Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016, Our Heart's Desires, Praying & Living Intentionally

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done. Luke 22:42

Every day I receive a daily devotional via email. I like that method because it allows me to read any time during the day and also to keep my favorites handy. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see the excerpt was taken from a book I have not yet read but by an author I followed quite closely through their caringbridge website a few years back. Laura Sobiech posted religiously about her son’s battle with cancer and through her I discovered a talented musician and a faithful heart that for the world was gone way too soon. Zach Sobiech touched my heart with his unfailing faith, his love of family and his desire to leave this earth as a joyous spirit. His mother’s strength is one of the most beautiful impressions of love for her child and her Savior. 

The excerpt, from her book “fly a little higher”, pulled me in before I even felt the tears collect in my eyes. She spoke of those moments where you know you have faith, you know that you are a believer, but where you are placing your hope is something to reflect on. I have never been in the situation she has, but I can relate to the version of prayer where we are placing our prayers/our hope on what we want our Father in heaven to do – how we want to pray hard enough for Him to do what we desire as we see it should be done. I’ve been praying that way for awhile now. Knowing that I am not in control, knowing that He knows best, He sees better and He desires the best for me; yet I try to conform what He has in store into what I want. The adoption process is number one on this list for me. 

Back in December when we heard again that we were not chosen, I broke down. I was mad this time. I had been praying specifically, praying for myspecific purposes rather than praying with intent, for God’s purposes. 

I ran afterwards.

We started with Dallas and the playoff game. It was a release to just enjoy the time with family and just pretend that it wasn’t meant to happen so “oh well”. Then we were blessed to get tickets to Phoenix – national championship game. Again, throwing any feelings of anger or aggravation against the wall and deciding to just enjoy the time with M the Best Husband Ever in Vegas & Phoenix for a few days. Then New York last weekend, I tossed the idea of worrying about adoption processes and threw myself into the fun birthday weekend I will forever treasure with my Duchess. Not one trip is regrettable, not one trip is something I would trade with anyone – I have had an amazing last 20 days and my birthday week was top notch. Granted I’ve been through all the time zones and to be honest my body is still not sure which one is the correct one yet and I’ve walked more airports and landscapes in those 20 days than some may ever get to do. I know all this. I know that these days were meant to happen just as I know we weren’t meant to get that Christmas child I was praying for…this past December. It may be that my Christmas child is meant for February or March or July or August or November or December of this year or the next. Time is perfect in God’s plans. It is frustrating in ours.

We tell ourselves that we are focusing on what He asks us to focus on while sometimes we are tricking ourselves, we are still holding onto what we control, what we feel should be the result/response/ending/beginning/change/consistency of how we see it to be.  We have to shift our sights, stop placing our hope on the point in the distance that we see it should be and place it on what He reminds us is the greatest point. Laura says it exactly like this: Hope is about raising our eyes from a point on the horizon to the heavens and into eternity.(Laura Sobiech, Fly a Little Higher)

She references that this prayer, these words from Luke 22:42 Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done. is the perfect prayer for those moments when we just can’t even fathom how to pray anymore, when we struggle with what to ask for, how to ask for it and what we are to do. She is right. This is where even Jesus, kneeling in agony, turned to the Heavens as he had wrestled with God’s will but KNEW that His Father’s will was greater, that His Father’s plans were perfect, that His Father was all knowing, that His Father’s timing is/was/forever will be the best timing; to that knowledge the son surrendered completely.

How on earth can I expect that I could bend God’s will to my wants? It’s laughable when I type it out on the screen; truly, hilarious. Even though in the moments of weakness where I question how things happen, the whys, laughter is the farthest from me. But I have a very compassionate and grace filled Heavenly Father. So He has given us the words in Luke and also more in Psalms.

Now, I’m approaching prayer and my day to day differently. I want to live intentionally. I want to pray intentionally. Don’t get me wrong, He asks us to speak our heart’s desires, our wants, our needs…those prayers are still there, but the life I lead around those prayers has to adjust to His purposes, how I accept what happens to those desires is to be handled differently. 

In all this I must admit that when I pray I know that in my human nature there will be times that I will still expect it to be as I see it should be and sometimes it might turn out that way, but every time His answer or non-answer will remain the perfect answer He has for me; so my hope will rest differently, my prayers will be specific to His intent and my way will need to change to be His, not mine. I will give Him my worries, my hesitations, my need for control and the view that I feel everything should be and I will receive His will, His view, His guidance…for He runs to me, wanting me to get not the good, but the BEST there ever could be. I will still ache when the hurt comes, grateful for the compassion and the love He has for me; but I plan to not dwell on the ache but use it to shift my perspective, to move closer to Him and to lean into Him.

So for 2016, a year already historical in our house, I’m making steps to living intentionally. I’m placing my hope heavenward not on the horizon. He has that Christmas child out there chosen for us, perhaps we need to adjust our view of the how/when to it will be as it is supposed to be in the perfect time, the perfect manner and the most perfect precious journey. 

As always, thank you Village for loving us, for supporting us, for praying with and for us…please don’t stop, our journey already has had many twists and turns, thanks to each of you we weather each obstacle with higher hopes, better views and the love of a family that spans all walks of all realms. Be safe and have a happy 2016.

For those that need Psalm 37…. 

Do not worry because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;

2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

Rest before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

23 If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;

31 The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.

34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas, News and the Bravery of His Enduring Love...

 Dear Sweet Village,

We wish you the Merriest of Christmas seasons and the best into this Happy New Year. 

We pray that each of you weathered and continue to weather this season of storms. It has been one crazy Christmas in the South, temperatures in the upper 70s, low 80s; tornados, flash floods and blustery winds. The sorcerers…er…Meteorologist…suggest that cold weather is to come behind all this and for the first time in years I’m excited for the chill, for the much needed comfort found in hot tea, warm blankets and the chill that comes when you step outside in the mornings. 

Our family was able to spend 3 lovely Christmases with our families. Each home is such a delight to visit and we truly love the traditions that have been created over the past years and the excitement for new ones to come.

Most of you were not aware that over the Christmas weekend Marcus and I were watching our email like hawks, awaiting an update on the possibility of being chosen as parents to a beautiful baby girl. However, again we are not here to proclaim the news that we are parents…instead I’m typing through tears and yet I’m still smiling with every word. It isn’t getting easier and I pray it doesn’t – that would infer a hardened heart. Through all of this I’ve remained the sensitive, heart on sleeve person that I have always been. I cried sitting in the Target parking lot as I read the words, then I spoke out loud to my Heavenly Father…letting my cries be heard in the heavenly realm as the heavenly chorus comforted me with His word and the lyrics that played through my radio. I listen to the Message on Sirius XM, today I was reminded why I do. Tom Carter’s voice spoke “The end is a new beginning, the end is a new beginning…sometimes we just don’t see it just yet.” I cried again but this time with a little chuckle through my snotty nose. I hadn’t even called M yet to tell him…I just couldn’t say it again just yet. 

It is the oddest sensation every time I read the words that deliver the hardest news as we wait patiently for our Heavenly Father’s plan to be seen. It’s as though I’ve lost something I never had, never knew yet there is a connection that is undeniable.  I also get the boomerang of happiness for a child and a family that is now complete – it is a war in my heart and thankfully the promise that we will one day have the family He has chosen for us does give me great comfort. Of course when I called M he began to speak the life giving words that my spirit already proclaims but my heart turns away, wanting to mourn a loss that is indescribable and yet seemingly without reason. His words came through the phone, uplifting, reminding me of God’s perfect promises and His perfect plan for us. I heard him and I thanked him. He could hear the catch in my voice and when he apologized the tears fell again. He apologizes to me because I am the one who sees the emails first, because he loves me and he hates for me to hurt; yet I know that he hurts as well, that he mourns a loss unknown and a possibility that passes without reason or explanation. He truly is the most amazing husband, partner and friend God could have seen for me. My heart aches each time for him and for the child that he will not know. 

Then I have to stop. To pull myself up and realize that other couples were waiting too, other couples are hurting now, and that though the process starts again, we are hopeful, full of faith and love for our Savior’s promises.

For now, this moment, the tears shake tenderly behind my eyelids aching to roll down my cheeks, but instead I will close my eyes and play one of my favorite songs; allowing the melody and lyrics to cover me with His love.

I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made
You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made…

-Bethel Music “you make me brave”

Proverbs 3:5 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.




 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Advent, Adoption and the Village with a Heart Like David…


I took a moment in the bustle of this past weekend to be still. To think about the current season, the past one and the upcoming one. Only 120 hours prior to this moment I had trolled Facebook before heading to a weekend FREEDOM conference with my lovely church. It is my second visit to this conference – the first I was a participant – this time I was a servant to the participants, a volunteer, a spectator and an intercessor on their behalf. I knew that for at least 24-36 hours my social media moments would truly be stolen, quick ones – more focused on posting the success of the conference and open hearts than on the typical daily troll of other people’s updates. So I was trolling slowly, soaking in the social aspect of IG and FB. I noticed a trend on the posts coming from our “root Village”. Camden was having a week. One of those weeks where knees humbly grace the floor while heads bowed lay softly upon the Savior’s knee. He was with them last week, as He always is, from every home, every business, an outpouring of lament and love for two very sweet young men. One struggling in a hospital searching for answers and another returning home to our precious village with an answer   heartbreaking in its discovery; he now faces leukemia, treatments and more questions to follow the answers. But in all this, in these two stories of heartache for young men, family, and friends…I saw it again…that outpouring, far reaching, all-encompassing love that moves mountains, destroys disease, mends a heart, lifts a spirit, shines light into the darkness and warms the soul. My “root Village” is a Miracle Mount in South Alabama. It is a place where community isn’t just a public grouping of people; it is a place alive with hope, compassion and light. The kind that breaks through the darkest FB posts, where the simple word “praying” on a comment line is truly a representative of the person whose name it accompanies. Yes, these two young men are facing trials, giants even in their lives, but they come from a town with a heart like David.  Be strong. Have faith, lay your hope and your love on our Savior.


In this same spirit as I read the stories of praying for these boys I stumbled upon ADVENT. Our church, for the first time, is doing an ADVENT post each day. When I was young my parents had this tree, faux branches, about 13 inches tall that had little drawers all over the base; actual drawers, with knobs and numbers. Each drawer held a tiny ornament that would be placed on the tree as the days counted down.  I used to love to pull out each ornament, watching the calendar as each day came. I got excited anticipating what little treasure I’d discover. No matter that the ornaments were the same every year, just reorganized to be in different drawers – there was something about the waiting, the expectancy, the excitement that captivated me; even when a bad day wanted to weigh me down I looked forward to that tiny ritual. For me the anticipation of something can be where I really enjoy the moments coming. It spans so many themes personally: vacations, birthday week, parties, football games – the categories can be endless. This year my thoughts are occupied with many of those things yet there is more. Advent is more than just numbers on a calendar leading to the presents and celebration of the holiday. It is waiting, anticipating, expectancy; yearning…it is where I am this season. I love Christmas. I love the feelings it inspires and the kindness it evokes. I love the presents –giving & receiving. But ADVENT is different. I read recently “Advent is the question, the pleading, and Christmas is the answer to that question…advent gives us another option beyond false Christmas cheer or Scrooge. Advent says the Baby is coming, but He isn’t here yet, that Hope is on its way, but the yearning is still very real. Advent allows us to tell the truth about what we’re grieving, without giving up on the gorgeous and extravagant promise of Christmas, the Baby on His way.” (Savor by Shauna Niequist) For us, personally, the words ‘the Baby is coming’ struck me so hard, so fiercely that I burst into tears. He never lets me forget that He is ALWAYS planning for us, that He WILL fulfill His promises and that we need to slow down, reflect on the waiting and remember to trust Him always.  As right now two specific families in our root village await information day in and day out as to how their sweet sons are progressing, we wait to hear any and every update on the child(ren) we are praying for (still no update or change in the process by the way). 


 Learning all this in the past few days changed ADVENT in my heart, it has me thanking God for the season that understands heart’s desires, loneliness, uncertainty, long nights and desperate prayers…we must remember to open ourselves to ADVENT, to the anticipation and belief that what is broken will be beautiful, what is lost will be found, what is empty will be filled, what is desired will be fulfilled…trust Him. This season is often our reminder of happy days but it also is a time where we miss our loved ones already gone, where we fear the year looming ahead and the answers to questions we never really wanted to ask. But thankfully in all the glitter and glitz there is the simplest beauty to be found, the fact that its okay to tell the truth about our grievances and still be excited for Christmas. Our disappointments, our worries, our heartaches are very real, but a very real Hope and Promise is on the way and He fulfills His promises. 


 

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Update: Category 5 - Rejection Rips you to the Core....

Psalm 34:17-20 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.”

John 15:18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

Lamentations 3:31-33 ”For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men”

So this is the pain of rejection, of words on a page that bring you to your knees. I thought I knew what it felt like. I’ve been that girl that wasn’t pretty enough or smart enough or too curvy or too short or the girl who is being punished because of things shes done – the world’s accusations beat and batter against you like the tide to the shore, slowly eroding layer after layer. I know that for some these simple phrases do not cut but for years I held onto them, never letting my eyes see myself as God sees me. Then for a brief moment of time I lived surrounded by the most diverse set of people and they all saw me differently but I am so very grateful that for the most part they saw me as this Southern, sweet, caring soul and they embraced my ‘flaws’ , lifted me with their words and actions, became my  friends and family. God placed them in my life, strangers, who knew nothing of where I was from or where I was going and I became different, stronger in my weaknesses and happier in my sorrows. It was the Spirit leading them to my life and I to theirs.

Then life phase 3 came at me headstrong and wanting to tear my layers apart. The enemy really knows how to break us down. He chips away at each insecurity trying to get us to forget that God can do anything and we can do anything when we have God. This morning, at 9:50 a.m., the first of what I now classify as Category 5 rejection (on a 5 being the worst) I saw in my inbox the name of a birthmother. It was an update from our Social Worker “R”. “Good morning! I wanted to let you know as soon as I heard that ‘birthmother’ has chosen a couple and you were not the one she chose.” Yep, instantaneous pressure on my chest, shifting pain from my eyes to my toes, a tension that wasn’t there seconds before rolled down my back and I couldn’t stop the tears. They came, rushing, silent and painful. I never expected it to cut so deep. After all these years of just believing that no was forever the answer and just recently truly believing the yes possibilities…like vapor one of our options is gone. Flitted away as a whisper and mourned now because of its impact. I will not apologize for the tears, for succumbing today to the sadness that we are not part of that child’s plan. We know and believe that God has the best laid plans for us…but to tell you that I handled rejection with ease, that the words on the page were merely dusted off my heart would be the biggest lie I have ever told. It hurts. It rips me up knowing that we are no longer an option in that race. We have been removed for whatever reason. I won’t lie and say I don’t now think about our profile “Is there something we left out or shouldn’t have put in? Would she have liked us better if we had this or that or a picture of this or a story about that?” In my weakest moments these questions will be on repeat and I will need to let God be my strength so that it does not eat me alive. I focused on some tasks at home this evening and began to stand up a little straighter when the second email pinged on my phone. Category 5 continued to spin out of control: Birthmother number two has also decided to select another couple. The next 2 hours I found my personal bottom for the day. It lies somewhere between Pizza Hut thin crust cheese pizza and a large Mountain Dew. Yes, I ate a little bit of my feelings, but M made me laugh. He mourned a loss that in some ways makes no sense but it is there nonetheless. He doesn’t know how to comfort me during these moments; he is saddened but he doesn’t want both of us to be sad so he played some great songs, hugged me until I blew snot, let me stand  motionless and sad in the kitchen then he reminded me of God’s timing, of His plans, of His grace and of who I am in Christ. My mind races and to calm it I am searching the scriptures, searching my heart and leaning with all the breath I have on God and M. Please pray for the birthmothers who just made the biggest decision of their lives, pray for us as we move forward, pray for our peace in these things when we do not understand and pray that tonight when I lay my head on the pillow that my tears slow, my heart softens and my dreams are full of His words of great plans for all who believe in Him.

As always, thank you for being our village.

Psalms 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yetis, Rollercoasters, And Birthmothers

Veni. Vidi. Amavi.

We came. We saw. We loved.

I’ve wanted to do an update for about two weeks now…as it all began…my fingers just haven’t been at the keyboard really. Yet today I laughed at a picture from our weekend getaway and it brought me back, back to moments of reflection, gratefulness and humility. 

Have you ever stood in line for a rollercoaster? Waiting in the que as the line winds closer and closer to the moment you will step foot into a vehicle that is going to sling you every which way at high speeds, big climbs and dangerous drops; excitement wars with anxiousness every time I get ready to ride one. I say a simple prayer for safety and then I just let it all go. I trust the mechanics, the operator, the set design, the track, the vehicle and the weather. Every component is just given away, let go of and all I put my energy into is the sheer fun of riding “Everest” to find the Yeti who tore the track in two. I buy into the fun of the story we traveled while standing in a 25 minute line for a 90 second ride. There are truths and lies along the way. Disney is the master at developing a ‘que’ that sucks you in. They spare no inch of your environment in order to tell the story of the attraction you are on. Sometimes there are real animal/climate/travel facts and sprinkled here and there are the ‘embellishments’ to the legend/lore that makes the ride a fairytale flash bomb. It is genius and wonderful. 


We were so beyond blessed to get to get away for the weekend. I’ve been tightly wound for a few weeks now and we had planned this trip really right after Thanksgiving last year. Thankful for travel reward point systems that allow us to do all of this on a fabulous budget while still being able to save for the family we have coming to us.

Lately we’ve been on rollercoasters in the most literal and figurative ways. As we climbed the big hill at Expedition Everest in Disney World last weekend for the second time I couldn’t help but laugh. M sat beside me giddy as a 12 year old and laughing out loud at the sheer fun of flying around that track. I'm so grateful to have the truth of a fabulous partner in life like M. His zest for enjoying every bit of the process is contagious and he is my rock on more than one occasion lately. 

In the past two weeks we have been honored to be able to have our profile available for 3 birthmothers. THREE! Guys, that’s crazy awesome. Please, please keep us in your prayers…just pray hard for the birthmothers and those babies the most, even before us. We know that these women are facing decisions that are the biggest in their lives, we know that God has them and those children in His hands and we know that no matter what…no matter if they choose us, choose to parent or choose another couple the most important thing is that they know they are loved. This is the lesson He has had us learning to discern from the get go. We want children. So badly that I cried watching a line of children sing and dance as they followed Daisy & Donald around the tables of Tusker House in Animal Kingdom – I couldn’t stop the flow, I couldn’t hold it in, and I couldn’t stop smiling at the same time as I stared at M across the table. He grabbed my hand and told me he loved me and ‘our time is coming’.

He is right. I knew it even before he said it, but saying it sometimes is very important; speaking it out loud strikes a chord and had me feeling God’s presence almost immediately. I had prayed a very specific prayer 3 weeks ago and God answered within almost 48 hours that we would be submitting our profile to a birthmother and here we sit…3 birthmothers reviewing our photos, our story. Siting in that restaurant His answer was even more swift and clear. Luke 1:45 reminded me “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” He does not post faux facts on the walls of our life. Even when we are confused, even when we cannot understand, His promises are always the better for us.  


We rode Everest back to back that afternoon. We were pretty blessed to only stand in line for 25 minutes (longest line all weekend was right at 28 minutes)to ride one of our favorite 90 second rides. It makes me breathe deeply with anticipation when I think about the amount of time that God has been working on our story while we wait to see where our rollercoaster goes next. His timing is perfect. It seems long and drawn out to us at times, but looking at the thrill of 90 seconds on a manmade rollercoaster gets me giddy with excitement as I think about the thrill He has planned for us for our remaining life here and even more so for our eternal life.



So for our update, it is simply this:

God has a plan. 

We trust Him and we know that His timing is perfect.

Right now, three women will have our profile in their hands over the next week or so, and profiles of many other couples who desire to have children, and they are facing the hardest decision of their lives. That means that 3 children hang in the balance. No matter what they are loved, so much, already by people who don’t even know them and by some who never will. Those birthmothers are cherished, loved, beautifully and wonderfully made – they are also loved by many who will never meet them. 

I’m working on some new art for fundraising and we are looking at grants for fundraising.

We ask for prayers. We know that these 3 may all say no to us. That they may be lead in other directions and that even though we understand that it will be God’s will when we are chosen, we cannot lie and say that it won’t hurt if/when we face rejection. We know we will question why? But please pray that the question lingers less than a second and that God’s peace swiftly replaces the feelings of unworthiness. 

We thank you all for following our journey.  We know that some ask and wonder how it all is going. We don’t always have an answer for you, but this time we wanted to share that God is working in the wings. We have hope for the future and we know He loves us and has great plans for us.  We cannot wait to see all He has in store.

“And so it was, that she, having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained what God had promised.” Hebrews 6:15


 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Mask Slipped off Today


The Mask Slipped Off Today...

I won't lie. I've been crying for a few hours now. 

No big shifts or changes, no one is hurt or angry.

I just felt so tired, drained and emotional.

We had our yearly home visit today. Our sweet social worker "R" came by and we toured the house, the property; then we sat down and the interview begins again. It's déjà vu but not. It really is a repeat of one year ago today. We are sitting proclaiming our hearts desires, answering questions, discussing background checks, jobs, church, schools, ideas and hope.

She chats animatedly about us and how we've been doing. We talk details of our profile books and the home study file. 

We talk Duchess and the excitement of her going to Montevallo for her senior year. We talk about how she is there, moving things in, while we sit here - missing her move but sending so much love her way we hope she feels our presence. 

We talk the dogs and how sweet they are.

We nibble on macaroons, chocolates and sip lemonade. 

We walk to each room discussing purpose, layout and decor. Settling on the last - our guest room that will one day be a nursery. Scattered lightly are a few pieces of baby/child decor. In boxes, not hung or placed. Pieces of what's to come. 

A civilized, detailed interview of our life in the middle of the day. 4.5 hours. 

We wrap everything up and I collapse on the couch. Tears stream down my cheeks and dear M is swift to give me comfort. I hug him for dear life. I know that my hope, my faith reminds me that God's timing is precious, unique and so very wonderful - my head knows it, my spirit survives by it, my heart tries to embrace it, but my soul just really wants to cry. Cry because a year has passed. Cry because the repeat questions make me feel like a failure. Cry because my desire is so strong that to bear another year feels so big and scary. Cry because I love M so much and to give him the gift of a child is so beyond my capabilities that it bites at my soul more often than not. Cry because this tiny baby that might not even be a thought to someone yet will one day be my whole world. Cry because time rushing past me daily and the aches sometimes attempt to overcome the faith. Cry because we feel so close yet the precipice is so high. Cry because we know that the waiting is just a piece - that rejection could still come and my heart aches so much already, that fear of what rejection will be like tries to settle in the crease of each day. 

M loves on me, reminding me that God has something so special and I cry harder. A little ashamed of being anxious and questioning God to begin with mixed with my aching desire to be the mother of his children. But I feel it, that sweet little touch of peace from M's hug that is God's love combined with the best husband ever; so I slip into comfy clothes and we turn on Netflix. He lays beside me and the dogs corral around me, loving on me with quiet gentleness and I feel a semblance of relaxation. I say a small short prayer, crying again but now it's just a little. 

In this place I am home. Not because the walls deem it so, but because of the two dogs at my side and the man laying beside me. On the walls are photos of our journey, places we've been, things we've done - M says he looks to them when he is having a pity party/bad day & it reminds him he is blessed, that life has been a great adventure already & that there is so much more to come. I like that he sees it that way. Today I'm trying to share his sentiment, I'm looking at where we've been, thinking of where we are going, reminding myself that our stability is a gift, that we are doing what has been asked and striving to do more. Reminding myself that God's timing is not my own, that He knows better and that He has great plans for us, He is in the background silently working to give us the best child & life we could imagine...

I still may cry some more. I know I will as time passes.

The mask slipped today, right onto the floor; yet M was there, he dusted it off and set it aside. He loves me for all I am, he wants so badly to see me as a mom, to be a dad, to share all we have with our children, to learn from them, to love them and to give them love like we've been given. He is my lifeline through all this, my constant, my anchor in this crazy storm and I'm forever grateful that when he stands beside me I never even think to put the mask on - for him, I'm wide blue eyes, rose red cheeks, tear stained in leggings and a comfy tunic watching Murder She Wrote and binging on green tea and French macaroons...I cannot wait to see him as he does the same with our toddling child between us, laughing with baby giggles and sleep deprived hilarity. He will be the best dad there is - no mask, just love, faith & loyalty....

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Happy Weekend! Kingdom Happenings Update...

Happy Weekend Everyone! Just a little drop in to say hi and let y’all know what’s been going on at The Kingdom lately…

We are cruising through Summer and even though I will miss pool days and hot flashes, I am happy to embrace the crisp fall that we Alabamians occasionally get to experience. Football is around the corner and that means Saturdays with fun menus and great family & friends. 

Our summer has been busy. It hasn’t been overwhelming, but it has been busy.


I spent last Saturday & Sunday helping my nephew paint his parking space for Senior Year. I loved that he asked me. I was quite honored. It was also, very nostalgic. A few of his classmates were up there as well. I listened to their banter, their flirting, their comfort with one another and I sighed contentedly in the truth that some things in life never change. In my mind’s eye it was 17 years prior, only we were in the gym in April painting huge backdrops for our Junior prom – the guys had baseball games going on and the few of us girls in the gym were sweating like crazy, laughing out loud and sometimes dancing a little to the boombox playing beside the basketball court. We were young, covered in paint, at the school on a Saturday, but we were enjoying the moment

It was a moment in my life and I’m grateful that I was able to see it as something special before it ended completely.  Those kids Saturday took me back to that place (literally and symbolically) and I wish them so much love, luck and hope for the days upcoming – may they enjoy this last year, because there is not another experience like it. 

After that it was back to The Castle and well back to normal this week. We have been gearing up for our (Annual) Home Visit next week. The house needs some cleaning and we need to walk through to make sure something hasn’t popped up but other than that we are truly looking forward to the visit with Social  Worker “R”. She is really sweet and I know she is praying for us to find someone & their baby who will want to become our family. God has this. His timing. His plan. His joy.

The Duchess moves back to College as well. Cannot believe she will be graduating next year – December 2016. She only has 3 semesters left! She is so excited and nervous and happy and bittersweet. This next few semesters will definitely see new ways of growth with her. She is such a talented and amazing woman; we are blessed to be her family.

The pups are good. Precious, sweet and fun as usual. I cannot wait for them to have a baby in the house. It will be one heck of a transition, but what fun it will be. 

I will hopefully be getting my Etsy store up and going to raise for Baby Barr and also to be posting some fun new notecards & such that I have available. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Pray for our birthmother – her health, her family support, her heart, her to know we love her; our future child(ren)-his/her health, our social worker, our finances, our strength, our abilities as parents, our health and for us to be open to God’s guidance…It’s a long list of prayer requests, I know, but He says to speak your heart’s desire and I’m listening to  His commands.

2 John 1:6

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Waiting. No really - waiting in truth.

Our journey is still ongoing. I could do what I’ve done lately and just tell all of you that we are: Waiting. 

It’s true. It’s simple. It’s a condensed version of what is going on behind the scenes. I’ve repeated it over and over again. Shrugging my shoulders, sighing, smiling, almost crying each and every single time I say it. But behind the curtain of those seven letters is a plethora of emotions, fears, anxieties, dreams, hopes, joys and silver linings. 

Recently I’ve felt compelled to not blog. To not send updates. To not post that one year has passed by. We are actually about to have our “annual” home visit. This means that they will again come out to our house, inspect it and deem it worthy or not for our future children; a whole year, gone. 

In the simplest moments I dwell on that and sadness creeps in, sometimes I let it lay over me. I indulge in the sorrow. For a while I was ashamed of doing so, until one afternoon last week. I had just spoken to someone who was interested in hiring me to do some graphic work – simple designs for some personalized notecards. She was very excited to have a local artist creating these gifts for her friends. I was flattered at her excitement and honored to get to create for her. She told me how many she wanted and I quoted her a price. She asked how long I had been doing this and I simply answered: “I’ve drawn my whole life, but creating for others like this…one year.” She smiled and asked why only a year. Then the story unfolded. I told her of our adoption process, of the journey, of how I even came to have business cards and my items in boutiques around town, of how we are not at our goal but we are still working towards it, of how I hope to be able to do this after the adoption to help with childcare, of the people we’ve met, of the waiting…She touched my arm, smiling as I completed my story and nodding along. Softly she told me “He prepared you all those years you’ve drawn and He has blessed you with great patience. He will provide you a beautiful family.” I teared up and thanked her for her sweet words.  We parted and I could not help but cry when I sat behind the wheel to head home. 

She was right. He has been preparing me for this for years. Not one year….years. Sometimes He lets me wallow a bit in the waiting, He lets me think about how it feels like we’ve been on this journey too long when really we are on it for the perfect length of time. He lets me wallow because He has faith in me that I will sit up straight in my driver’s seat; I will look to Him and be grateful for the days He has given me. The wallowing becomes a step, a moment needed to get me to the next one. From day one of my life to the moment we hold our child in our arms and as we get to love them forever – each day is perfect in its timing. 

So my update is different today. Today I will pull back the curtain and let you in. We have a completed Home Study – completed means that there is a document with our agency that has ALL our information typed up for legalities and approval for the state of Alabama as well as other licensed states.  The completed Home Study also means we can apply for grants or be able to list our adoption on grant matching websites for tax deductible fundraising purposes. The agency also has a completed Profile. The profile (as I’ve said before) contains all the pictures, all the moments we want to share with the prospective birthmother – the pieces of ourselves we are giving her, hoping she falls in love with us. Since it is the annual anniversary of applying for a child, we will be updating fingerprints, Child Abuse & Neglect State forms, and the Home visit information. Each a cost, each worth every penny to show the government that we are serious, we are good people and that we desire this child. They have the first payments towards our contract; we still have fundraising to do so don’t be surprised if Art for Adoption, Baby Barr Fundraising pops up on Social Media again – we stepped back a little so that we would not be inundating everyone with our journey. We didn’t want to appear to beg or to be asking too much of those we love – all of you – but we do want you to pray, to support us in your hearts, to give when you can but to love us most of all. Your love will transcend distance and time…this baby has no idea how blessed he/she already is. 

We have a room that will be the nursery. Nothing has been done to it yet. They tell you not to decorate completely, or to buy tons of things, again the word waiting takes its place among the process. You may be waiting longer than your heart can handle that empty room. But I’m an artist, a visual being so there are sketches of layouts, of murals, of ideas, of colors, of décor; there are pages bookmarked online, websites scoured, Pinterest pages developed and saved photos on multiple techie equipment. I dream daily of the space we will create for this little one. And for the first time I did buy something for the nursery: two pieces of art from a local artist in Fernandina Beach Florida while on a work trip. I cannot wait to do my own pieces to complement hers and to add to the collection I know we will acquire for our little one. 

So that is where we are. Truly. 

We are waiting, but not with the chagrin that most expect, we are waiting with open hearts and eyes ready to see the gifts before us. God has blessed us in ways we never thought possible and He continues to do so. We are honored to be on this journey. To be waiting. So now when I say it, I will think of the years He has had me waiting, had me preparing, had me enjoying the view, had me imagining the possibilities and in the moments where I want to be sad, I will work to smile, to appreciate and to enjoy the time He is giving us. He knows that everything will be different soon and that we will need these days to reflect and learn to appreciate a new kind of timing….

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Habakkuk 2:3

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

John 13:17