Thursday, March 20, 2014


A Minute of Margin: Restoring Balance to Busy Lives ~ 180 Daily Reflections

I currently don't have enough margin in my life to read all of Dr. Swenson's book Margin; so I am reading the above book on my Kindle. I got to hear Dr. Swenson speak at a CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) retreat several years ago. I wish I had put more into practice at that time. If I had, maybe I wouldn't feel so tired and burned out right now. Each small reflection in this book talks about how to increase the margin in your life: financial, emotional, spiritual, etc. He asserts that our world is all about "more and more, faster and faster." I don't know anyone who would disagree with that.
After the reflections I read tonight, I need to make more changes. I need to be more deliberate in disconnecting from work and more intentional about connecting to my family.
One change that I made recently was to "give up" online shopping for Lent. That has helped my financial margin, but I need to go further. I need to break my addiction to technology. I think the worst thing I ever did for myself was get a smart phone. As I was reading this evening, I decided that as long as I am home, the cell phone needs to turn off at 7 PM. Everyone who needs to find me at night has my home number. I need to get that cell phone out of my hands and give a better example to my kids. How can I expect them to know how to handle technology, if I can't stop fiddling with my phone?
I know none of this is new to any of you. It isn't new to me, but God seemed to be telling me that if I know it, I need to do it. As if He is looking down on me saying, "You give such good advice to your patients and their parents about talking and reading and minimizing technology. How about you take some of it too?"
So with that, I am going to sign off of the computer, turn off my phone, and go back to reading a book. It might take me an extra day to respond to an email or check in on Facebook, but true emergencies rarely happen there.
Do yourself a favor, make enough margin in your life to see your loved ones without a screen in between. And if there is more time after that, pick up one of Dr. Swenson's books.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Where are you supposed to be?

Papa and the girls (Christmas 2010)

My father, the girls' papa, just got out of surgery tonight. Now, he didn't plan to have surgery today. It is one of those things that just happens. If he had been planning it, it wouldn't have been today and I wouldn't be in Montana and my step-mom wouldn't be have been in Washington.
However, unbeknownst to us, God was planning for my dad to have surgery today. He knew that Dad would be in an ER under the influence of drugs without family to advocate for him and keep the rest of the family informed. God had a plan for that. My best friend from college lives not far from the ER where my dad sought treatment. I texted her and in another hour or so when Dad came out of a long study, my friend and her husband were there for him. She "wasn't supposed" to be home today. She was "supposed" to be in another city working all day. She was also "supposed" to be in San Francisco for dinner tonight. Both things got rescheduled and she was home, not where she was "supposed" to be. God knew exactly where she and her husband were supposed to be today and He made sure it could happen. As a result, I was blessed to know that someone was there to hear what my father couldn't through the cloud of pain and medications and able to relay information on to me and the rest of the family.
So, next time you find yourself not where you are "supposed" to be, remember that Someone else may have other ideas. You may find yourself being an immense blessing to others. That is what my friend and her husband were to my family today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My legacy?

This is my "grandma" Lydia. She lived right behind us while I was growing up and was sort of a third/adopted grandma. She was such an important part of my father's family that my middle name is Lydia after her.

Lydia's granddaughter, and my classmate, recently shared this photo on Facebook and it made me start to think about a lot of different things.

The photo was taken by my Grandma Dorie in her front dining room. Evidently, my grandma and Lydia would take a break from their work to read their Bibles. After seeing this picture, I realized that I could look at Lydia's or my grandmother's Bibles and find out all sorts of things about them, their walk with God, their struggles and their faith. That made me start thinking about what my Bible would say about me to my children or grandchildren.

I realized it wouldn't say much as I have been using a digital Bible lately. It's hard to leave much of a legacy in a digital Bible. I don't even go back and read the notes I made in my digital version. I have however, re-read notes I have put in some of my earlier Bibles.

So, I have gone back to reading my hard-copy Bible. I'm making notes in it. It is getting messy and defaced. But, as long as I have it, it will show my kids, grandkids, etc. what I was working on and thinking about in different passages.

Someday, I would like my grandchildren to see a picture of me reading my Bible and have all sorts of wonderful, pleasant memories come back just like I experience every time I look at this picture.

What physical legacy are you leaving for the next generations in your life?

Friday, May 31, 2013

More pictures

Here are a few more pictures of the last several months.

Kidist and Finley (Dr. Ashley's son, born the day after her birthday)

Meskerem in Salem, OR
Meskerem and me at a mother-daughter retreat in Oregon (one of my favorite photos).

Meskerem batting in softball

Kidist running after a hit in t-ball

Dot supporting Kidist's t-ball team

My silly girls in the Chico pool just a week ago.

I need to devote an entire blog post to the mother-daughter retreat that Meskerem and I went to in April. It was both wonderful and difficult.
Now to enjoy the summer (lots of fun things planned). Not sure how much I will be blogging, but I will try to be better. Just don't hold your breath. =)

Year in Review

Today was the last day of school and I don't think I have posted since before the first day. Sorry folks. Life has sort of been busy. I am sure none of you have any idea what that is like. :-) Here are a few photos of what we have been doing lately.

First Day of School
At Dr. Ashley's baby shower (and Kidist's 6th birthday) in October.

Halloween 2012

Kidist in the Missoula Children's Theater production of The Tortoise and the Hare (she was part of the Fan Club)

Meskerem in the same play (she was a Glama Gecko)

Meskerem showing off new clothes

Roller-skating in Sword's Park in Billings on the new roller-skates Ayat gave them.

Next post will include a few more pictures from the spring. Thanks for putting up with me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Anne and Gilbert

Anne at Bright River Station

I recently introduced the girls to Anne of Green Gables. We read the book and then, last night and tonight, we watched the Kevin Sullivan version of the first book. They really want to read the next books and watch Anne of Avonlea, but I am not sure that they are really ready for those yet. Anne gets older and starts dealing with older things. I may be silly, but I think they need to get a little older before they read those stories.

I also realized tonight that the other reason I don't want to read those stories or watch more of the movies is that I don't want any more romance stories in my life. I find myself asking, "Where's my Gilbert?" I thought I might have found him at one point in my life, but I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, I love my life and I know I am right where God wants me. But every time I watch a romance movie I find myself getting dissatisfied with my life. It doesn't help that about every two weeks one or the other of the girls asks, "Why don't I have an America daddy?" They have even shed tears about it. They see other girls on their T-ball and softball teams with dads to coach and support, and they know something is missing in their lives. They know I was raised by a single mom, but they also know that my father is a major influence in my life. Meskerem barely knew her birth father. He died before Kidist was born; so all Kidist has is Meskerem's faint memories.

These thoughts and conversations also cause me to mourn all over again what I gave up when I was called to adopt. I knew that if I went down that road, I would greatly delay or else give up all hope of ever getting married. Please don't feel sorry for me, I knew all of this going in. I also knew my chances of getting married decreased significantly when I was called to come work in my hometown long before my children came into my life. However, that does not cause me to mourn any less what I may never have.

Everyone who has ever adopted, if they are honest, will admit that there is something they gave up in order to adopt. And, I think, all would say it is ABSOLUTELY worth it. I would not trade my children for a room-full of potential husbands. But, if I am going to be honest on this blog and let you all know what this is really like, I have to admit that I have given something up and I am mourning it right now.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not someone who wants to be married at any cost. However, there are days that I would like a chance to be "good cop" for once. I would like to be able to say, "You handle this one." I would like to have someone at the end of the day to be just as confused by my children as I am.

Being a single mom is a really lonely place to be. I have wonderful people that surround me and love me and support me, but, at the end of the day, I am MOM and the parenting buck stops with me. I'd like someone else to share a bit of that burden with me.

Some day, my Gilbert may come along, but until then, I will continue to thank God for the strength and wisdom to get through each day. And for all of you other single mom's out there, I share your loneliness tonight and I pray that God is surrounding you with the strength and wisdom you need to get through each day. For the rest of you that are struggling parents, I don't doubt parenting as a couple is difficult as well, but please remember to be thankful for what you have been given.

Now, I will send these thoughts out to the vastness of cyberspace and hope they speak to someone.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Oasis is Open!!!!

I know, it has been almost 6 months since I last posted. A lot has been going on and I have posted some of it on Facebook. But today, I had to post these photos here. Today we got to spend some time enjoying The Oasis. This is a waterpark that Harvest Church has helped build in Billings. I told my mom that this was probably the 2nd coolest thing I have been involved in at Harvest. The 1st being my adoption of Kidist and Meskerem. One of the things that has been so cool for me to see is how God orchestrated it that I could help contribute to this project and still bring my girls home. I caught the vision for this waterpark when the first capital campaign was announced in about 2004. Now, 8 years later, my children are able to enjoy what God has done. So here are a few pictures of our time there today. I will have a couple more thoughts at the end; so please keep reading.

Grandma and the 2 girls

Sheer joy!

Kidist underwater
Meskerem underwater
Kidist coming down the slide
Sisters riding the waves.
God gave us an absolutely perfect day in which to enjoy the Oasis. I pray that this place will show people that God loves us and wants the best for us. I promise following God is not all about the things you CAN'T do. Sometimes it is about what we CAN do through His power and strength. Jesus said, "I come that you might have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)  I honestly never thought my life could be this full, but by the Grace of God it is.