Friday, May 21, 2010


i spent the day moving things from here to there. 

important stuff like placing random crayons back into the crayon box. separating pencils and pens from the general fray of the junk drawer.  closets were emptied and reorganized.  papers were shuffled and tossed.  puzzle pieces reunited with their correct boxes.  that kind of thing.

there are now piles heading to goodwill and piles heading to the growing garbage heap.  cushions were removed. couches were cleaned. clothes were sorted.  i've seen this kind of behavior before.  four times to be exact.   

i am nesting.  

i am readying the nest for a new addition. it's what we mamas just do when the time draws close. it is our instinct.  and i do my very best to use this extra, innate energy to the fullest.

the nest is definitely more in need of readying as we add the fifth than it was adding the first child.   truth be told, the nest has gotten a little out of hand lately.   i still can't get over how similar adoption is to a pregnancy. i am officially in my third trimester, i suppose.  i have arrived at that scary place where my husband just shakes his head and answers, "yes, dear... sure, honey...whatever you say, sweetheart." (i really like this part of the deal).  i keep reminding him i've asked for no late night cheeseburgers or cartons of mint chocolate chip. but we have clearly entered that final month of waiting.  her room is ready. and i am in the process of getting everything else ready.  i am making lists of items we need.  i am making lists of things to be done.  i am making lists.  

i guess somewhere in the back of my mind, i believe that everything will be smoother if EVERYthing is in place.  come on jody, i tell myself, when is EVERYthing ever in place in a family of six?  impossible.  we live in a constant state of movement. we are always in search of that elusive roll of scotch tape...always on the hunt for shoes...always hunting for socks which match and finding spoons buried in the garden.  

that is life with four children.  

this is not a magazine layout, folks -- nowhere close! but, nonetheless, i spend countless hours preparing. i find myself up in her closet touching her clothing...rearranging toddler items...imagining her in the bath tub.  recently i had a vision of her on our driveway.  not really a vision.  (at least not in the preternatural sense -- thankfully).  just a picture of her.  a picture of bella drawing with sidewalk chalk.  

can you see it?  

i can.  

i see a sibling or two around her showing her, demonstrating, modeling.  i am pretty certain she has never drawn on a driveway.  i am pretty certain even a driveway is a completely foreign idea.  some of you stop me in the hallways of our church or in the aisles of the market to tell me you are getting so excited about her near arrival.  i ran into my friend, allison, at school this morning and she hugged me saying she she can't believe we are getting so close.  "i have chill bumps on my arms!" she said and showed them to me.  indeed, there they were.  

chill bumps or goosebumps for a little girl in china - oh, how wonderful.  

last night at a school meeting, my friend, beverly, brought me a few more sweet dresses she is passing down from her daughter, lilia.  dresses for bella.  she had been carrying them around and wanted to make sure i got them.  they are now hanging in bella's closet.  ready for wearing.  we both think the yellow gingham will be perfect on her.  oh, we know there is much ahead that is hard and challenging and demanding, but i am so thankful that God provides these tender moments to linger in a closet or hug a friend or picture a little girl on a driveway with a fistful of pink chalk.   

God is allowing me these rose-colored pictures as encouragement.   He knows i know enough to be more than intimidated by bringing home a child with a heart condition.  but, He is not allowing me to set down too long in that overwhelming place.  He is encouraging the sunlight.  He is encouraging the sweetness.  He is encouraging the beauty that will be ours -- regardless.  i am so very thankful.  

isn't it amazing how He has created that little something in women that causes us to prepare for a new child? that is simply and truly a thing of beauty.  of course it is also rather practical.  i'd hate it if i was steeped in lethargy right now.  i am in need of this little boost of energy and, by golly, i'm making the most of it.

my friend, kelly, stopped over unexpectedly one night this week.  she handed me a box.  inside was of all things A NEST.   it is just the sweetest thing.  placed within this nest are 5 sort of egg shaped rocks.  on each rock is engraved the names of our children -- including bella!  oh my, i could just cry!  it is downright breathtaking.  i have it in the kitchen right now and look at it often.   i know my children think this bird thing is getting out of hand.  they probably wonder if i am slowly replacing them all with bird paraphenalia.  one day emily counted "bird items" around the house.  in protection of my children's privacy, i won't publish the number.  they probably think i am headed for the crazy-cat-lady-house.  maybe.  but for a woman who loves a theme -- well, i'm kind of tickled.   just for the record, i realize this story isn't about THE NEST.  no, not one bit.  bella will come home and i guarantee there will be dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor.  the nest will most likely have unidentifiable smudges on windows and soap scum in the showers.  because that's our life, no matter how hard we work to get it all ready, our nest is a bit of a mess.  

a mess, yes.  but blessed. 

and when she comes home our nest will be full.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

caution! bird's worms - do not eat!

baby birds were literally dropping from the sky.  it was a windy day, storms were quickly approaching.  while rick and the children worked in the yard, the trees blew hard.  large branches, leaves, and twigs pelted our lawn.  unfortunately,  baby birds were tossed down as well. what exactly do you do with itty bitty birds fallen from high nests?  of course we knew not to handle them much...i repeated the warning i had heard as a child, "a mother bird will not return if a human hand touches her baby."  as a little girl, i remember thinking, "are you kidding me?  what kind of mother is that?"  i have always had sort of a tender nook in my heart for needy wildlife.  my mother tells stories of me hiding sick rabbits in shoe boxes deep in my closet, with the hope of nursing them back to health. as a child,  i walked each day a few blocks to school with my friend and classmate, larry bocci.  in our early elementary days we were known to drag home a variety of injured or distressed animals ( i.e, roadkill).  we also were the ones to bring home broken beer bottles (because they were pretty) and even one january a discarded and dried out christmas tree (because i couldn't fathom anyone wanting to throw away their christmas tree).
    so here we were with some baby birds placed in bushes around our yard.  we hoped they would make it back into their nests if we just left them alone.  we hoped if we kept the cats indoors these little creatures might have a chance.  monday morning dawned and the rain came hard and fierce.  before school tyler and i realized one of the baby birds was still on the front grass, not well protected from the driving rain.   in his school uniform he ran out and moved it underneath a bush.  this bush could only provide so much protection, however. between our cats and the neighbor cats, it was only a matter of time before this baby would be discovered.  so yesterday we came to the conclusion that we would have to start providing for it ourselves.  my children needed no convincing.  worms were dug up.  water was brought out, and eventually a little bed was created in a protected cage.  sarah elizabeth begged me to consider allowing it to live in her room in the decorative white wooden cage on her dresser.   she reminded me of another little girl from long ago.   we finally settled on a corner of the deck.  i knew she'd be in good hands with my third child.  this is the same child that announced as a tiny girl, "don't read me that bird book again, mama!"  you know the one.  p.d. eastman's "are you my mother?"  yes, the one where the baby bird is left alone and has to travel around town in search of his mother.   the mother does return...she was only gone in search of food for her birdie...but, nonetheless, whether 4 or 40 it is a tear jerker.
   last night i returned from a school meeting to find holes in my yard and flower beds. i had a moment of frustration - that was newly planted grass...and those flowers hadn't been there very long either.  but i had to laugh when i walked into the kitchen and found this note taped to the backsplash above a plastic container, "caution! bird's worms - do not eat!"  apparently sarah is well aware that her siblings eat everything and anything in the kitchen and could, perhaps, be tempted by the clear container of dirt and wiggling worms.   the children are now hand feeding this sweet baby.  it eagerly opens its little mouth waiting for its dinner.  this morning tyler and i were up quite early.  we sat at the kitchen window and watched as the mother returned with a mouth full of worms. she hadn't forgotten her baby!  human hands had been all over this little feathered gal and yet the mama returned.  i just knew it had always been an old wives tale...something i was told in order to keep the chaos level (and pet level) under control.  tyler and i sat and watched in great wonder.  this mother now sits on a limb off to the side of our deck and has been there ever since.  we are going to have to release this little friend soon.  we know that.  she doesn't belong with us, but we are so glad she's been here to visit. we also know how this might end.  we have cats.  we have had more than our share of nature and its sometimes brutal endings. and yes, i even have holes in my yard and worms on my counter, but i am certain they are worth the sweet memories in our hearts.