Sunday, March 24, 2013

Adoption Fundraising Letter

For those of you praying and thinking about Adoption.  Saw this letter, thought it might be of interest.

Letter for Adoption-fundraising

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Meltdown!

Typically on days like this, I send the grandparents an email, as a means of therapy for a very longggggggg day in the Laubach household.  Figured I'd add photos and document it, so we can look back on this day with "fond" (insert sarcasm here) memories.  

Here's the story behind the title of this post:  
So, I love to make meals for other families.  It's a way I can pour out, outside of family, without leaving the house.  Well, here's the little secret.  I'm not really all that great at multi-tasking.  Something inevitably seems to go wrong when I'm preparing a meal for another family.  I tend to burn something, ruin something in our kitchen, have a break-down of my own at the pressure of it all.  Yes, I'm a perfectionist.  I'm like a reallyyy messy-perfectionist.  I have no idea how these traits go together.  Anyway, this time was going to be different.  I prayed.  I really did.  I asked the Lord to make this a good meal for the other family (and ours).   I was not going to stress.  I was not going to drive my family INSANE with my pursuit of perfection in a meal.  Clearly perfection was not the result: 

Here's the story:  

I'm making an italian bread recipe that I don't normally make, all excited b/c I actually remembered that my bread recipe doesn't work well with sandwiches-too soggy.  I put the dough in the oven to rise around 2:00.  Fast forward to 3:00.  I preheat the oven to 425 degrees! in preparation for dinner potatoes.  I didn't realize until I opened  the oven door to see smoke pouring out and ooze running down the cracks of the oven, that I had dough rising in the oven.

You know when you see something totally unexpected and you're trying to make sense of it all and you freeze?  Weeeellll, let's just say, I was frozen.  I was trying to figure out what the ooze was, all the while subconsciously praying that time would reverse and this.did.not.happen.  Jim is literally yelling at me, "Get it out!  Get it out!"  I had no idea how Get It Out!  and I tell him such.  Moving into action, realizing I'm not going to do a thing to fix this, he grabs potholders or towel or something and pulls the entire rack out of the oven.  Julia and I are still standing and staring, mouths hanging wide open.  Upon burning himself, Jim says some choice words %^%$#@, which is probably all that Julia will remember from the whole thing, (Jim says it was probably a topic at youth group last night), and yells,
 "OPEN the DOOR!".
 I'm like, "yea, somebody open the stinkin' door!"
 Then I realize he's yelling at me to open the door.
 I get the door open and he places the verry melted conglomeration of oven rack, bowl, and dough onto the firewood.

Here's the best part:  He says, "I think this one's okay", referring to the one on the right.  Okay, I can be a Debbie Downer and see the glass totally empty, but seriously.  However, realizing I'm a total drama queen and my husband is often the voice of reason, for a split second, I actually considered that it might be okay until I looked at and smelled the "one on the right".  Um, no.  This would not do.

 I consider going to buy the rolls but my mom's voice in my head reminds me that I like to cook things the long way (this time, the veryyyy long way) for people, instead of buying them.  So, after the chaos, we have a very quiet, crickets chirping dinner.  Mom's trying really hard not break down.  We need to be at Julia's b.ball game by 5:15, so I start rushing around, realizing I need oven cleaner, new bowls, a bread making miracle.  That's when PINTEREST pops into my head.  Pinterest has an answer for everything.  I look for "oven cleaner", thankful to find one that uses the things I already have.  The phone rings.  I'm on the phone (I have no idea why common sense didn't kick in and tell me to let the answering machine pick up for the moment.)  So, I'm on the phone and Ana starts LICKING the oven cleaner made of dishwashing detergent and baking soda.  Just before putting it on her lips, she whispers, "Mmmm, yummy."  Oh my.  In her defense, it was a pretty pink color, pretty much the color of a strawberry Jolly Rancher.

I could go into detail about how in the midst of my ripping around, after the disaster, ripping Cole's only piece of posterboard for his communications project, by ramming a chair into it.  I could tell about hot tears streaming down my face as my son gives me a hug and cleans up the dirt I had just swept on the floor.  My son, cleaning up my dirt.  Hmmm.  I could tell about my husband cleaning up mess after mess after mess in the kitchen after this incident.  Grace.

Instead, I'll go into detail about how my husband grabbed my face, looked into my eyes and said, "  Not for anything you do.  Not for your performance.  We love you for you."  I wanted to draw back and say "I wasn't even thinking that."  But he knows.  He knows me.  He knows how something like this can be twisted and turned in my mind until I have myself believing I'm a total loser.  How I love him.

I'm happy to say that at 6:00am this morning, we have 14 mini-loaves of bread on our counter. Thank you, Lord.  This is grace.

And...for your viewing pleasure, grandparents.  Here's is Houdini's latest.  Reminder:  the ONLY thing in A's and G's bedroom is two beds, a dresser, and a few toys in a draw due to several other near catastrophic disasters stemming from their ability to plot and plan at a very young age.  The closet is locked, due to the too-many-times to count incidences of ALL of the clothing from the closet being put on a huge pile in the middle of bedroom.  The outside door has a lock on it, too.  It's a chain lock-the door is open a crack and we can hear them.  (I recently told one of the girls from church this and you should have seen her face ;-)  I know-it sounds um mean?, but the alternative (Gabriel sneaking out and hangin' out down at Sheetz unbeknownst to us, at 3:00 in the morning,  is not cool with us.)  Because the closet door is locked, G can no longer pull the very flimsy, plastic, sock and underwear drawer out, stand on it, reach through the door, and undo the lock.

So...he's resorted to this!  He moved his.ENTIRE.bed just to stand on it to get the lock open.  Is this normal?! :-)

And finally, the following photo is for Cole James.  A reminder of the fun we had at the drive-thru. 'Cause, well, I often say, my circuit is fairly small:  Home, Mc.D's, Wengers, Weis, Freeom, Dollar Store.  Not necessarily in that driving order.  In case you're wondering what I think of all this, 
Yep, I love my life.  So blessed.

We love to watch this girl have fun playing b.ball.

Being a goofball at McD's drive-thru

Daddy and His Girls

Monday, March 4, 2013

Heart Surgery

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;  in the night also my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:7)

Ana started complaining last evening of her bottom hurting.  We applied diaper rash cream before putting her to be.  Only to be awakened around 1:00 am to her crying and again at 3:30.  Finally, I took her into the bathroom and examined the "said area" to apply more cream in the correct region.  As I did, I saw a "thorn-like" piece of plastic, stubbornly sticking into her flesh.  I removed it, she cried a bit, and finally, she was relieved.  The pain was gone.  I laid her back in bed, she laid her head on her pillow, we prayed, and she drifted off to sleep.

A perfect illustration of what's been happening in this woman's heart.

We have had 3+ hard weeks with one of our children-very hard.  It's consisted of a lot of slapping and yelling and just plain disobedience.  Jim and I are tired.  These behaviors, in addition to birthdays and other family happenings have not allowed Jim and I our normal "marriage rhythm".  Normally, we connect at least once daily.  Normally, we spend time intimate time together.  Normally, we can laugh at each other's faults.  But these last few weeks, it's been anything but "normal".

Personally, I've been praying, for what seems like forever, for God to change my heart; to make me quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.  Yesterday at church, our preacher/teacher, Steve, delivered some hard words from the Lord to this struggling and sick heart.  The Lord allowed me look at some very dark places in my heart, head-on.  Is this what it feels like to be a coroner:  needing to look at some gruesome things to get the job done.  Fast forward to the early hours of this morning after being unable to sleep after being up with Ana the first time.  I begged and pleaded with the Lord that He change my heart-that He makes me quick to listen, slow to speak, gentle and quiet, unshaken by behaviors of those around me.  I even journaled it in black and white as a sign that I really want to change.  After this prayer, Ana cried out again, in pain.  It's when I removed the thorn.

As I came back downstairs, the Lord started speaking:
Do you want to be "right" or do you want to be "reconciled"?  I knew He meant in all of these relationships that are just hard right now.

I chose  Reconciled not knowing I too, was about to go under the hand of the great physician.

And he started the surgery, the painful surgery of examining a sick heart.

If you want to be reconciled, you have to take care of your own stuff.  (Looking  for the thorn in the dark places, not just applying the cream)

One by one, a loving Father, disciplining His child and a Skillful Physican with His life-giving hand, He laid out 11 things, some with sub-lists, of ways I damage relationships.  (The 11 removed thorns are at the bottom should you care to examine them further.  Warning:  They're not pretty.)

Not before being a Christ-follower, not 5 years ago.  Today.

There it was in black and white-the stuff that was clogging and jagging my heart-the darkness of my heart-laid out on the table, to be examined.

The beautiful Truth:   The Physician who opens the heart, is the same one who seals it and heals it.

As I sat, heart laid bare, He whispered over me:

"Redeemed in a Heartbeat" and this name "Jesus"

Like waking from surgery, anesthesia wearing off slowly, my eyes started to focus.  I looked back over this list and saw it covered by the blood of Jesus.  I looked back over the last few hours of the night and saw how I went through heart surgery.  I was surprised.  The Lord is not surprised.  The same one who does the surgery is the one who prepares the heart.

This surgery is only possible because there is ONE who went before me.  A loving Father prepared the way for a humble Son, who willingly gave His blood for mine.  Who lived a perfect life, so I don't have to.  Who died my death, so I don't have to.  Was resurrected, to give me LIFE.

The final sutures were put in place:
And I will lead the blind in a way they do not know, in paths they have not known, I will guide them.  I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.  These are things I do.  I do not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Many people ask me, "What in the world do you do when you're up so early.  This is what I do a lot of times-I undergo surgery.  I think the Lord knows this is one of the only times I'm still long enough for Him to do life-giving surgery.

The Thorns:
1.  slow to listen
2.  quick to speak
3.  quick to criticize, turn to self, have a pity-party with self-such a lonely affair
4.  slow to love-take care of self first, instead of others
5.  slow to appreciate-look to others' faults, refuse to see good
6.  choose not to bridle your tongue-you move past the point of decision before stopping and making a plan
7.  refuse gratitude for gifts you've been given and choose not to use them
8.  desire to be alone instead of loving others and giving of self
9.  Please look at your children as I look at them.
10.  If you want Jim to stop  looking to you for decision-making, stop trying to fix everything.
11.  Women don't want to be around you because:  you ACT perfect, you THINK perfect, and you DO perfect-only I am perfect.