Friday, October 1, 2010

Turning Point

JB and Risa in Ethiopia-- March 2009

As I was writing in my journal this morning, I had a little bit of an "ah-ha" moment. Or maybe I should say, God, in His grace, pointed out a little-- but huge-- detail to me. I was lamenting about all that I wanted to do and how little time there is to do it in-- cry me a river, right?? Some things on my list:

*Implement writing/literature co-op for homeschool group
*go on more neat field trips with my kids and get on with organizing a field trip or two for our group
*decorate my home for fall-- indoors and out
*go through our checkbooks with a fine tooth comb and figure out how we managed to spend so much in the past couple of months (this job seems to always be pushed to the bottom of the stack)
*write editorial letters in support of our district's candidate for Congress
*start a book club (for adults... not kids)
*read without falling asleep at night
*create a better plan of action for my older boys' personal studies (getting them more involved and responsible) and to get us moving through history/geography quicker
*make sure I'm tracking my mileage well for my next race (Dec. 5th-- Sacramento Marathon)
*look into the small group from our church that actually meets right here in our neighborhood-- which is wonderful, since we seem to be far away from everything
*start blogging again

..... and more.

But here's the thing. As I'm writing all this down, just trying to get it out of my head and into God's hands for HIM to organize, prioritize and hand what matters back to me; this crazy thought came to me. Isn't it sooooo wonderful to have such silly, unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) matters to "worry" about?

You think I have lost my mind. You're right. But here is the point. A year ago at this time, I couldn't even fathom such things. All I could journal about was the pain I felt over whether I would ever be able to bond with my newest children-- Joshua Biruk and Rebekah Selame. Four months ago, it was really still the same-- though maybe in smaller spurts and with a little more reprieve in between. For the past year and several months, I have lived in emotional, mental limbo. Swinging from absolute conviction that adopting JB and Risa was the exact thing our family was meant to do-- to complete throat tightening anxiety that we had just made the greatest un-doable mistake ever.

Are you uncomfortable reading this? It makes me squirm a little to write it. But, what I hope you see is God's goodness, mercy and absolute grace-- which is so much greater and higher than our thoughts, emotions or own "precious" will. His love does not conform to the ideas of the world. In fact, it smacks the wisdom of the world in the face. Crazy-- the Bible really IS right!!! He will cause ALL things to work for the good of those who love Him and call on His name! (Romans 8:28); I [have] seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13-14); It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by FAITH in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Gal. 2:20-21).

July 7th was our "Gotcha Day" 1 year anniversary. It seems that every day since then, joy has been restored to me. I LOVE being able to see vibrant color again and be joked out of a bad mood by my Superman :). I love being able to watch ALL my children in their antics and notice their individual personalities again, be more level headed when they have done wrong and not wonder every minute if they will ever "come out of it"-- whatever "it" is. Mostly, I love that I am able to worry about things that don't matter!! Crazy... I know.

But, here's the thing. We should ALL be so thankful and joyful to have such simple things to occupy our minds. For God has done great things in our hearts and in our lives. And He's only just begun.

Grace and Peace,

JB and Aunt Emily last Saturday (25th) at her wedding (JB & Sam were ring bearers)

Auntie Em's best fan club ever

Daddy and Risa at Aunt Em's rehersal dinner

Power to the Team Dragovich women!!

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you as His treasured possession (Deut. 14:2)..."Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." (Isa. 43:6-7)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Obviously I need to blog more

Okay... I had to leave to do soccer before I was done giving labels to all the pictures. So... the rest of the pictures in the post before this one are about:

squirrel rescue in March/April. This is Lucky. His brother-- Unlucky-- is buried in my rose garden... may he rest in peace.

Pinewood Derby and Klondike racing for cub/boy scouts in Feb/March. All 3 of my cubs made it to district with their cars.... can you believe that??!!

Getting the side of the house ready for our new boat-- rocks, shovels, kids, wheelbarrows

Airsoft wars with friends for Wyatt's birthday (goggle pictures)

Bowling for Valentine's Day.

2010 events which are not captured in pictures:

Boating on Lake Jordan in our new boat for Easter-- yes, the kids DID get in the water and even tubed!!! I was just dumb and left the camera in the car.

Our first Chuck E. Cheeses adventure for a friend's birthday party-- that was too stressful to fathom taking pictures.

Spring soccer... who knows why I don't have pictures of this.

Risa going from 2 to almost 6 in 9 months. It is a long story, and one that I will not tell all of here. I guess the pictures of this can be found in the posts for the last nine months! Needless to say, we are in the process of having her birth certificate changed to more closely match what we THINK is her true age-- giving her as much lee-way as possible.... she lost her two front teeth at Christmas... her bone age is many months over 6 years.. Crazy. So.... maybe it hasn't been THAT unintentional that I haven't blogged much. I've had a lot to process-- as well as a LOT of life to live!!!!

Very full :)

Grace and Peace,

The Quarterly Update in pictures

Risa at Team Dragovich's FIRST camporee with the Boy Scouts. Yes... that is right, we camped with ALL 5 kids at the beginning of the month. (April)

Yeah... I know. I am a lame blogger. I'm a much better facebook-er. Anyway. I won't even attempt to describe all that has happened in our family over the past 4 months. I'll just give you the scoop in pictures. Happy Spring to you all!!!! The pictures are in "reverse chronological order". I posted them wrong and don't have time to make them go in chronological order. :)
Handsome boys in their Scouting uniforms!

Building tunnels at VA Beach

Serious construction work in progress

Mommy and her fan club after running the VA Beach Marathon-- March 21, 2010
I won my age division and came in 20th woman overall... it was all because of my excellent cheer team!

Here I come at mile 24-- in the pink-- look at my crowd clapping me to the finish line!

This is what they do in between seeing me race

Getting ready to watch Mommy run 26.2 miles :)

Breakfast is a highlight of every marathon

Wyatt and Isaac raced in the "Final Mile" the day before my marathon.

Wyatt and Isaac waiting for their corral to race-- nervous boys :)

They have the best fan club, too!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

If you ever wonder why I run...Small Groups January Highlight Video

You may wonder what could poses me to wake up at absurd hours of the morning, run in extreme weather conditions, subject my body to "physical torture" (as my boys would say) and spend hours at a time on my feet. This video put together by my church meant to highlight some of the small groups in our church, is your answer.

I realized that when I gave my testimony (which was the first one-- duh), I used the word "rough" to describe our adoption-- in an indirect way. "Miraculous" is what adoption truly is. "Rough" is just part of the miracle. I would never go back. I would never give up the rough and miss out on the miraculous. And as long as my feet will carry me, I will never stop running-- for it truly is God's gift to me. He chose running as His glorious way to "run" me through the rough places into His Miracle. Into His arms.

Grace and Peace,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hope... through child sponsorship

New years bring new commitments. New resolutions. New promises to take better care of ourselves, our finances, our stuff, etc. What about considering a new way to give hope? I know of a great opportunity to directly influence children's lives with the love of Christ in 2010.

Please go visit my friends Candy and Karen. Their blogs give details on how you can bring real, life breathing hope to partial and double orphaned children of Ethiopia. You can also go to Tom Davis' blog to learn more about Children's HopeChest, the ministry responsible for the child sponsorship program to which I am directing you.

God calls His children to be His hands and feet. Pray about how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus. For $34 a month, you can provide regular meals, basic life necessities and Christian discipleship and education to children. I bet most of us could think of one less meal we could eat out a month, or some other simple pleasure we take for granted (or maybe are very thankful for, but still...) on a regular basis and have $34 to give hope to a child who has not... every month. I am not working on making you feel guilt to sponsor-- many of you already give generously, sponsor children in need, etc. But, if you have been following our family's story of adoption and wanting to know how you can make a difference or even if you ever could-- YOU CAN!!!! Here is an opportunity, and an amazing one, at that :).

May God bless you and keep you this 2010 as you consider how you can care for the widow and the orphan and give hope...

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy 2010!!!

You know what is funny? I was looking at my last post and realized all that lovely reminiscing was about the wrong date totally!! Our "Gottcha Day" wasn't on the 11th of July.... It was the 7th. The 11th was the day we got HOME with the kids. That is funny. And so telling of what 2009 was really like for me-- blurry, confused and downright full of messiness.

At least, messiness from a human point of view. I will be honest, I am still having a hard time reflecting on 2009. You know, that favorite thing to do at the end of a year-- reflect on where you've been, dream about where you'll go... reflecting for me usually results in a slobbering mess of crying-- you know, the kind which involves snot, shoulder shaking and LOTS of forehead scrunching-- something I am working VERY hard at trying to avoid these days, less I succumb to Botox treatments.

But, all that messiness was divinely allowed and given to us specifically for a glory greater than our own. What do I mean by that? I mean, that because God purposefully allowed our family to experiences the hardships, challenges, trials and sadnesses that He did, we have been changed-- and changed for the better. You might wonder what the heck I am talking about-- I mean, we had the joy of adding to our family in 2009!! And you are right, that was a huge joy for our family!! And the blessings of adoption continue to be worked out in our lives-- individually and collectively. But like any new "birth", there are challenges: physically, emotionally, mentally, and any other "-ly" you can think of. Couple that with the unique challenges of adopting older children, and that alone can rock your world.

So, there were the challenges of adoption in 2009. There were the challenges of a 6 month deployment in 2009. There was a death of a beloved grandfather and all the challenges that went with that personally for me (grieving without my husband, getting myself and the boys to IL by myself and back on short notice). There were the everyday challenges that seemed to be magnified by all the above-- just doing life as a single parent or with two new children who you are trying to integrate into the family. There were financial challenges that we faced with adoption. There were work challenges that Tony faced besides deployment-- having to "hit the ground running" so to speak once he set foot on American soil.

I'm not trying to drum up a pity-party here. I hope you don't get that impression. I am simply laying out 2009 for Team Dragovich. Why? Hopefully, so you can see the Glory of God through our lives. His grace-- love in action-- is the ONLY thing that has allowed us to still be standing today. And not just standing... but thriving. When I look back at 2009 and think of some of the places I had to go-- whether it was 2 trips to IL and back by myself (& the boys, of course), or Ethiopia, just to soccer 5 times a week in the spring while my husband was deployed; there is not one single instance that I can recall when I felt "alone". In my fear, He reassured me. In my sorrow, He comforted me. In my frustration, He gave me compassion, insight and wisdom. In my tiredness (which was A LOT!!), He gave me new strength. In my uncertainty, He gave me solid hope in His Word.

I won't lie. I do NOT want a repeat of 2009 :). But I do not wish to take it back, either. I would never want any of it to be different, or not to have had to walk through it. It was a year of refining fire for all of us. God kept His promises-- He brought my husband home safely, He kept the boys and I safe and comforted, He did a new thing in our family through adoption and most importantly, He kept His Word to me-- my verse from Psalms which He directed me to on the week of Tony's deployment at the end of 2008, has come to fruition: "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of hte Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" Psalm 27: 13-14

This year, I have asked for and am looking forward to fruit. Not apples and oranges! Fruit of the Spirit. Fruit of joy, peace, patience, etc. Fruit of a life lived by the Grace of God and in righteousness in Him, alone. I have seen the work He has started in us. And where He has planted us is good-- "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in due season and whose leaf does not wither" (Ps. 1:3). What looks like chaos in our lives from the outside is really God working on us, in us and through us from the inside-- planting and establishing us in His eternal grace and love. Our family has not withered from the pressures of 2009. We have grown stronger. We know only God can do such a thing. And so, I look forward to the fruit of 2010-- and I will continue to go out on a limb with my Savior, in order to get it!

Grace and Peace,