Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Just some highlights from our year.

In January, Dayna started coming to grips with her Chinese identity.

Dayna entered Ashland's Fine Arts Festival in February.

March brought about some home improvements.

In April, Dayna took a trip to space.

May ushered in life with a six-year-old.

Dayna had a minor outpatient procedure in June and discovered how much she loves surgery.

In July, Papa and Nana came for a visit and enjoyed the Stir-Up Days festivities in town.

August brought us a new school year, with a surprisingly easy transition (the year has since brought many more challenges than we could have foreseen, but it's important to remember the good times, as well.)

We had some great conversations with Dayna about heaven in September.

October was Pumpkin Patch season! We had a lot of fun, but enjoyed having Dan back when the month ended.

November was Adoption Awareness Month. We celebrated Orphan Sunday at church with a video and children's choir.

In December, we went to Oregon for Christmas and saw many friends and family members; a special treat was meeting my great-niece Claire.

Looking forward to seeing what 2012 has in store.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Running Blindfolded

I don't even really know where to begin this post. It has been a difficult few years, and I'm weary. There really isn't a better word for it than that.

God's been showing me that I'm in a race, and there's going to be a fork in the road. But I'm not there yet. Until then, I need to keep persevering and running the race. One foot in front of the other. (Hebrews 12) He's also showing me that I'm not racing alone. I'm surrounded by friends and family who are praying for me and cheering me each step along the way.

But some recent events have changed up the course. Suddenly, the race took a turn up a very steep hill.
Some large boulders were thrown in my path. The road is twisting and turning, and I didn't train for this. To add further difficulty to this race, I feel like a huge, dark blindfold has been thrown on me.
I have no idea what my life will look like on Monday. I'm sitting here with no answers, and it's dark and scary. My anxiety is through the roof. I don't know how to run blindfolded.

And my mom quietly reminds me that "even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." (Psalm 139:12) And so, I take hold of Jesus' hand and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's still steep. And rocky. And hard. I'm slowing my pace and trusting Him.

When the Wilson Boys Get Together...

...you never know what will happen.

They look like such sweet daddies to their little girls.

Even showing them the finer points of retail shopping.

Like the "Goodbye Mall" song and dance.



Dayna doesn't look overly impressed.

But do you see that awesome orange travel mug? Perfect for tea!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Meeting a "Real" Friend

I have a great network of friends through the internet. It's always fun to get to meet people in person and turn your "pretend" friends into "real" friends.

While in Portland, I finally met up with my cyber friend, Kris. She brought her daughter Kaara to meet us at a mall in Portland on the day after Christmas (maybe not the best time and place to meet!) Kaara and Dayna had a blast playing in the play area while Kris and I got to visit for about an hour.




Hooray for "real" friends!

Who Can Resist Cute Baby Pictures?

Yup...that's Claire. The darling daughter of my sweet niece Ashleigh. 6 months on Christmas Day! This was my first chance to meet her.

And if you like cute baby pictures, or want to see some AWESOME DIY projects, check out Ashleigh's blog.



Dreaming of a Wet Christmas

Three years ago, we were snowed in...it was, quite honestly, one of the worst Christmases ever. This year, we were in Oregon again. It was a wet Christmas...and we were okay with that! (And yes...the grass IS greener in Oregon.)

So happy dreaming...
So...this one technically isn't dreaming...but movie snuggles are pretty cool, too!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dan

I wrote last year (click here) about our Angel Food cake tradition for Dan's birthday. This year, I thought it would be wise to have Dayna learn the fine art of making her dad's cake.

We started by separating the eggs.
Then we added the sugar and flour that had been sifted (six times!)
Then we bake it, put it on a pretty cake plate, and have Dayna pose in her Cindy Lou Who pajamas.
Homemade angel food cake = one happy Dad!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Asking the Right Question

Thirteen years ago, Dan took me to an extremely romantic restaurant (Godfather's Pizza), ordered me a gourmet meal (Taco Pizza), arranged pre-dinner entertainment (a game of Gin), and asked me a question.

I'm so glad I gave him the right answer.

...and I'd say yes again! (and again and again and again)

Love you, Dan!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pajama Run

Last night we brought back a yearly tradition. When Dayna least expects it, we put her to bed, get into our own Christmas-y jammies, make up some hot cocoa, then wake her up (quite noisily.)

It's time for a

PAJAMA RUN!!!

On a Pajama Run, we get in the car with our pajamas and cocoa, and drive around to look at Christmas lights. We make a point of counting how many Nativities we can see, and talk about how Jesus came to be the Light of the World.

What kind of fun Christmas traditions do you keep at your house?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Referral Day!

Six years ago today, I was sent an email. "There's a little girl I think you might want to see" was the message from Tiffany. She was our case worker at All God's Children.

So I ran to the computer lab (these were the days before internet in the portables) and checked it out. I read through the details of a little girl, showing amazing self restraint at not going directly to the photos at the end.

This little girl was only 7 months old! One of the youngest referrals seen at AGCI. She loved to be held, and her favorite activity was music time. How could she not be my child?

With tears in my eyes, and a heart screaming "YES! YES! YES!" I scrolled down and saw this beautiful face:


She had ten fingers, ten toes, and three chins!!!!

So glad you're in our family, Dayna!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

O Tannenbaum

When I was a kid, we used to go up the mountain to cut down our tree.

Life in Nebraska is a bit different. We head out some county roads and go to a tree farm out of Ashland. No (reasonably priced) Douglas Firs out here.

A white pine will have to do.

I don't think I could ever go with artificial. They just don't smell right.

I think this may be the first year she got to put the angel on top.
Dan let me break from tradition and do a tree entirely in red and white. Thanks, Dan!

Gretna Singing Christmas Tree

The 2011 Singing Christmas Tree is in the books! Dayna did a great job, hanging in there quite well with the bigger kids!
Dan ran sound and lights, Alaina accompanied, and Dayna sang.

With my partners in crime: Holly Campbell, Kris Perry, and Carmen Campbell

A tree made of children's voices!

Family Tree of Thanksgiving 2011

This year's Family Tree of Thanksgiving. Our priorities may not reflect in the right order, but we are learning to be thankful for everything.




Could She Be Any Cuter?

I mean, really. The gaps in her teeth, the sporty denim jacket, the ladybug corduroy jumper...
...and pink and brown cowboy boots.
I don't they they come much cuter than this!

Orphan Sunday Pictures

We had quite the children's choir...unpredictable...making a joyful noise! It was good to see so many families touched by adoption. Enjoy the pictures.









Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All I Ever Have to Be

An old Amy Grant song is speaking to me tonight. What a great reminder that I am who God made me to be...and while I'm a work in progress, any attempts to be anyone other than who God made goes directly against His creation of what He considers to be a masterpiece.

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.

But I'm still hurting,
Wondering if I'll ever be
The one I think I am.

I think I am.

Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.

And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.

Who you are...

And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bacon

Today's blog is brought to you by our guest blogger, Dan.

Dayna had a minor procedure at Boystown Hospital on Monday that required her to be put under general anesthesia for about 30 minutes.

The anesthesiologist has the ability to make the gas smell like certain tasty scents. So when he entered the room, he asked her if she wanted grape, strawberry or bubblegum.

Dayna replied, "Do you have bacon?"

Being good with kids, the Doctor replied, "Not...anymore. We got rid of that when we
discontinued Macaroni and Cheese. We also got rid of tuna because no one ever requested it."

She settled for bubblegum.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this post are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Alaina. No pig has been killed or otherwise harmed in the posting of this blog entry.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Semper Fi 2011

video
In honor of the Marine Corps birthday, Dayna had a song for her Papa today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday 2011

video

Today was Orphan Sunday. This is the third year we've observed Orphan Sunday and the first year we've had a significant portion of the service set aside. Today, we had a family interviewed about their adoption experience, as well as a children's choir of kiddos from around the world (and their siblings, friends, cousins...) singing some poignant (well, that was the intention, anyway) songs about God's love for children.

So...the sound system was off, and the monitors gave screeching feedback, and sweet Levi belted out every fourth word into the microphone; another child kept falling across the stage in a perfect comedy act.

Don't know how well the message came off, but the children who were singing "I Am not Forgotten" won't be forgotten anytime soon!

Enjoy the video...a few of the faces from our church touched by adoption. The song is "One Less" by Matthew West.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Running on Empty

Pretty much where I'm living these days.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thoughts on Halloween

Halloween seems to be an incredibly divisive issue among Christians. And it seems no matter what side of the issue people fall on, they can be outspokenly judgmental toward those on the other side.

Personally, we're not fans of Halloween. We don't carve pumpkins, we don't go to haunted houses, we don't do witches, ghosts, skeletons, zombies, etc. We do allow Dayna to have a costume; she hits a couple of houses for some free candy; and we allow her to participate in her class party.

But we also have lengthy discussions about things God specifically addresses (the evils of witchcraft, sorcery and the like) and those that God doesn't mention (is it okay to have a costume? What about trick-or-treating?)

Some Christians celebrate Halloween and use it as an outreach opportunity. What a wonderful conviction that God has given them. Other Christians avoid the holiday altogether. Again, if that is how they are convicted, that's the path they should follow.

I guess I think to the passage that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. And do the actions I choose cause another Christian to stumble? I think if you are firm in your convictions, whatever they are, then I shouldn't be a stumbling block to you. But...if your convictions aren't solid, or you've never thought about them...what do my actions say?

This forces some amount of intentionality as we share with Dayna what exactly we believe God wants us to do about Halloween. It was interesting tonight, as we didn't really offer her a choice. Bible Study is on Monday night, so that's where we were going. Only 2 children showed up tonight for her class. I asked her if she was glad she went.

Her answer was overwhelmingly in support of Bible Study (despite the low turnout) because, after all, "I got to learn more about Jesus."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Season Done

Dan works part-time at the local pumpkin patch every fall. Six weeks of action-packed fun for him (he gets to drive the train now.) Six weeks of extra income for the holidays. Six weeks of fending on my own with Dayna at night.

Not that it's so bad...one of the perks is a family pass. Another perk is 25% off all of our food purchases. So when I'm too exhausted to entertain in the evenings, I let the pumpkin patch cook dinner and let Dayna jump on the giant inflatable pillows for an hour...or let her crawl in the giant corn box (like a sand box)...or simply walk all over the Patch and call it a workout. (Of course, the uber-delicious miniature chocolate chip cookies pretty much counteract the walking.)

It's a fun time, and we look forward to it every year. But now, pumpkin patch season is over. I have my husband back.

All is well in the world.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Going Bananas

Dayna: Sometimes I drive you bananas.

Mom: Yes, but I will always love you bunches!

(Okay, you can groan now.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Thoughts on the High Road


If you read my last post, I referred to a comment Dan recently made about me taking the high road (especially professionally, when others don't behave in a professional manner.)

I'm in the middle of 3 different battles right now at work. I'm being personally and professionally attacked from every side. And I continue to take the high road. It makes me think of my favorite poet, Robert Frost, and his well-loved poem "The Road Not Taken."

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The high road is a lonely road. It's dark. Scary. Uncertain. It's full of potholes you can't see. It's bumpy and uneven.

But God told us to take the road not taken. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:14

I guess I can take courage in knowing that the high road is exactly where God wants me to be.

I was Googling to find the image for this post. I ran across this story:

During the Civil War, confederate General W. H. C. Whiting was jealous of rival general Robert E. Lee. Consequently Whiting spread many rumors about him. But there came a time when General Lee could have gotten even. When President Jefferson Davis was considering Whiting for a key promotion, he asked General Lee what he thought of Whiting. Without hesitation, Lee endorsed and commended Whiting. The officers who witnessed the exchange were astonished. Afterward, one of them asked Lee if he had forgotten all the unkind words that Whiting had spread about him.

“I understand the president wanted to know my opinion of Whiting,” responded Lee, “not Whiting’s opinion of me.”

It doesn't really matter what the people in my battles think of me. It matters what God thinks of me. And so I continue on the road not taken.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Rules of the Game

I have a difficult person in my life. For 7 years, I have ridden her roller coaster of friendliness, followed by passive aggression, followed by sarcasm, followed by friendliness. I never know when I might say something to set her off and start the whole cycle of the cold shoulder and behind my back bullying. This is not a person I can avoid. What stinks the most is that other people are watching and observing (including young people.)

The other day, Dan was commenting to someone else that what he really admires about me is that when I'm faced with a situation like this, I always take the high road.

You know...I'm getting tired of the high road. I'm getting tired of apologizing and making peace for things I haven't done wrong. I'm getting tired of playing a game with someone who keeps changing the rules at her own whim.

What do you do when the rules change?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Days are a Blur

In reverse order:

Today: 2 hour meeting after school
Monday: BSF
Friday-Sunday: Conference in Ohio
Wednesday-Thursday: Parent/Teacher conferences (as the teacher)
Tuesday: Parent/ Teacher conferences (as the parent)
Monday: BSF
Sunday: Nebraska City
Saturday: I think I was home.

Yes...it has been over ten days since I have been home other than sleeping.

And tomorrow: family night at church.

I'm ready for November...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To-Do List

Dear God,

Please help me to accomplish what YOU want me to accomplish today. There are so many things to do, and I'm weary. Help me to find my priorities. I know YOU can multiply time, but should You choose not to, please help me to rest tonight knowing I did what I could do.

Amen.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Eeewwww

We try really hard to not let Dayna dictate household policy, but I had to share her latest edict:

"For the next two weeks no more romanktic stuf! Yuck!!!!!! (No more plese!)"

I've got to admit...Dan and I were *whisper* alone tonight for 3 hours. And we were so busy about the business of life that we can't get accomplished with a 6-year-old around that we didn't even have a chance to think about "romanktic stuf."

I guess we'd better fix that. When our two weeks are up, that is...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011