Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
1. After not seeing my little Ninja for awhile I went looking for him. As I rounded the corner to the laundry room I saw him peeking out at me from behind the door. With a BIG. FAT. CHOCOLATE. ring around his mouth. He had been in the freezer eating a chocolate popcicle. (our deep freeze is under the stairs in a closet)
2. I was told that my little man does not like Sesame Street. "Why not?" I asked. "Because it's funny," he said. After thinking for a minute, I asked, "do you mean because it's silly?" He replied, "uh, huh."
Isn't that the point, ladies and gentlemen (?), I thought to myself. The mind of a 3 year old. Go figure.
3. We found a front-row parking space at the grocery store. "Thank you Jesus!!," says my sweet boy.
4. On an elevator going to the dr.'s office a nice lady notices J's monkey backpack and comments on it. Then she says, "are you a little monkey?!" J gives her a long look and politely says, "no." But, I know my boy's mind...while he is being polite he is also thinking, "is she crazy?!"
5. J's favorite question is...drumroll please..."why?" I think I hear that an average of 43,572 each day.
6. He leaves off the 's' on words and cannot yet grasp the 'th' sound. So, "snack" sounds like "nack." And, "thank" sounds like "tank" and "stick" sounds like "tick." I could go on. But, I'll save all of us the embarrasment.
Only a few of the funniest things we've encountered in our precious lives the past few days.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Don't you love the pics before each paragraph? Real original, I know. But, I just think it's a travesty not to include pictures on a blog post. And, our computer is still sick. So...that's the best I can do.
For now, I'll sign off with a very fun link to a site called Our Vintage Home Love. I check it once in a blue moon. Her site is fresh, clean and eclectic.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
We are writing to tell you about a new blessing in our lives. God has asked our family of three to leave the Bluegrass for a season. After loads of prayer and discernment about His will for our lives we are going to serve in Taiwan at The Home of God’s Love* for one year, possibly two. In the past three years at the farm here in KY we’ve raised a flock of 75 laying hens and were currently selling 4 dozen eggs daily. We have had success with our small herd of meat and dairy goats, too. We became members of Buena Vista Baptist church and have been blessed with some of the sweetest relationships with believers of all ages. It seems foolish, perhaps, to give up these things in order to go across the world when we are comfortable and thriving. We don’t always understand the Lord’s direction, but we know that to ignore and disobey His call is not an option for us.
do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Looking toward our time overseas, we will help the full time missionaries who have been faithfully serving the Lord for 30+ years in Taiwan. They have asked us to apply for international drivers licenses so that we can help drive the school age children, we’ll help feed the infants night and/or day, aid with adoption paperwork and support, minister to the children who permanently live in the orphanage and much more. The Home is in the planning stages of building a new structure to adequately meet their growing needs. We both worked hard to build our small home here at the farm and Charley’s skills will be put to use in many ways regarding the new structure. We’ll play, love and laugh with the children at the Home, with the adoptive families who will come and go frequently, and we’ll be blessed to learn a new language as we serve alongside Taiwanese employees. Our family will live in a small apartment within walking distance of the Home and we are blessed to have 1 day off each week. We are also going to begin our time in the country with a 6 week Chinese (Mandarin) language course.
But, we aren’t kidding ourselves that it will be easy. We are intimidated by this undertaking that the Lord has asked of us. We have never lived overseas for more than one month during our 2 short term missions trips to Kosovo…one year seems like a big deal to us! We’re asking for your support in prayer and love.
I was enthralled with the Royal wedding and all that led up to that special ceremony. But, most of all, I was touched by the sermon given. “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire,” was one of the Bishop’s quotes. We are proud parents, farmers, committed Christians and we love children – perhaps most of all, orphans. God has put “a fire” in our hearts for little children and, in particular, for the Home of God’s Love. To ignore that yearning would be to ignore “who God meant for us to be.”
wherever you send us we will go.”
We’ll be on Facebook (Charley Neal, Jackie Neal), please don't hesitate to "friend" us!
Here’s what the bottom line looks like: $2,000/month for living expenses.
Airfare for 3 = $5,000. If 200 people gave just $10/month we would almost be fully funded!
Email me at email@example.com if you would like to know more!
Here's the info for tax-deductible gifts:
PO Box 123
Wilmore, KY 40390
At Go International click on the Donate link. It will lead to a separate page. Click Give Now. Under Ways to Support Go, our names are listed under “Staff Ministry Support Accounts.”
Prayer: Sorry, no pics this time. My computer is dead. We are operating from a borrowed one thanks to Charley's dad.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Yesterday evening we were headed to our monthly Adoption group picnic. We were all in the car together after a day apart - John in preschool, daddy at work, and mommy at home preparing for our trip. I can't wait to ask about John's day when he's been at school, as I'm sure my mom loved to ask about mine when I was growing up.
C on the right, at *Thogl (thanks, J, I borrowed this from FB!)
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Welcome to summer on the farm. It's full of blooming flowers, a running creek, shooting lettuces...and loads of crabgrass in the garden
Mesclun, with a hint of peas creeping in.
Can anyone guess which crop in the garden already has flowers?
Strawberry season is winding down for us...we lost our plants last year to some pesky invasive goats
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
The grass is green, there is too much rain, and spring has sprung. Bless the South and the destruction they are facing. Our high winds and thunderstorms have been so bad this month of April 2011. My friends text me to "go to cover!" when the sirens sound in town. We don't hear them this far out in the country. This has been one time I've been thankful for our lack of trees nearby - no worries about downed limbs and creaking trees.
John has started to call us "mom" and "dad" every once in awhile. We don't like this! And, he's learning names and places. He loves the grocery store - notably *Kroger...probably b/c that's one of the few places mommy takes him frequently! And, he asks us our names all of the time.
"What's your name mommy?" "What's your name, daddy?" The first time he asked I made the mistake of thinking it was so wonderful that I gave him our real names. So, then he asked about his grandparents names and repeated them. Over and over. And again and again. So cute. But, now I just stick with the simple answer.
It's been awhile since I've blogged, I realize. But, better late than never I guess. Wasn't the *Royal Wedding amazing!? I was hooked and still am...going back and watching stuff I've recorded. We are getting rid of most of our cable channels soon and I'm so glad we still had *TLC for those silly pre-shows! And, the sermon was so meaningful...praying blessings on them as they start a tough life. Well, not too tough, I guess - what with servants, fancy cars, chefs, and blah, blah, blah. I was really humbled to hear they will spend their first year alone in the country - no frills. Well, that is, after the 6 week honeymoon on a private island. LOL
Thursday, March 10, 2011
In My Child's World is another site that brings together parents who are committed to giving their children their very best. A quote from their pages:"I have four children. Two are adopted. I forget which two." ~ Bob Constantine
I don't who Bob is, but I like him.
Another site is all about creating/providing/producing duffel bags - real, tangible life-long bags to keep - for foster children! Instead of sending them packing (either to a forever home, another placement, or back to their biological families) with everything they own in garbage bags these people saw a need and filled it! Go here to check it out...Revival Gear Project.
So...I'm going out on a limb here. I'm going to be brief, but I could write forever.
But, let's face it - after reading and learning and praying and pondering I do realize that adoption is about loss, grief, turmoil, hope, love and redemption. Loss for me in that I was not there for the first moments of my son's life, grief that he has suffered the loss of 9 months in the womb + 7 months in an (albeit extraordinary and Christian love-filled) orphange setting, and turmoil at being hoisted from both of these situations to a loving home across the ocean filled with new scents, people, languages, loves, sites, hands and so much more. (ALL, by the way, HUGE sensory experiences even for a biological 7 months old!)
This is the first time I've put pen to paper - um, fingers to keyboard - and really journaled my thoughts for the world to read. I pray, fast, and ruminate in my head at length, all the intricacies of life with my son. Because, geesh, I'm a stay at home mom and although the laundry, dishes, farm work and more all call out to me daily I still have a lot of time to think and pray! Anyway...
All of that to say that, like it or not, I do take a backseat to daddy. And, I am tired of feeling sad and resentful (a little) about it. I'm going to pursue my son until he melts in my arms. Arching his back, protesting loudly, grunting, putting me at arms length when I hold him facing me is no longer acceptable. Holding him on my hip with his arm and elbow propped on my collarbone to keep me at bay is no longer tollerable for me! I want to feel his arm around my neck. I want him to bury his head in my neck like he does with his daddy. He can do it with me b/c I see him do it with dad! He is capable!
I love when he sits on my lap facing outward when we read together. But, I've always felt something is missing. Attachment - real attachment - is what we both want.
So, yesterday I held him for almost an hour. I tried cradling him, which he would not have. I tried turning him to face me, which he would not have. I tried holding him to me - head to head. But, he climbed up past me, trying to get away. I heard lots of "no's," lots of "I don't need you's." But, I didn't stop loving him and pursuing him. I heard, "I want mommy." Huh? I'm right here, I thought. And, you can read it how you'd like. But, I think in my heart that he meant the mommy who held him inside of her for 9 months. Or, the "mommies" that fed him countless bottles for 7 months. Call me crazy. It's ok. I can take it. But, it's what I believe.
I told him calmly, sometimes whispering, over and over how much I love him, how he is my child, my baby, and I will always be here for him.,,forever. I am never leaving.
We stopped for dinner with daddy and as we walked into the kitchen with me holding him he actually held on to me for a minute with his arms around my neck. He laid his little head on my shoulder and whispered, "I love you, mommy." Oh man.
It's not like he doesn't tell me he loves me, he does. But, this was unexpected, genuine, straight from the heart. Something about it was different.
Later, after dinner, daddy went outside to finish chores. Usually John wants to play and go outside with him. But, last night he sat in my lap and said, "bye!" Totally unusual for him.
John and I sat rocking together, with him facing out (of course!), but he was content. After a few minutes I turned him around...well, attempted to turn him around (he's so strong!) and we went at it again for awhile. Without any prompting he slowed a little bit as I tried to cradle him, looking into his eyes and he said, "I need you mommy." Then, he looked at me square in the eye and said, "mommy needs me?" while he nodded his head. Oh man...that was when I knew I was doing what he had wanted me to do for so long - to just hold him, give him eye contact, no matter how painful. And, tell him over and over that I loved him and I would never leave him and he is my forever baby.
So much of John's story is personal. I don't ever want to exploite his story or tell the world his raw emotions for fear that he will dislike my words as he can understand more and more each passing year. It's a tricky thing - putting your words, your heart out there in blogland. But, I can't hold these moments in my heart. God's children are made alike in so many ways and I know there other mom's feeling what I feel.
So, I couldn't help but share this journey of attachment and bonding. Our story is too good to hide in this little house. It's a safe little house and we so often want to shelter ourselves from the storms of the world. But our light shines bright - for our son, his life's journey, our trip to parenthood, and for the LORD! In the hopes that it might make a difference in the life of another little one unable to bond, I write these words of encouragment ~ there is hope for healing the wounds of loss felt so deeply inside the heart. There is light at the long end of what sometimes feels like a dark and winding tunnel.
I am encouraged beyond words b/c for the first time last night, my son fell fast asleep in my arms.
Every fostering class, social worker and most friends, encourage a child to fall asleep on their own. And, for most children, that's true! For most biological children, that's a fact! And, we have done that ever since John came home. But, the love he showed me by cuddling his little back to me last night and trusting me enough to fall asleep as I held him was by FAR the most wonderful statement of love he has ever given me.
Yes, he obeys most of the time b/c I tow the line. But, I want him to want to obey me b/c he loves, cheriches and trusts me. Hmmm, I think...just like God wants us to spend time talking, loving and cherishing Him.
I believe that the more I hold him, the more I tell John I cherich him over and over and talk quietly about our losses and gains...that he and I will have a bond closer than he and his daddy. Is it ok to want that for us? I think it is. We'll heal our distraught emotions and come out on top of the world.
And, the whole focus? LOVE.
Because LOVE is what LIFE is all about.
The next time God brings a child into my life I will follow my heart, my gut. I will not take "no" for an answer when I try putting her in a chest carrier facing me. Charley and I will be the only ones to hold her for weeks. I will be her primary bottle-giver, lover, comforter and holder. Me. Mommy. Forever. Easy words to say, but for so many little ones, hard words to accept and trust.
Remember the picture of the 3 of us at Christmas from the start of the post? Scroll up and take a closer look at it. My goal for next year is to have my boy giving a hint of a smile and for his little hands to be at rest.