Saturday, February 18, 2012

~There once was a chick...~

There once was a chick who liked money
Clothes, books, music & food
And don't forget SHOES
And anything that was funny

Her work brought her joy
Lots of people and pride
And many airplane rides
But she really dreamed of a boy
(or precious little girl =D )

The need it did grow
The career she did walk
Without even a balk
For new channels to row

A miracle it was
The boy did appear
With collicky tears
And Mom's exhaustive buzz

Society called for perfection
Experts, advice and books
Don't forget snooty looks
For childrearing direction

The moms did feel down
Feeling inadequate blight
With no respite in sight
Seeking anything but a frown

Seeking solice & peace
Outlets for moms
To feel more at home
And Google it calmed the beast

Imaginary Friends
To chat, laugh and cry
Through high times and dry
All at the button of "Send"

These ladies they appear
Prayer warriors with strength
Throughout the years at length
Uplifting & Supportive thru tears

Sincere and online
Stories, trials and issues
Dealt with laughs and tissues
Until everything is again fine

They each have your back
When the world it does fight
And deals life with a bite
Terrific Friends it's a fact

Through illness & kids
Death and birth
They remind you your worth
Whatever your life it may bid

From the desert to plains
Mountains and cities
We're just happy biddies
This friendship can't be explained

Imaginary friends
Some do say "it's all play"
"No way" I will say
Dear Dear Friends to the end

And to the naysayers well...
They can all go to .....=D

Our friendship we pledge
Thru life's little messing
They are each my blessing
And thanks for keeping me off...
life's ledges

I am so incredibly blessed with my incredible Mom friends in my
inner circle. We have shared so much. Thank you for all of your prayers,
support, laughter, and tears. It's so ironic that most of us met on a huge group mom site called "Unsupermoms" because we were rebels in our momhood and we relished breaking the mold of silence in our dispair. Who knew that our journeys would lead us here years later?

I have begun to really appreciate all the incredible experiences held among our small tight group. We are a perfect polling group when I stop and recount all the differences and similarities we share. The list includes major illness, divorce, unemployment, new employment and empowerment, special needs children, homeschooling, soldiers at war, grandchildren, new babies, deaths,adoptions,rural, huge city, and the list goes on and on.. I have come to realize that if something comes up in my life that I need advice.. I have the perfect group of friends who can help cause they have been there. Our geographical distance also allows me to gain a new perspective I might not have thought of before.

You each amaze me in your strength, strong faith and determination to make this world better. Your honesty and ability to say exactly what you think is refreshing. And you each inspire me to be a better person. And I love each of you dearly. You have made my life so much richer and happier.

So Imaginary my butt. If this is what make believe is..then I feel sorry for everyone in the "real world"...I will just stay here and play make believe..

Friday, February 17, 2012

~~Ring.. This is Teacher Hoot Calling~~

Something really strange is going on around here with me lately. I am lacking something I usually have in abundance..


I am honestly lacking for the gift of sarcasm at the moment. A huge amount of sarcasm is the fuel of champions in my book. I waller (that's Southern for rolling in it) in it daily. Now don't get me wrong.. it isn't completely gone cause you would probably have to commit me if I didn't use it to torture my little hoots. And they would probably look at me dumbfounded as if I hit them upside the head with a bat if I removed it totally from my childrearing skills.

After all the drama of last week with the adoptions and cancer remission it felt good and proper to post next about Valentines Day and everyday life in all it's snarky glory. But when it came time to sit down and write.. nothing came. I had picked a bunch of saacharin coated, hilarious and bitter flavored songs and images to commemorate the event. However, the day came and went without a single peep from moi.

Instead, I find myself in an introspective mood. And meditating on all my blessings. The call came from little hoot's teacher this week inquiring if I knew that she had turned in her loose change collection box that day. "Yes I was aware" I replied. The teacher then asked if I knew how much was actually in that box. "Yes". And the teacher sighed and got quiet. At this pt. I come to the realization that Little Hoots teacher may have thought my hoot had gotten into a stack of bills at home. Little did Teacher Hoot know, that the only stack of bills you can find in our nest are the ones we have to pay to keep the lights on and music playing. I explained how both of my children had taken to the task of fundraising loose change for children's cancer very seriously. Especially Little Hoot. She demanded that we canvas our neighborhood w/scooter and box to knock on doors asking for change. And after a while Little Hoot even changed her script from "Give me your Money" to "Will you help us with kid's cancer?"..."please".

In fact, Little Hoot took to this like a fish in water. Big Hoot being the competitive Hooter he is finally kicked his effort in gear and it became a competition. I am so incredibly proud of both of my hoots.

School fundraisers have become a nuisance of late. In years past, it seemed as if every club and class was selling something. And this is the yr. I put my foot down and said no. If they needed money for something I would be happy to just contribute more than what my hoots would have sold after the administrative costs were deducted.

Thankfully, this year our school has decided not to hold fundraisers per se. This is the year that we introduced altruism to our kids. The canned good/monetary donation to benefit hungry people took center stage. And our school raised an amount to be proud of. Then came the yearly event to collect/donate coats for kids. And again our kids stepped up to the plate. So when this fundraiser came along my kids dug in again.

What makes me so proud is that both hoots are always willing to give money that they had personally been saving. In fact, their grandparents donated to the cancer event. And then sent cards w/$$ for Valentines Day. Little Hoot didn't bat an eye when she decided to put all but $1 of her gift in her collection box. And Big Hoot keeps reminding me that this event really isn't about the prize of a caterered Olive Garden meal to the class that brings in the most $$. But it's really about kids fighting for their life against a deadly disease. It's as if the prize is an insult in his eyes. And his class has almost brought in $200 thus far. So the kids are really getting into this project.

So I explain to Teacher Hoot that my kids are usually collecting something to help someone else out. We regularly go to the dollar store after I give each hoot a set amount of money to spend. They are to select food items for the food pantry. It's amazing to watch them shop, discern and collect the items they feel will feed the most people with their budget. We could actually purchase more food if I took that money and donated directly to the food pantry I volunteer at. They can get the food for much less. But the lessons my hoots are learning are wonderful. And I hope they remember these trips after they grow up.

What blew me away was Teacher Hoot started crying after I was explaining what we do. And how open, thoughtful and generous she can be. She was so touched by this generous box of money that she called me in the middle of class to inquire about it. She then laughed after I told her that Little Hoot would actually have another $20 if she would clean her room. But this has not been a doable option for my LH. Nothing.. and I mean NUTHING will move that child to clean her room.

It's hard to teach our hoots all we need to teach them. And usually by the end of the night when the house is quiet and calm I reflect on all the missed opportunities there were to read more, laugh more and argue less. And I kick myself for getting into crazy unnecessary drama all the time. Many days are ended with a mental reminder of all I wanted to cover and ran out of time to do. However, truth be told.. my hoots are picking up on some of the important stuff thru childhood osmosis and I am so incredibly grateful. So for all the failures I feel at times, I am pleased beyond measure that my hoots are becoming aware of the world they are living in, the people in which we share it with, and the realization that we can change it for the better if we take the necessary steps and effort to try.

Friday, February 10, 2012

~~ This is the Kid...~~

This is the kid
Who fought back
When cancer came
With its attack

This is the boy
Who stood tall
And faced this demon
And accepted the call

With head held high
And faith so strong
HE shaved his own head
To right this wrong

This is the kid
Who bravely faced the tolls
He gave himself shots
Cause that's how he rolls

This is the boy
Who looked death
Straight in its eye
With his every breath

This the kid who learned new words
That before were forbidden
Like "Cancer Sucks"
Just be ridden

This is the kid
Who took up the fight
And inspired so many
With grace & might

This is the boy
Who drank the crap
That burned his insides
With horrific Zap!!

This is the friend who held the hands
And hugged other peers
Who battled like him
To cancer they threw back their jeers

This is the kid
Who helped them cope
He made them laugh
And gave them Hope

This is the mom
Who is beyond Great
That has raised 6 kids
And improved their fate

She picked them all
To love & hold
And made a bond
That broke the mold

And this is the family
Who walked the race
Cause when cancer strikes
It puts all in their place

This is the boy
Who has inspired so many
With microphone and radio remote
He asked for pennies

And quarters and dimes
And dollars to boot
Cause this cancer that strikes
Strikes with evil brute

He's taught us so much
Like how all cancers
The KIDS get the least $$
To find the answers!!!

To solve this horror
To tame this beast
So please please please
Let's fund for the least

These are the boys
Who both had to fight
Best friends they were
Before this killer made sight

This is the deadly disease
That is Evil season
It picks and chooses
With no rhyme or reason

So no other child
Big or small
Will have to fight
This horrific brawl

This is kid
Who fought so hard
Who officially today
Has WON his battle

So Tony today
Our tears they do flow
Congratulations & Adulations
We want you know

We love you and cheer you
And thank you too
For you inspired us all
In all that you do!!

May your years be many
Your troubles be few
And your family & friends
Be an inspiration to you

~~Little Sheep.. Can You Hear Me Now? ~~

You are just not gonna believe this post. But I feel compelled
to write it, especially when I know several mutual friends are
anxiously awaiting for this information. But here it is...
wait for it.... (as little hoot says)...wait for it....
(as bigger hoot says)......

Yes.. you saw it and now I'm telling you..
Hell Just Froze Over!!
And no, Carrie and Lee did not bring the snow and ice back
from Kiev.

It has frozen over because I am actually having a difficult time finding the correct words to all the emotions I have felt today and the beautiful
reunion I witnessed a while ago. And believe me.. as you already can personally and readily testify to be true. This chick just never runs out
of words.. especially while writing. My blogs have always been a healthy outlet to get my unspoken words/emotions out. And often is the case, when I return to reread my post at a later date, I honestly have no memory of writing my words down. Not sure where they come, they just usually come out
freely and in a fashionable order. The masses have always said I write waayyy better than I talk. The lesson is to speak less and write more I do believe.

Please bare with me on this entry as I try to find meaning to convey what I witnessed and shared in tonight. I feel it important not to wait and linger to find the "correct" meaning.. for the exceptional imagery could get lost if I wait.

This adoption journey has had so much meaning in my life as I have been able to share it with my dear friend. What I am realizing tonight as my emotions wander.. everything Carrie has experienced and lived has lead up to tonight. It all has come to together tonight.

There is a beautiful Bible Parable in which I am probably the last person to be telling it. I'm afraid I won't do it justice. But the imagery is beautiful and its message is both simple and yet very complex. The story explains that Jesus is a shepherd and we as followers are his flock. He is the leader and keeps tabs on us, caring for us, and leading us out of danger if need be. Our job as sheep is to be just that.. Sheep. We are to watch for him and follow his direction. Modern day shepherds use dogs to watch over and maneuver the flock. But Jesus is the only thing needed for us sheep. And the story goes that the sheep will always recognize Jesus as the shepherd. No matter where or how.. We sheep will recognize his voice we may never have heard or recognize his face we have never seen. But instinctually, we will KNOW him. Just as he knows the number of every hair on our head as he has counted them..and believe you me..with all the plucking I do of my own gray hairs is an ever changing process.. Okay, so I recognize that I have just mashed two Biblical concepts together.. but you get the gist?

So the day went incredibly slow and yet incredibly fast. It was a weird day with so much emotion and anticipation. When Carrie shared with a few of us close friends her nudge that she felt God was leading her into an international adoption, she confided that she wasn't sure how she felt at first. She questioned whether her initial response was a direct result of the love and emotions she felt with her son, Nathan. And the thought crossed her mind she might just be wanting to help Reese's Rainbow for personal elevated reasons. She really had difficulty deciphering Why she felt compelled to even think about adopting another child. And then, while she was praying and helping others, she discovered that the little girl that captured her heart had a best friend. This really set the emotions in overdrive. Here she was questioning one, but then with the knowledge of a best friend, she just couldn't separate the two. It was then that she really asked our group of moms to step up our prayers for her so she could dicipher the reason Why she felt so compelled. And of course she raised her own strong questions and prayers to God seeking his will. Then, she went to Lee and told him of her conviction. They pondered and prayed together and spent much time investigating their desires with what they also both felt compelled to do.

Once they felt strong in their faith that they fully believed that they had been called to act, they started the long process of adoption. And they included their three children to see how they felt. Now this to me is where it can get murky. Because around my home my 2 little hoots can love a meal I just fixed and tell me it's their favorite. Only to serve it again a month later to boos, tears and dislike. So to think that 3 kids like the idea and are fully on board to bring 2 more girls into the brood is no little thing. And if it had been my kids and I went down this path, I shudder to think mine would say.. oops.. wait a minute.. we changed our mind, just send them back... So this adoption thing is a MAJOR and completely non reversible thing. And the fact that they are 2 special needs girls just ups the ante.

Two hoots and I went shopping after school to purchase gifts for all the kids. We oo'd and ahh'd over many different things. But we all came to the agreement that with much change comes much needed time for snuggles and comfort. We recognized (ok.. so that was really me =D ) that each child is gonna need to restablish themselves in the new world...nope make that new home order. So we found out favorites and lovingly selected soft and warm blankies or pillows. Our hootin' family does much bonding while camping out in the living room on pillows (or piddoes as we call them) and favorite and tons of blankets are flopped down with favorite movies to watch... so .... We get home and linger and discuss which blanket and stuffed animal should go to each girl. I LOVED hearing the thoughts/feelings and reasoning my children placed on the importance to each special girl and their personalities.

After a flight delay, I set out for the airport to meet the family flying home. And I got a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with Carrie's mom who I haven't seen in years. It also allowed me to meet a special SIL and see her dad, brother and other friends anxiously waiting their arrival. The poor 3 kids left in the States had not seen their parents in almost 2 months. An afternoon for my hoots can seem like a miserable week sometimes. And I vividly recall how slow time moved when I was young. So I couldn't help but ponder and speculate how they might be feeling with their parents arrival. And honestly, the idea of jealousy in having to been so far removed from their parent's presence for so long only to have 2 new daughters arrive in their arms crossed my mind.

These are the precious three who were patiently yet anxiously waiting for their family to return. And they were so incredibly well behaved. Another
thought among many that crossed my mind while driving home tonight.. dang!! Carrie & Lee make some absolutely beautiful babies. I can't begin to describe how much JOY I felt while talking with them while we waited. And I love that they share so much in common with my little hoots. So we waited and waited for the grand entrance. We saw them upstairs and headed for the elevators for them to some down to baggage claim. I wish that the picture I took would actually show just what really was going on. All three kids were facing the elevator and were literally bouncing on their heels in complete joy and anticipation.

When Carrie and Lee stepped off that elevator it was as if time stood still. The kids ran into their parents arms. Hannah & Naomi waited patiently for all the folks to move around. Then each child went up and greeted their new siblings. Every child had the biggest SEG on their faces and hugged. After a moment, Hannah and Naomi were released from their bonds and were able to meet extended family members.

I am unusually happy to report that I did not get many pictures tonight. This is very unlike me, as I worked for photographers for almost a decade (and as you can testify.. thankfully I WASN'T the one shooting the images). However, my mind still works in photo ops and composition. NO, what happened to me tonight was that I was IN THE MOMENT.. and I was able to just wrap myself in everything that was going on as if I were a sponge. Luckily, there was a very abled lady there who had an incredibly awesome camera who was capturing this moment in time.

As the kids and family interacted the most incredible feeling of Wonder came over me. The original Eubanks 3 so openly, lovingly and warmly embraced their new sisters. And what really did it was the strength and searching that especially Hannah made to physically connect with her siblings. Naomi was being held and would reach out and touch us if we were near. Hannah being the ring tail tooter as I imagine her to become was deliberately seeking her siblings. And when she was near them, they would grab her and hold her up against them tightly. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. These girls who already have limited speech are now thousands of miles away from anything they have ever known. The language and folks are all new. And lets face it, Carrie and Lee have only had them in their physical custody for 4 days. And you could see the peace that both girls had and they KNEW that this is where they BELONGED. There wasn't a doubt on their faces. It was acceptance.

I met Carrie my second semester at the University. She became my roommate after my roommate had been a thief and hers ridiculously difficult to get along with. We set out to make living arrangement rules first. We learned to live with each other first. By the end of the week we had become best friends...inseperable and as close as sisters. We would stay up till almost dawn talking about anyting and everything. And I vividly recalled a conversation during one of those wee morning marathons about how we dreamed of staying close throughout our lives and hoping that our children would know each other. We are quite opposite in many ways and complement each other. And as often strong friendships can prevail, ours hit a major bump years ago. Lucklily, we were able to repair the damage and move forward. And tonight the tears flowed as we hugged and kissed in love and amazement and complete JOY. My words were choked but I remember telling her that this has been my very best investment. How can it ever get better than this?

The Carrie I met 25 yrs ago had dreamed of moving away from her hometown. She wanted to experience something different. She is very intelligent, driven and very competitive. Once she setted her mind on something, well then.. that was it. She had a career and then married later in life to a wonderful and caring man. And they found themselves moving away from their hometown and starting a family. It was wonderful that we had our first kids the same Summer. They had Nathan and then discovered that he had that extra special gene. And she dug in and loved him so much he couldn't do anything BUT thrive in her care. Then came precious Sarah. Then the opportunity came to work abroad in Dubai so they packed up their 3 very young children and moved to a Muslim country and learned another way to live. It was very very hot and sometimes isolating. But they thrived. Then they moved back to their homestate on a FARM. Really? A FARM? Carebear on a FARM? Miss city girl?

I'm rattling but I do have a point. The Carebear I knew so long ago has achieved and accomplished those professional goals and travelled that she dreamed of so long ago. The Carrie I know today is not driven by perfection & dominance anymore. She has mellowed and her family reflects that inner beauty and cpeace well. This journey to the Ulkraine where the temperature didn't get above zero on many many days is a huge contrast to the extreme blistering heat of the Middle East. She chose her husband and partner well as they make a great team. For her children she seeks them to achieve what they are capable of achieving on their own abilities. She's calm and patient and allows that calm to flow throughout. And her children and family reflect this. Most of all, she has become a woman of faith. One who has completely (on most days) surrendered to the possibilities of being used as a vessel for God.

The beauty that I witnessed today is the Woman of God and loving and patient Mom that Carrie has become. Anytime God sets the fire to us in the form of metal for refinement is a tough and sometimes painful process. The ability to surrender your metal in that flame is a hard surrender. And I wish that would surrender more and argue and resist bending less. It is a lesson I can learn from watching Carrie.

Matthew Broderick has recently revived his Ferris Bueller role for a series of commercials for a car company. The movie almost 30 yrs ago was groundbreaking in which he stepped in front of the camera and spoke to the audience. He asks the question that everyone can relate to about skipping out from personal responsibilities and just take the day off to Seize the Moment... to have the Perfect Day...

That is Exactly how I feel right at this moment. Have you ever had a day that you can say was just about as close to perfection as you can get on this earth? Where all the stars & planets line up perfectly or so it seems? It's so fantastic that you can almost taste something extraordinary?
Well, that is exactly what I experienced tonight. After all the kids had hugged and embraced. One of the Original Eubank kids went up to a new sibling and said "I have been waiting for you for so long" and they hugged so tightly and laughed. And I witnessed this acceptance from all the children. What literally blew me away was the complete peace and something Extra that Naomi & esp. Hannah had . Words are hard to describe it. But it honestly looked like the peace and acknowledgment to the finality of completely accepting and relishing the most certain thing they ever wished for. And in this moment I swear it was as if I heard Jesus' precious voice saying.. " This is where your journeys have all been leading up to".."All the pieces are finally in place". Or maybe this sheep saw His face in the shear magnitude on the faces of all the siblings and parents. One thing is certain. This was something way bigger than outward appearances. And I am in complete awe and gratitude to have been a participant & witness. We are all so very blessed. And all is very well for one short, brief moment in time. And I am so grateful.

Congratulations Eubank Family...
Ty Pennington's (from Extreme Home Makeover) voice is in my head at the moment.. and I just want to yell (with an imaginary megaphone)

"Move that Bus"
but that would not make any sense at all..
so this will have to do..
"Move that Mountain"....

And on a sidenote: The adoption process for the Eubanks took less than a yr. Which is surprisingly a short amount of time when compared with the average adoption these days. So people who are yearning for a child can always check with Reece's Rainbow to help place these children. And they also allow adoptions to single women with often times grant money to help with costs.