within a few days. I want to teach my kids to joy and beauty of Easter, but I'm worried about that dark hole that will be following me around at that point.

Please pray for me. Pray that I can be the mommy they need me to be, while still being honest with them about my grief and respectful of them and their grief. Ignoring the grief isn't the answer. And ignoring the days that bring pain isn't either. It's a balancing act. I guess all of life is. I hurt for my brother in his loss of his son back in the fall, but I celebrate with my friend Kate as she brings home her little girl from Ukraine this week. Back and forth, back and forth. Lord, bring me a sense of peace and stillness in this busy season. Give me focus. I do not want to get caught up in the daily grind and miss the big sacrifices and courage you are asking of me, and I also want to be truly thankful for each moment that feels like just another chore or another repetitive task. I remind myself constantly of what I wouldn't give to do her laundry again or to teach her her colors or to change her diaper. Those daily moments that are so hard are what I miss the most.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My crazy passion

As most of you know, I volunteer to place and supervise exchange students locally. I love working with these students. I just love the students. With a house full of kids and a crazy schedule right now, I just can't get out and see the world like I would love to do. My students bring the world to me.

I remember moving to England for school. I had my husband and my son. I didn't have a language barrier (or much of one anyway). And it was still a lonely scary step. I want these students to be comfortable stepping out and doing something incredibly brave. I want them to have a great support system and lots of encouragement. I love to see them thriving in their host homes, churches, and schools. I love to see them learning and understanding American culture apart from hollywood's version and negative images and maybe understanding our differences AND similarities better. It brings the world closer together I think. And it's important. It is so important to think about the world outside your own little corner, your own culture.

And then there are my children. I want them to also see the world. I want them to know and experience culture, diversity, tolerance, and love. I want them to know compassion and understanding. I want them to know that the whole world doesn't do everything just like we do and that's ok. I want their lives to be rich with experience. I can't take them to do all those things. Our students bring those experiences to us. We've learned about dancing around Christmas trees, open faced sandwiches, and how to share a room. We've also learned to look at ourselves and our own choices a little more carefully and to even laugh at ourselves a little. We've learned to appreciate what we have and the resources at our disposal already. And we've learned so much about communication.

Hosting and working with exchange students is one of the most rewarding things we have done as a family. This is why I'm so passionate about my students. This is why I am constantly bringing them up. This is why I spend so much time desperately seeking great host homes for them so that those left behind are few and most get the opportunity of a lifetime. The numbers left behind last year are heart breaking. And this is why my own children will take their turn, get out of their comfort zone, learn a language, and see part of the world on their own exchange year. Consider what hosting could do in your family. I'm happy to help you find a great student from anywhere in the world-Brazil to Moldova, France to Thailand.