Wednesday, February 29, 2012

For the Beauty Of the Earth

One of my most very favorite parts of living in Minnesota is the emphasis its residents place on being outside, all year 'round. Overnight we listened to sleet bang against with windows and woke to softly falling wet, wet snow. It created quite a slush but on the way to the dog park there were cyclists, joggers, and even a cross country skiier on her way to school. Marvelous! The dog park itself consists of acres of open forest, now blanketed in quiet snow, bordered by a running path and the Mississippi River. What has even more refreshing is a general sense of care and respect for the environment. 

Something about the church I grew up in that I will never understand is its seeming resistance against "being green" and "green" associations with what, the devil? I'm not exactly sure. I was home in Northeast Arkansas a few weeks ago and overheard a family member proudly say, "yep, I fill up landfills with my disposable diapers" and another reply, "well, why not?" 

God created this beautiful earth for our use; for planting, harvesting, gaping at its beauty. Why NOT be good stewards of what He has given us? 

Prayers, from Episcopal Liturgy:
We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the
richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of
flowers. We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our
posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your
abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen.

O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature:

Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the
account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through
Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for
ever and ever. Amen.

O God, who made everything good, teach us to love what you have made. Help us to see
you in the stars and planets, the trees and flowers, the rocks and the rivers, and
especially in these pets of ours you have entrusted to our care. How great is your name,
O Lord our God, through all the earth. Amen

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our Chinese Take Out

We wanted to adopt before we were even married. China typically followed when that line of thought crossed both of our minds. For me, the question was always when/at what point to adopt after we started a family; surely we wouldn't START with adoption.
Fortunately, the decision was made for us. I am generally a very goal directed person and did not get hit with the baby bug until around a year and a half ago. It came upon me when Ben and I were visiting an art fair, with the idea for dining room art in mind. We found instead, something for the "nursery" though there was no nursery, not even a house at that time! A series of three paintings, very simple, done by our wonderful neighbor at the time. A glance at the paintings took me straight back to childhood.
Once it (affectionately known as baby fever, I suppose) hit, it was there to stay and with fury. I plotted out our course of action corresponding with our new house and the most desirable maternity leave time - early summer, of course. I imagined harvesting veg from our garden while very pregnant. I began to research boppies, exercise during pregnancy, diet during pregnancy. And then...nothing happened. As the months progressed my inability to produce two tiny lines was heart wrenching. It seemed physically impossible, and as it turns out, it was, at least without significant intervention. Fast forward through basal body temperature taking, tests, and surgery, to the day in May 2011 when my dear gynecologist relayed that pregnancy would likely be impossible without IVF, I knew in my heart that this was not the route for us. I walked out of the office with a solid peace in my soul that our future involved a baby growing in our hearts rather than my uterus. We had already attended adoption meetings and prepared a pre-application. We read together Scott Simon's book, Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other, one of the last rosy colored books we would read about adoption, and decided to proceed. The deep peace stayed with me and while we had debated baby names for month, we had nothing suited to a person of Chinese origin when we agreed upon Serena, which comes from latin for serene, calm = peace.
So in June our official application was accepted. We completed pre adoption classes in October and our home study was approved in December. We sent off the 1-800A and are now waiting for CIS approval and completing the dossier. We hope to have her in our arms this time next year.
The paintings, just after painting in the "serenatorium."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Lenten Return

It is Ash Wednesday. Around this time every year I feel a strong connection to my beginning with the Episcopal Church. It was the ritual of Lent that first drew my heart toward liturgy and engaged my mind in a new way with thoughtful worship and prayer. 

It is this Ash Wednesday that I have read through Psalm 51 with both a heavy heart but with a measure of excitement as the fasting period of Lent makes us set aside at least one thing that is distracting so that we may turn our minds and thoughts back to our purpose, to carve away thick lazy layers of our selves, and to find peace in Christ's leading. 

I have been struggling so much over the past year with what seems like priorities that are upside down. I have blamed it on the deep aching desire to be a mother but I fear it is my own shortcomings. 
If one were to survey my mind and organize according to frequency of thought:
thinking about mothering
Ben and being a wife
taking care of furry children
wanting to perfect:
my physical shape
and BELOW that:
giving of my time to repairing the breaches that we are called to do. Sometimes it's so very hard to care about Syria when all I can think of is the most healthy form of oil to use. And

This is painful to see written out and I hope to regain my inner desire for what has fallen away. 

I'm (we're) also blogging again. 
I would like a place to bring all of the parts of myself together - to write on cooking and planting and what adoption form I can't figure out. and I would like to see all of them reflect He who created me.