Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Mary...

Today, March 29th, is significant for multiple reasons.

The small one first: one year ago RIGHT NOW, I was sitting at WFUBMC getting ready to have a non-cancerous tumor (and an itty-bitty part of my kidney) removed.  Only by the grace of God am I even able to refer to this as the "small" issue in my life.  At the time it was all consuming... now, it is just another tale in my life story.

The bigger significance of today's date is that it is Mary Piercy Waldrup's birthday.  As someone so eloquently put it at her memorial on Friday, "This is the first birthday she is with our Lord."... and what a celebration I know it is today in heaven!  Elizabeth asked me a couple of weeks ago who would bake Nanny her birthday cake and if Jesus would get her birthday gifts.  I am certain that how ever she celebrates today, it will be greater than we can ever imagine.

Would you help me celebrate Mary's life and legacy?  I would be honored if today, March 29th, you would join my Race for the Cure team.  If you are unable to join it, would you consider donating in Mary's memory?

This is us, last March, celebrating with a Dewey's pink lemonade cake.  Today, if you were one of the fortunate ones who knew Mary, raise a glass (of boxed wine if you have it!) in her memory... and give if you can.  We all appreciate you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why yes, you can judge a book by it's cover.

(Forewarning: this is not a "yay me!" post... but I just have to share at how funny God is.)

3 years ago, a friend of mine and I were getting ready to start a new Bible Study with some friends.  After some dinner downtown and dessert at Midtown, we found ourselves looking through all of the Bible Study book section at The Masters Loft.  Now, unless you know specifically what topic you'd like to study, those sections feel quite ridiculous.  "Study for Relationships"  "Study for Women"  "Study for Women in Relationships" "Study for Women's Relationships"... Puh-lease.

So, as T and I found ourselves elbow-deep in these book choices... we stumbled upon this gem:
Hmmm... that looked interesting.  So we read the back cover, it sounded good, and we bought it.

One week into the study, I knew I'd met my match.  Those of you who know me know that at this point in my life, I developed a wee bit of a crush on Jen Hatmaker.  Those of you who don't know me need to know this: I still do.  In fact, it's been joked that I might even stalk her.  What-evs.

We finished this book, threw in a couple different studies after (a good ol' Beth Moore, Search for Significance...) and decided, "randomly", on the way home from a beach trip to pick up Jen's newest book.  This is how I remember the discussion--

L- on her iPhone: "Hey, it says here that Jen has a new book out... it's sounds like it's dead on to what we've been talking about... about how God interrupted Jen's life..."
The rest of us: "Cool." "Sounds good."  "Let's do it."

There, in the second holy moment, we chose a book... because the write up sounded good.

Then... bizarre things happened.  

  • We loved the book.  
  • So we made our husbands read it. 
  •  And one of our husbands was on our church staff and offered it to our church to do as a church-wide study.  
  • And after that one was over, some of us offered to re-teach it in case someone hadn't been able to do it previously.
  • And two people showed up at that subsequent study who were ready to have their lives Interrupted.
  • And they started praying about how God was going to interrupt their lives.
  • And 14 months later, they are getting ready to pack up their entire lives and MOVE TO AFRICA.
Tonight, I had the privilege of sitting in their home as they shared with family and friends the entire story of how God wooed them to Africa.  Part of their story was that God spoke to them when they read Interrupted.... which, clearly, God would have brought into their lives somehow... but tonight, we giggled when we realized that possibly he used us judging a book ....

 by it's cover to get to this one. 

Next stop?

God's funny like that.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Facebook makes me anxious.

Who knew it... the social-networking tool I love the most makes me, well, anxious.

Wednesday evening, just returning from a six-day beach trip, I got online to see what I "missed" while I was gone.  The first 2 days of my trip I had access to FB, so I didn't miss much there.  In fact, FB told me that I was missing a Super Moon on Saturday night- something we quickly remedied.  But from Sunday on, I didn't see anything online that was happening.

Those of you who know me know that I love me some Facebook.  It really is an ENFP's dream- being connected to all of the people we love so much (and some randoms) and having a forum to share what's happening in our world, too.  With the big things getting ready to occur in Johnston-land (a trip to Africa, fostering), it's the ideal medium to share with all of you what's happening now so you don't have to wait until a Christmas card to find out.  (Like I even sent Christmas cards last year... ha!)  And, the difference in FB and this-here blog is that I learn about YOU on Facebook.  On my blog, you learn about me.  While I think your days are so enriched with info about me, I feel certain my life is not complete without knowing about you, too.

So, back to Wednesday.  I pulled up Facebook and began by reading my messages and my notifications.  Then I started scrolling back through the newsfeed.  Then I felt it... anxiety.


Seriously... there was so much to read (and, no, I didn't read EVERY SINGLE THING that happened while I was gone) and so many burdens/joys to comprehend... and of course those of you who like to update me with facts ("It's Friday!" "Unloading my groceries." "My back hurts.")... it was all a lot to process.  I wasn't, though, until I stepped away from the computer that I acknowledged the feeling that it gave me... anxiety.

Before you jump to conclusions, I am not giving up Facebook.  In fact, I can't tell you the number of people who asked if I was going to do just that for Lent.... and the answer is still "no".  This is the only medium I use to contact our students and, if for no other reason, I need it for that.

What, then, is a girl to do?

Two things have crept into my mind as I've started processing this- both are wisdom provided by friends.  The first is from my friend, Kelly, who has been emailing me to "check in" to see how my Quiet Times are going.  (QT= time alone with God)  Kelly is someone who cares about me and my relationship with Him- it's so nice to have those emails pop in my inbox as a reminder.

The second is what we heard yesterday at MOMS from our worship pastor, Wes.  He shared that intimacy with God is the antidote to anxiety.  Funny he would use that phrase right as the word "anxiety" was rolling around in my head.

Kelly's emails + Wes's teaching = something I need to work on.

All of this to say- I don't have an answer.  I don't feel like Facebook is an unhealthy addiction in my life (despite the joking I do about it.)  I don't feel like I'm supposed to give it up.  I do feel like I'm supposed to use more moderation with it... maybe a trip to Africa will be just the cure for that.  Have any of you felt this similar FB-anxiety phenomenon?  I'd love to hear how you dealt with it.

Off to update my status....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Run, Baby, Run...

When I was at UNC, I had the same roommate for 4(ish) years.  We were "potluck"... but it worked well.  There were lots of things about us that were different, but we had enough in common that it worked.  When I think of my time with Shawnee- in the midst of the 346234687 memories- I think of random things: her desire to have a milkshake vending machine in our dorm, her love of the just right ripeness of a banana, her desire to not talk in the morning (which, I'm sure is shocking, was opposite of my desire... but I learned...), and her love of certain music.  One of the CDs which I will always associate with Shawnee is this one:
which we played a LOT in our dorm room.  Mostly, I remember "All I Wanna Do...", but every now and then I remember "Run, Baby, Run".

And sometimes I sing it to myself while I'm running.

Yep- you heard me right.  While I am running.  Me.  The asthmatic girl.  The one who can't run.

Guess what, suckas... I can.  And I do.

2.5 years ago, some friends and I started training for a 5K.  We began in September.  Our race was going to be on December 31, and we would run through the lights at Tanglewood... at midnight.  Super.  And then, at the beginning of December, I got pneumonia.  Stink.  And on my birthday, no less!

I didn't get to run the 5K.  After months of fighting the mindset that I couldn't do it... that I'd always be "the sick kid"... my body gave me a great big push in that direction and I became the sick kid once again.  Fail.

And fail I did.

The runners... posted here with a couple of us who couldn't join them.

That March, I completed the Fleet Feet "Fun Run" for St. Patrick's Day.  And there ended my running career.

me with Dan... post race... in the rain

This year, I will run that Fun Run again.  This year, it will be part of my 5K training program.  The run is the night of one of our practices.  I'm doing the No Boundaries training program at Fleet Feet Sports (which is owned locally by some amazing friends of ours, btw...) to prepare for the Race for the Cure in May.  (I'll hit you up for support for that in the days to come.)

In the month I've been doing No Boundaries, I've learned a lot.  I've learned that you have to do what the workouts say for you to do to be successful.  I've learned that it's easier with a friend.  I've learned that the friend I'm running with has a direct line to the Lord when it comes to praying for good running weather.  And... I've learned I can do it.

Now, before you get ahead of yourself... let me tell you my big secret.  I don't ever desire to run marathons.  I have no false goals of being on the cover of Runner's World magazine.  I could care less if anyone ever identifies me as "that girl who runs"... in fact, I walk a lot more than I run some nights. I am not doing No Boundaries for that.  

I am doing it, though, to get healthy.  I am doing it to get in better shape.  I am doing it to honor God in my body.  I am doing it to honor Mary's memory at the Race for the Cure.  I am doing it to have fun.  And I am doing it to learn to take better care of myself.

When the race actually happens, I could possibly be in Africa.  And I'll run there.  But my desire to run will not end then.  My desire to run, actually, has been replaced with a desire to just... be healthier.  For me, for my family, and for whatever God is calling us to next.  That may look different in the days to come.  I don't know what the days to come look like, and, actually, I don't care.  All I care is that now... when I'm going up that freakin' hill and want to quit... when I start to wheeze and begin to hear the old "you can't do this" creep into my mind... when I step on the scale and am (still) disappointed with what I see... I hear His quiet whisper say to me, "Run, baby, run."

And this time, I'm listening.

please note, Sheryl Crow's lyrics aren't exactly the same path God is calling me down... but you get the point.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jesus has homework...

... if you were wondering.

How do I know?

Because Elizabeth called heaven yesterday.

On our way to Raleigh, we started talking about how much we both miss Nanny.  When I tried to impersonate Nanny's infectious laugh and E and I were both crying, she said she wished she could talk to her again... so she picked up her fake phone (the strap on her carseat) and called heaven.  Here was the play-by-play.

E: "I just dialed God's number.... now it's ringing.... Okay, Jesus answered... I asked to speak to Nanny... Hi, Nanny!  I miss you!  I wish you could come back to the earth.  What?  Oh, okay... I love you... bye.

Mommy, Nanny said she had to go because she had to help Jesus with His homework."

Me: "What kind of homework did He have?"

E: "I don't know... something about a lot of mail paperwork."

So, if you've sent a letter to Jesus lately, know that a response is on it's way... He's got some help from a great tutor.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why God's timing is funny... or, "Y'all love you some Africa"...

Scene one, Tuesday morning:
Dan and I finally figured out which Foster Agency we're going to "use"!  We have prayed over it, sought lots of wise counsel, and feel really good about it.  So, Tuesday morning, I'm on the phone with the woman we're meeting with next week and ask her "How soon can we get this show on the road?"  Her response?  "April.  We start training April 4.  Every Tuesday and Thursday night, 6-9pm."  I quickly begin to spiral out of control in my head... 'I'll have to quit running with No Boundaries (5K training program I'm doing) on Thursday nights'... 'I can't host Bunko'... 'What will we do about childcare for E?'  Panic.  All of my plans became immediately less important than doing what we needed to to bring children into our home.  I emailed my Bunko girls asking for someone to switch hostessing dates with me... I called my friend who is in charge of the No Boundaries program to ask about rescheduling my Thursday runs... I did everything but put the April dates in pen in my Daytimer.

Then Dan called.

I told him, in a panic-y tone, how I was so excited we'd get to do our training in April and have kid(s) in our home by summer!

In his very Dan way, he told me to slow my roll.  He told me that while, yes, God has called us to do this, He's also called me to No Boundaries, and I can't quit that.  He told me that if we wait until July to do the training, childcare will be less of an issue.  And he pointed out that in the days of April, we need to be available to help out our besties that live up the street who will soon be bringing home their children from Rwanda.

Well said.

I promptly emailed the Bunko girls back and said "um, just kidding..." and stepped carefully back into reality, immediately relieved of that stress.

Scene Two, the last few months/years... conversations with my best friend from college:
"So, John and Laurie are adopting two kids from Rwanda!"
"Did I tell you that Austin and Ann Marie are moving to Botswana?"
"I might go with our church to Kenya next summer... heads' up."
"Guess what?  Our friends are moving to Nairobi!"

Her response?
"Y'all love you some Africa in Lewisville!"

Back to Tuesday... so, I come off my self-induced roller coaster of stress, and Laurie (the Rwandan-to-be Momma) asks if she can come talk to me... that she has a "favor" to ask.  I prepare in my head that she's going to ask me to go to California to drop off their son, Caleb, when they go to Africa.  (He's not going with them, he's going to stay with his Auntie in CA instead.)


She asks if I want to go with them to Rwanda to bring home their children.

Holy Africa, Batman... OF COURSE I DO!!!

How funny is God's timing?  An hour before this, I was ready to sign us up for Foster Care training for the same time we'll likely be traveling.  (Which, of course, I could have moved... but still...)  I was panicked about my plans... but the minute He showed me His plans, I had an amazing sense of peace and excitement.

The details:
-Not sure when we'll go... it'll be a couple of weeks after they get their referral... but that could be any day now.
-No, I don't have a current passport.  (Working on it!)
-No, I haven't had my shots.  (Getting them done soon!)
-No, we don't have any idea where the money will come from to get me there... we're just trusting that God will provide.

Seriously, even as I type this, it seems surreal.  I am going with my second-family to Africa to bring home their children.  Does that even make sense?  What a joy.  What an honor.  What a blessing.  And, funny enough, I'm not panicked at all.

The best part of my week was on Wednesday night when I got to tell their daughter, Amelia, that I'm going.  I was driving her home from church and told her... and we both got tear-y.  She kept giggling, then said, "I thought you were going to tell me something cool, like I got to spend the night with you or something... not that you are going to Africa with us!!  That's awesome!"

I told her that since I was lucky enough to be there when she was born, it was only right I got to be there when she meets her brother and sister, right?

with sweet Amelia, 2007

Me and Amelia... we love each other... and we love us some Africa.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Just this morning I read a post from a friend about her successful journey through fertility treatments.

Then I looked on Facebook and saw that a different friend lost a baby... her NINTH miscarriage.

I have no idea how this makes any sort of sense in the big scheme of life...  I have no idea how intense her hurt is.  I know how mine felt, but that feels almost trivial compared to hers.

My heart aches for her, y'all...

Will you pray for her pain?  And will you pray that well-intentioned people won't say ridiculous things?  Because I feel sure that they will.  So just pray....

My Girl Likes to Party All The Time...

E had her first sleepover last night with her buddy, Ella.  E has been asking for a sleepover forever, and we offered this one as a "help" to Ella's mom who has a one-month old at home (and a 2-year-old... but we weren't so much help there...), but let's be real... this was more to "help" Elizabeth.

The girls were hysterical.  They played while we got dinner ready, played after dinner, gave us a fashion show, watched half of a movie and went to bed just when I told them to.  Then, 2 hours later after loads of giggles, I laid down on E's bed with her to help them calm down a bit- and within 5 minutes they were asleep (and I was out in 10... then I moved to my own bed.)  This morning, they came- full speed, full volume- into our bedroom to let me know that they'd heard a noise downstairs and went to investigate but when they got there realized that no one was there and that we'd just left on a lamp and did we not know that leaving on a lamp means wasting energy.  (Whew.)  I apologized for my energy wasting, groggily stumbled downstairs to press "play" on the paused DVD, and fumbled my way to the coffee pot.  (Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me to buy coffee yesterday while I was in Target.)

We've got a full morning ahead, but the overnight part?  Total success.  And the girls' behavior?  Success.

I pray for Elizabeth's friendships on a regular basis.  I pray that she would make good choices in those friendships- that she would associate with people who will build her up and not tear her down.  I remember too vividly what hard moments I had in friendships (and sometimes still have, to be honest) and I want her to be surrounded to people who bring out the best in her, and vice versa.

If last night is any indication, it's never too early to pray this... because God blessed their time together in big ways.  And let's not lie- these two have loved each other like siblings for their entire little lives... sometimes not being as kind to each other as necessary.  But last night they were so excited to be in each other's presence that none of that mattered... they just loved each other.

It may take me 14 days to get our house put back together, but I think it's all worth it... and I'm looking forward to this being the first of many sleepovers.  If only I could bottle up all these giggles for a rainy day....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I feel like that is the mantra I've been saying on repeat over and over the last little bit...

"I have news... and no, we're not pregnant."

Over the last 4 years, well, really... since the day we left the hospital... people have been asking us if we're going to have another child.  Really, people?  See this 3 day old baby in my arms that took 4.5 years to "get"?  Why don'tcha let me enjoy her for a bit and then I'll get back to you...

More and more as people around us were having their 2nd, 3rd, 4th child while we were stilling hanging with "just" E, we got the question more and more.

24 days ago... we got our answer.

God has been prompting Dan for years that we need to be a foster family.  Since his first psych rotation, he knew this was something we were supposed to do.  I, however, totally disagreed with that.  While I thought it was a great idea in theory, I thought it was a great idea for someone else.  I told Dan repeatedly that the worst day of my year was always the last day of camp when I had to say goodbye to all my brand new BFFs through tears and snot-filled hugs.  So how on earth was I supposed to open up my home to a child who needs love in big ways, love them, then send them "back" to what could potentially be a harmful situation?

No, thank you.

Dan, being the sweet and patient man that he is, waited on me.  He continued to mention it... and continued to pray.  And while he was gently nudging me, God decided to smack me in the face.  (So thankful it was Dan nudging and God smacking me in the face, or the adjectives I'd use to describe Dan would not be "sweet" or "patient"...)

24 days ago, with barely any sleep after our return from the Happiest Place on Earth, we went to church.  (We are so godly.)  During a sermon given by- of all people- one of my best friends who happens to be married to my bestie, God started stirring something big.  Dan and I went home to debrief the sermon and found that He had been stirring the same thing in both of us.  (Want the longer version of this story?  Invite us over for a glass of wine and we'll debrief.)  During the conversation about what home renovations we though we were being prompted to make, I casually asked Dan "Do you think we're supposed to have more babies?"  (Because, like the general public, I'm curious about this, too.)  Sweet and patient Dan responded with, "Yes... but I don't know that you're supposed to give birth to them."  Unsure whether he was talking about adoption or fostering, we talked, cried, prayed... and jumped full-on into the world of the unknown.

Here are some of those unknowns I'll be happy to not-answer for you now:

  • Will we get more than one kid?  Perhaps.
  • What agency are we using?  Dan keeps saying we're "dating" a couple now, trying to decide which one to settle down with.  We've narrowed it down to 3 (2, really)... so that counts for something, right?
  • When will we "get" a child?  Who knows.  Upon finishing the application, there's 30-ish hours of training left to happen, then inspections, then placement.  Could be within a few months, could be longer
  • Do we know the ages of the child/children? (See above since we don't know the answer to our second question, the answer to this one is... nope... but yes, we can submit a preference.  We just have no idea what that would be right now.)
  • Would we adopt if the kids became available for that?  We'll let you know when God tells us, but if you ask us, we'd say yes.
  • Are we worried about letting go?  Yes.  But have you met me?  I don't so much let people leave my life easily...
  • How does Elizabeth feel about this?  Don't know yet... we're still keeping it on the down-low.  I feel certain she'll have something great to say.  Already she busted out (3 days after our "decision") that we needed a new car... maybe a mini-van... that could haul around more people.  I'm telling you, that kid's neat.  And, ps, we'd appreciate it if you don't tell Elizabeth yet, either.
  • 8. Are you scared?  Nope.  Nervous?  Sure.  Excited?  Abso-freakin-lutely.

If you've picked up on my FB posts about "re-purposing rooms" and wondered if I'm pregnant and we're setting up a nursery... well, we're not, but you're close.  And if you've wondered why I've been a little AWOL on my blog... well, this is it.  We wanted to have a chance to tell our families first before we blurted it out on the InterWebs.  So one trip to Wilmington and one trip to Asheville down... here's our latest.

We welcome your prayers and your support over the next leg of our journey.  We are not naive- we are well aware that this will be hard.  But if our Jesus is who He says He is, we'll get through it together.  Can't wait for the adventure...