Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Old Favorite

1. The Road Not Taken
 Robert Frost
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;        5
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,        10
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.        15
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.        20

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adopted for Life . . . and in Death

Read this story on a friends blog just now. Wanted to share with you. Not sure what I am feeling. I have always been open to the idea of adoption. I haven't even had a chance to talk to Chuck. Am I being called? I can't tell you what this story has stirred in me. And, this is not the first one this week that I have received. I haven't gone seeking stuff about adoption; it just keeps popping up in my path. Pray that I will be still and listen to God as he leads me.

Adopted for Life . . . and in Death

Arno was inseparable from Mr. Penguin. The little Haitian boy was almost three years old, and the plush penguin with the word "love" inscribed upon it was his most treasured object. The orphan and his penguin were always seen together.
The boy had been given the penguin just after his birth. A Dutch couple was in the process of adopting him almost from the start of his life -- they had been matched to him when he was only two months old. The penguin represented a promise.
The process of adoption took two years -- the length of time considered adequate to determine that no living relatives might claim him. According to official estimates, there were over 50,000 parentless orphans in Haiti before the earthquake came and orphaned many thousands more.
Richard and Rowena Pet were the young Dutch couple who wanted so badly to be Arno's mother and father. They had struggled with infertility for years before deciding to adopt. As they awaited the adoption of Arno, Rowena became pregnant. Last August she gave birth to Jim, who was left in the care of relatives as Richard and Rowena flew to Haiti in January to claim Arno and complete the adoption process.
The story of Arno's adoption is movingly told by reporter David Charter of The Times [London]. As he reported, "Arno was shy at first but within 30 minutes of meeting his adoptive parents he reached for Rowena’s hand and took the Dutch couple on a tour of the orphanage in Port-au-Prince where he had spent most of his short life. He began to call them Mummy and Daddy."
Richard had shared their joy with a friend in an e-mail:
“We got to the orphanage feeling a bit strange. We went around a corner and immediately saw Arno walking towards us. He was OK until he was about half a meter away, but then he panicked. The woman from the orphanage helped out and half an hour later he took Rowena’s hand for the first time. I’m sorry but I can’t help crying at the moment as I type this. Arno has been showing us everything in the orphanage. He showed us an old car they have for the children to play on. He was holding a birthday card we sent for his second birthday.”
According to Charter, adoptive parents often stay at the Hotel Villa Therese in the PĂ©tionville district of Port-au-Prince. That is where Richard and Rowena took Arno. That is where they were when the earthquake came. And that is where they died together.
David Charter tells the story, with comments by Chris Spaansen, the friend to whom Richard had sent the e-mail:
Dutch TV cameras were on hand during the frantic search by an international rescue team with members from the Netherlands, Britain and Canada. . . . Lying there amid the rubble was the unmistakable blue and yellow toy bird, Mr Penguin, marked with the word “Love”, that went everywhere with Arno. “That toy helped them to make their first contact with the little boy. It had a really special place in the family. It was a very emotional moment for all of us,” Spaansen says.
Then this:
What the cameras did not show were the three bodies, found intertwined together, as if Rowena and Richard had tried to put protective arms around Arno as the masonry began to fall. The disaster cruelly destroyed the new family, creating its own orphan back in the Netherlands. Jim, just five months old, will be brought up by Rowena’s sister, who already has her own three-year-old boy.
The bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet were taken to the Netherlands together, just as they had been found together in the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese. They had been a family for a few hours, but a family all the same. Arno had a tragically short life, but he ended that life in the arms of a mother and a father.
Who can read this account without heartbreak . . . and a heart warmed? Is there a heart so cold that it does not feel the pathos of this report, and sense the sentiment of this family's tragedy? At the same time, this is not a tragedy in the classic sense. The love of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet transcends tragedy. That is why The Times published this report, and why it stays with you so long after you read it.
Of course, for the Christian there is far more to this story. In the story of Arno Pet we find a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians:
But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. [Galatians 4:4-7]
Adoption is perhaps the most powerful depiction of the Gospel found in the Bible. We are all orphans, born under the curse of sin. By the sheer grace and mercy of God, those who come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are adopted as sons. Redeemed sinners are adopted as sons "through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise and glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." [Ephesians 1:5-6]
Arno Pet began life as an orphan, but he ended life as a son. He was abandoned at his birth, but he died in the arms of his parents. He did not die as Arno, he died as Arno Pet.
In the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese the film crew found the bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet. In that same rubble, we find a picture of the Gospel of Christ. He who has eyes to see, let him see.
David Charter, "Haiti Tragedy -- The Couple Who Died with Their Newly-Adopted Child," The Times [London], February 3, 2010.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Make it Work

How do you have a melt down without coming across as throwing a tantrum?

I really need this answered after the day I have had!  After not much sleep, Chuck wakes me up to get Emma and her stuff ready to go to his parents' for the day.  I rushed around doing all that; finally got them out the door and began my day.

It started out good.  I had breakfast, changed the sheets on my bed, showered and straightened up in the kitchen.  It was definitely a productive morning.  Next, I went upstairs and began sewing.  I sewed all afternoon. I finished a shirt, that turned out really cute, then started on a burp cloth.  As I began working on the burp cloth, I realized that it literally had taken me HOURS to stitch out this one shirt!  I was a little annoyed, but decided to keep a positive attitude... 'You have to start somewhere,' I kept telling myself.  

You see, the machine I have, has a single needle and a very small embroidery area.  Not a problem most of the time because I have figured out how to manipulate it to maximize its abilities.  However, since launching my website,, I have had many, MANY orders come in.  Which is fantastic, but I wasn't quite prepared for this.  I honestly thought that I would just get a couple here and there to begin with and grow.  

So now, I have all of these orders, and a machine that is really for a casual sewer.  How in the world am I ever going to get it all done???? But, like I said, I have been repeating, 'You have to start somewhere.  You can do this.'  It became my mantra today.  I have been so determined to make this work; and I am still determined!

So, anyway, I was finishing up the burp cloth when Chuck called to say he and Emma were on their way home.  We talked about dinner options and then got off the phone.  Me, being the over-achiever, perfectionist that I am, began feeling guilty.  Emma had been gone all day, and I felt like I had accomplished nothing.  I hadn't gotten anything for dinner, my house was (and still is) a disaster, and I had finished only 1 shirt.  

Down the stairs I flew to the kitchen.  I began digging around, trying to come up with something for dinner.  Remembered that I had the stuff for Chicken and Rice.  So, I got my chicken going, ran around trying to straighten up the house a little, all the while I had a burp cloth finishing up upstairs.  I ran upstairs to unhoop it when I heard it finish, and there it began... The (fill in with your choice of adjective) thing had gotten hung up and the corner had been stitched to it.  After I had been so careful all day to make sure that I didn't let something like that happen.  Ugh!  I just had to walk away.  

So, I headed back down stairs to the kitchen to check on the chicken.  It was coming along ever so slowly.  So, I decided to start the rice.  I opened the bag, and was about to pour it in the water, when I realized that there were bugs in it.  This was the only rice I had in the house, and it took me 15 minutes to find it!  I was truly on the verge of a breakdown... A few tears actually escaped, but I was able to regain my composure.

I was about to walk out the door to go buy more rice when I realized that I had not been to the restroom all day long.  I made a quick detour to Emma's bathroom and there is where it all fell apart.  Chuck had told me the night before that the residue from Emma's oatmeal bath was disgusting.  I didn't think much of it and just said that I would clean it later.  I had totally forgotten about it until then... when I flipped on the bathroom light.  It was not oatmeal residue that was in the tub.  Well, it was, but that wasn't all that was there.  There was poop.  Lots and LOTS of P-O-O-P!  I honestly don't know how all of that came out of Emma!  

And, I know you're thinking, "How did you miss that?"  Well, have you ever seen an oatmeal bath?  It is super cloudy and has sometimes has lumps in it.  It is completely gross on its on, but add poop, and gag!  

So, anyway, at this point I am crying... I let my child play in poopy water.  I didn't get her out, clean out the tub and bathe her again like a good mother.  I put my baby to bed with poop germs all over her!  I sent my baby out of the house today without cleaning her up from a poopy bath.  Wait a minute!  She handed me a handful of poop last night and I just thought it was a big clump of oatmeal!   How did I miss that when I actually held the poop in my hand for a second before flushing it!?!?!  What kind of mother am I? And, I have been alone all day and accomplished nothing... Look at this house, I almost fed my family rice with bugs!

It was bad.  Really bad.  I haven't had a moment like that in a while.  So, I clean out the tub, about 6 times, tears running down my face the entire time.  

Then it hits me...  Chuck and Emma are about to be home...  I don't have dinner anywhere near ready... and I am crying...  If Chuck comes in and sees me like this, he'll think I am just having a temper tantrum because he won't get me a new machine...  He'll think I am being a childish brat...  I'm not being a childish brat... I do want a new machine... But I really need it... I want to make this business work... I want to be a success at something for once in my life.... I am so tired of being a failure... I am ready to work hard at this... I am determined to make it work with this machine I have now until I can get a bigger one... No, I give up... I am going to tell everyone that ordered, "Sorry, just not going to be able to make it happen..." I am going to just roll over and cry... I am once again a failure. 

Which spiraled into... Why did he marry me... He deserves better than me... Emma deserves better than me... They really would be better off without me... God, please just take me now... I have to get out of this house... 

So, I did.  I didn't get any further than backing out of the garage before I began to calm down and try to rationalize my thoughts.  I decided to go to the grocery store for some rice; just take a few minutes to get away from it all and breathe.  I cried as I walked through the grocery store.  I know that I was 'That Girl,' but I don't care.  Slowly, as I wandered from the bananas to the rice and through the dairy section, I began to take deeper breaths and the tears slowed.  

I realized that I really do 'have to start somewhere' and, so, this is where I will start... With a small machine for a casual sewer, pulling all nighters, but making it work.  

Slowly, but surely, I am going to make this work.