Monday, August 12, 2013

A 'Me' Update (haha)

my desk, bookshelf, and small table

I have to admit I've been fairly "maxed out" this past month. Starting the new job and beginning the adoption certification classes have been difficult. I'm trying to carefully manage my energy but I can't say that I've done a great job. :/ There have been several nights that I've had to go to sleep around 7-7:30p because I was so exhausted. 

In the future, I think I'll really enjoy spending time with God on campus outside but right now it's too hot! Fortunately, I've just moved into a private office at work. So thankful! I have a window and can look out onto trees, squirrels, and sky.  Now I'm in a peaceful office where I can get some major work done! :)

To help cope with the mental & physical exhaustion, I've been utilizing my drive to work. I use the fairly easy, 55 minute drive to catch up with people, spend time listening to scriptures on CD, or just sit in the quiet. As far as house work goes, I split it up into little chunks in the evening and use my phone alarm to let me know what housework is due for the night. :) Still I've got a lot of growing to do. A few weeks ago, right after I said to mom that "I don't even have time to trim my shrubs!" she shared with me that I was still holding on to my perfectionism and that because God has a lot going on in my life right now, I need to chill. She is right, of course...the last thing I need to spend time stressed about while changing jobs and trying to adopt are shrubs- ha.

** Adoption Update** Besides the class on Saturday, this Sunday I spent 4 hrs completing some of the observation hours needed for the adoption certification. Part of my reasons for sharing is so people get a more accurate view of the children in need and to get rid of assumptions people might have already made about foster care children. I met 5 kid'os out of the 10 that stayed in this particular live-in facility; 2 white girls, two white boys and one Hispanic girl. Their ages were 5-10 yrs old. The two boys, "little Super-man" and "All smiles," were full of energy. I believe that "All smiles" was a permanent resident and that his bio-parents rights have been terminated by the state. He tended to escalate in his emotions very easily but loved working with blocks and with play-doh. "Little Super-man" was almost 7 yrs old and we had a blast lining up thin blocks to make them fall like dominoes. He loves numbers and can even shuffle cards! My heart and prayers have been on this little guy since his sister was recently adopted but that family decided they couldn't parent him. Plus, he had just said goodbye to his bio-mother for the last time because the state terminated her parental rights. Needless to say his emotions were raw and he was feeling extremely sensitive. There were 3 girls at the facility also. "Glitter glove" who was 10, wore a Michael Jackson hat and showed us all her best MJ dance moves, 6 yr old "Ladybug" who had only arrived 3 days previous and continually carried everything she owned in a backpack with her, and 6 yr old "Princess" who spent the majority of her time baking pretend cakes and food for an upcoming Princess and Prince wedding. :) I don't know the stories of  "Glitter glove" or "Ladybug" but I know that the bio-mom of "Princess" recently surrendered her to the agency and left high on meth. Developmentally, these children are probably behind a few years and unfortunately their social development is too high (meaning they know more about adult topics than a kid ever should) but they are sweet kids. One of the workers said it's so hard on her to hear their prayers before meals...especially when "little Super-Man" prays because all he prays about is that each of them will "get well" so that they can find forever families. This just goes to show that these kids are under the assumption that THEY are the ones with problems instead of realizing that it's their bio-parents who are going through issues. Any negative emotions, behaviors, and reactions they have are clearly trauma based! They need help healing, encouragement and people to share with them that they are valuable and wanted. *tears*

Last night, mom and I prayed for them and for His guidance for me in the process. I'm hopeful that my next observation visit might be at a group home they have for older children. If not, then I'll be thrilled to see this fab five again. Something else that warmed my heart was this guy that walked in during the early afternoon. All the kids ran to him and hugged him. I found out that he did not work there but that he simply comes in each weekend to visit the kids and play with them. Ahhhh...the sacrifice of his time and the love he showed them moved my heart! Gives ya a lot to think about...

Friday, August 9, 2013

After Earth - A story of sacrifice

Did you watch the movie "After Earth"? I was excited to see that the Dove movie review had given this PG movie a family friendly rating. I was not so surprised that many other movie reviewers deemed the movie as another failure and a flop for M. Night Shyamalan. But I thought it was just have to go a little deep.

I won't share the movie's whole plot with you but looking at it through spiritual's a lot about sacrifice. As I was watching it, my heart kept whispering, "Doesn't that remind you of Jesus? He was a man of sacrifice." 

*Spoiler Alert*
Over and over again, there was a theme of one willing to sacrifice themselves for another.  General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) was willing to die for his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) when he realized his son wouldn't have enough oxygen to complete his mission and get back to him, Kitai's sister, Senshi (ZoĆ« Kravitz) sacrifices her life to save her brother, and Kitai risks his life to save is father. At one point in the movie, Kitai even risks his life to save a condor's babies from tigers. In turn, later in the movie the female condor sacrifices her own life to save Katai by covering him with her wings & body during the nightly thermal freeze. It's actually that last instant that moved me to tears in the theater. 

Because of the way the film was shot, the audience knows that Katai is about to freeze to death but as he is passing in and out of consciousnesses, something begins to pull him to safety and seeing through his eyes when he regains his senses for a bit, we see something is covering him. In the morning when he awakes, we realize that the female bird has covered him to keep him warm and in turn died during the night. In that instant, emotions of sacrifice and this scripture flooded my mind, 

'He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.' ~ Psalm 91:4 NLT

Even as I write, tears well up in my eyes at the reminder that Jesus' sacrificed himself by letting me come under the shelter of his wings and he was willing to die the death I should have died...just as the bird and Senshi died the death Kitai should have died. Christ's protection covers me even now from the cold things of this life. He longs to wrap us up in his wings and provide us warmth, safety, hope and true life! I pray this reminder brings you comfort too. 

** PS - I've missed blogging! Hopefully, my schedule will begin allowing me to blog more often again. :)