Big shock. I didn't successfully do NaBlogPoMo. (You know the thing where I was supposed to do a blog post every day for a month.) November is a tricky month with Thanksgiving and all. My husband understands that for my own sanity and the health of our family, I need at least an hour a day with my laptop. Twenty minutes to blog or so and the rest to work on my manuscript. If you had been at my parents' house over Thanksgiving with the throngs of children and adults and not nearly enough booze, you would understand that sanity is not a high priority. It's survival of the fittest.
I'm not really bummed, though. It started to get taxing blogging EVERY DAY. I do, however, think I want to set three times a week as a discipline and goal. (And also, that is a requirement for the ads I'm going to be posting on here in the near future. Sorry if you think that is selling out. I'm trying to adopt a special needs kid from Asia and that ain't cheap.)
But to give you a laugh, let me leave you with the following story.
Sloan and I went shopping in Greensboro with my three teenage nephews, Anderson, Caleb, and William. They are each hilarious and kind and boneheaded in ways that only teenage boys can be. (Oh, they're also all good looking. And not in a "I'm their Aunt so I have to say that" kind of way. Yes, it's a little bit creepy to say that, but seriously, you'd think out of 14 grandkids, my parents' would have at least one that was just marginally attractive. But false. The Johnson kids have beautiful children.) Add to that my husband who really isn't known for being all that mature and what you get is the equivalent of shopping with four giant toddlers. Toddlers obsessed with burping, farting, texting, and making "That's what she said" jokes. Does it make you nervous that three of the four men in this story have driver's licenses? It should. Because if one of them is driving and another one of them farts, apparently there is some sort of bro code that requires the driver to turn on the window lock so everyone is stuck suffocating in the car. You'd think that because for some odd reason we were in 2 cars it would help, but you'd be wrong. There was enough gas to go around.
At one point, Sloan was parking the car and the three boys were supposed to be in Foot Locker. Apparently I missed them when I was finishing up at Old Navy. So I walked into Foot Locker and said, "Um, I'm looking for three teenage boys."
Yeah, it was an akward moment for everyone.
Then I heard a honk and there was my nephew Anderson driving my sister's 15 passenger van (she has 8 kids, remember?). My nephew Caleb was riding shotgun and yelled, "Hey, Aunt EJ, come get in the man van." So, of course, I did get in the man van. And when I told them about my "looking for three young boys" question, it should come as no surprise that one of them said, "Well, I suspect Penn State is hiring."
I quickly added Penn State and pedophilia to my growing laundry list of things they were not allowed to make fun of.
My favorite part of the entire excursion was when we were driving to Macy's in the man van. Anderson was at the wheel and Caleb was again riding shotgun. He had his window rolled down and was trying to look cool with his arm hanging out of the giant silver van. He saw some girls on the sidewalk and he called out to them, "Hey ladies, looking good. Look at my cool ride. My big brother will drive us wherever we want to go."
Later in the day, Caleb later confessed that if he had a terminal illness, his make a wish would be to have Morgan Freeman follow him around and narrate his life. Caleb is now waking up. When Caleb brushes his teeth, he thinks "Damn, I look good" and he is right. He does look good.
So, if you need a good laugh, I'd suggest renting my nephews. But be forewarned, they're gassy. And constantly texting. And you might just pee your pants.
Tonight, for what I'm sure will not be one night only, the Phillips and Pusey cousins performed pretty much the entire show of Wicked. With a little bit of Tom Sawyer thrown in for good measure. At one point, my 5 year old niece Isabel was crying because she wanted to perform Popular as a solo. Seriously, she was crying. Her red lipstick smeared and painted for the back rows lashes running. It was as though I was watching myself thirty years ago. Except, of course, I made playbills and forced my parents to buy tickets to watch me dance in leotards in the living room.
There would be more pictures, but you see, I was one of the headliners.
"There's been some confusion
For you see, my roommate is: "
"Unusually and exceedingly peculiar
And altogether quite impossible to describe"
And the leading man?
It was pretty much the best thing ever. My nephew Caleb was more than annoyed. Which made it even more fun.Then there was some running around naked (by the 4 and under crowd). Followed by an ice cream party.
I am at my parents’ house in NC for close to a
week.With my sister and her brood.So, for those of you doing the math, that is
6 adults and 12 children.The ages are
as follows: Matthew and Gracie (2), Henry (4), Isabel (5), Jonathan (8), Joshua
(10), Rebekah (12), Rachel (14), Caleb (16), and Anderson (18).I’m sure that my 18 and 16 year old nephews
would argue that they are adults.False.And then on Thursday, we’ll also have my brother’s
crew over here which will add Natalie (7), Caroline (10), Sarah Grace (13), and
So we are outnumbered 2 to 1.Even more so when you add to the fact that I
tend to feel about 12 years old when I’m at my folks’ house.
But either way, it’s crazy up in here.There are tents and sleeping bags in the playroom.I think my niece just broke her toe leaping
off the elliptical machine.You know,
the one she was forbidden to play on.Ice
cream was served at 9pm.To the kids who
are accustomed to going to bed at 7:30.
So for day 21, I am thankful for wine.Lots and lots of wine.
You’ll also understand why the blog posts may be scant this
week.It tends to ruffle feathers when I
take time away to write.Or read.Or work out.Or go to the bathroom.Also, my
husband requested to be mentioned in this post.By name.His name is Sloan.And here I am, mentioning him.
I think I’ve said before that I’m impatient.And that any time someone tells me I oughtta
pray for patience, I curse them.Half of
the time I curse them under my breath.But mostly to their face.(Which
is awesome for them and not at all awkward for me.) And if you ever hear me singing the "Be Patient" song to my children, rest assured that is more for my benefit than theirs.
When folks are struggling with waiting, I usually say this, “I
will pray for God to give you patience and also that you will not need it.”I like this.It covers all the bases.It
acknowledges that patience is a gift and a sign of love (actually, Scripture
tells us that the very first thing Love is is patient…), but it also
acknowledges that while we want to be Spiritual about things we also just don’t
want to wait.
Because, as my Pastor said this morning, most of us believe
that waiting is for losers.
But if you have been a reader since the beginning, you know
this blog was born out of the only time I have ever been patient—when I was in
the hospital on strict bedrest prior to Henry’s birth.And really, I wasn’t so much patient as told,
“Hey, get out of that bed and you and your kid might die.”So clearly, God understood that teaching me
patience would require the direst of circumstances. And that teaching me
patience would also come with a helping of humility.(Please, for the love of all that is good,
please never pray for me to learn these lessons again.Or, if you believe I should learn some
humility, I’d simply ask that you be specific in praying, “Teach Elizabeth
humility without having to teach her how to use a bedpan.”)
The sermon this morning at my church was about how we handle
grief and suffering.And that most of us
just plain suck at it.We don’t teach
our children how to be sad, and, in fact, as a culture we teach that being sad
is unacceptable.But folks, crap happens
that is sad.People get sick.Loved ones die. We yearn for a spouse.We can’t get pregnant.We can’t stay pregnant.Spouses leave. Kids disappoint.Parents say hurtful things.And these are just the things that have
happened to me and some of my friends in the past week.
Our Pastor pointed us to David.Just as he finds out Saul is dead and that he
is now King. (II Samuel 1:17-27)And what
does David do as his first royal act?He
freakin gets out his guitar and writes a poem like some beatnik.Then he decrees that everyone in the land
will learn the song so that as a nation they’ll know how to grieve.He doesn’t try to immediately fix things, he
sits with his grief.His first act as a
King is to lament.So clearly, we are
not as faithful Christians supposed to suck up our sadness.Nor is that the example we are given in
Jesus.He is a King who has tasted
betrayal, fought oppression, mourned the death of a loved one, been ridiculed,
and died an unjust death. And then He rose again. So our sadness is not without hope. If it is without hope, we should repent of that. But hear this--Jesus never said, “Don’t cry, it makes you seem unfaithful. Don't be sad, it makes you seem ungrateful.”Rather, he said, “Blessed are the poor in
Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”Or, to quote the brilliant Jen
Hatmaker, “...we still get to cry tears and feel our feelings, folks. Jesus
did. And I’m pretty sure he went to heaven when he died.”
So as we enter into a holiday that is all about waiting for
a baby and you hear me crying for my child that is waiting too, understand
this--my waiting is nothing.It is not
the hardest part.The fact that there’s
a child out there with no Mommy or Daddy to tell him he is loved and that I
will be inviting that heartache into my home will be the hardest part.Parenting will be the hardest part.Not the waiting.
You think we are all awesome and noble, let it be noted that Henry is sleeping in a tent tonight. Because he wet the bed last night and the cleaning ladies come on Monday. So it will be a two night camp out.
Soooo…because some of you have asked.Here is where we are in our long, long
We’ve filled out our initial application which basically told us which countries we qualify for (Russia, Ethiopia, China, South Korea, and Hong Kong).And we’ve narrowed it down to South Korea and
China.We are wanting to do a special
needs waiting child adoption.There are
programs where families wait for a child.But we adore that Bethany Christian Services believes in switching
things up. They don’t find children for families, they find families for
children.Typically in Asia this means
boys and children with various special needs.
We actually have inquired about a certain child in South
Korea and are waiting to find out if he is still available.It’s tricky.On the one hand, we are smitten with him, but on the other hand, if he
is unavailable that will mean he is already in a loving family. As for now, we are praising God that he is in foster care rather than an orphanage and that South Korea actually has fantastic social services and medical care.
We had our first meeting on Tuesday night and we can now
begin the laborious process of paperwork.We have fingerprints to take, doctor’s visits, and about a billion forms
to fill out.But Sloan has just has his
wings clipped (as in he won’t be flying to anymore meetings for the rest of the
year), so setting appointments will be easier now.And the fire escape plan I lovingly crafted
for Gracie’s adoption can simply be photocopied.So there’s four hours saved.
This top page is just the checklist for the paperwork. And each item
pretty much has to be filled out for each person in our family. So
there will be approximately four times this amount of paperwork when it is
all said and done.
Our goal is to have all of this paperwork completed and into
Bethany by Christmas.
This gives us some time to just process the process.I know, for some folks it takes months to get
this paperwork done.Well, during
Grace’s adoption, it took us 10 days.I
think we may hold some type of record. Which is good, because somewhere beyond the sea, he's there
watchin’ for me.If I could fly like
birds on high then straight to his arms I’d go sailin’.
A friend and I were chatting on FB the other night about our
disdain for laundry.The conversation
went something like this:(ok, not
something like…as in copied and pasted exactly like this):
A:Can you do
me a favor? Can you write a super-tastic blog entry about doing laundry that
will make me feel inspired, make me cry and laugh simultaneously, show me the
gospel, and help me in general with that dreaded task? Top of Form
Thanks in advance ;)
Me:A. Clearly, you've missed the whole "I hate laundry" theme on the
B. Have I mentioned how much I hate laundry?
C. I'll see what I can do.
D. By the way, what I hate most about laundry is the doing it.
E. I also hate putting it away. It's like the baskets full of clean, folded
laundry just taunt me. Laughing, in their sweaters, saying. "You can't
A:A. I must be behind in my reading.
B. I haven’t heard that recently.
E. Great big DITTO...this is where I'd like you to focus,
the putting it away effort. Thanks again.
Around an hour and a
half later, my friend got really sick.Like “put you in the hospital and life is going to look drastically
different for a good long while and possibly forever” sick.
And because I’m a
good friend, I sent her the following text yesterday afternoon, “So, you’re
probably not so worried about your laundry now are you, huh?”
She called me back within
seconds, laughing.(Because she’s
awesome like that.)I told her, “So, to
tell you how you being in the hospital is really all about me, it inspired me
to put away three baskets of laundry.”I know, you all wish I could be there for
you in your darkest moments.
Thankfully, as I’ve
mentioned before, my Bible Study group is studying Genesis. (To give you some context, I've been in A's group since struggling with infertility. I then co-lead the group with A for 3 years, before stepping down from leadership. A still leads the group.) And the morning before dreadful thing
happened to A, we were studying the effects of the Fall.The curse and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from
the garden so that they couldn’t eat from the tree of Life in their fallen
And so for you, my
darling A who has pointed me to Jesus for so long, here is your Gospel
according to my laundry basket moment:Doing the laundry stinks.
I could write about
how we should all just but on our big girl panties and shut up and do the
laundry without complaining.I could
remind you about how there are people who have to take their laundry to a
Laundromat somewhere else and that’s gotta be a bigger pain in the butt than
just seeing all that clean laundry piled up on your couch waiting to be
folded.And I could tell you that in
terms of world problems, our mutual hatred of putting away the clean laundry
ranks along par with “I’ve run out of Capri Suns and I’m too lazy to go to the
store” and “my toddler only wants to eat cookies”.And I could remind you of the simple truth
that if you have laundry to do that means you have clothes.And that if your laundry is sitting in
baskets at the bottom of your stairs just waiting to be taken up and stared at
for three days until you finally get around to putting it away, then that means
you have a home and some people don’t.And all of those kids who keep changing clothes 14 times a day?Yeah, there are folks who ache to have that
problem.And there are kids who wish
they had parents to clean their adorable teeny tiny socks.And all of those things are true.
But what is also true
is this:sin affects EVERYTHING.In Genesis 3, when God explains the
consequences of the lie Adam and Eve believed, it basically tells us that we
will not be in right relationship with our own bodies, with our families, with
our work, with our identity, with all of creation.There is no escaping it.And we can couch all our attempts to escape
the effects of the fall in Spiritual terms, and we should most certainly work
towards bringing God’s image to bear in the midst of all the brokenness, but we
can’t return to the garden.We can’t use
our faith to bypass the suffering surrounding us. Our study’s notes say “We do not escape the suffering of the world by living a good
life.To believe this is to live with
unbelievable pride and pressure.”Pride and pressure that sometimes cascade off our couch and onto the family
But here is another
truth for you, dear laundry hater:Jesus
didn’t try to bypass the suffering.Instead, he left the throne of heaven to enter into our suffering. And
he didn’t just flip death off, he defeated it.
speak of sin apart from the realities of creation and grace is to forget the
resolve of God.God wants shalom and
will pay any price to get it back.Human
sin is stubborn, but not as stubborn as the grace of God and not half so
persistent, not half so ready to suffer to win its way.”
Plantinga, Not The Way It’s Supposed to Be