Tuesday, September 28, 2010

peaceful days

We are just living in the middle of a long exhale for the next few weeks.  There is no news expected at all (and by news I mean verdict on the appeal that was heard before the Supreme Court of Kansas earlier this month) for the next few weeks.  And since we are not living in fear of Fridays yet (more on that another day) we are just hanging out in the easier-to-get-through days that come between court and any hope of a ruling.  That doesn't mean the days are necessarily totally painless.  We have the normal day to day issues, but we just laugh in the face of them.  We don't care! What's a bad day at work or having a cold when we are living in this freedom from bad news?  It makes me day dream about how it would feel if this was all over and in the past... Pausing for the daydream.  Yes.  

So speaking of having a cold -- this weekend Matt and I were feeling really rotten and it was my turn to lay on the couch and do nothing while the other grown up took care of the children.  I had worked that day so I didn't mind that my kids were all over me as I laid there.  Harper was of course my nurse.  She was bringing me things and driving a matchbox car all over my arms and back (which felt pretty good actually;  try making your kids do that every once in awhile). Later that evening I stumbled across this article written by the hilarious Kacy on her blog.  I am just including it below because I figure you might like a laugh too.  


As part of my end-of-summer efforts to get my hands on the wheel of this bus that is spinning out of control (Hint for the literalists among you: the bus is my family), I was sleeping on the floor of Ellen's room last night to break her of the habit of climbing into bed with Maggie several times a night. I wouldn't care that she does this but co-sleeping makes them both crotchety, as it does all of us (I WENT there, Dr. Sears.)

It's going pretty well. I didn't have to spend the whole night on her floor. People without kids are probably going, wait--that's a thing? Spending the night on your kid's floor happens? (They're so cute before they get haggard.) I was thinking about a post I wrote last year for the now defunct Light Refreshments Served. I keep meaning to transfer all my posts from there over to this blog but, you know--I'm asleep on the floor of my kid's room. So I think I'll bring them over one by one with the hope that this will imbue them with a kind of vintage flair. Here's the post I wrote last October about sleeping on your face:

You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not. I just discovered this new way to sleep since having my fourth and final baby. I wish I would have known about it sooner. At the risk of stating something obvious that everyone figured out before me, please allow me to share this day-time sleeping position with you.

With cold and flu season starting up you will probably get sick. It’s ok because there are many cold medicines which are pleasant to take–but only pleasant if you can really lay down and enjoy the grogginess they cause. With kids you know that you of course can not get into your bed. I hear about people who have helpers or friends or family who take their kids or come over when the mom gets sick but that has never happened to me. Of course you can steal a few hours during nap time or TV time or playing with beautiful wooden toy time (myth) but what about when your toddler demands your presence? Mine does almost 100% of the time. Note that I said presence. It doesn’t always have to be full-on attention.

But they get suspicious if you lay on a pillow–somehow they are very tuned in to your comfort level. And comfort=time to bug you. I can’t sleep on my back–if you can you are lucky. My husband can and he has all kinds of games he plays with the kids while he sleeps on his back such as “build a tower out of pillows on dad” and “dead pioneer.” This might work for you.

For us side and stomach sleepers, it’s not that uncomfortable to lay on the floor and fold your arms under your head and try to rest that way. But take it from me, it won’t last long because your arms fall asleep–you see, I am really serious here. This is serious advice. Here’s what works for me: I lay flat on my face. No one notices or asks me for anything. They think I’m still playing. They can tell I’m totally uncomfortable so they see no need to disrupt me. Then I turn my head to the side. This won’t be comfortable at first. But just let your neck relax and in a few minutes you will settle right in to the carpet (it won’t work on a hard floor). Now here’s the trick: put your arms and hands under the front of your legs. This does two things. It makes you feel like you have covers (which you can’t have because your toddler will pull any blankets off of you to use for herself or a doll). It also takes a little pressure off of your lower back which allows you to actually sleep in this position and remain really quite comfortable for a while.

This is the only way I’ve ever been able to doze off while “playing” with my kids. I hope it helps. I’m so jealous of you back sleepers but tell me, do they jump on you as soon as your eyes close?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Better Day

Friday evening we went to a hot air balloon festival.  How nice to spend a lovely evening together.  Just a few highlights that put my heart in a happier place.  Hope these smiling faces cheer you too!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

And Now We Wait...

Well, It's been a long day and we're glad it's almost done. We've been both anxious for this day to come knowing it brings us one step closer to this ordeal being done, and also dreading it as we remember how it feels to be in a courtroom listening to this case being debated.  Sitting in court has a way of bringing the reality and the gravity of all of this front and center.  When we're at home, going about everyday life has a way of veiling the reality of the situation and making it manageable. We're able to be distracted, to laugh and to enjoy life. Even though the possibility of losing Wavy is ever present it's not front and center and even though certain things will bring it to the forefront we feel like this situation no longer rules our lives. Effects us and pains us yes, but it doesn't consume us or completely overwhelm us. This has to be the grace of God and the prayers of so many faithful people that have us in this place.

Today is different though. Today is a day where you know and accept that you're going to live in the full reality of what's happening. We're thankful that there aren't many days like today. While today was similar to the last time we were in court there were some clear differences as well. This morning rather than a 20 minute drive across town it was an hour drive to the state capital. An hour of anticipating how the morning would unfold. Would it go well? Would it be a disaster? Would we get any indication in the faces of the justices that would tip us off to how they felt? Would our attorney perform well? Would the birthfather's? It was one of the worst hours I've spent in the car. Walking into the courthouse was different as well. As we walked through the doors of the building there was statue 3 stories tall representing some particular facets of justice. I'm not sure what they were and honestly didn't care. I was just struck with the size of the statue which pretty much sums up how I felt about the rest of the court. Everything seemed much more sizable today. The courtroom itself was bigger. The justice's bench was larger in order to accommodate more than twice the amount of justices than the appellate court. Even their leather chairs seemed bigger. It was clear at at almost every turn that this was a bigger deal - the highest court in the state. Then it seemed almost unbelievable - unbelievable that we'd come this far. From the case being argued in a small district courtroom in downtown Olathe to the Kansas Supreme Court. For me, all of this added an extra dose of gravity to what was taking place in front of us in the courtroom.  For the proceeding each of the attorney's had 20 minutes to argue their cases which mostly amounted to them fielding questions from the justices. It was a long 40 minutes in which each attorney presented things he had presented before the other courts. I tried to stay engaged and listen attentively to all they said, but I found my mind wandering in and out. Two things struck me during the oral arguments. The first was that, despite the size of everything - the large courtroom, the bench, 7 justices - it seemed small, even tiny. The bigness of the building, the statue, the room, the 7 justices all seemed very small and God seemed very big. It was a clear reminder in my spirit of who really is presiding this case. God is just and is also sovereign and even though those 40 minutes in the courtroom were awful they were still under his control and he is good. Along with that I remembered a place in the Psalms where it says that "The law of the Lord is perfect..." I couldn't remember the rest, but that short phrase struck with me throughout the time we were sitting there. It ran over and over in my mind as I was sitting there looking at the seal of the state of Kansas hanging over the head of the Chief Justice - "The law of the Lord is perfect."

The 40 minutes eventually passed. It was over and there was a sense of relief that this might be the last time we sit in court. We had a short meeting with our attorney to get his take on things and then left. There was another thing different about court today. In the past we've booked it out of court and headed as quickly as we could to the car. Today we stopped on the front steps of the courthouse. My dad and mom joined us today as well as a friend of theirs from church and their pastor. It was totally unexpected that these other 2 men came to sit with us in court today and I can't really adequately express what that meant to us. We'll never forget that. So today, my dad's pastor Joel stopped us all on the steps and we prayed. Well, he prayed. Molly and I were really in no shape to. But standing there, gathered in a circle on the front steps of the Kansas Supreme Court the 6 of us prayed. That's when I remembered the rest of the passage in Psalms - "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy making wise the simple." I'm sure to anyone who saw us it probably looked "simple", but for us it's a powerful picture and one I hope we can look back on as closing the chapter on this journey.

This post is way longer than I intended it to be so thank you for reading this far and indulging us on this one. We thought it might be helpful to share a little about how today was. So where do things go from here? Well, we wait. It's a familiar place and I feel like we've gotten somewhat use to waiting on courts. There's no timetable for when the Supreme Court will hand down their decision, but we are praying for sooner rather than later. Similar to the Appeals Court, they hand their decisions on Friday's so we'll know on some Friday in the future what they've decided. 

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers and support for our family along this journey. Please continue to pray that God will sustain us through whatever remains and that the Supreme Court will decide to keep Waverley in our family forever. 

Matt & Molly

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Change Of Heart (3 Days Out)

Last Tuesday Matt and I kissed the girls goodbye and headed to Chicago for a conference called CCDA.  We got home last night, and I feel like a completely different person.  CCDA stands for Christian Community Development Association.  It was basically a conference about trying to make a serious difference in neighborhoods that are overwhelmed by poverty.  This is Matt's profession and a passion for both of us.  I was fortunate enough to get to go along with him, and I was grateful for the opportunity as we are deeply committed to this issue.  I was also grateful for the timing of it, thinking that this might be the perfect way to submerge myself into something other than our upcoming court case.

We did miss the girls tremendously but being able to skype helped quite a bit.  Our girls are at precious ages where the things they say and do afford us constant entertainment.  When Harper gets excited and wants to show you something instead of saying "I can't wait to show you..." or "I can't wait for you to see..." she mixes up the expressions and says "You can't wait to see..." So she was holding up all of her school work (preschool is serious business, people) and saying "You can't wait to see my princess crown. I glued shapes on it!" And so on.  Wavy just kept trying to kiss the camera and would shout out excitedly "I have a pink shirt on!" After Harper would jabber on some more she would interject loudly "I have a pink shirt on!" and wave at us happily.  They're awesome.

Two things happened on this trip.  The first was a renewed fervor to make every and any difference possible in the lives of those deeply entrenched in a poor and struggling community.  The second thing (that I was not expecting) was I finally felt freed up from the fears that have been eating at me for the past two years.  Let me be clear.  I am still extremely worried about the outcome of this case.  I have seen terrible devastation in families of both friends and acquaintances this year.  These tragedies that I witnessed reminded me that there are no promises of happy endings.  Awful things happen to people.  A faith in God does not earn me a free pass on harm or unhappiness.  He promises other things. But I am not owed any freebies.  And I don't expect them.  So I bristle a little when people suggest that faith will guarantee a positive outcome.  Frankly, I don't believe that to be true.  But I do know that God hears our prayers and I do believe that many people praying for one thing is incredibly powerful.  Sorry.  I went on a bit there didn't I?  Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I no longer feel bound to my fears in the same way.  Before this past week I was carrying my troubles like some kind of always present, well worn security blanket.  I wanted to always have it in front of me, always be able to worry at the edges of it, and make sure I had it everywhere I went.

With the way this case has gone on and on I was worried that if I wasn't worrying about it no one would be.  This wasn't a hard month.  We have been at this for two years and going strong.  I felt like this case could easily slip into the backs of people's minds, when they heard about it they would vaguely muse, "I thought that was over. I thought they won.." and move on with their day.  I wanted to pay the situation homage by fretting over it all of the time.  I let myself get more and more worked up about it with every week that passed until I basically felt frozen and held most other aspects of my life at a great distance.  I was scared that if I wasn't careful enough to realize the gravity of the situation then I would be punished and the price would be the loss of my child.  I was scared to not take it seriously enough, not hold it close to me all of the time, or to let it go and enjoy a moment for it's own simple pleasure without considering all that was on the line to lose.  I thought that a failing on my part to do any of these things would surely end in me losing my baby and knowing it was my fault.  That is embarrassing to admit to, but saying it out loud feels helpful to me.

This weekend a woman was preaching in an evening session.  Her theme was "Remember Who You Are."  She taught on not letting things hold you back from knowing and acting on exactly who you are.  She talked about letting go of your fears and saying, "No way. I am not letting those fears get in the way of who I am and what I'm about." Stand up to your fears. Don't let them get the best of you. Don't let them overcome you.  Now, I am taking her message 100% out of context.  But those words just nailed me.  I have let these fears grow into something monstrous and consuming.  Sometimes someone says something that you already know or that you have heard before.  Sometimes you just need the right words at the right time, and for me that message hit its bullseye at the right day and time.  I am so thankful that it did.  I really was letting my relationships suffer.  I wasn't checking voicemails, emails, facebook messages, text messages.  I was using all of my energy to take care of my kids and live with my fear.  Everything else wore me out too much and so I let it slip away.  This week I really stressed someone out and frustrated a person that I really care about.  It wasn't intentional but if I hadn't been so completely wrapped up in these fears it wouldn't have happened.  That situation came to a head the night before I heard this sermon, and the combination of those two things resulted in the wake up call that I so needed.

Let me tell you how I've changed.  I know it seems unlikely that it happened so instantaneously when I have been slowly getting sucked under for the past few years, but I really believe it to be true.  I feel like an enormous burden has been lifted from me.  I can be realistic and enormously invested and intensely prayerful without letting this wreck me.  I can rally myself on hard days to still return phone calls and connect with my friends.  I don't have to let this situation define me.  I believe in one true God and that God does not require me to bear this burden in order to earn a victory.  He says "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)

So just in time for court this week I have decided to not let my fears overcome me.  I will take courage in the face of this and know that keeping a frantic level of fear will do nothing to affect the outcome.  I feel fired up and ready to go into the court room without falling to pieces.  You can't wait to see this change in me!

I would be so grateful if you would rally with me and continue to pray for only a positive outcome -- that our little girl would be ours forever and that we can live in peace and confidence knowing that our family will remain in tact.  That is both the only thing and most powerful thing that can be done at this point.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Standing strong,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Praying For Wavybel This Week

This Thursday, September 16th is the day that our case will go before the Supreme Court of Kansas.  Some close friends of ours have kindly set up a time for us to come together in prayer the night before the case is heard.  

Wednesday, September 15th
Heartland Community Church
12175 S. Strang Line Road
Olathe, KS
In the Youth Room
at 8:00 PM

Anyone is welcome to join us.  We would be so grateful for your prayers this week as we go into what is hopefully our last hearing.  Thank you so much to those of you who have been praying with us and for us up to this point.  Please continue to petition for God's mercy on our family.  We are praying continuously for a victory.  We would love to see you Wednesday if you feel like coming out.

Matt and Molly

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One week...

Well, tomorrow is one week away from us being back in court. When we got the date for our hearing I remember thinking it was so far away and wondering how would we ever be able to wait that long. Now it's almost here.  As part of the organization I work with now, Molly and I have the opportunity to be in Chicago for most of the week at a conference. While it's hard to be away from the girls for several days, especially heading into the Supreme Court next week, it's been so nice to be here and have time as a couple. The conference has been very good and it's been really nice to have something else to focus on besides what's coming next week. It's been a great blessing and we plan on enjoying every minute of it this week. Thanks again for all your prayers for the justices, our attorney, and especially for our family.