Archive | Dreams RSS feed for this section

Day Two

25 May

The jetlag is hitting us hard today but that doesn’t really seem to matter. Today was about everything that has lead us here. Our hearts are so grateful and filled with joy. No meetings in government buildings, but we did have “meetings” that will change our lives forever.

Making New Friends

Making New Friends

Doing what we can to help, even if that means repeatedly removing twigs from little shoes ;)

Doing what we can to help, even if that means repeatedly removing twigs from little shoes šŸ˜‰

Practicing their English

Practicing their English

Everyone love Bubbles!

Everyone love Bubbles!

J-Sauce getting in on the action.

J-Sauce getting in on the action.

Perfect Form

Perfect Form

Meet beautiful Vanessa.

Meet beautiful Vanessa.

I can't wait to tell you more about these amazing talented young men. They are truly some of the best dancers I have ever seen....

I can’t wait to tell you more about these amazing talented young men. They are truly some of the best dancers I have ever seen….

They may have won my heart over for all time with this number.

They may have won my heart over for all time with this number.

Washing up for dinner!

Washing up for dinner!

Time for Sedza and Sauce.

Time for Sedza and Sauce.

Even some for us. Yum!

Even some for us. Yum!

Enjoying all of God's majesty on the drive home.

Enjoying all of God’s majesty on the drive home.

Today I got to do exactly what I do best: be a Mama. All the children, except for the handsome gentleman in orange, are orphans. With the exception of the orphan care feeding program, many have no one to care for them. Some have an aunt or a grandparent to live with, but no Mama or Daddy.

So we spent the day doing nothing more than loving. We laughed and played and danced (oh my goodness do they dance! We just wiggled a bit…) and loved. What you are witnessing in these photos are years of dreaming becoming a reality. A real life, simply perfect, life changing dream coming true. I wish that I could bottle up the emotions that I feel right now and allow you to fully experience what that feels like. I know that I cannot, but I assure you that is unlike anything else in this world.

God is faithful and His promises are good. This today we absolutely believe and have been blessed enough to experience.

And we still have another week!! Many more people to meet and to love on. And many more meetings to come…..

 

PS: I promise to tell you more about the Dance Crew and the Orphan Care project…. When I have more usable brain cells and my grammar makes sense šŸ˜¦

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Day One

24 May

We made it! We are on the ground in Africa.

Before another 19 hours of air travel.... I refuse to post an after picture.

Before another 19 hours of air travel…. I refuse to post an after picture.

We arrived last night and had a fabulous sleep. So today was our first full day to truly experience a new culture. And experience it we did.

The smells in the air.

The chaos in the city streets.

The red dirt on the side of the road.

The hue of pink and orange in the sunset.

The chorus of birds and their beautiful songs; simplyĀ mesmerizing.

We took the time to drink it all in.

Also, we had our first meeting regarding the process of our adoption. It did not go as well as we had hoped. We walked away slightly disheartened…. But quickly decided to focus on the positives we could take away. It definitely feels like there is a lot of red tape for us to still endure through. But on the other side, there are open doors! There are so many people here that support the idea of international adoption, but we have yet to have a meeting with them where they are able to truly help us.

We have many other meetings to take part in next week and hopefully some of those will begin to get things moving. Our greatest prayer is that we are able to accomplish everything necessary before we leave at the end of next week.

So while today was a great mix of emotions, there is much that we have to look forward to in the coming days. Many more people to meet, orphan care projects to visit, church to attend. We will continue to keep you updated and greatly appreciate your continued prayers and support.

An Oasis in the City

 

With much love from Africa! xoxoxox

Leaving on a Jet Plane…. And other cliches.

19 May

So this is actually happening. On Wednesday morning, J-Sauce and I will be boarding a plane to begin our first journey to Africa.

As crazy and complicated as this entire situation could have been, this absolutely feels like the right time for us to go. While both of us will be heartbroken as we say good-bye to our precious Princess and Cupcake, we know that there is another life that is depending on us to leave the comfort of our everyday existence and travel to a country so unlike that which we know.

There are so many unknowns as we move forward. We are nervous and anxious and scared and….. EXCITED!! What an amazing opportunity to experience. I cannot wait to meet all of the wonderful people and beautiful children that I have spent years hearing about. I am so ready to experience Africa. I cannot speak for J-Sauce, but I’m sure that there is a small part of him that is excited as well.

This trip is a culmination of many years of dreaming and praying and trusting in the Lord. Almost a decade ago, without ever having set foot on the continent, God broke my heart for Africa. I sat, with tears streaming down my face, watching an episode of ER (of all things…. God is weird sometimes) and I knew that I had to make a difference. It became painfully clear to me that money and good intentions and Western ways of doing things could never and will never change the reality of poverty and disease in third world countries. But love can.

That is all I have to give. I have a heart full of love to pour into people who have no idea that their faces have filled my dreams for many years now. God is so awesome….

When people ask me, “Why Africa?” I don’t always feel properly equipped to answer that question. I honestly want to tell them, “Why not Africa?” but that would not get to the heart of our desire to adopt internationally. The best that I feel I can offer is that, without a doubt, without hesitation and with unwavering certainty, I know that my child, whom the Lord has chosen for us, lives in Africa. That is all I know and that is enough for me. So I have to do everything in my power to be able to meet that child and to know that I can call them my own.

Growing in my Heart

Last Sunday, our pastor, who is a very important person in our lives and one of my personal heroes, shared some thoughts about mothers and mothering for Mother’s Day. He referenced the heart and devotion of Hannah in the book of 1 Samuel. This picture of a mother who knew that she was destined to love a child she had never met, no matter the reason or the outcome, struck a chord deep within my soul. I have experienced a small glimpse into what it is like to desire a child so strongly without knowing whether or not that desire would ever transform from dream to reality. But now I will cling to the promise that Hannah was given and I will continue to take each step that the Lord place in front of me with the hope of my child and our family propelling me forward.

So as J-Sauce and I pack our bags and gather our malaria medication, please begin to pray for us. While we could still use some financial support (feel free to keep clicking that donate button!) right now we truly crave your prayers. If you’re not sure what to say here are a few things to ask the Lord for on our behalf.

1. For our travel. I am a horrible flyer and do not envy poor J-Sauce for having to spend that time with me.

2. For our safety. We are aware of some of the concerns regarding travel in this part of the world and are trusting in the Lord to keep us safe.

3. For open doors. We need every green light and positive interaction and helping hand we can get.

4. For soft hearts in the people we meet. There are people who could make things difficult for us and we are praying that the Lord would touch their hearts and that we would see the Lord’s favour during our interactions with them.

People, we need your Prayers!!

People, we need your Prayers!!

If you have other things to pray over us, fantastic! We have been exceedingly blessed throughout this entire process by the willingness of our friends and family and new readers to support us in our dream. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your faithfulness.

I intend to write daily updates each night while we are away, so please check back to see how things are going! Until then, I have some laundry to do.

Goals and How to Achieve Them

3 May

So as I may have mentioned before, there are a lot of things that I want to do and experience and accomplish with my time here on Earth. And as many motivational boards on Pinterest will tell us, these will not just magically happen because I want them to; I must go after them, pursuing them with all of my will, determination and effort. And lately, that’s exactly what I have been doing!

As many of you are aware, it took me a really, really, really long time to finish my undergraduate degree. Eight and a half years worth of three course semesters. Apparently, recovering from car accidents and having babies are not conducive to being able to complete a four year degree in four years… But I did it! In December 2012 I handed in my last papers and wrote my final exams. Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with an extended minor in Visual Arts, complete. (Insert jokes regarding the usefulness of such disciplines here. Ouch, that still stings). But I did it. It was not easy and I fought hard to earned that piece of paper which I will receive when I cross the stage in June.

I anticipated the end of my time as a student with visions of free time and reading for fun and spending more time with the girls. And those were wonderful visions that got me through the last stretch. However, I knew that my time outside of higher education would look much different. I began to feel an absurd amount of anxiety regarding what I was actually going to do with my free time. Oh, did you think I was actually going to pursue a career or something after all of that? Ha ha, that’s cute. While I still awake in a cold sweat some nights with the dread of even trying to research Graduate school, that dream is far off on the horizon for me. I needed things to accomplish that were a little less daunting and a lot more financially viable. So I began to make lists of things I would begin to pursue once January rolled around.

1. Return to Piano Lessons

2. Make time to blog more

3. Lose 30 lbs by my 30th birthday

4. Try Hot Yoga

5. Watch less television

6. Read more

7. Walk a marathon

8. Go on more dates (with J-Sauce of course!)

9. Use my Crock Pot more to….

10. Free up extra time for me to spend with the girls.

A crazy list, I know. And that’s not even all of it. But I’ve actually been more successful at attempting these tasks than I ever would have thought myself capable.

I decided to make a concentrated effort to actually make some of these things happen. Because I had been so focused on school for so long, my health and activity level had taken a back seat. I still dance once a week but that is about all the exercise I was doing for a very long time. I was unhappy with my body because I was not making the time to take care of it. My eating habits are not horrible but we all can always do better. More vegetables, less sugar. More water, less wine….. Well sometimes that’s easier said than done. So now that school is out of the way, I really wanted to focus on make myself into a healthier, more active version of an already pretty awesome me.

Found two different Groupons for Hot Yoga. Done! (I kind of love it and hate it all at the same time.)

Started eating better. Dropped 12lbs in the first months!

Joined a walking group at the suggestion of one of the beautiful and accomplished ladies I dance with. Walked a marathon.

Yes. You read that correctly. I walked a marathon. A freaking marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. That is 42 km for those of us following the metric system.

Finished!! 7:29:27

Finished!! 7:29:27

Starting in January I trained with a group of wonderful people with the goal of participating in the Wenatchee Marathon in Washington State. Every week, regardless of weather, we met to walk. (We only got soaked to the bone once, but it was horrible. I do not wish to repeat that experience.) It was wonderful and difficult and challenging and so rewarding each and every week. We walked around some of the most beautiful parts of the Lower Mainland and Greater Vancouver area. We started with 5 km on January 1st and gradually increased our distance each week until we ended with a full marathon on April 20th. The feeling of working so hard towards a goal and then to see it through to completion is unlike anything else. However, there were several factors that help me along the way and ultimately led to my success.

1. Doing the trainingĀ 

When I first decided to join the group I thought, “Sure, I love to walk. I’ll join a group and walk a marathon. See some nice neighbourhoods. Get a little fresh air. Piece of cake!” Man was I quickly set straight. This was oh so far from a stroll in the park. This was literally training to do a marathon. Towards the end, we were walking our first 10 km in less than 90 minutes. For those mathematicians out there, you know that means a kilometer every 9 minutes. NINE MINUTES!! That is ridiculously fast. Had I not participated in the full training season there is no way I would have completed my first marathon in 7:29:27, way ahead of my goal of 8 hours. I have awesome callouses on my feet and brutal tendinitis in my ankle, but it is all totally worth it. I put the effort in and was amazed by my results.

2. Talking about my GoalĀ 

People thought I was nuts.

“So what did you do this weekend?”

“Watched some hockey, did some laundry, walked 29 km, went to church. You?”

“29 km?!?! Why? Are you crazy?” (Probably, yes).

I’ll admit, knowing that I was out doing something that most people would never attempt inspired me to keep going. But it became more than that. All of my friends and family were excited to here about my training and constantly asked me how it was going. They kept me accountable to my goal. They knew that I was working towards something and they hoped along with me that I would accomplish that goal. Which leads me to the last factor of my success….

3. Having an AMAZING support teamĀ 

First, props go out to J-Sauce for all of his encouragement and sacrifice that allowed me to pursue this goal. He was the one who stayed home with the girls while I was out walking every Saturday morning. He was the one rubbing my sore feet and fetching me tea when I was recovering after each walk. He was the one who drove with me to Wenatchee and slept in a separate hotel room and hung out with people he had never met all so I could do the marathon. (The hotel thing is a story for another day. I’m pretty sure he enjoyed having a king size bed to himself though.) I would not have been able to do this without him. Thanks again for all your help! I love you babe.

Second, I had an amazing team of woman who helped me through the process. Given that I was a complete marathon noob, and they are skilled veterans, they were able to motivate me. Beyond pushing me to get to the finish line each week (except for PoCo Trail, I am lame and quit with 7 km to go) they helped me with hydration, nutrition and gear advice. From poles and fuel belts, to GU and Sports Beans, they had me ready come event day. They also shared their stories with me. Hearing about their previous accomplishments enabled me to truly envision myself completing the marathon. If we could do it together, I could actually do this. And they became my friends. Getting to know such lovely and joyful people each week helped me roll out of bed (sometimes at 5 am!!) to get to the start line each week. A special mention goes out to Ms. Calla. She was the one who inspired me to join, encouraged me along the way and has become a dear friend. Without you this would not have happened. Thank you for all your help and I’m so proud of you for completing Marathon #3 and in record time!!

Yeah Us!

And lastly, the encouragement of all my friends and family. Although I didn’t see them until after the event, my phone and facebook were flooded with messages of encouragement and cheer. I was blown away by how many people were so proud of me for seeing this through. That was the icing on the cake (of which I totally earned!)

I was high on endorphins and a sense of accomplishments for days. My body hurt and my feet were a mess, but I was so proud of myself for accomplishing such a huge task.

J-Sauce insisted on taking this photo. I'm sure I'll be glad to have it years from now....

J-Sauce insisted on taking this photo. I’m sure I’ll be glad to have it years from now….

In light of what this blog has been focused on the last few months, completing the marathon has allowed me to view our adoption process in a new light. This has not been easy and much effort has been spent with the goal of bringing our new baby home. But we are not done yet. And mentally that is still tough. I don’t know if we are still only on mile 16 with 10 left to go or if we are nearing the homestretch with the finish line almost in sight. Regardless of this fact, I know that we can see this goal through to completion because of the same three factors that helped me finish my marathon. We have put in the training, we are sharing our story with everyone we meet and we have the worlds best support team. Because of these things, I know that our adoption goal can and will become a reality.

Now I’m hooked on this feeling of accomplishment. I love it!! So now I’m off to complete other goals. I have a piano theory exam next week that I really should study for and I should probably put in a little more practice before I see my teacher tomorrow. My Pinterest is full of delicious Crock Pot recipes and there are two little girls with some library books to read. Possibly research a Masters degree…. My palms sweat just typing that!

What have you accomplished lately? What road blocks are standing in your way, keeping you from achieving your goals? Have you added any new goals to your list recently? I would love to hear about all of it!! I would love to be a part of your support team and help you check stuff off your list.

Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can do it! And you are amazing. You can absolutely do it šŸ˜‰

Bono and TED ~ Becoming a Factivist

14 Mar

I wanted to present this without comment, because clearly we all already know how I feel about Bono and his efforts to change the world…. But it is just so hard not to say something!

8 million more people receiving anti retrovirals.

7256 less child deaths a day…. A DAY!!

The Pride of Lions, 10 countries in Sub Saharan Africa who have halved their rates of extreme poverty.

Political transparency? How novel an idea.

Elimination of extreme poverty? Optimistic, romantic andĀ grandiose for sure. Possible? Probably not. But travelling closer towards this reality, absolutely!

He may be a BS rock star, but he is a BS rock star who gets sh*t done. Advocacy at its best. It is ideas like this that keep me pumped to strive to be better everyday. If just one of us cares what can be accomplished? If a whole group of us care, nothing can stop us!

So seek out the facts and make sure that they are heard. That’s how we start the momentum.

Mmmmm Bono, still so sexy. Making the world a better place; being the change.