Archive for April, 2012

Healing through Art

April 28, 2012

Tsi wiri lif. Tsi im kne her frrito. A lirogro got otobter fm toloba.

No, I didn’t start speaking and writing in Swahili again.  This is my little girl’s journaling page from this week.  She is what us edjamakated people call an emergent writer.  She has been speaking English for 13 months… and is reading at a beginner level.  Spelling and “sounding out” are a bit hard when English is your second language….. and you are EIGHT years old.

It reads: “This is where I live.  This is where I’m going here forever. A little girl got adopted from Colombia.”

First person.  Third person.  It doesn’t matter….. there are no mistakes in your daily journal.  Nothing gets corrected.  It’s where you share your heart and practice your art. 

It warms my heart that she is so open about her life and her understanding of her circumstances.  AND she’s really talented at drawing maps with coastlines.  This also warms my mama-heart because my eldest daughter has also seen the value in using art to reach kids where they are…. who might not have a voice about their circumstances without the avenue of crayons and felt pens and colored pencils.  Art Therapy.  I didn’t even know it existed a year or two ago.  This Fall I’m sending my daughter off to study to be an art therapist.  Amazing to me how God puts the pieces of the puzzle together for each kid right when they need it.

English 101

April 27, 2012

Since the addition of the Colombian princess to our happy family, the English language has been under much scrutiny in my mind.  Our little girl, who only spoke Spanish when we met her, is now only speaking English.  I remember the adoption agency telling us that at four months she would be speaking English.  I hoped and dreamed that would be true for each of the 120 days leading up to the four-month mark. 

My eldest daughter and I had some grasp of mangled Spanish when we headed to Colombia, and with the addition of Google Translate (that speaks aloud for you!) we did communicate fairly effectively, I thought.  A year after the fact, I now believe that there was a lot of smiling and nodding going on without much comprehension.  But we survived those early days!  Whew!  What made me sad was that Nora’s daddy couldn’t talk to her at all.  My sweet husband simply spoke louder…. as if that would help the translation somehow.  My mother also was a bit uncomfortable being left with the care of a little girl and a big language barrier.  The sooner the four-month switch occurred, the better!

At three months, three weeks and three days, I was getting exasperated with the translation between our little Colombiana and the rest of the family.  It didn’t seem to me like she was understanding English.  She wasn’t using that many words in her new language.  What I didn’t realize was that her little brain was storing English words.  In little filing cabinets… that could be referred to later.  After four months.

Then four months ended.  And POOF!  She spoke English.  Spanish was gone.  English had arrived… the switch in her brain took place ON CUE at four months and she has not looked back.  I don’t think she even realized what happened.  It was as if the Spanish filing cabinets were closed and locked.  The English filing cabinets were opened and readily available for use.  Unbelievable how God made young brains to absorb language.  Unbelievable!

As she continues to experiment with the English language, I have had to think through a lot of her sentences, words and syntax…. to try to discover WHY we say things like we do.  It is confusing.  Tonight she told me, “You don’t have to fed the dogs.  I did.”  ‘Fed’ is past tense.  ‘I did’ is past tense. I can see how it seems right… sort of. 

One time I asked Nora to close the back door.  She stood still, eyes roving the room as her little brain tried to grasp…. something….  Finally she held onto her shirt and said, “I think this is clothes. How do you clothes a door?”  Made perfect sense to me.

And the -ed ending to words is so confusing.  Go…. goed.   I saw the bird…. I sawed the bird yesterday.  Eat… eated.  Run…. runned.  Sat… satted.  Drive… drived.  “Well, -ed is usually how you add past tense….. but not this time, Honey.”  Witnessing the transition has been a blessing and an awe-inspiring adventure!  Adoption stretches you in ways you never expected.  Ever.  And I love it!

Beachcombers R Us

April 26, 2012

We spent last week at Monterey, California and God blessed us with unbelievable weather for April on the coast!  Sunny and gorgeous!  My friend, Connie, got our whole family hooked on searching for sea glass…. I’m not quite sure why it is so addicting.  Possibly because it is FREE and the colors of glass are so amazing.  We found this little cove, after much climbing and crawling over large rocks, where the waves were bringing new pieces of glass with each crash and roll.  After my entire tennis shoe went under the water, in pursuit of a huge green treasure, even I joined the freezing barefoot ranks and took the plunge.  Usually I prefer to view the water, not feel the water.

The majority of our discoveries were green and brown….. 7-Up and beer bottles in past lives.  But we did find some rare gems in PINK!, red, yellow, white and royal blue.  My 15-year-old son saw a shining royal blue bottle in a thrift store and asked if we could buy it and throw it in the ocean…. for our next visit in three months!  GREAT idea!

What do we do with the sea litter, you ask?  There are mini jars at the beach house that have sorted-by-color sea glass…. so I added my finds to that happy color display.  For homeschooling we count this as math…. sorting.  :o)  It could also be categorized as history, science and social studies.  Whatever we call it, it was the BEST kind of schooling, in my humble opinion.  The rest of the family brought home their glass pieces …. I’m not sure why.  Possibly because they were FREE and the colors of glass are so amazing!

And no, we didn’t color coordinate our clothes with the ocean… it simply worked out that way.  It was a matchy-matchy sort of day all the way around.

Tuckered Out with a capital T.O.

April 20, 2012

April is not typically an unusually busy month for me, but THIS April wins.  Yes, I have a few things going on right now…. a few things on the go… a few things happening…. and blogging, sadly, gets pushed to the back burner on the stove of life.  Not that I don’t think of quirky little things that I would love to blog, just for the sake of being little and quirky.  Frankly,  (that always seemed like an unusually funny adverb to me… I mean, really.  Frank?  Me?  BAH!) tidbits of life that I find unusually hilarious are ALWAYS running through my mind… but computer time and brain functioning time have to coincide for blogging productivity.  Tonight is borderline.  It’s only 9:37 pm but I am beyond 9:37 pm tired.  My body is on East Coast time with no logical reason why.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been going non-stop for about 9 days.  Seriously… non-stop.  Was that logical?

We are in Monterey, California at the moment and just finished feeding my son’s cycling team who are all here racing at the Sea Otter Classic.  And as if cued by the music, the sea otters came and played in the water outside the beach house while the young lads ate dinner here.  Truly poetic.  Like another vacation to California a few years back, I neglected to bring the little black cord to upload all the stupendous photos I’m taking.  So no photo-journaling this trip. Sorry.

My sweet, hard-working, cute husband was not able to drive out with us due to his flying schedule.  He is flying in tonight.  (Mothers in the reading audience already understand my tired state.) For those who are not mothers, let me simply say that planning a vacation, taking four kids on a road trip along with my parents, feeding 23 folks not in your own kitchen…. AND finding five minutes of personal time is all a bit overwhelming.  Not so much that I am overwhelmed… just truly tuckered out.  My bed is calling my name this minute.

The race in the morning is at 7 am.  Yes, I usually don’t see 7 am.  That also translates to a departure time of 5:30 am.  I truly haven’t seen 5:30 in months, with the exception of two days ago when I awoke to start this crazy road trip.  Thankfully, we have three drivers in the family (minus the main driver who is flying over).  THAT saved my bacon on the 13-hour tour from AZ to CA.  I was so concerned about my shoulders freezing tight in the zombie driving position that I let my 15-year-old son drive on I-5 in California.  See!?  I was seriously worried about my state of health to let that happen.  I did, however, sleep like a baby both nights since arriving.  Tomorrow I plan to nap.  It will be divine.

A special shout out to my high school friend, Connie.  She knows what it’s for.  And that’s all that matters!  At this very moment I am wearing a sterling bracelet Connie gave me several years ago that reads, “A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”  It’s so true.  So not only am I tuckered out, I am thankful.  For friendship, family, love and my Jesus.  That is all.  Goodnight.

Pizzeria Bianco

April 15, 2012

There is the semi-famous pizza place in downtown Phoenix that has a reputation for fabulous food.  Two or three years ago, an article ran in the paper naming a memorable activity to do each month of the year in our fine city. Pizzeria Bianco was listed for April…. because there is almost always a two-hour wait to get into one of the 12 tables inside the vintage brick building… and April is one of the last months before it is too hot to wait outside for two hours.  I cut out two of the mentioned activities and put them on the side of the fridge… the side no one sees unless they are invited WAY into the kitchen. (The other activity was seeing the bat cave and we did that last year.)

So, when Rick’s brother and his wife were visiting America, we took the opportunity to go to Pizzeria Bianco.  This was Rick and my second time going down there and putting our names on the list.  The first time, we were unaware of the two-hour wait…. and had prearranged activities that hindered our possibility of sitting in one of the 12 tables that night.  THIS time, we planned accordingly and L O V E D every minute in the tiny brick structure.  There were fancy names for the salad and the pizza that we devoured…. that I wish I could remember to impress you all.  But you’ll just have to be impressed in your mind without Italian foody words.

All that to say, if you’re ever in Phoenix and have an evening to relax, I highly recommend Pizzeria Bianco.  (It is just East of the Science Center.)  Fabuloso!

Another Year Older… Another Year Wiser…

April 10, 2012

My birthday was shared with Jesus’ resurrection day this year.  Awesome!  Another year of my life has come to an end, but I certainly do feel wiser in the health department after my 45th year. I have figured out a few things (that’s the wiser part) that should contribute to living another 46 years (at least!)  Hey, I obeyed my parents and the Bible promises a long life for obedience.  :o)  That’s what I keep telling my kids anyway!  Six small meals a day really does keep the doctor away.  I know I switched that up a bit from the original prose, but it works for me. 

Allow me to share the joy in a photo essay…. then and now.  This coming Sunday I will have been eating six small meals per day for A YEAR!  A whole stinkin’ year!  I can’t hardly believe it either!  Here is my 45th birthday picture….. please refrain from snorting coffee through your nose when you behold my loveliness seventy-seven pounds ago. At least I was sporting a cool jacket and coordinating jewelry.

Here is this year’s birthday picture…. and “the difference?” you ask.  I ate the cake last year… I didn’t this year.  My mom made a darling peeps cake that was reported to be delicious.  I didn’t feel deprived.  It was a major victory in the weight-loss journey I’m traveling.  Next year, I’ll taste the cake, but for right now I didn’t need to.  My new mantra is “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”  So true.

So as my next year begins, my plans include finishing writing a book of our adoption journey, getting into a regular fitness routine and daily praying diligently and intentionally for each of my children.  Not that I haven’t prayed for them up until now, but I got the book The Power of a Praying Parent and realized that I needed to up the ante.  Fighting in the heavenlies is where the action is.  I’m all over it!  Feel free to join me!

Here we are …

April 9, 2012

Here we are on Easter Sunday … three generations of shining faces.  That’s my mom and my two daughters with me, in case you are new to MSJ.  We are an international crew.  Grandma and Larisa born in Canada. I was born in the USA and Nora in Colombia.  And we’re okay with all that.  Free trade and all that. “All that” really does include a lot of passports/fees/paperwork/fingerprinting…. and it’s all good.

Family dinners are a joy to behold.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of thankful hearts.  Not only for the resurrection of our Lord, but for the family with whom He has surrounded us. 

Favorite quotes from this year’s Easter dinner:

Seven-year-old nephew, when asked what he wanted to drink, “I’ll have rootbeer.  But if there’s no root, I’ll just take the beer.” (We are not a drinking family, so it was quite amusing!)

Eight-year-old daughter, after her father said, “There are E G G S around the R O O M.  We will H U N T after C H U R C H.”  “Hey, I think you guys spelling so I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

My pound-dropping husband, “This is the leanest and greenest Easter dinner I’ve ever eaten!”

He is risen indeed!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers