Friday, January 21, 2011

Good Night, Manners

My child's (slightly warped) version of the classic.

What do you think Miss Manners would say about the mucus consumption half-way through her performance? 

We're working on it.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stroke of Insight

Note to self:  Just because I compose a blog post in my head while, say, in the shower or sitting at a red light or on a run with my dog, does not necessarily mean it will translate directly onto this computer until I actually sit down and write it.  I only say that because this is something I've been saying to myself for awhile inside my pea brain, but haven't actually transcribed it to the written word yet.  Until now. 

So prepare.  'Cause it ain't pretty.

There's a 6-letter word that has become more profane in our family right now over most any given four-lettered ones.  A word I detest.  Loathe.  Hate.  Despise.  You probably can guess it since I already gave you a big hint. 


Such a simple word, really.  It usually has pretty good connotations.  A stroke could be associated with playing a fun game, like swinging a baseball bat or a golf club.  Or how about tennis?  Holla!  Better yet, one I'm a little partial to:  writing.  A stroke of the pen.  Or stroking the keys of my beloved laptop putting a long-overdue blogpost into written word.  How about my favorite thing in the entire world:  stroking my daughters' cheeks as they drift off to sleep?  Perfection.

Well, that's all been ruined for me now.  The word "stroke" has, within the context of one calendar year, singularly become - and pardon the melodrama, but it's how I roll tonight - the bane of my existence.

What once was an innocuous word has become a personal hell for my family, and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon.

I know, I know.  I sound like a crazy woman.  It could be extreme dehydration from the stomach flu a couple of days ago.  Coupled with the rules laid down by the kidney stone doctor which include collecting my pee in a big orange jug for 24 hours and changing my diet COMPLETELY because apparently every single crumb of healthy food I consume "is contributing to my kidney stones".  Peanut butter wheat toast for breakfast?  Nope, no peanut butter, no wheat.  Spinach salad for lunch?  No spinach or leafy vegetables, no tomatoes.  Handful of nuts for a nutritious snack?  Fuggedaboutit, no nuts allowed.  Apparently, the only thing I'm doing right here is water.  Can you tell I'm a little bitter?  You're probably thinking Sarah might have even had a little stroke herself, right smackdab in the forebrain, for suddenly turning a lighthearted little family blog into a rant.  I get it, I really do. 

But guess what?  This ain't about me.

You probably know by now how this antagonistic relationship with the word "stroke" originated.  The devastating stroke of unknown origin or etiology that felled my husband's vital father.  It came upon us swiftly and deftly without warning, and we were left floundering, bereft in a sea of agonizing questions and fist-shaking. 

Next, I was turned on to a wonderful professional mommy-blogger and fellow sister in Christ who is raising two beautiful girls (shout-out), is a runner (whoop whoop), and who happens to also be thirty-nine years old, same as yours truly.  Tragically, this beautiful and talented woman was discovered by her daughter last week on their basement floor suffering a grand mal seizure secondary to a massive - you guessed it, stroke - in her beautiful and talented brain.  Even though this woman and I have never met, her condition and her family are weighing so heavily in my spirit this week for reasons I cannot identify with words.  I am beside myself at the thought of these two girls possibly having to grow up without their mom.  If you would like to pray for Joanne and her family, I encourage you to do so, and you can follow her progress here.

Lastly, I received some news today from my mother that my grandmother Sassy has suffered a stroke and is deteriorating rapidly.  Some of you may know that my dear, sweet, beautiful Sassy has been waging a brave battle against the ravages of Alzheimer's for the past decade, and truth be told, I think she has also been secretly quite excited for the day she can escape the bounds of earth and reunite with her Savior, but still, hearing the news today has been hard.  Especially since those words included the unforgiving six-letter sacrilege, "stroke".

So now can you understand the reasons for my fanatical ramblings?


Here's the thing.....

Perhaps the craziest thing of all...

And it's a pretty BIG thing....


Nothing.  Not the strokes.  Not the deaths of dear people I love.  Not the kidney stones.  Or the stomach flu.  Not ANYTHING in my life changes my GOD.  He is the same as He ever was.  He is Alpha and Omega.  He has never and will never change.  I will change.  The circumstances of my life will change.  Some, I will be happy with.  Others, not so much.  I will move closer to Him and further away from Him.  I will make mistakes and crawl back to Him on my knees.  I will say things I don't mean, and probably even some things I do mean.  I will take Him for granted.  I will shake my fists and demand answers I may never get and pound the earth in vain, but He will still be Him.  Steadfast, pure, faithful, resolute, unwavering, unchanging from the beginning of time until the end.

He will not change.

And this. 

This, my friends, is what makes it all okay.  This is what gives me the courage to get out of bed every morning and face a world filled with Alzheimer's, armed men who shoot children in parking lots, kidney stones, and yes, even strokes.

Okay whew, I'm done.  My rant is over.  Glad I got that off my chest.  And thanks for listening.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Child is Color Blind

...And I'm so proud of her.  Jealous, even.  Because I want to be color blind too.

Not color blind in the traditional sense. Not a vision deficiency with warped rods and cones, like poor Chris who, despite being in full denial while simultaneously exercising his Fifth Amendment right on this subject and wearing a pink shirt he insists is white, still had to get special permission from the FAA to pass his pilot physical due to a minor teensy-weensy problem like not being able to tell red from green. 

Ahem.  Excuse me.  RED from GREEN.  In a plane, ya'll.  Do you know how crucially important that is?  Like to tell, say, if the plane 500 feet away from you is barreling toward you at 200 mph or better yet, heading away at 200 mph.  You get my point.  I am unable to put into words the anxiety that gives me.  (Deep breath.  Isaiah 41:10.  Isaiah 41:10...)

No.  Aria is not that type of color blind.  She is blind to skin color.

And I am so glad.

See, she doesn't notice whether the kids in her class are pink, brown, black, or even green as in Hopey's case the other day.  Poor lil' Hopey.  Aria watched Hopey get sick in class last month, and for weeks afterward during bedtime prayers, we had to pray for "Hopey's barf". 

Aria doesn't notice the skin color of others.  The only thing she knows is that the other children are her friends.  In her perfect childlike innocence, she views others how God sees us.  As people.  As souls.  With mercy.  And compassion.

One day, I know this will change.  One day, one terribly sad and heartbreaking day, Aria will realize that her skin is brown and her friends, even her Mommy, Daddy and Sissy, have lighter skin.  This just kills me.  It kills me because for now, for this blessed honeymoon period in her childhood, she is completely oblivious to the differences in other people.  She doesn't know that her eyes, those beautiful chocolate eyes that can see into my soul, are brown to my green.  Or that her fine, black hair, silk that I can't keep myself from stroking whenever she is within arm's reach, is so different from my own brittle (pretend) blonde.

I know it is coming.  Maybe because of how sensitive I am now to any reference to race, color, or ethnicity.  Twice at work in the last few weeks, different colleagues have told jokes implying racial stereotypes, and I've literally felt my skin bristle and my knees go weak with anger and pain.  Not rage towards the unsuspecting, (albeit ignorant) colleagues, but at the big, cruel, insensitive world into which I will one day begrudgingly release my precious innocent baby - my beautiful, open-hearted daughter, who sees everyone for what they are, and not for their 1/4 -inch exterior. 

I don't want to admit this, but I've done my share of racial profiling in my day.  An African-American man near my car in a dark parking lot makes me grip my purse a little tighter.  I observe with raised eyebrow the benign activities of the Persian man three seats in front of me on an airplane.  And I give my little Asian neighbor lady a wide berth when passing each other in the car.

But let me be totally clear:  I DO NOT WANT TO BE THIS WAY.  I want to be more like Aria.  I want to be color blind.  I want to accept people at face value, for their authentic humanity, not their heritage or the color of their skin.

Talking to other adoptive parents, I've had people ask me how my "transracial adoption" is going, and this completely catches me off guard.  Because I don't consider ours a transracial family.  I consider us two people who wanted desperately to be parents and who were inexplicably blessed when our extraordinary Heavenly Father answered the prayer in our hearts and performed the most staggering, inconceivable feat by weaving the threads of our lives together with a baby born 8000 miles away.  She is my perfect child, and I am her (flawed but well-intentioned) mother.

I want Aria to know everything she can about where she came from and how the history of her culture will shape our lives.  I am arranging for us to take Vietnamese lessons together so we can learn to speak the language.  When she is old enough to understand, we will celebrate Tet (the Vietnamese New Year).  One day, we will take a trip to her homeland, so she can understand and respect her heritage. 

For now though, I will cover this face that looks nothing like mine with kisses.  And I will try my best to be more like my daughter. 

Who sees the world as God intended.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Rocky Start

All that rhetoric I wrote imploring 2011 to be a better year?

I left Chris a little love note alerting him that the cause of the heavy breathing and groaning from the bathroom tile early this morning was not, in fact, a nice dream about him, but was, instead, this:

Congratulate me.  I birthed a 1 mm ball of rage from my ureter. 

And all without the aid of narcotics, seeing as how I had to be at work today at seven. 

I hope my colleagues remember how I took one for the team today when bonus time comes around next month...

Now, somebody please pass the Advil.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011



I can't believe you're finally here.  And what the heck took you so long? 

2010 was a yucky year and I'll say it, I AM GLAD TO SEE YOU GO AWAY. 

2010, you made me say goodbye to two very special people in my life, my grandmother and my father-in-law.  2010, you made me watch my husband weep for the first time (unless you count the tears he had when I was walking down the aisle towards him at our wedding, and to this day I don't know if those were happy tears or not, but for the sake of my sometimes tenuous self-esteem, let's pretend they were).  And 2010, you made me grow gray hairs on the top of my head, a hard pill to swallow when you are paying Drew gobs of money to give you the tresses of a twenty-five-year-old.

Oh 2010, you had your moments, I'll give you that.  The Rangers went to the World Series.  My brother's healthy, beautiful twins were born.  I ran a half-marathon PR.  One of my best friends battled breast cancer and won.  I ran into Troy Aikman having my eyebrows waxed.  Clemson beat North Texas.  But let's be honest, I'm looking forward to a new year.  A year without sickness.  A year without anxiety.  No sadness.  A year without drama -- wait, is that possible with an overabundance of estrogen in our house?  Okay then, gimme drama, just none of the other stuff.

Welcome, 2011.

Also known as the last year I'll ever be in my thirties.  (BIG SIGH.....) 

Which means now I have a big ole bucket list I need to accomplish in the next 10 months. 

When I was in my mid-twenties I made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish before turning thirty.  I had about three dozen things on it I wanted to do, but the highlights went something like this:
-Run a marathon
-Buy a house
-Get a dog
-Become a published author
-Get a Master's Degree
-Take flying lessons
-Meet the love of my life
-Read the Bible cover-to-cover
-Climb Mount Everest

Yes, seriously.  Those were my lofty goals at twenty-five.  Not asking too much.  Nawww.  But you know what?  Of all those things, I actually accomplished all but one of them. 

Would you like to guess which one?

As I've grown older and have (hopefully) matured in my perception of reality vs delusion, my goals have shifted and become a little less quantifiable.  I can't check things like, Be a supportive wife, or Raise my children in the likeness of God, or Submit to Christ's will for my life off a list, but they have definitely taken precedence over things like climbing a 29000-foot mountain.

All this to say that, aside from the ambitions listed above, my resolutions for 2011 range from the vain (try and be in the best shape of my life by my fortieth birthday) to the mundane (have two garage sales, one in the spring and one in fall), and everything in between (visit my ailing grandmother, floss more regularly, begin a Doctorate program). 

Oh and Mom and Dad, you'll be happy to know I've changed mountains.  I think climbing 20320-foot Denali is much more realistic than Everest.