Mackenson and Wilson… Friday, Jan 29 2010 

Our good friends, Greg and Jackie Reimche, received their twin boys Mackenson and Wilson from Haiti yesterday.  What a day for them.  They had spent time in Montreal, arriving there on Saturday, and every day waited for their boys to arrive.  They finally arrived, not in Montreal, but in Ottawa…so they drove to Ottawa yesterday and their little boys came in the afternoon.  What a rollercoast ride it has been for them.  We were invited to meet them at the airport last night when they came home to Saskatoon.  What beautiful little boys!  Lots of tears…lots of hugs…lots of smiles!  So awesome to see the grandmas holding their new grandsons for the first time.  What a lot of prayer, time, tears, patience, impatience, anger, frustration, anger, frustration has been experienced these past couple of weeks.  Jackie, totally out of her comfort range, went on National Television to speak to the issue of getting those children out of Haiti as quickly as possible.  Then today they allowed the TV cameras into their home to be interviewed and to show the world the beautiful boys they have…so not who Greg and Jackie are but they realized it needed to be done.

The whole issue of adoption is not easy to work through.  Jerry and I worked through all of that 32 years ago when we adopted our little girl Tamara.  There are many things to work through in your own personal lives to come to the point of moving towards adoption.  Then comes all the interviews where you are asked every question possible about your life and a judgment call is made whether you will be “good enough” to raise a child.  Then once all that is through, there is the endless waiting for a new baby to arrive.  There is not the preparation time of pregnancy and all that brings, and often you feel that you will never be parents and there are no children out there for you.  I still remember telling Jerry that we would never receive a baby, so I put everything away and put nothing together for a baby…so when we got the call there was nothing in place and we had to start from scratch.  I don’t think it really affected Tamara too much and she was fine sleeping in a bassinet for awhile

Now an international adoption certainly has it differences, but there are commonalities in the issues you have to work through to come to the whole idea of being able to adopt.  Greg and Jackie you are amazing and you will be amazing parents.  You will learn like the rest of us, day by day, make mistakes, try again, and your boys will grow up to be amazing men who will change the world!!!  Thanks for allowing us to be part of the journey with you

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Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Tuesday, Jan 26 2010 

My niece lent me these two books and I read both of them this weekend.  They are written by Jeannette Walls.  Half Broke Horses is the story of Jeannette’s grandmother’s life.  I really enjoyed this book as Jeannette’s grandmother,  Lily Casey Smith, was like a “half broke horse” herself.   By age 6 Lily was helping her father break horses.  At 15 she left home to teach in a frontier town –riding 500 miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job.  She learned to drive a car (“I loved cars even more than I loved horses.  They didn’t need to be fed if they weren’t working, and they didn’t leave big piles of manure all over the place”) and fly a plane.  Loved her strong character and strong zest for living life.  She was not afraid to take a risk and strike out on her own.  Great example of resilience…of being able to pick up and keep going after being knocked down by circumstances in life that seemed not to be fair…but then life isn’t fair…she married and with her husband Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona.  She had a daughter, who is Jeannette’s mother, Rosemary Smith Walls,  and a son…and she struggled with being a mother and parent…great read…

The Glass Castle is Jeannette telling her story of growing up as one of the children of Rosemary Smith Walls and her husband Rex Walls.  An unforgettable story!  Two things this book brought to mind:

1.     The resilience of children and how they are able to survive and sometimes thrive under circumstances that seem unbearable.  Today we baby our children as we are afraid to allow any adversity into their lives…to protect them from any harm.  Are we doing them any favors by raising them in this way?  How do we teach our children to walk through adversity?  How do we teach our children to understand that “life isn’t fair” and sometimes we are going to get the short end of the stick?

2.    Homelessness…could it be the case that some of the homeless choose to be homeless and are quite happy living that way.  This book gives a whole new perspective on the whole issue of homelessness.  Do some people have such high ideals that they cannot function in this “fake” world of success and just opt out of it?  Both the mother and father in this book are amazingly brilliant and saw life from such a totally different perspective.  It would be interesting to see how the grandchildren of this couple embrace life and how Rosemary and Rex’s children raise their children.

Two great books…loved them both…thanks to my niece Heather for recommending them to me and sending me copies to read.  Two books worth reading!

Life… Tuesday, Jan 26 2010 

I so enjoy Ron Rolheiser’s blog and this is a quote from one of his entries.

“John Powell once wrote that there are only two potential tragedies in life, and that dying young is not one of them.  These are the two potential tragedies:  To live and to not love and to love and to never express that affection and appreciation.  How true.”

So how have I lived today?

The twins are coming… Friday, Jan 22 2010 

Word has just come that our friends’ twin boys, Mackenson and Wilson are coming home…they will be on the flight out of Haiti that will be arriving in Montreal on Monday…so amazing and so exciting.  It has been one horrendous week for our friends as they have petitioned government officials, news media, done interviews, put together email and phone campaigns to get their two little boys out of ravaged Haiti.  Little Wilson has been sick and the sooner they get him out the better.  We are grateful that the Canadian Immigration officials finally heard our pleas and responded to them.  Now a new season of life begins for our friends…life will never be the same…now they are a family of four.

Waiting… Tuesday, Jan 19 2010 

I believe “waiting” is one of the toughest places to be, especially when the waiting is caused by circumstances and situations that are totally out of our control.  Thinking about those parents who have children waiting for them in Haiti and the red tape of our government causes problems that make us feel that it will never happen.  When those parents have those children in their arms for the first time, I know, they will say it was worth it all!  The situation in Haiti is dire and there is no doubt that as more and more communities are connected with in Haiti the devastation just gets worse.  Overwhelmed is hardly the word to cover something of this magnitude…but it seems to be the only word that at least covers it partially.

Anxiety… Monday, Jan 18 2010 

Not sure where this comes from…it just shows up in the pit of my stomach and it doesn’t go away when I tell it to.  It sits like a blob and doesn’t disintegrate or move.  I find that this anxiety blob usually comes on Monday after a busy weekend.  I have no idea what contributes to it or causes it.  Today I think it might be triggered by feeling so insignificant in the realm of the whole world and the lack of being able to tangibly help the destitute people of Haiti.  Money seems so insignificant in the realm of everything happening.  Anyway identifying that doesn’t make it go away…so I again learn to live with it.

Meanderings… Sunday, Jan 17 2010 

It is a lazy Sunday morning and I am on my second cup of coffee and have scanned about 35 gardening magazines to take to my friend Char this afternoon as her family has just moved to the country and she has lots of prairie to work with.  She loves to garden and is very creative so it will be fun to see what she ends up creating.  We are heading out this afternoon to play some “shiny” as Greg and the boys have created a huge ice rink.  When our kids were growing up Jerry always had a rink in the backyard and it brings back many awesome memories.  In fact, one of Matt’s friend just this last week asked whether Jerry was still making the rink every year…I am sure he was remembering as well all the fun times he had with Matt and their friends after schools and weekends.

As we drove home last night from being with some friends, Jerry said “we have had a busy day”…but I said it was a good day.  We started out with having breakfast with Jerry’s nephew Bill, his wife Bonnie, and their 4 kids from Dufrost, Manitoba.  So good to see them and see how awesomely they communicate with their kids…so good.  Then off to Excess Cargo to return the GPS Jerry purchased just be Christmas and which lasted about 2 weeks…got another one so will see if it lasts any longer…then off to Costco where the parking lot was full and Jerry said “I can’t do this with all these people”…the off to the bank to look after Matt and Jesika’s financial stuff…then off to get our cars registered for the next year…than off to the Little Caesars to inquire about pizza…then off to the grocery store to pick up a couple of items…then home to take down all the Christmas decorations…and Jerry watched the NFL Football Game which was a Lark as it ended up like being 45 to 14 or something like that.  Then off to Lakeview Church where we connected with so many of our friends that we had not seen for a while…then off to Little Caesars to pick up the pizzas…then off to Gingerich’s to watch football…engage in “off colour” conversation with lots of laughs…and then home in bed by 11:30 pm or so…up at 2:00 am to take 3 extra strength tylenol for my headache…then up today at 9:00 am where Jerry had already made the chili was are taking to the Plett’s for our “shiny” game…the sun is shining,..Jerry is having coffee with his friend Cal from work…and I am going to read the Saturday paper…such is life this weekend…and in between all that we talked to our friend Greg and Jackie…trying to connect with them…they are so often in our thoughts and prayers as they have their 2 little boys waiting for then in Haiti at God’s Littlest Angels orphanage…hopefully they can come home soon….and an ice cream date arranged with our friends Garth and Eunice Carter…..

Sudden change… Wednesday, Jan 13 2010 

Just been watching news on the earthquake in Haiti.  While in California we experienced an earthquake of 5.9 and it was unbelieveable to feel the earth sway back and forth…there was little damage…but I have some idea of how buildings would collapse especially those that are stories high.  The control tower where Benny was sustained some damage, but it is higher off the ground.  The earthquake in Haiti does seem personal as we have very good friends who are waiting to bring home their two little boys from God’s Littlest Angels Orphanage.  I was so glad today to hear that their boys are fine together with all the other children.  Now, however, we think of the reality of the situation.  With infrastructure in Haiti almost non-existent how will the process of their adoption move ahead.  Those are questions without any answers right now, but they loom large in the minds of those who are affected.  In a few minutes our lives are changed forever…sometimes not sure how to deal with the uncertainty this brings.  I know people say “God is in control” but we still have to deal with our disappointments and fears that come with the uncertainty.  I guess I am one of those who is “of little faith”…so often our faith and our reality fight against each other…so that is life today in the “crawling” lane!!!!

Updating to 2010 Wednesday, Jan 13 2010 

Over the years our lives have been organized around the calender as Jerry worked shift work for 36 years and our lives revolved around the shifts he worked on the days he worked…so every year I transfer all the data I have collected over the year…dates of friends and relatives’ birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates…to the next year’s calender…so this was my task today and took most of the day as I attempt to coordinate all the events I know are going to happen this coming year…weddings I will be doing, vacations we are taking, family reunions and the like.  I am always glad when it is done and it is done again for another year.

Not sure what this has to do with life…but it is my life today…now back to reading Teresa of Avila’s writings!

Conversations… Monday, Jan 11 2010 

I love to interact and dialogue with people who are wanting and willing to share their ideas and thoughts and also are willing to hear my ideas and thoughts.  Over the weekend I had such opportunities.  So what is it that makes an interaction with another person good?  Is a conversation good only when we agree on the subject we are discussing and we feel good about ourselves?  What about the conversations that challenge our way of thinking and our way of living?  Personally, I don’t like or enjoy those conversations, but I believe we need them in our lives.  Getting back to this weekend, I enjoyed the diversity and quality of the conversations which were animated, honest and covered with lots of laughter.  The Friday evening and Sunday morning conversations were with Jerry’s family and we thoroughly enjoy and appreciate them.  It was so fun to interact and talk about life, relationships, church, God, work, family and all the while enjoying good food.  This morning I spent time with my good friend Mike and I always come away from my conversations with him so encouraged.  I have watched him grow and change over the years which included some very difficult situations, but I believe that by embracing and walking through those hard times, he is becoming the person he was created to be.  Does he have it all together…absolutely not…as none of us have it all together…we are all shuffling around in our mess…but I believe he is facing in the right direction.  What I love most about Mike is his honesty and authenticity when we meet to discuss life.  Anyway, those are some of my thoughts today…people and good conversations are important in my life!!!

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