This book (A Blessing from Above) really hit home when I was reading it to Alianna just a few hours after we talked to her biological mom on the phone. I’m so thankful I was positioned to catch my Little One when she fell out of her Mama’s nest and I’m grateful I have her blessing.
Ali, I have been looking forward to this birthday for a long time because I am tired of answering how old you are in months. We can now officially count in years! Your current foster brother, nicknamed Buzz here on my blog, is going to be three in two months. That means I can say we have two two year olds for now and it gets a lot of sympathetic responses like, “bless your heart!” and “you have your hands full!” We sure do. We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into when we accepted a placement for a little boy so close to your age. But God knew. As hard as it’s been, you guys have been so good for each other and have become best friends.
You are growing into beautiful, funny, loving, smart and outgoing little girl. You are friendly, polite and affectionate. You love music, dancing, jumping (high!), swimming, riding Dizzy, bubbles, wagon rides, slides, coloring, playing with friends and with your baby dolls and stuffed toys. You always remind us to pray before meals, holding out your hands toward us and saying “pway.” Sometimes you pray: “Jesus. Thank you. Food. Amen.” Your current favorite book is Everyone Poops, which makes you giggle a lot. You also request Choco often, as in A Mother for Choco, which is one of my favorites, too. You like to announce to everybody when “I toot!” You say dubbles instead of bubbles, meno instead of nemo, Nina instead of Nana, boop instead of book… I’ll miss those things when you finally get them all right. You’ve been really into counting and saying your ABCs lately, as well as Old McDonald Had a Farm and some other simple songs. We play our friend Phil King‘s album in the van a lot and you always sing along with “Fight On” and “Real Thing.”
This month Daddy and I took a 9 day vacation and left you with Grandma and Grandpa. I had never been away from you for more than one night at a time since you came to our home at 2 months old. I missed you a lot but we were able to FaceTime and send videos and photos back and forth which helped a lot. When we got back, I just wanted to soak you in. I delight in you, Little Girl! You are so fun and precious and sweet. I love to spend time with you. We brought you back a big stuffed broccoli toy (from IKEA) from our trip—your favorite vegetable ever since you were little—and you love it as much as I was hoping. I love that I know you well enough to know how to make you happy, although you’re such a joyful girl, you make it easy. You always answer that your favorite color is yellow so I planned your second birthday party around all things yellow. I’ll share about the party tomorrow.
You have a unique and powerful blessing on your life and Daddy and I love to see how the Lord unfolds your path. You are a very special little girl and for reasons beyond what we understand, God saw it fit to put you in our family. It was not random; it was not a mistake. Mountains were moved on your behalf and here you are with us now. We are so thankful and blessed to have you as a daughter. You bring so much joy and love to our home and our family. I love you, Alianna Mae!
Your vocabulary is huge now and you’ll repeat just about anything so I’m not even going to try to mak a comprehensive list. Here are some common phrases and things you say:
I want to eat it.
Ali. Cookie. Just one. Just one.
Animal crackers. (100x a day)
Apple juice please. (100x a day)
I did it!/I want to did it.
I want to pee.
I peed! (in the toilet)
I love you Daddy/Mommy/Grandma/Grandpa/etc
Music please. (every time we get in the car)
I love music.
God bless you Lucy/Daddy/Mommy/etc.
Pray. Pray. Pray. Jesus. Amen.
Ali’s popsicle/shoes/flip flops/broccoli/hat/diaper/sunglasses/etc.
Awesome. (Always matter-of-fact; usually after a stunt on Dizzy)
JeeJee’s house! (when we drive past your buddy Jaron’s house)
Swimming/swim/Ali’s swimsuit (you LOVE to swim so you say it a lot)
Sorry Ali. (When someone else hurts you.)
Sorry/Thank you/Please (you are very polite)
Have more ______ please.
Only one/Just one. (how many cookies you’re requesting/how many bites of your cookie Daddy can have)
For my own records: At 2 years old, Ali is 33″ tall and 25 lbs. which puts her in the 25% percentile for both height and weight.
I was generously blessed with this amazing double stroller by a woman I had never met. She follows my Instagram feed (Hi @curlybirds!) and apparently reads here too. I am incredibly grateful that someone would take the time out of her day to drive across town to deliver a beautiful and certainly valuable double stroller to my house. Ali and I got to meet her and her six year old twin daughters, too. What lovely, lovely people!
Thank you, again, so very much!
I had a blog post written that I was going to post on Monday about how the processes of Ali’s adoption and building our new house had been occurring simultaneously since November 2011 and both got completely wrapped up last week when we received our daughter’s new birth certificate in the mail AND closed out our construction loan and began our conventional mortgage. BUT. The latter ended up not happening for a million frustrating reasons. It’s not going to happen this week or probably next week, either. It’s been a busy, stressful week around here and I’ve had moments of wanting to pull my hair out.
I needed to stop and remind myself of the truth.
We live in this beautiful home—a blessing we never expected to experience at this point of our lives. God has given us favor over and over again in this process, just as He did with Ali’s adoption and back when she was in state care. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He never gives us more than we can handle. We have so much to be thankful for. In addition to our beautiful girl and our home, Jason and I have a great relationship, we have wonderful family and friends, we have jobs that we love, we have a kitchen full of food and closets full of clothes. We have more than enough; overflow to share. We are abundantly blessed.
We haven’t received any calls from DCS regarding foster placements yet. I’m surprised. Also, I’m relieved. Mainly because of the mortgage stuff. Also because of some upcoming travel. Even if we did get a placement, I’m sure we could overcome those challenges with a new temporary family member along for the adventure. It’s comforting to know that God’s timing is always perfect.
This is a spiritual, philosophical, theological kind of blog post. Feel free to move along if that’s not your thing. Back in August of 2008 our pastor did a series on Blessing. (If you want to find the podcasts, look up Grace Church Nashville on iTunes.) The gist of it was this:
Blessing is speaking what you want to happen.
Cursing is speaking what you don’t want to happen.
People tend to think blessing=prayer but they’re not the same. If you look in a Bible, you’ll see that blessings are statements, proclamations and sound much like prophesy. It’s not asking God to do something. It’s saying what you expect to happen. Examples: “Have a great day today.” “May your house sell quickly.” “You are going to be successful!” “I am going to stay healthy this winter.” “She is a good sleeper and she will sleep well tonight.”
It’s similarly misunderstood that cursing is not the same thing as swearing or cussing. Speaking a curse is speaking what you do not want to happen. This is a tricky concept and it took me a while to grasp it. Examples: “Today is a headed for a train wreck.” “My house took a year to sell so prepare yourself for the worst.” “If you keep that up, you’re going to end up in jail just like your Uncle Bill.” “I hope I don’t catch his cold.” “We’re in for a rough night.”
You can see how each of these statements in the curses list counter the blessing examples. The difference is what is acknowledged, what is spoken into the atmosphere.
Jason and I hear parents curse their kids all the time, and we cringe. Sleep is a biggie. You won’t ever catch Jason or I saying, “Oh, that late, long nap might mess up her sleep.” Or, “She can’t nap in a noisy restaurant!” Or “She missed her morning nap—she’s going to be grumpy.” We don’t bother articulating those worries. Instead we just say and expect what we hope will happen.
Now is a good time to interject and say, I know that all kids are different. I know that Precious is super easy going and surely part of that is her nature. However, I firmly believe that blessing and cursing play a huge role. Here’s what we would say instead in those situations, blessings over our daughter: “She’s catching up on her sleep today.” Or, “I love that we can take her anywhere and she goes with the flow.” Or “Oh well, she’ll make up for that nap later.”
I’m sharing this because these fundamental truths have tremendously changed our lives. You don’t have to believe me but if you look around, I think you’ll see the evidence. It applies everywhere in my life: my relationship with Jason, my attitude towards myself, the words we speak over our home, our daughter, our future, our vehicles, our dog, our friends, our careers.
My job—that’s another big one for me. At one point, not long before I learned about blessing, my company went through a really tough time, laid off a bunch of people, had pay cuts, etc. I called our corporation a sinking ship. I spoke that curse over my employer. Once I realized it, I took it back. I decided that if I wanted to see my company succeed and my job continue to exist, I needed to speak blessings over it. So I started walking through the halls every morning and speaking blessings over my co-workers and my company. Things like, “We will do well this year. The Lord has provided for us and He will continue to do so. May so-and-so work hard today and stay focused. I bless my co-workers that they will have great ideas, creativity, efficiency and motivation. I say as company we will have integrity, we will have influence in our community…”
It may sound like wishful thinking, denial or some new-agey universalist idea. The truth is that it’s a Biblical principle and it works, whether or not you give God the credit. Even if you don’t believe me, just try it for a few days or weeks. I bet you’ll notice a difference. What do yo have to lose?