Friday, April 30, 2010

Letter To My Son--After 14 Months

My Son,

When I sat down to write your 13 month post I never thought--not for a second--that we'd be a legal family by the time I wrote the next one. But God is the inventor of surprises. Two days ago you toddled your way to 14 months. Nine days ago we watched as a judge signed on the dotted line. Official.

It's hard to think back over the past 14 months and see through the blinding brightness of our future. I remember watching your birth, before everything else happened, and simply loving you, without the dread of losing you. I remember watching you turn into a one-month-old while trying to hold my head above water and be your mommy all at the same time. I remember somehow falling into a routine where the looming trial in April wasn't always the very first thing on my mind in the morning and the very last thing on my mind at night. And suddenly you were six months old and then eight and then nine. We made it to Christmas and then your birthday. Always, always, there seemed to be slightly less oxygen than I needed to adequately breathe. Somehow, I just kept inhaling...and then exhaling.

In and out. In and out. Until your father made the decision two and a half weeks ago and I simply held my breath for two days straight. On Wednesday you had a visit with your father and though he couldn't sign until the next day, he told me that he was so glad it was over. The feeling was mutual. The next day your mother cried. I cried. Your father told us to stop crying so that he wouldn't start. Your daddy had tears in his eyes. You're a lucky baby to be loved so fiercely by so many.

You're walking and babbling and teething and dancing and flirting and smiling and squirming and doing all the things you should be doing. And I'm thinking ahead...for the first time in a long time.

I love you.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Bums

My husband received a subscription to Biblical Archaeology Review from his parents. Off and on throughout our six and a half year marriage he's received this magazine, usually in gift form. I've been told that it's more a magazine about the archaeology of the holy lands and less a religious read. I've never found out for myself. I may have opened one copy. Once. Archaeology is not exactly my cup of tea.

Imagine my delight when the above pictured edition arrived in my mailbox. I made the mistake of leaving it on my counter top. Later, I was working in the office when my three-year-old came down, copy in hand. He had wide eyes when he whispered, "Mommy?" I turned to him and asked what he wanted. Whispering even quieter he replied, "Mommy," and then pointed at the photo, "bums."

I tried in vain to suppress my laughter as he continued, "Whose bums are these?" I attempted to explain the idea of a statue to my firstborn. I didn't have a high measure of success.

Later he came up to me, "Where is daddy's magazine with the naked bums?"

Oh great. Great. Seriously. Garrett is not a quiet child. Now my husband is going to be known as the pastor with the naughty magazines. Neat.

Thank you, Biblical Archaeology Review for choosing such a thrilling photo for the cover of your magazine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken Adventure

Our neighbors have chickens.

I didn't know this until two days ago and I'm wondering if, at some point, there will be a rooster. This might lead to cardiac arrest in my oldest son.


The Rock Star came bounding into the house the other day screaming something about how, "our neighbors behind us have ducks and their heads look like this (he then made a hysterical face) and you have to come see them." My mom and I (she's visiting) headed outside and discovered a newly built chicken coop and, well, not ducks but chickens.

A few chickens pecked around in the bottom of the coop but one lone white one ran frantically around the outside perimeter of the cage. She'd somehow gotten out. A gap in the wiring appeared to be the culprit. Garrett and I went over to the neighbors and knocked on the door. They weren't home. We went back to our house. The chicken was flapping around, flying up to the roof of the coop, hopping up into the bushes. I was afraid she'd manage to make it over the short fence that separates our yards and by this time the golden retriever was showing a great deal of interest. It wouldn't be long before the the cat followed suit. I didn't particularly want either of my beasts getting a hold of her. She was kind of cute...
I did what any sensible neighbor would do. I trespassed into their yard--the yard of people I've met once in my life--and attempted to catch the poultry. She alluded me for awhile, crawling into the bush, running away from me, always being one step ahead. The fact that I'd never held a chicken in my life and didn't know if she would freak and peck my eyes out certainly added to the duration of time that I spent in their yard.(All I can say is that, apparently, my son comes by his tongue-out-while-he's-concentrating habit naturally.)
Eventually I had my mom hoist Garrett over the fence. He came at her from one end so that she couldn't keep circling the coop and I cornered her. Finally, I reached out and grabbed her. Then I smiled a crazed grin at my mom before walking around the other side of the coop.
Garrett opened the door. I shoved her in. Then I added a nail to the gaping side of the coop. I promptly hopped the fence and wrote a note to my neighbor explaining that I'd trespassed and then I jumped back over and taped it to the door of the coop.

I got a message later from my neighbor. He identified himself as my chicken neighbor, thanked me for my trouble (it was no trouble at all--just another adventure for The Rock Star) and said he hoped I liked fresh eggs. He also added that he considers trespassing to be neighborly.

I've never been much of a city girl. Truth is, I've never been much of a country girl either, what with my somewhat irrational fear of horses. But apparently I can handle chickens.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Swamp

So while we were out in California some missionaries from the LDS church came by. Troy and I engaged in a discussion with them. Before we started talking religion, we shot the breeze a bit and discovered that one of the guys was raised in Guam. It wasn't until the next day that Garrett said, "Hey, mommy, remember that one boy who was from the swamp?"

Me: What?
G: He was from the swamp.
Me: (staring at him, confused for some time until it dawned on me) Oh! He wasn't from the swamp, he was from Guam!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Yesterday morning we were supposed to leave the house at 7:30. As we pulled out of the driveway we had the following conversation...

T: (Looking at the clock) How's that for timing?
Me: (Glancing down and seeing that it was 7:31) Not good. We're a minute late.
T: (teasing) You're a brat.
Me: (coyly) What? We're a minute late.
T: We left the house at 7:28.
Me: (teasing) So it took three minutes to get out of the driveway?
T: No. It took three minutes to load up the boys.
Me: Yeah. So we're a minute late.
T: You are so ornery.
G: (interjecting from the back seat) Yeah, daddy, and you're Mario!
T & Me: (dissolve into fits of laughter)

I have no idea who Mario is and why on earth my son thought he was Ornery's partner in crime.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

417 Days In The Making

I'd like to apologize for my week long absence. We drove back from California on Sunday afternoon and Monday. Yesterday I couldn't find any words to blog. I felt oddly silent as I stood in the middle of a miracle. There are so many posts percolating in my mind regarding the events of last week, the moments of the past 417 days that I never blogged about, the way God changes perspective. I'm sifting through what to say and when to say it or, perhaps, if it should be said at all. There are so many things I wish I could write but won't. I wish I could talk about the way everything went down without interrupting the privacy of certain people (Matthew's other parents, attorneys, the judge, and other professionals involved in this case) but I just can't. Only time will tell what bubbles to the surface as I survey my new surroundings. You see, everything changes when a storm blows over.

Back at the beginning of all this I wrote a post about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar tells the men that he will have them thrown into the fiery furnace if they refuse to worship his image of gold. They reply, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

We have been rescued from the furnace. The way that God brought this all about has been nothing short of miraculous. The four of us, Matthew's parents, are embarking on an incredible journey together. We are calling each other family--and meaning it. On Friday we received a text from Matthew's father. In short it said that he felt good about his decision.

Two weeks ago my hope and prayer was that the trial would be over by yesterday. I didn't know if we would ever finalize Matthew's adoption. Today we went before a judge and did that very thing. We made Matthew an official and legal part of this family. The paperwork finally caught up with our hearts! A new birth certificate was ordered with the following name:

Matthew David Eric Doozleberry*

Matthew meaning Gift of God. David meaning Beloved. He shares this middle name with his daddy. Eric meaning Always Ruler. He shares this middle name with his father. We asked him if we could use one of his names so that Matthew would carry a name from each of the fathers who love him. He chose his middle name. Today, as Matthew squirmed and giggled in my arms we promised to love and care for him forever.

Back in October I posted a video...

Here is what's been happening since... (it's really only 4 minutes and 20 seconds)

Thank you so very much for your prayers and your support. It has meant the world to us.

*Not our actual last name, thank goodness!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We Are Praising God Tonight!

As many of you know, our trial was scheduled for this week and next. To make a long story short, when we got to court on Tuesday (the first day) we spent some time with Matthew's birth father and he was considering agreeing to the adoption. He gave his formal consent today and said that he thought it was in his son's best interest. We will continue to see him. He will have frequent visits with his son. Through this long and sometimes very painful process, all of us have become a sort of blended family. In fact, when he walked up to us today in the waiting room he smiled and said, "Hey family!" We are glad that the legal process is (almost) done and we can all proceed together into what is hopefully a very positive future. Matthew, of course, doesn't know any difference and Garrett is incredibly happy! Troy and I are praising God and thanking him for the marvelous way this came together today.

We drove Matthew's father home and Matthew's mother continued on to San Diego with us. Having the four of us in a car, at the beginning of this journey together, was an amazing experience.

We thank all of you for the prayers you have prayed on our behalf! We thank God for the privilege and joy of raising this boy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Conversation With The Little Brother

Matthew's very first word was Mama. He said it all the time. Now, not so much. Take, for example, the following conversation:

M: (looking around for his daddy) Dada?
Me: Mama.
M: Dada.
Me: Mama.
M: Dada.
Me: Mama.
M: Dada.
Me: DADA! (Hoping my trickery would work on a 13 month old)
M: (Looks at me skeptically and shoves his cup into his mouth)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Backseat Driver

In the car, The Rock Star had a knock-off Magna Doodle. He kept drawing lines. "Mommy, this is where we are and this, over here, is where we're going."

"Okay," I'd answer him.

After awhile he declared, from his spot in the back, "Mommy! I don't think you're following my directions very well. Are you sure this is the right way?"

"Pretty sure, kid. Pretty sure."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Replay

Originally posted on Friday, October 2, 2009

Morning Has Broken

Some days are harder than others. Each day I try to give my fear to the Lord, but sometimes I am caught emotionally off guard. These last few days have been chilly and I've been able to snuggle with my boys under the covers of my bed. This morning I left them in their pajamas longer than usual. There's just something about little boys in warm jammies. Fall is here. I didn't know I liked autumn until I moved to Utah. I like turtle necks and hot chocolate in the morning. I like the way a cozy house smells when a spice candle is burning.

This morning, I set Little Buddy down in his crib because The Rock Star asked me to turn on some music. I chose a lullaby album that is all instrumental. When it began, Matthew was so happy just to crawl around his crib and listen that I left him there while I cleaned my bathroom. Several minutes later I needed my broom. I turned the corner out of my room and my breath caught, midway to my lungs. Matthew sat, content, in his crib. He had his big green pacifier sticking out of his mouth and his gaze was transfixed on a toy he was maneuvering in his chubby hands. Garrett was lying on his bed. His legs were bent and a book rested on his thighs. More books were strewn around him and he quietly read to himself while unknowingly keeping time to the music with his foot. The CD player sang a version of Morning Has Broken.

And just like that, tears welled up in my eyes and spilled over.

Just like that, I wanted to cling to the image--to beg it never to leave my mind. So simple. So normal. So worthy of being forgotten. So worthy of being remembered. An event so ordinary as brothers keeping to themselves in their bedroom on a Friday morning could bring such strong reaction for the very reason that it might not be commonplace. My days of these magical moments could be numbered. Are, in fact, numbered. For even if they remain mine forever, little boys grow up.

It was instrumental but it's only fitting that the stereo played the song it did. Morning has broken, like the first morning. Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird. Praise for the singing, praise for the morning. Praise for the springing fresh from the word. Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven. Like the first dewfall, on the first grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden. Sprung in completeness where his feet pass. Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning. Born of the one light, Eden saw play. Praise with elation, praise every morning. God's recreation of the new day.

Every morning with them is blessed. These little men are brothers. Bound not by a common face and not by blood. Bound, instead, by the joy of friendship and unforced affection. Bonded by something greater--eternal Love above. They laugh together. They play together. They are genuinely happy in the presence of one another. And this morning, they attempted the art of being separate--together. They read and played alone, existing under the tune of the same song.

Before the moment could break itself, before a baby could see his mother in the doorway and before a boy could grow weary of his books, I wiped my eyes and walked away. I didn't want to watch the moment break. Because some day, when the boys have grown and gone or when life has dealt us a devastatingly different fate, I want to be able to close my eyes and see them together like that. I want to hear the piano ringing through their room. I want that sweet morning to have broken but I want to pretend that the night never came.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Garrett: Mommy, can we have lunch? My tummy is really complaining about eating.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Little Loves Of My Life

These are my little angels.

I love them. A lot. With my whole entire heart and soul. I love them even when Garrett tracks mud in the house. So much mud. Clumps and buckets full of mud. I didn't raise my voice, I simply asked, somewhat distraught, if he had seen the mess he'd made. He answered quietly that he had. Moments later he called to me from the back door. He'd collected a handful of little yellow flowers for me.

And I love when they sleep.
I love that Matthew's idea of an egg hunt was to squat next to his brother's basket and throw every egg out.
I love that Garrett only lost his patience when the tenth egg had been lobbed. I love that Matthew didn't notice the speed with which I retrieved each tossed egg. I love that when I pointed out the fact that I was retrieving them, Garrett started cackling and watching his brother's antics with adoration and hysteria.

I love that Matthew will sit still and listen to a bible story. I love that Garrett went around telling people at church on Easter Sunday that, "He is risen!" I love that he knew who was risen, indeed.
I love that we had a great family outing on Monday that included nothing more than hair cuts for the boys and lunch at Costco.

I love that Matthew looks like such a little man with his shorter hair. I love that he was happy and content until the clippers started doing their magic on the top of his head and that, when he burst into tears, he reached out with both hands and clung to me.

I especially love that they gave him a balloon and, of course, how absolutely adorable he was while he played with it that night.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Conversation

Troy: Good night. I love you. (He leans down, kisses Garrett and turns to walk out the door.)
Garrett: (In a high pitched voice) Wait. Wait. (He holds up his stuffed mouse.)
Troy: Oh. Does Mousie need a kiss too?
Garrett: (Still high pitched) Yes.
Troy: Okay. (He kisses Mousie) Good night.
Garrett: SQUEAK!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen


Did dew sit freshly on the plants on the path to the tomb? Did the women talk on their way to anoint his body with spices or was the grief too thick in their chests to speak? What kind of stunned silence still held the disciples tongues as they hid? Was there a biting breeze in the air or had the sun already begun to warm Jerusalem? Did the anticipation of a miracle hang tangibly on the air or was it just a day--a day like any other?

The stone was rolled away. The burial linens lay in an empty tomb. A dead man was alive again. A Savior had conquered the grave. And, a week later, when he appeared again to his disciples, it is no small thing that the words he chose to greet them with were, "Peace be with you!"

Peace. Achievable because he defeated sin and offered us eternal life with him. Peace through the salvation he presents to us, free of charge, if we only accept him as the Lord of our lives.

Romans 5:1-2 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."

I think Saturday was filled with grief and sorrow and pain and questions and wailing. And while I don't believe that the grief miraculously vanished overnight, I think Sunday was different. Perhaps the sun came out and they felt an inexplicable peace. Then, suddenly, shockingly for most, the news came that he'd risen from the dead.

Matthew 28:6 "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said..."

Just as he said. It is all just as he said. That Sunday made it so. He is risen.

He is risen, indeed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Can Wash Away My Sin?

The cross is ugly.

On occasion I wear one around my neck and every Sunday I look upon the symbol while I listen to the sermon. Nine times out of ten I don't give its offensiveness much thought because nine times out of ten it is a symbol of Christ's triumph over death*. Nine times out of ten I fail to embrace the brutality of the cross, choosing, instead, to skip straight to the resurrection.

Forget the hideous betrayal of one of his closest friends. Forget the Sanhedrin, Annas and Caiaphas and their devilish, criminal behavior. Forget the denial. Forget Herod Antipas and the mockery he made of the Son of God. Forget the release of a murderer in exchange for the death of holiness. Forget the severe beatings and the twisted crown of thorns. Forget that Pilate washed his hands of the whole ordeal. Forget the nails. Forget all of that blood. Dear God, let me forget all of that blood. Forget the hurling of insults. Forget "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" Forget that picture of a holy Savior in earthly brokenness. Forget the vulgarity of the cross. It's easy enough to do because I know what happens three days later. Pass over the suffering quickly and focus on the empty tomb, the victory, the Savior in shining glory.

Pass over it all. Because I see way too much of myself in that line up. I am Judas and Annas and Caiaphas and Peter and Herod and Pilate. It was my hand that drove the nails through perfection. I am the worst offender. Naturally I like to skip to the part where my Savior conquers sin and death and offers me forgiveness and grace. My depravity begs for the day when I shout in response, "He is risen, indeed!"

I believe in a mighty King but I do my faith a great disservice by deluding myself into believing that the resurrection is all that matters this week. The cross is ugly but in brushing over what happened there I cover up the very essence of my salvation. The Lamb of God came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29) but he would have done it for me alone. All of that ugliness, just for me. So then, what is so desperately grotesque becomes the thing by which beauty is measured.

Sunday is coming. But not so fast. Not so fast.

"On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that poured
From our blessed Savior's side
Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified"
-Beautiful, Scandalous Night
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24

*Colossians 2:15 "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."