Day in pics

Two days, two posts: has that ever happened?

Thanksgiving Day in pictures. Happy heart.

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Stella and Sarah. I’m so grateful for friends who are happy to hold her when I rush in like a tornado with a billion things to do. So thankful for friends who love our little girl.

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Cat and Adelaide, me and StellaB. Addie is completely obsessed with Stella and it is the most precious thing. She regularly thinks that she is about to win the jackpot and get to hold the real live baby doll for a few minutes. It has yet to happen but a girl has to dream, right?

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Our little family at Stella’s first Thanksgiving. Happy, happy heart.

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Some of the place settings/decor. Dressing the table makes it feel like a true holiday to me!

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Just some of the wonderful people we get to live alongside.

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving to you!

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Thanks Be

Happy Thanksgiving morn from the other side of the globe.

Michael is out for a run with the pupster man (I regret not having a personal Turkey Trot this year but think Stella is still too little for more than a walk out in the jogging stroller), my crackle candle is making me feel a tiny bit like I’ve got a fire going, and Andrew Peterson’s Christmas music is on. Oh, and Stella’s down for a nap, giving me a happy moment to myself.

I’ve been thinking this week, as most of us have, of counting my blessings. It’s been a long last week, truthfully: Stella quit sleeping through the night a month ago and the last few evenings were particularly miserable. Naps have also gone downhill and there’s been lots of crying. Living in Asia occasionally leads to health issues and one cropped up recently, leading to massive amounts of laundry. Here, of course, that means I’m mostly tied to my apartment as it takes FOR.EV.ER. to run a load through the washer and dryer. So yeah. It’s been a week, and I’m tired. Exhausted.

But. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so grateful in my life. On Monday, as I sat beside her crib holding Stella’s tiny baby hand and rubbing her tummy as she cried, I just thought: this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. (While simultaneously wanting to cry myself–crying babies, at least this particular one, make me so so sad.) For a long time, I questioned God’s goodness in not giving our family the baby we wanted. But having her, holding her, I know for certain there was no way we, I, ever deserved this. This week I heard news of friends who are joyfully expecting but whose little one will face at least one open heart surgery before she is six months, and I hugged Stella near. Why has God given us so much goodness when there is so much pain in the world? And how can I remember to believe this when life is more full of the hard and less full of the joy?

Andrew Peterson has the answer: Behold the Lamb.

Oh, that I would always remember.

Thanks be.

Oh. And here are some pics of StellaB. Because there’s no such thing as too many. Right?

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Five month old girl is sitting up! Well, maybe slight exaggeration. But I’m her mom, so I’m just going on and calling it.

 


The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

It happens.

It happened last week.

The day was book-ended by fusses with Michael. The night before Stella was up for an hour and then it took me (Michael, too–wonder why we were crabby the next morning?) another hour to fall asleep. It was yet another grey and smog-filled day in a long line of grey and smog-filled days. I lost my subway card. Stella and I schlepped in the rain to the center of the city, an hour and a half away, for a meeting, which is when the real climactic moment happened: while I was trying to balance an umbrella, a baby, and a bulky diaper bag, some jerk stole my iPhone.

Curses.

Here’s the thing: I say I don’t believe in karma….but I act like I do. My first thought was: Seriously, God? I just came all this way with my baby to meet with a lady and talk about what we can do to help orphans, for heaven’s sake, and this is my reward? Ugh. Cue anger, sulking, and a sizable side dose of self-beration. (I knew it was stupid to put my phone in my coat pocket but Stella was half-asleep/half-crying and I was just going 20 yards in between buildings.) I act like I deserve good things, I  am shocked and self-righteous when bad stuff happens to me… but really, deep down (sometimes not very deep), I’m selfish and self-centered.

Days like this, like that, it’s hard for me to love this place, hard for me to love this people. Some days, the good ones, I look at the crowd milling about the square and feel compassion for them, feel overwhelmed by love and their deep need. But that day, as I rode a glass-fronted elevator up above the square after being pick-pocketed, all I could think was, which of those idiots down there took my phone? (Did I mention I was carrying a baby in the rain? You should feel sorry for me–I certainly felt sorry for myself.)

That afternoon, I met with some friends. We talked, they commiserated with me over the lost phone, we grumbled about how people are sometimes the worst. BUT THEN. One of my friends prayed: for me and my crappy day, but also for the person who took my phone. What the what? It never would have crossed my mind to pray for the thief. But that’s what it’s all about. Not about karma, about doing good deeds and reaping good results as a reward, but about loving and caring for others even when they don’t deserve it.

Especially when they don’t deserve it. Because that’s the principle that has been applied to me.

I’m thankful that’s the grace I live under.