Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nostalgia


This time of year will always be filled with nostalgia for me.
It was four years ago this month that we received word that after 2 years of waiting
we had been matched with a baby girl in China.
Once we were given her basic information and a few photos we had 8 weeks
to prepare for travel. It was a time that is so dear to my heart.
Friends and family showed up to love and support me in ways
that still overwhelm my heart and my mind.


In China it is common for the waitresses to hold your baby while you eat.
She walked all around the restaurant with her and even out into the kitchen
so the cooks could oohh and ahhh at Lilly.
To say they love babies in China is an understatement.
In the United States we never pick up a stranger's baby.
Big No-No.
In China, they do it all the time and if they think your baby is
underdressed for the weather they don't mind letting you know.
Many buildings in China do not have central heat and they bundle their babies
in many layers. If any skin was showing on the babies they were quick to tug and pull to cover
up the exposed area. Remember...these are strangers on the street but they care about these babies.
I found it charming to no end.
I made sure Lilly was totally covered not only to protect her and keep her warm
but also as a sign of respect to the people we saw each day.
Their concern did not annoy me or make me feel judged.
It made me feel cared for.



A rural village just outside of Nanchang.
People were clearly poor in terms of money but looked rich in contentment.




I just loved all the color and aliveness of the streets in China.
I was surprised at how at home I felt there.
I was not ready to rush back home and found myself wishing for more time.




I was scolded by the store manager for taking this picture.
It doesn't matter if you speak the same language...
you KNOW when you are in trouble!




I LOVE this picture.
It really does speak 1000 words, doesn't it?




A beautiful dress we had made for our princess.



Such a good Daddy...introducing her to a food that is still her very favorite.
Watermelon!!!
Just like her mama!!!



Mommy and her little girl.




Lots of mommies and their little girls!
All women that are now my dear friends.
The blessings were greater than I had imagined.
More people to love and be loved by.


Our guide Dennis.
He chose the American name Dennis after Dennis the Menace.
This man could carry passports and birth certificates and dossiers and cash
in a backpack and make it seem like a day at the park.
Something that would turn me into a crazy person.
I would have had to check my bag 100 times to just 'make sure'
that the papers I just checked on were still there. I tend to make my
traveling companions a little nervous with all that checking
and yet they know I always have it covered.




Her first bath at home.
Home....what a word.




Lilly's first Christmas.
Any gift wrapped in paper will pale in comparison to the gift we recieved that Christmas.
I remember arriving home from China on the 16th of December
and having no presents for my older kids.
So it was off to the mall with my new baby in her carrier.
I was sitting with my mother in the food court giving Lilly her first taste of pizza when I
started to become aware of everyone around me. I saw one family in particular that really stood out.
They were still in their heavy coats, there wasn't a smile among them. The husband was grumbling at the wife and the wife was grumbling at the kids.
They were laden with bags and bags and bags.
Full of stuff.
I guarantee none of it was important or sacred in anyway.
I suspect it may have been paid for with plastic.
My thoughts were a combination of sadness, frustration and maybe a little anger.
How have we gotten so far off track?
How is it that one day I am standing in my daughter's first home...
an orphanage.
Cribs that were filled up the very same day they were emptied with
little girls leaving to go to their new and forever families.
Filled up with more babies without parents to love and protect them.
Shards of glass around barred windows.
Clothes drying over bushes because they had no clothesline.
And no heat.
And not enough food.
I don't propose that I have a solution but it sure does make me think.
What is that we could be doing that we are not doing?
How could we shop for useless things when
babies don't have food or families?
How do I inspire people to action without making them feel guilty?
So many questions....not enough answers.
But I will continue to ask and hopefully live my way into
 serving this calling on my heart.











Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thank You Oprah and Lisa Ling


Lilly and I getting ready to climb some very steep steps at a local State Park.
She may be more ready for this than I am!
How hard is it to move around when you weigh 34 pounds with zero fat?!?!


It looks like Lilly but it is actually a squirrel.



See what I was saying....wayyyy ahead of me!


Learning how to fly


First thought when I see this...she needs her bangs trimmed.
I really need to be better about that.
Second thought....could she be any prettier????
I think not.
After writing that just now I realize that my second thought
should have been my first thought.
Why do we do that?
Why do we see what needs to be fixed or what is wrong.
I need to work on that.


There are so many things about Lilly that I adore but this picture makes me think how she is always up for anything. She loves adventures and loves to go places and loves to stay home. She loves to take walks in the woods with the dog and she loves to come home and cozy up on the couch and have tea parties. Sometimes she wants to watch Nick Jr. for what she calls her 'kids shows' but there are times that she actually ASKS to watch Oprah. I kid you not. I love this because it shows me how deep and wise she is but also because it was one of Oprah's shows that prompted our decision to adopt Lilly. My reason for wanting to meet Oprah is not because she is famous or rich but to say Thank you.
Thank you to her and to Lisa Ling because it was Lisa's investigative report that was on Oprah that day. Those are the two people I would most like to meet. Sometimes I think back to Lisa Ling being on a plane to China with her film crew. Did she realize the full impact of what could happen as a result of doing this show? Does she have any idea the decision to do that changed the course of so many lives? I would just love to sit down with her and tell her our story and thank her.
Lilly joining our family is beyond any blessing
I could have ever imagined.
Oprah often says that God dreams a bigger dream for us than we could ever dream for ourselves.
She is so very right.
Lilly.....I love you. Being your mother is such a great joy. You bring happiness wherever you go. People are taken in by your beauty but when they take the time to talk with you they realize that your beauty radiates from the inside to the outside. You are not a surface beauty. You are deep and kind and smart and compassionate and generous and thoughtful and so funny.
Thank you Oprah.
Thank you Lisa Ling.
Thank you Children's Hope International
and thank you to Lilly's first family
and thank you to the aunties at her orphanage that cared for her before we came to China.
I keep all of you close to my heart and in my prayers.





Thursday, October 13, 2011

Have you ever walked a llama?

Llamas make me laugh. What a face.
Heidi got the llama that likes to kiss.
Getting ready for a trek. I wish I could wear Hello Kitty polka dot boots and look that cute.
Twins, brothers, clones?
Nope....father and son.
This is where we stopped and ate our snack.
We live in an area that has an abundance of waterfalls.
I always think that is so special.
This is Dawn unpacking our snacks. She and her husband John taught us so much about llamas.
I love to have fun and learn at the same time.
They are both very  kind and generous and we had such a good time.
It is always so inspiring to meet people who are doing something that
they love and are passionate about.
Smile everybody.


I highly recommend visiting John and Dawn and learning about the llamas and taking a trek with them. It was unique, educational and fun.
Are you worried they will spit on you?
You will learn that they rarely do that...mostly to each other.
The llamas are timid and shy but they are not high strung.
After the trek they have a small gift shop with some beautiful photographs and unique jewelery as well as llama related items. We purchased a little llama Christmas tree ornament that Dawn's mother made from fiber from the llamas. I love to have ornaments that remind us of special times. So much more meaningful than anything you can purchase at Target.
Right? Right.
It was so enjoyable and I am so glad we made the time to do this as a family.
It is really important to set aside time to make
memories with your loved ones.
And of course take pictures.
It is the memories that sustain us when all is said and done.

You can learn more about the Bishop family and their llamas here.
Make a reservation today!
You will be glad you did!






Monday, July 18, 2011

Desk for Sale!

$225.00
Painted a soft creamy 'enamelware blue' by Martha Stewart, drawers lined with vintage maps and waiting to find a new home. I can paint a chair to match but the stool is original to the desk and they should stay together.

Monday, May 9, 2011

LOVE this!!!

Please hurry over here and have a feast for your eyes and then buy something lovely to make you feel pretty and sexy! Jeanne is sooooooooooooo talented. sooooooooooooo pretty. sooooooooooo sweet. soooooooo real. soooooooo inspspiring. Check it out!

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day at Wegman's


Yesterday afternoon I was getting groceries and when I walked in I noticed the sound of bagpipes. It seemed too clear and too loud to be coming from the radio. I got my cart and headed for the produce area and sure enough...this is what I see. A real live bagpipe player and to top that they were giving away samples of Irish beer. This grocery store is phenomenal. Their customer service is extraordinary. If it is raining they have people follow you out to your car holding umbrellas for you so you can get your groceries and yourself into the car and stay as dry as possible.
They have ready to eat food that surpasses most restuarants. They have excellent produce. A huge selection of just about everything. If you are looking for any type of ethnic food then just head to Wegman's.
They have a coffee shop, gelato, sushi, pasta bar, burrito bar, Chinese food, Indian food, soup, subs, pizza. If you want fresh seafood you can pick it from the case and they will cook it for you on the spot. Oh and the bread............don't even get me started on the bread......D.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.
 Wegman's is not a grocery store it is an experience. Occasionally, I will shop somewhere else but whenever I do I am always reminded that getting groceries is actually a chore. Wegman's makes it so enjoyable.
When I think about leaving the area (which I do, frequently) I think about how much I would miss Wegmans'.
Isn't that funny? Does anyone else have a grocery store this amazing? A grocery store so wonderful that you wonder if you should move? That says alot doesn't it? 
I wouldn't normally blog about groceries but seriously, how can I not?
Bagpipes, Beer and Groceries on a Thrusday afternoon?
It just feels so thoughtful, so unique and it makes me want to sing their praises.
Plus, my roots are Irish so I feel extra special....being Irish just feels so special doesn't it?
Thanks Wegman's...you are simply the best of the best.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gator-rama

On our recent trip to Florida my in-laws took the girls and I to Gator-rama.
We had a great time and learned alot.
They have always been so good about educating our children about animals and nature.
I really appreciate that about them. When our older kids were little my mother-in-law use to take the little bug or wildflower guide outside and teach them what was what. They were always all ears and loved spending this time with Grandma. She chose teaching for her career and it was a great fit because she has always been a teacher at heart.
Now....look at the face of the man about to hand me the alligator.....that is the look of a man who is about to scare someone. And that he did....just as he placed the alligator into my hands he jumped and made a big 'rah' sound and of course I jumped out of my skin.
I told him later that it was too bad my husband and teenage sons missed that moment because they love to scare me. He said that he tries to scare one person like that every day and today was my day.
Lucky me.

Thank God for tape....they are not slimy....they are very solid feeling and kind of dry....
and smooth and rough at the same time.

Lilly was feeling uncertain.....

Feeling proud of herself.

She was also feeling grateful for the tape on his mouth right about now.

Even big sister Heidi decided to join in the fun.
Stay tuned for more photos and stories of our adventures in the sunshine state!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Family and Friends

I am one of 26 cousins....here I am with two of them.

This is Evelyn Mae. Her father is my cousin Justin. He is on my right in the above picture.


Uncle Bill (my Dad's brother), Aunt Mary and their first grandchild....Evelyn.

Grandma Lettie (Aunt Mary's mother) She is 90 years old and going strong.
Last January she lost her husband of 68 years.
Can you imagine???
I am proud of 21 years but apparently I have a ways to go!

This is Phyllis, she is dating my father and she is so kind and generous.
Exactly who I would pick for my father.
She loved Lilly and here she is being taught how to play Uno by a 4 year old.

It has been so wonderful to see my family while traveling.
We went out for Mexican food on Saturday night and it was delicious.
We were amazed that after fajitas for 8 people, two margaritas and 5 glasses of wine the bill was only  $69.00. With a tip it was just over $10.00 per person. That is a bargain in today's world!
Lilly mangaged to rope lots of people into playing Uno. She wins more often than not.
She even has her stuffed dog..."Frank" play too and then she plays two hands while everyone else plays one.
I am fearful that my 4 year old may be smarter than her mother.

On Sunday we were invited to Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary's house for a BBQ.
My cousins Justin and Matthew were there. Justin is married to Mandy and they have a little girl named Evelyn. She is so beautiful and so sweet. Justin is a wonderful father and of course it goes without saying that my Aunt and Uncle are over the top happy with their new grandaughter.
They are are a wonderful  family and being with them makes me miss them more.
I realized that if we lived closer we would spend more time together. Justin played Uno with Lilly and everyone taught her how to play Go Fish. These are relatives that I have only seen once a year (sometimes not even that) so we don't get chances to spend extended time together.
They were so good to us and so kind and gentle with Lilly it made me see that we would be even closer if the miles didn't seperate us. I really enjoyed our time.
Thanks Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary..I love you both.

We stayed those two nights with the woman my father is dating. Her name is Phyllis and she is so wonderful.
She is exactly who I would pick for my father if I could. She was wonderful with Lilly. She is a family oriented person and very easy to be around. I thought about how the upside of your parents being divorced is that there are more people who love you and more people for you to love.
More people who love my children is a blessing for all of us.

Stay Tuned !

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Beginning

Listening to Sugarland

This is always so  nice to see....who doesn't smile at a place called the Sunshine State???


Lilly picking her first orange

A little help from Dad Dad

I love how intent she is on what he is telling her

Our first orange eaten right from the tree....it doesn't get better than that!!!

So here we are at Day #6 since we left home. We have actually fit in quite a bit.
We drove all day Thursday and then spent the night in Fredricksburg, Virginia.
A very nice hotel with an Olive Garden right next door.
We had dinner there and turned in pretty early to get rested for another day of driving.
On Friday we made it to Florida and stayed overnight in Jacksonville. This time we ordered pizza in and just relaxed and again went to bed early. On Saturday we made our way to my Dad's friends house. They live in
Tavares which is just north of Orlando. They live on a lake with cypress trees and orange trees and grapefruit trees and of course the dreaded fire ants! I forgot to ask about alligators and look how close we are to that water. Do you ever get scared in retrospect??? Kind of a strange sensation isn't it???
Knowing my father the way that I do I can't imagine we would be in any danger, he is the King of Safety.
After our snack and a quick visit with my Dad's friend Helen we traveled on to Tarpon Springs.
I will post the pictures of that leg or our journey later today or tomorrow....but for now we are off to the library with Lisa and her sister Jody. Then some lunch and then some more relaxing. I am beginning to rest way down deep inside of myself. It feels very healing. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Here's what I think....

If you haven't read my previous post about my recurring dream from childhood then please read that first or this will make zero sense to you. It may make zero sense anyway.....but here I go.....

I have thought about this dream many times and usually come up with similar thoughts. My husband thinks the rock and the daisy represent that things are not always what they seem. I wish it was a bit more profound than that but I guess simple truths are just that...simple.


 Because I have to use ALOT more words to explain something than my husband I will now share my spin on this........First let me say I am obviously analyzing the dream some 30 years later and I have the gift of experience which I can hold up next to the dream. That helps makes sense out of something that baffled me as a child. I believe the dream was filled with teaching for me and it really  means something to me that I still remember it so vividly more than three decades later.


I think the daisy is all of the times when I put so much effort forth for something that I was not supposed to be doing. I think effort is the killer of inspiration. I am not talking about hard work or not doing things. I just mean that place we all get to when we are trying so hard to force something and it just isn't working. Sometimes our personal desire overrides a higher wisdom. We need to pause when something that looks like it should be so easy is not easy at all. Take a deep breath. Take a walk. Take a vacation. Get away from the thing and get some perspective. The daisy might not want to be picked or may not be ready to be picked. Or maybe it isn't 'your' daisy. The very same daisy may be effortlessly picked by another.



Then there is that big old rock that lifts like a feather.......same idea here for me....I think that we are meant to do certain things in this lifetime. Anointed for a certain something that is ours and ours alone (alone=with God) to do. It may be hard, it may be BIG, but it is ours and when we align ourselves with this greater plan then no matter how big or hard the task it will flow easily. It may be hard work, we may have to get up early and stay up late but it will feel effortless. We will be amazed that we can do this thing. We will wonder where we got the strength. It might surprise or shock others and yet because we took the time to try the impossible we will be led from one thing to the next. I believe this is what God was trying to tell me with this dream.


And what about my family and friends who couldn't recognize me......that one is tough. I can still feel the fear in that moment. The aloneness. The confusion. What I think it means is that those closest to me may not always understand or 'see' me but I must stay with what I know to be true for me and my life. It is also true that I may not understand or 'see' them. The vacant and empty look may have been more about them following the path that they needed to. I realize now that it doesn't really mean I am alone or abandoned. It is more symbolic than anything. I think it means I have to follow the rhythm of my own life and so does everyone that I love. Sometimes this may make us feel invisble towards each other.
We may feel alone but we are never, truly alone.
That is just a lie we tell ourselves.

 If God had spoken in words instead of images it may have sounded something like this:
 
"My Dearest and Beloved Kimberly,
I have great plans for you. They are yours and yours alone. Don't go for what appears to be easy. Go for the impossible and I will make it possible. Go to the mountain. Believe in yourself. Believe in me. I will move that mountain. You may have to bring a shovel. It may take alot of work but it won't feel like work. It will be easy and you will be in ME and I will be in YOU. Those closest to you may not see you or understand you. Learn to be ok with that. Just love them and let them love you. We all see what we choose to see. Please be the Kimberly that I made you to be and know that I see you. Do not try to convince others of your worth or of your dreams. Believe you have something to offer and offer it. I will be right here. ALWAYS and ALL WAYS."

I have only shared this dream with a handful of people over the years. I always knew it mattered. I always knew there was important information for me to learn and apply to my life. It is only in the decision to share it with a bigger audience that I am really seeing it for what it was. It is in the writing of it that I have gotten more clarity and that is why I return again and again to this blog.  You remind me that I am not alone. You help me make sense of life....and  to share my stories and to know that somewhere it impacts even just one other person is a great joy for me.
Now...go out and do that thing that ONLY you can do.
xoxo
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