Sunday, April 27, 2014

thieves, thugs, and robbers

I've been in Cincinnati this week, and I have SO MUCH to tell you. So much, in fact, that I based the title for this blog on everything I have to tell you and yet I will save those stories for another time. I know, it's mean of me. But I do want to tell you this:

On our way home this morning, we stopped for breakfast. My big, happy, multicultural family made its way to a table and a woman nearby caught my eye as she watched all of us walk by. We've gotten a lot of comments on family size over the years, as well as a lot of adoption comments, but this one is Queen of Them All. This dear woman opened her mouth and asked sympathetically,

"Group home?" 

I stopped dead in my tracks. "Um, nope. This is just my family."

She asked more questions. I clarified. Two from Liberia. A friend from Nepal. And a mixed baby bringing up the rear. And no, this short-stuff child I'm holding isn't a preemie, she's just a baby dwarf, so she's extra tiny. We're just a big ol' smorgasbord of unusual!

She finished with one remark: "Well, that's so great you guys adopted and have a mixed race marriage in your family. Now I know that not all white people are terrible." 

How very generous of you, Madam. There's not a lot you can do with that, except for respond with, "Oh! You're too kind," and then throw the woman to the floor for her blatant racism.

So I did all of that, except for the part about throwing her to the floor.

Gotta run. Half-Pint just poured a glass of tea on the couch and remote control.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

some loaves, some fish, and some popcorn chicken

Easter was easy last year.

Freckles was baptized wearing swim goggles, and the gift of a new Bible for each of the girls on Sunday morning was the perfect gift. No basket of dental cavities, no clumps of horrible Easter grass, no creepy photo with an Easter bunny.

One year we did a gift of jelly beans with a poem. It kinda weirded me out, so we dropped it after one attempt.

Red is for the blood He gave,
Green is for the grass He made,
Yellow is for the sun so bright,
Orange is for the edge of night,
Black is for the sins that were made,
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for the hour of sorrow,
Pink is for the new tomorrow.

I'm not exactly sure what all of those colors have to do with Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, but almost more disturbing is the whole "orange is the edge of night" mumbo jumbo. I mean, what? What is the edge of night, anyway? I've never even heard of that dumb thing, and if I had to pin a color to it, it wouldn't be orange. It'd be black. But black is for the sins, and there's no sense in doubling up because if you're only getting eight jelly beans for Easter, nobody wants two of them to be black. Gross. Also, it's the crummiest attempt at poetry I've ever seen. They used gave/made to "rhyme" not only once, but twice. Big no-no.

I'd asked Lumberjack a couple weeks ago to be thinking about Something Meaningful we could do for Easter this year. His suggestion was to go steal somebody's sheep, slaughter it, and swath our door frames with its blood. Kickin' it old school and all that.

Freckles suggested that she'd like to learn all of her daddy's hunting skills, and that that would be meaningful to her. Scout was too busy wearing her underwear on her head to answer.

During a bunch of food prep for Easter dinner and breakfast potluck, I realized I didn't have enough raisins for the hot cross buns. I packed up the girls to head to Wal-Mart at about lunch time, which is not one of my most brilliant ideas ever. But I've got tricks up my sleeve, and one of them is called Popcorn chicken at the deli as lunch & incentive for not freaking out in the cart. My girls love popcorn chicken more than they love me, so it makes for an easy-breezy trip through Wal-Mart.

On our way out of the parking lot, we saw a man with his wife and two small children. They were holding a sign with a few words in a couple languages. There's just something about a sign written in a few languages. Whatever the message is, it's important enough to reach anyone who will give it a glance.

No money.
No food for family.
God bless. 

I slowly pulled up to them and rolled down the window. The man approached and spoke.
"Hello. No money. No food for my children. No English. Romania." 


I bit my lip and looked back at Freckles, who was watching his children through her window.
"What are they doing, Mom?"

"Well - they don't have any food, sweetheart."

"Can we give them the popcorn chicken, Mom?"

So - we did. And we pulled away. And then right as we turned on the main road out of the lot, Freckles piped up again:

"I wonder if they know about Valentine's Day. I mean, not Valentine's Day. Easter. About Jesus dying and coming to life again and that was because he loved us."

Language barrier aside, we decided to loop around and not pass up the opportunity to share what really fills up the hungry. But when we pulled back into the lot, they were gone. Gone. Disappeared. We drove around for quite awhile looking for them, but they were just simply gone.

I'd love to be able to say the moment was a serene, peaceful one as we drove home. But it wasn't, because I have children. And even though they've each had three or four peaceful, serene days in their lives, today was not one of them. So anyway, between Half-Pint screaming her brains out and Scout kicking Freckles for as long as today is called Today, we had some scraps of conversation.

About how another little kid a long time ago was willing to give Jesus his lunch and in the hands of a miracle worker, it filled up the bellies of thousands of people with leftovers to spare. And how only Jesus might take that little $2.84 container of popcorn chicken and do the same thing - take what's not enough and make it more than enough.

About how God takes our pieces that are small and worthless and creates something bigger than we can imagine out of them.

About how he's able to do abundantly more than we can even think or dream up.

And about how the only love worth having is the love that's given away. And given sacrifically. And it's that kind of love that put Jesus on the cross, while all that miraculous power that multiplied food is the power that brought him back.

"That's the God we serve," I said to the girls, at which Scout interrupted me, growling, and announced with a snarl that he's the one true King. What can I say? She's a little bit of a zealot.

It's the God who takes the Something Meaningful and makes it not only Miraculous but also Monumental. It's the God who meets needs and gives hope. It's the God who gave his life to save mine. And it's the God who -- hallelujah! -- didn't stay dead.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In Which I Was Dragged, Kicking & Screaming, Into Being a Cat Lady

Another cat showed up, and it's a She. 

She's already on my nerves, and I'd love for her to go away as a birthday present to me. My birthday's not until September, but I don't mind celebrating a little early.

Probably not likely, considering she and Grassy are chowing down on some crayfish scraps Lumberjack just tossed to them. Our methods of getting rid of strays are total counter-productive failures, in case you haven't drawn that conclusion yet.

She doesn't have a name yet. I'd love for it to be Getthehelloutofhere. Not sure I want Scout hollering that on the porch, though.