Jan 26, 2012

a sad tale from Ethiopia

Our agency director posted this, and I remember having read several years ago, but I'd totally forgotten that it happened in Ethiopia.  You see, Ethiopia was just a nice country in Africa before and now it's all tangled up in my heart.


The story is astonishing, because these ferocious animals acted as a young girl's protectors--the lions behaved with more compassion than the men, who kidnapped and beat her. 

And even more astonishing is the fact that the last line reports, non-chalantly even, that "kidnapping young girls has long been part of the marriage custom in Ethiopia. The United Nations estimates that more than 70 percent of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction, practiced in rural areas where most of the country’s 71 million people live." 

When I hear these kind of things, I can't help but think, "That could have been my precious child."  And then, an even worse thought (that is true): "That IS someone's precious child."  I thank God for the safety and protection we are privileged to here, even as I wonder why things are as they are there.

Jan 23, 2012

Yes, it's true. I'm a hair hypocrite.

After my post about our hair success, I managed even to inspire myself to do a very thorough detangling session. Which went horrifically! Lucy screamed and pressed her little hands over her mouth. I think we were both traumatized. Apparently, I had neglected my OWN advice not to let it go too long without being detangled. I was great about it at first, and then it seemed to be working so I got a little lax. A LOT lax if the clumps of tangled curls are taken into account. And, actually, I thought it looked great. But it wasn't healthy, and working out those tangles was too tough of a job.

Soooo, once again inspired by... myself (and a debatably successful self-cut bangs episode a few weeks ago) I started cutting. I cut and cut and cut some more. It actually evened up the length because she started out with a nice head of hair on top and kinda not much on the back and sides. (It's been referred as the "reverse mullet: party in the front and business int he back) This little "trim" got rid of the worst of the knots and evened out the length. It is shorter than I thought because of how it springs right back up, but I think it's a nice, fresh, healthy start. So, now I'm going to try to follow my own advice and keep those tangles under control by not taking the short-cut and stopping the process when things get... hairy.

Isn't she lovely?

Both of our hair cuts

Sidenote: Speaking of being a hypocrite, I totally am. God is working some things in my heart. That is the nice, churchy way to say He's wreaking havoc, cleaning house, kicking butt and taking names. It's not very comfortable. But it is interesting. What will come of all this? I'm not sure. But I hope a better heart, one that isn't so concerned with getting and is much more concerned with giving, one that is ready to follow Jesus anywhere, one that doesn't love cautiously but with abandon.

Jan 15, 2012

thoughts about hair

Hola amigos!  I think it's high time for a hair update.  I got so much good, kind advice in response to my desperate plea for help (here). We still have some struggles, but things have VASTLY improved.  There are occaisionally tears, but much less often!

One thing that was kind of freeing was to realize that there is no "right way" to work with Lucy's hair.  I got good advice, some of which coincided with "Happy Girl Hair" advice, some of which was totally contradictory.  (Happy Girl Hair is on the blog list to the right.  It's kind of a sacred cannon of hair advice for curly African hair.  It's wonderful and a little overwhelming!)

I have a whole new perspective on hair after watching the (slightly rough, but interesting) "It's all Good Hair" documentary by Chris Rock and talking with some African American friends.  First of all, black women's hair is a BIG deal :)  I learned that a little girl's hair is a reflection of how taken-care-of she is.  It's time consuming and can be expensive to really care for her hair, so if it looks neat and healthy, it shows the world that this little girl is loved and cared for.  So, Lucy's georgous hair is a billboard for my parenting prowess.  Ay ay ay!  The pressure!

Also, the documentary drew to my attention the fact that MOST African American women I see (on TV and in real life) do not wear natural (curly) hair styles.  The look I most often see is relaxed hair.  Those beautiful curls are smashed out!  I also learned that MANY African American women I see on TV and in movies are wearing weaves/extensions.  And that the "best" ones are made from the hair of Indian women.  Whew, a global beauty economy!

Now, while I get to decide about Lucy's hair, I want to showcase those beautiful curls!  I LOVE them!  So lets get to the nitty gritty:

Look how long it is when it's stretched out!

 Products we use
So, our main problem was LACK OF MOISTURE!  I needed to be moisturizing more often and with better products.  Changing those two things solved most of our problems.  Our routine now is:

--A bath about 3 times a week with conditioner (Aubrey's Honeysuckle Rose conditioner) worked through her wet hair.  (We shampoo maybe once a week first).  I detangle a little with my fingers, and use the tangle teaser some, too.  (To tell the truth, I'm not singing it's praises YET, but I've heard so many good things I want to keep trying).  Usually, I don't rinse the conditioner out, but leave it in overnight, or just kinda half rinse it. 
--In the mornings, I spritz her hair with water and conditioner, and use the Curly Q Curling Custard.  I LOVE this stuff!!!  I hear all the time how great her hair smells.  Jeremiah Rice (big bro to Lucy's future pal, Dalaney) said that they have to use this stuff because it makes Lucy smell ike a cupcake all the time!  I usually put the pantene creme oil after her afternoon nap and before she goes to bed on nights that we don't condition.

I also am using Aquaphor lotion.  It's almost a Vaseline consistancy, so we slather up at night and then zip her into her snuggly footed pjs and her skin feels great in the morning.
This works very well when it's consistant.  I've learned the hard way that missing just one moisturizing session or detangling can make for an unpleasant situation next time.  It's really a joy to have these little routines, though, and to feel like I'm learning how to take care of Lucy well.  I hope to help her appreciate what a lovely girl she is and how awesome that head of hair God gave her is!

Jan 10, 2012

how can you help?

I'm SO glad you asked!  You see, this adoption business is a little overwhelming at times, and pricey.  But OH SO worth it! 

A#1)  My friend Angel is adopting a sweet baby girl, Dalaney, from Ethiopia as well.  She's going to have a LOVELY shin-dig on Saturday to raise money.  Just come on by and get a delish dish for $5, which will go toward her adoption.  There will also be lovely things to buy, if you want.  I'll be dishing up goodies, and you can meet Angel and her amazing son, Jeremiah (who is wonderfully excited to be a big brother) and maybe even get a sneak peak at Dalaney's pictures.  (Oh my word.  Adorable!)  Click on the flier below to make it bigger and see details

B#2)  This one is EASY folks!  Please take 30 seconds to sign this petition.  It is requesting that the refundable adoption tax credit be extended two years.  This is a BIG deal and can cover almost half of the total cost of adoption.  Extending this credit gives so many more families the opportunity to adopt.  Gracias!
Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

C#3)  Weeeell, I'm slipping this one in.  There is a precious little boy on my agency's waiting child list.  An 8 year old boy who now has no one.  His sweet little smile caught my eye weeks ago, and when I looked yesterday, a note beside him mentioned that he was one of the sweetest, caring chilldren they had met, always had a smile, and looked after the little ones.  Oooh, it just got me.  This child is dealing with more pain and fear and uncertainty than I'll probably ever have to, and he's caring for others in the midst of it. (Would I be that strong?) I knew he was special!  What a blessing he'd be.

I started scheming.  I'd have to have another bedroom (legally boys and girls can't share one, and neither can parents and children, so I've got mine and Lucy's and I'd need another one).  So I started scanning local real estate for sale... before I had to talk firmly to myself.  This precious boy needs a family, but it's utterly impractical that Lucy and I are his family. 

So I'm just casually throwing this out there, this news of a sweet caring little boy who needs a mama to love him and a daddy to teach him and a bed to be tucked into.  I think he may need little siblings, too, to take care of and love on.  I'm just sharing information, guys, with (almost) no ulterior motive or schemes. (www.celebratechildren.org)

Jan 7, 2012

new year, new skills

Here she is in action folks!  Defying gravity and performing amazing feats of strength, balance, and coordination, I present.... LUCY!

So besides the brains,the looks, and the singing, she can now add athletic prowess to her list of accomplishments!  This girl is awesome!

She's also started doing something which THRILLS me to no end...

Yes, it's true.  Lucy is bringing me books to read to her.  There has even been some backing up into my lap for a nice snuggle and book.  Ahh, I'm in heaven!  I have forced encouraged reading from the start, but I wasn't sure that she enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.  So to have her choose books and bring them to me (even though we ususally don't get very far along in them) makes me a happy mama.

*Sidenote of cuteness:  The book she brought me is "Jesus Loves Me" which has pictures of adorable, culturally diverse children that she looks at as I sing the song "Jesus loves me."  She kept saying "bye bye" at the end, and I just realized for "the Bible tells me so" she's hearing Bible as bye-bye!  We'll get it all figured out!

Jan 4, 2012

heavy heart

Friends, please pray for Theo's family (Reagan, Mike and their children--their blog is linked at the right).  Theo came home just before Lucy did, fought lukemia, and passed away today.  I'm heart-broken for their loss.

Please pray for Bonnie and Justin Myers, too.  They're in Ethiopia fighting to bring their two precious children home.  They're facing several obstacles and have already faced many.  Please pray for them to be able to bring their children home and for peace for their weary hearts.

God says, "I, the Lord, love justice."  He says, "I took up your case, I redeemed your life."  He says, "It wasn't with mere gold and silver that you were redeemed, but at a cost--with the precious blood of my Son."  Lord, be with these families.  Let them feel how very precious to you they are.  Pull them in even closer through these times that don't make sense. Give them peace that can only come from you. Amen.