Monday, November 2, 2009

Get Comfy, It's a Long and Rambling One!

I have several drafts for blog posts started, but I can't seem to get through one topic until I get the itch to switch to another, more pressing topic. (And by "more pressing" I mean a blog post on how exciting it was that my Halloween witch make-up washed off easily...) I am struggling to complete one coherent blog post, so in the spirit of "this is my blog, and I can do whatever I want", I'm just going for yet another random blog post.

Here we go.

My Health. I've had several people ask me recently about my health, so let's go there first. I must confess openly here though that blogging about my health is much more about meeting a need in me than about conveying any information to (both) readers. After several years of life being dominated by my health (or lack thereof) I struggle giving the topic of my health even one iota of attention, but no matter how long I get away with ignoring the issues, the issues don't always take the hint and go away. So this next paragraph to two is honestly about me processing through where I am at with my health, and if you are remotely interested in what's up you may get the scoop as well. (But watching paint dry is about as interesting...really...)

I have to preface everything by saying that overall, I am better than I was two years ago. Much, much better. When I get discouraged or frustrated, I always try to find my way back to that point, because no matter how many pills I have to take or how many shots I give myself, the bottom line is that hope is my greatest medicine. As hard as it is to look back (and as hard as it is to actually remember - I was so exhausted I actually don't remember long periods of time), I know I need to think about those days when I couldn't get out of bed or when my greatest accomplishment was being able to sit at the table through a meal with the boys. I couldn't vacuum, I couldn't walk Calvin into preschool, I couldn't drive. It was INSANE. To most people, I live a fairly "normal" life these days. Of course, the life I lead has been greatly modified over the last two years, but even that is a blessing in many ways. But lately, as I have gotten pretty hard core on getting rid of the "funk" in my system, I am feeling really, really OVER IT. Yet no matter how OVER IT I am, the reality is I must still be focused ON IT. I have to be diligent with taking all my pills, I have to be mindful of everything I eat, I have to step away from activities I love to preserve my immune system. I want this to be a thing of the past, and when I get out of my whiny mode long enough, I can see the big picture and I realize that I am on the right track and I am learning a better way to live and live well. But, man! Some days I want to be the mom who functions just fine on Big Macs and vanilla Dr. Peppers!

The upside of all the health mess is that I have a great doctor working with me (Poor Dr. Holistic. I am the patient that says out loud everything his other patients filter out before speaking, but somehow despite my crappy health and brutal honesty, we always end up laughing through our appointments. A doctor I can laugh with? Now that's good medicine!), and I have learned an incredible amount about my body and what it actually needs. My desire for health is greater than ever. I am hopeful, but it is soooooo uphill. And sometimes I need to set down the Susie Sunshine basket and whine.

Whine over. (Picking up my basket of sunshine and trudging along again...)

My Dinner Party You know that cliche getting-to-know-you question about who you would most want to invite to a dinner party? For some reason I have been pondering this lately. (Must be all the Good Housekeeping Christmas Hospitality books I've been checking out of the library...) I decided to exclude the "dead" part of the "living or dead" criteria - because after all, who wants a corpse at the dinner table? - and now I am just so committed to one day having my ideal dinner party. I get that it may be a long shot, but come on - a girl's gotta dream, right? So here is my list of most desirable dinner guests:

1. Tony Dungy. I cannot think of any person in football with whom I would most want to spend a few hours in conversation. First of all, he is an absolute genius when it comes to the game. Second, he is THE authority (in my mind) on the art - and it is an art - of motivating players. Finally, he is a man of God who gets it. No matter how successful he became, he always seemed able to keep life in proper perspective - God, family, football. (Just like my priorities.) I love that he has reached out to Michael Vick and is just as committed to mentoring the average man as he was to mentoring great talents in football. He is the real deal.

2. Laura Bush. Don't get me wrong, I have this dream of inviting both Laura and W. for dinner sometime, but when push comes to shove around a small dinner table, I went with Laura. Why? Because I think there is a ton of wisdom to be found in a woman who probably spent a good amount of time wanting to vehemently defend her husband, but remained an absolute lady. Now there's a skill I could use a bit of coaching in.

3. Mandisa. For any of you who may not know her, Mandisa is one of the most amazing singers EVER and coincidentally, my imaginary best friend. (Don't be creeped out.) She is a gifted Christian artist, and yet she seems to have a great sense of humor. I can hang with funny people. In fact, I prefer them.

4. Col. Glenn Frazer. (I can hear you grumbling, dear friends!) If you know me, you know my passion for all things WW II, especially one Col. Frazier who I have blogged about numerous times before. The WW II generation has so much wisdom - not contrived ideals, but walk-it-out-the-hard-way wisdom of which my generation and my boys' generation could stand a big, fat dose. I could sit for hours and listen to a WW II veteran talk. Shame on me for not doing it.

Of course, I would throw in a few of my dear girlfriends to keep the conversation lively!

Who would you invite to your dinner party?

How is it possible Dennis Miller got chased out of the MNF booth, and yet I have to sit here and endure Jon Gruden using phrases like, "I was never so stimulated than when..." *awkward cricket chirping silence* Where are Frank, Al, and Dan when you need them?!?

Hosting! We are a mere six weeks away from Inessa coming! Whoa! I am so passionate about the hosting program through New Horizons. (You already know that though, right?) I have heard a few misconceptions about the hosting program in recent conversations, and I wanted to chat about some of them here.

"Oh, I know someone who hosted a foreign exchange student once too..." This is not a foreign exchange program. Sure, some of the practical goals of NHFC seems similar to hosting a foreign exchange student - it is our hope that Inessa will gain fluency in English and enjoy experiencing our culture, but those things are just a means to a bigger end with the hosting program. Gaining language skills develops self esteem for these children, and these are children who have lived lives of more rejection and loss than most of us can even imagine. For some, this program is the first time they have been chosen or special...ever. NHFC is more about what happens inside our front door and in our hearts than the sights we can show Inessa outside that door. Yes, in some ways this is like hosting a foreign exchange student, but in many ways, it is so much more.

These kids are just like foster kids here. Yes. And no. And yes. But sort of no. There are some unique challenges for both foster kids in the U.S. and the children available for hosting. Most of them have emotional (and some physical) baggage - lots of it. Most of them would benefit greatly from the love of a stable, structured family. But what that looks like walked out may be more different than you think. While I have a lot of learning to do about foster children and the foster care system in the U.S., it is a little like comparing apples and oranges when debating which group has the harder road or the greatest need. We have been asked why we don't just provide foster care for children here. There are some very specific reason at this stage in our family life why we feel better equipped to host. (Maybe someday I'll tackle that subject more in depth in another blog post...) In the meantime, we are passionate about hosting. Unapologetically passionate!

I don't know what our experience with Inessa will be like. I could never have predicted what this past summer with Sintija would be like, neither the joys nor the challenges. We were well trained to host, but somewhere between the cognitive training and the commitment to care, God does some frightening and unexpected heart work. So we are praying, every day. We pray that God would prepare Inessa and that He would prepare us. For what, we have no idea.

Whew. If you read this far, you are a real trouper! Like I said, I have struggled with blogging lately so maybe this long blog post will pave the way for more succinct, focused entries. I make no promises, but I sure will try!

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