Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time to Catch Up

I have been REALLY bad about taking pictures and posting on this blog since Christmas time. January and February were VERY BUSY months for our family. We traveled to 5 different events in about a 5 1/2 week span. All 3 of us were sick for about 2 1/2 weeks of that traveling time. In the midst of that we have juggled office work, contracts, a homestudy addendum for our adoption process,  Hague training (an "8 hour" online course - which didn't really take that long) for the adoption, meeting with our Somali friends, English training with our Burmese friends (and just doing life with the Burmese as Billy has helped them get a vehicle and then get it registered - that was an adventure that took 3 full days!). And the list goes on with regular mommy duties (laundry, cleaning, bathing, zoo trips, play dates), working out at the gym and enjoying our house church. 

This week has been special for me. I did not calendar in any meetings, play dates, dr. appointments - nothing except our regular work out time at the gym. Billy was out of town doing some recording for our new EP that's in the works (he is writing new songs like a mad man!) So, it was just Libby and Jesus and me. We spent the week doing some special mommy-daughter things. I created a book for her that will help prepare her for the big trip to Ethiopia and for becoming a big sister. I took her to the zoo. We went for long walks. And I've just been asking the Lord, "how do you want me to spend my time starting next week?" 

To whom much has been given, much is required. Our family has been given the unusual gift of "flexible time". Since we are on our own schedule when we are home we can really wrap our office work and such around whatever the Lord asks us to spend time on. But it is so easy to stray from what Jesus requires of us to what I want or feel entitled to spend my time doing. I love hanging with my Christian friends and their families/children. I love getting on the computer and visiting Facebook and blogs. I love solitude and the quiet of my home. But really, none of the above advances the Kingdom of God to any great degree - though all are permitted and can be profitable.

A great teacher I often have the opportunity to learn from asked a simple and profound question a few weeks ago that really got me thinking about my time and about the people I have yet to call "friends". He asked, "if you have a rough day, do you pick up the phone and call your Christian friends or do you call your [friends who worship other gods or no gods at all]?" His point was that we are called to love outside of our "kind" just as much as we are called to love our brothers and sisters. To love means to have relationship. To have relationship is to share life - the good, the bad, the difficult, the joyous - and in the midst of that let our reactions and way of life speak and shine the light of the One who lives in us. But if I am always calling my brothers and sisters - always spending my time with them (though I love to do so!) - how can I be a part of gathering more into our "family"? 

The Lord is starting to clarify in me that I have not loved and built relationships outside of "family" like I should and this requires time  - of which He has given us much. He has been shaping our desires and our schedule over the last several weeks. Our new spring schedule is an exciting one. We will be regularly meeting with 3 different people groups right here in San Antonio to find the ones Jesus has told us to call friends. And we are going to love on them in just that way - as close friends. We are going to learn how to share life with people who are not like us at all. I am ready for the diversity. I am ready to learn from Jesus AND our new friends. Two of these people groups are amongst the most unreached groups in the world. How awesome that Jesus has brought them right to us. He said, "ask for the nations and I will give them to you." And He is doing that in spectacular ways! We are also going to start visiting a nursing home with another dear family once a week. We're still ironing out the details, but I am excited to introduce Libby to the wonderful ministry of caring for the elderly. She hears about cute orphans all the time (since she is one!) but to love on the old and wise will be a whole new adventure. Again, I believe we will learn so much from them.

The adoption of Lulu is trucking along. I am fairly sure that we will receive a referral by the end of April. That being said, we will have to wait several months for our court date and then will have to pass court the first time in order to get Lulu before court closures. If we do not pass court before closure in Aug, then we will have to wait an additional 2 months or so for a new court date and then travel 2-4 weeks after that - meaning - next Christmas. Yikes! We are praying for God's mercy - that he will give us a referral by mid April and a court date in July so we can travel in August.... We shall see. The process is definitely getting exciting and I am having to fight harder to live in the present and stay calm. I am just ready to get this going and discover who our little Lulu is - and then I want to get to her as FAST AS POSSIBLE! Billy's parents recently gave us a really nice financial gift to go towards the adoption and we are very grateful. As soon as our referral arrives we will have to start writing checks again! So their gift has arrived in perfect time!

Speaking of my in-laws - BC (Billy's dad) recently found out that he will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate Degree from ETBU this May! He was so surprised! And we are so excited for him! Congratulations BC!

And then there's Libby:  Libby is..... imaginative, emotional, daily stuck between young toddler and young lady, loving, generous, compassionate, ready for Lulu, full of energy (more than I ever knew possible), brilliant (I'm not biased!) and challenging. Age three is definitely all that everyone warned me it would be. But I am (cough, cough) enjoying every minute of it! Seriously, I am - even when I'm frustrated and clueless.

The other morning Libby and I were running errands. She asked me questions ALL MORNING! Why did Jesus make the sky blue? Why did he make trees? How did he make rocks? I was in the middle of explaining how dirt gets compacted over time and how it turns into rocks when all of the sudden I realized - I'm explaining this to a 3 year old and she is seriously listening and interested! The rest of the day (and really every day since) she continues to request the entire story of Billy and I's wedding, how we found her in China, how we're going to get Lulu and then she asked, "Tell me the whole story about Jesus." I started with the creation story and went all the way through his resurrection and the girl listened to the whole thing and then had questions afterward. I was amazed! I think my biggest challenge with our Chinese beauty is how to keep her from getting bored and somehow not go nuts with exhaustion in the process!

So - here are some precious recent photos. Enjoy!
(Above) Looking for ice cream at the zoo. (Below) Found it!

Libby loves to help me around the house. She dusts and she does a great job washing dishes!

Below - Libby sits on the lioness at the zoo. Following picture is of her on the lioness in October 2006 - just a few weeks after bringing her home!

Libby had a slumber/pj night with her friends. Their mommy and daddy had a special date so we kept the girls and they had so much fun in their matching pjs!

Above: Cute Libby!
Below: this says it all. She loves sports. She's very athletic. But she's still all girl!

This was the night that we flew into San Antonio at 10pm! She had NO nap that day and was still awake when we landed. Not only was she awake, but she was keeping the entire back row of the plane entertained with her stories. She told them that she lives in a flower garden next to San Antonio and has 4 boys ages 4,5,6 and 7. My, oh my! It was cold outside waiting for the bus. So we bundled her up. She's so adorable!
We were in a hotel on Valentine's Day. I heart Libby!

Here, Libby is playing with her Aunt Terry. My mentor and friend.

Libby will be in a wedding in March. This is her precious flower girl dress!


Holly said...

Oh Libby has GROWN! What a beautiful little lady she is!!

The other day I was telling Chris about how I had been praying for "Cilly and Bindy." I do that all the time, switch letters!

Even so, I'm praying...and asking God for openings outside your "family" for friendship--deep, rich, wonderful friendship/

Love you!

Alli said...

I loved hearing about what you've been up to. What a blessed woman you are for so many reasons! It's awesome to see how Libby has grown physically and spiritually! I just love the questions they ask and how we get the opportunity to direct them toward our Father each day!

Elissa said...

Oh my, it hasn't been that long since we've seen you guys and yet Libby seems worlds older! We need to see you SOON before Libby can drive herself over here :)

Good talking to you today! I love your sweet heart!

Lisa said...

Thanks for so much for catching us up and for the reminder to build relationships outside our "family."

Love Libby's inquisitive attitude!

Allison said...

Cindy--I cannot believe how grown up Libby looks! She was such a baby when y'all got her and now she looks like a big girl! I love the two pics of her on the lion at the zoo.

one mommy said...

So this is weird, but I think Libby looks JUST LIKE YOU in the ice cream picture! Is it just me??
Loved all the pictures...we're holing out hope for you guys that April is the month! Love you!