Sunday, December 2, 2012

the holidays on hold

diana's christmas tree had fallen over twice the night before.  jen's husband was back in louisiana watching their five children and busily wrapping the front columns of their home with red ribbon (think candy cane effect).  paige's husband was also at home in memphis.  paige and hank have six children - need i say more.  and we mcnatts, well, we were supposed to be getting the house ready to entertain a group of 80 + guests this coming week and i had a "joseph" costume to finish for connor by monday morning.

but the holidays were on hold --  at least for this weekend.

instead of attending to the christmas and chaos back at our homes, the four of us were holed up and nestled down in a minnesota log cabin  -- WAY up north!  twenty children total between us and we were, at least for this weekend, unfathomably and gloriously ALONE.  four blogging mamas, our laptops, a little chick food, some wine and a whole lot of chit chat.  but not a soul to be found under the age of 40.  no kids. no husbands. no christmas. no concerns.

i have to tell you a little bit about the story because it's rather remarkable.  it speaks to the powerful connection of women.  it speaks to the even more powerful connection of those who adopt. and it speaks to the most powerful connection of those who believe in Jesus.

i've already mentioned we have 20 children between us, and 8 of them have been adopted from china.  do you think we had some things to talk about or do you think we had some things to talk about?  at one point, diana's husband, jeff, texted (around midnight) and asked if we had run out of things to discuss.  "nope!" it was well after 1:30 am when we finally dragged our silly, sleepy selves to bed.  we had covered every topic from our photography to our frustrations...from our blogposts to our blond highlights. the girls had even helped me redesign the header to my blog (pretty nice, huh?) it is a true friend who will sit at her computer (post-midnight) adding shades of saphire blue to the jeans of your children's photo. from the moment we had arrived until the moment the girls got back on their airplanes, we never stopped talking.  we hardly took time to breath.

but here's what's truly unique:  none of us had grown up together.  there were no sorority sisters or college roommates in the group.  only diana and i live in the same city -- and that's been just recent.  jen's from louisiana.  paige from tennessee.  and diana from minneapolis.  these three girls have never lived in the same city, same state or same anything.  but they connected years ago via their blogs and through the world of adoption.  diana has three darling girls from china.  paige and jen both have two cuties a piece from china.  i was sort of the new, tag along friend this weekend.  the friend who got to come because diana and i have become great pals since my move to minnesota and she wanted to introduce me to her long distance buddies.

seriously would have thought these women had played hop scotch as would have been sure these girls had once shared teenage secrets, favorite sweaters, wedding days and baby showers.

but no.  that's not the case.  God did, though, knit them together through their journeys to china.  that's how they found each other -- blogging!  blogging about their adoption journeys.   it's been God and their love for children which has grown the deep seed of their friendship.  incredible. and incredibly deep.

i was the lucky one. the one who got to come along for the ride.  the one who was warmly welcomed into this terrific trio.  i got to hear their stories.  the stories of how they had gone to they brought home their different they were dealing with the special needs of their girls today.  amazing stories.  God stories. beautiful stories.  i was so inspired to hear from these three women.  sacrifice, perseverance and passion course through their veins.  they are normal and nice and super cute -- but, most of all, they have huge hearts for the children of china.  all three of them had biological children, but went to china ANYWAY.  they went to china and brought home kids with issues which i hadn't heard of and cannot even pronounce. but these kids are living perfectly average and incredibly beautiful lives.  and these mothers fight for their kids daily.  surgery isn't an odd word.  specialists aren't out of their realm.   they are completely normal (whatever THAT is) families who mess and bicker and text and tease.  but they are families who had some room under their roofs and even more room deep in their hearts.

even the sparrow's my pleasure to introduce you to diana, jen and paige!

diana's blog:
jen's blog:
paige's blog:

"I wanted to take a minute to share with you why we are adopting. We are NOT adopting as a way to add more children to our family. We are NOT adopting because this is a nice thing to do or because we are good people. Our choice to take in orphans is motivated by something much deeper... 

Deep down in our hearts and souls it has resonated in us that by His Son’s death, God has in fact freely adopted us - disobedient rebels who once didn’t even care to give Him the time of day, let alone regard His majesty and power. (Romans 5:6-11). He told us that we are loved, and proved it when He gave us the right to be called His children. How then could we possibly look the other way when he asks us to offer a teeny tiny glimmer of that same redemption to an orphan? Once you fully realize what Jesus has done for you, how kind God has been to you, how amazing His love is for you, you can’t help but respond. It changes the way you think and the way you live. We have put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and we are urged by our King to not neglect the deep needs of the people around us – whether that is across the oceans or a few doors down in our neighborhood. We are willing to roll up our sleeves and walk into people’s messy situations and people’s messy lives. Because that’s what Jesus did for us. He intervened in our broken lives and changed our course. He extended love to us when we weren’t looking for it and didn’t deserve it. Adoption is simply our family’s response in offering just a tiny glimpse of the same grace and mercy that was extended to us. Jesus, because you DIED for me, now I will LIVE my life for you. I’m all in."  

~ beautifully said by Janel Sullivan -- another mother who adopts...

fabulous find on the way home from "up north!"

p.s. you might have noticed my font size is now a bit larger.  this was another thing we addressed this weekend.  apparently the font wasn't working so well for the over forty crowd! lol.  thanks girls.


Aus said...

Acutally LOVE the bloglift - and the bigger font - this from a guy who wears (dare I admit it) tri-focals!

But better still is your coming to know the broad "extended family" in adoption - so many stories I could relate of family's we've been grafted to through our adoptions - and something that I never expected - not for a second would I have thougth that there would be a whole world of family out there for us - just because our children came to us in this way!

Great joy - and glad you took the "time out" to be with "family"!

hugs - aus and co.

Paige said...

Oh my friend you have said it so well of course!!!! As I was starting to write my post in the airport( which I have not gotten back to since I got home) I got tickled thinking of you as I questioned how to punctuate and spell words!!! Want to move to Memphis next?? Your post says it all and so much more. I love my new friend, thanks for joining us and making our time even more special!!!

DiJo said...

Paige just reminded me of something! What is the word for ...? :) Jody, thank you for taking the challenge to "Take a left at the Walleye!" We loved dragging you into our crazy friendship... I couldn't even comment last night because I was too tired from talking and laughing non-stop for 2 days! I am so thankful that God brought you to the frozen tundra for this part of your journey!!! And, I understand why the south wants you back! Thanks for humoring my need to add a little of my own sapphire blue to your blog, and for humoring your older friends with a larger font. I look forward to more laughs and more "fish" stories! You are a blessing!


Holly said...

You guys are well deserved for this fun and loving gatherings!! Four beautiful, extraordinary women with great big hearts!!! Holly

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I speak for others in blogland when I say that it is so much fun to think of the four of you together. You are all such an inspiration. I hope you found love and support amongst yourselves.
~Lindy D.

jennifer said...

Oh girl...I couldn't have said it better myself. I mean...really, I couldn't! What an amazing writer you are :) What a blessing to have met you and been able to spend some amazing time with you (even if you are my competition! lol...) So happy to now call you "friend".

Paige said...

Yeah, I can read your blog now that the font is bigger !!! Agreed that the adoption journey as ordained by God can result in great friendships! Glad y'all had so much fun!