Sunday, December 25, 2011

christmas cheer.

i started off this christmas season with a bad case of the scrooges. i complained to omar that christmas was going to be depressing this year. we both have small immediate families, and last year may have been the worst christmas ever. the thought of putting up a tree for just the two of us, without enchanted little eyes to look at it, depressed me. i sat with omar at the starbucks at target a few weeks ago and complained about all of the reasons that i wasnt excited for christmas. and i prayed.
then, suddenly i was.
the difference between a depressing holiday season, and a delightful one, is the choice that one makes to have one or the other.
i realized this morning that this is the best christmas of my life. my life is more blessed today than it has ever been. in fact, every christmas past pales in comparison to the incredible life that i am living this christmas. sometimes, we just need to pause and take note of the goodness. i am married to an amazing man, a man i deeply respect and admire, a man who has overcome incredible obstacles in the last year and has shown me what it means to lay down your life for those you love. our parents and siblings are still alive and love us. we live in a beautiful house that has recently been painted and tiled, and we haven't had to pay for any of it. we both drive cars that always start when we turn the key. we both have fulfilling jobs that we look forward to going to everyday. we have the BEST friends in the entire universe, and they are in a better place than they have ever been.
and even if none of that were true, we have a God who loves us immensely, who guides our every step, who has completely redeemed us and turns the murky, awful messes of our lives into beautiful goodness. and THAT is reason enough for Christmas cheer.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

gifts of christmas past

 i wrote this to omar for christmas, five years ago. it is more true today than ever before. thankful for my incredible husband, the best christmas gift ive ever gotten.

i cant thank God enough for the gift of you.
for the way you pray.
for the way you treat the people around you.
for the way you love love love Him.
for the fact that you are more than enough for me.
for the way our lives have been coming together long before we even knew eachother.
for the fact that you dont want pets.
for the way you laugh from your heart.
for your gentle, sincere, smiling eyes.
for the way you look at me.
for the way you try to be subtle, but really are not at all.
for the fact that you took me to sea world, and insisted that we wore matching shamu shirts.
for the fact that you love Christmas time, and we make lists together and do everything on them.
for the way your first response is to pray.
for your wonderful family.
for the way you brush my hair everyday.
for the fact that you are the most attractive person that i have ever known, and the fact that i have no idea how to express that to you.
for the way you value my opinion.
for the way you've sacrificed your life for me.
for the way you are so silly, and you dont care what people think.
for the fact that youre the most generous person i know.
for the fact that ive never had to guess how you feel about me.
for the way you are willing to give me space.
for the way you are so receptive of Gods voice, and so eager to serve Him.
for the fact that i can tell you everything, and have.
for the way you love your family, my family, and are excited about our family.
for the way youve always respected me.
for the fact that you took care of a nano pet for three weeks just so i would let you hold my hand.
for the fact that you tell me at least ten times a day that im beautiful.
for the way you worship.
for the way you love your Young Life kids.
for the way you kept pursuing me even after i shot you down. like 10 times.
for the fact that i'm currently reading "The Power of a Praying Wife."
for the way you have a heart that beats with mine, and beats for Christ and even though i've spent my whole life imagining you, you exceed all of my expectations.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

on withholding good

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is within the power of your hand to do so."
Proverbs 3:27
i've had several negative experiences in the last few months that have prompted this post. one of them was yesterday while i was talking to my sweet neighbor. she is a loving human and a wonderful parent. when i told her that we were trying to get our foster care license she said, "why? those kids are really messed up."
over the last few months we've had several people come into our classroom of kids with severe physical and mental disabilities and although we have done everything in our power to create the most inviting room possible, they let us know at the end of the day that they didn't realize they were going to be working with "these kinds of kids" and that they were out of their comfort zone.

thought: i have been working with people with special needs for five years now. i still do not feel comfortable. love, acceptance, excitement, anticipation, joy, gratitude, hope, amusement, inspiration, shock, awe- but not comfortable.
should we keep human beings from good because of our own discomfort? is this ever acceptable? maybe the point of life is not to nestle ourselves as deep as possible into our comfort zones.
people of the world, hear me on this- TAKE RISKS. step outside of your zone of comfort and LIVE. every good thing involves risk. the decision to believe that all human beings are worthy of love, and that it is in your power to love them, will reshape every single aspect of your life. i know that it has for mine. i have known many, many people who started to experience life because they were brave enough to be uncomfortable. i have friends who just moved to thailand as missionaries. they were not seeking comfort, they were seeking fullness of life. it is rare to have both.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

i am not the boss of life.

at some point, probably a little before my birth, i decided that i was the boss of life. i started dictating the world around me at a young age, and that worked fine because i was an only child and i was only bossing inanimate objects. recently, it has come to my attention that i have a lot of thoughts and ideas and opinions and feelings, and ive subconsciously decided that i know everything at the ripe old age of 26. as it turns out, i dont know everything. i know very little about a few things. thinking im the boss of life has had a few positive ramifications, but mostly it has made me frantic and stressed. apparently i can't control everything and everyone in my environment (damn those people that change lanes without blinkers!). i really just want the whole world to follow my made up rules about living.
i have a hard time finding the balance between influencing people in a positive way (everyone should go to and buy the cutest, most comfortable shoes ever- such a good cause!) and feeling entitled to pressure people into making decisions. maybe its because hard decisions are hard to make, and ive rarely made them without encouragement from others. anyway, its exhausting. im hoping and praying that jesus will reach in and clean out my heart and make me trust him and learn how to stop trying to control my world.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

just the facts- foster edition

today we completed day 5 of our foster care training. i am halfway (after three hours--just tonight, in addition to the other 4 days) through with the paperwork process which involves so much more than just paperwork.
so far, we love our agency.
did i mention that we are getting licensed in treatment foster care? to qualify, children have to have a medical diagnosis of some kind and are in need of healing. we were trained in how to deal with minor to severe behaviors and to love kids into healing. the process for this is a little bit more extensive than typical foster care, but the support is much greater. we truly believe that our agency loves kids and has their best interest in mind, which is contrary to much of what is believed about regular state foster care. we are still praying for the children that will live in our home, and trying to trust God in the many question marks. in the deepest parts of my heart, the ultimate goal is adoption. its scary to type that out because the mentality behind that puts us at great risk for disappointment. we also want to ensure that we are loving the hell out of every kid, even if their ultimate plan is to be reunified with their biological parents. our goal is to make a permanent difference in the life of a child, regardless of what their future holds.
i love watching omar's interest in finding out the ages of every kid he meets and how he interacts with them in such a loving, genuine, positive way. he is the best dad ive ever met and he doesnt even have kids yet.
still praying for a little boy, omar desperately needs an excuse to buy the new transformer toys.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

watch that fratboy

this is a conversation from june of 2005 with my best friend, whitney. oh man. thank you, Jesus, for giving me her and for the infinite ways You have blessed our friendship.

Kissinpixiedust: i heard you were putting your first name with deans last name
Kissinpixiedust: WTF
Tardass752: okay I am having horrible flash backs of chad
Tardass752: lol
Kissinpixiedust: chad is a good thing in retrospect
Tardass752: that means where's the funk right
Tardass752: only in retrospect
Kissinpixiedust: whitney the freak
Tardass752: wally the frog
Kissinpixiedust: white toe fungus
Tardass752: winnie the fool
Kissinpixiedust: where the food
Kissinpixiedust: watch that fratboy
Tardass752: wear tight fruit
Kissinpixiedust: wash tibetan flags
Tardass752: whine to fred
Kissinpixiedust: your mom
Tardass752: no i don't think that is it
Kissinpixiedust: we jsut spent the entire day and night together. and now were tlakign on aim. thats pathetic
Tardass752: yup its official..... who needs a boyfriend
Tardass752: we wouldnt have time for one
Kissinpixiedust: what would we even do with one
Tardass752: pay each other to dump him I guess
Tardass752: next ones we date...lets let them be the absolute wrong guy
Tardass752: just for kicks
Tardass752: like you date kyle and ill date mike
Tardass752: or sean carmona
Tardass752: or your dad
Tardass752: or greg
Tardass752: and you date ....
Tardass752: jon mamies
Kissinpixiedust: can i just date dean
Kissinpixiedust: hes totally the wrong guy
Kissinpixiedust: cmon please
Tardass752: and then we can go get fake brontisoruos tattos
Tardass752: because we will be fake dating
Tardass752: then you will definatly have those shoes!!!
Kissinpixiedust: OKAY
Kissinpixiedust: lets do it
Kissinpixiedust: no ksising or holding hands though
Tardass752: ewww gross
Tardass752: I would never kiss you
Kissinpixiedust: i thought we were talking about DEAN
Kissinpixiedust: idiot
Tardass752: I am still uncontrolably laughing
Tardass752: I am the funniest person i know
Kissinpixiedust: at least someone thinks so.
Tardass752: I think the loratabs are finally kicking in

Saturday, October 15, 2011

.30 cent dishes and 28 bottles of lotion

in preparation for the impending (sometime in the next six months) arrival of our (for a time) little boy (or girl, or boys and girls), we have had to take on every single room of our house. yesterday, i bought cute sailboat dishes at michael's for .30 cents each, because apparently kids break glass ones? today im cleaning out the hallway bathroom (formally known as my bathroom, home of 28 bottles of lotion). kidproofing a house is not for the faint at heart. especially if you have never met the kid and have no idea what age they are or if they have a history of vandalizing or pica (eating non-food materials). try it sometime. the anticipation is ridiculous. and you have no idea what youre anticipating until they get here. imagine being pregnant and maybe youre having a little baby but maybe youre having two 7 year old boys. its kind of like that. ambigous love that can only currently be expressed through sorting through every toxic item you own and only keeping what can fit in a small locked closet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

on foster parenting

there is a little boy who lives in my mind and probably in my city. there are moments when i think i know his name and face. when i pass kids in the hallways of my school, i wonder if he looks like them. i wonder if he is them.
i know that he is broken.
i know that we are being called to hold him until he is whole again.
i know that since we started the process of getting our foster care license last week, i can think of little else. 
there is a pile of rocket ships and dinosaurs and snowboard pjs. there is a list of 38 things that have to happen before we are able to take a child into our home. 
i baked pumpkin bread yesterday, because moms do stuff like that. 
foster parenting is tricky and right. it is what we are being called to do, and somebody will get hurt because in foster parenting, somebody always loses. i hope to do everything in my power to make sure that somebody is not an innocent little boy. (or girl, or sibling pair) 

what a wild life!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I just haven't met you yet.

Has nobody noticed that Michael Buble was totally talking about foster parenting/ adoption when he wrote this:
"I might have to wait, I’ll never give up
I guess it's half timin and the other half's luck
Wherever you are, whenever it's right
You'll come outta nowhere and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazin
And baby your love is gonna change me
And now I can see every possibility

Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out
You'll make me work so we can work to work it out
And promise you kid I'll give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet"


Sunday, September 18, 2011

on migraines

the years that ive gotten migraines have officially outnumbered the years that ive spent without them. this means that the majority of my life has been dictated by the possible invasion of a migraine. i have tried prayer, chiropractors, brain scans, food journals, bathing in epsom salts, pain medication, prevention medication, vitamins, and botox. all of which have changed the lives of other migraine sufferers, and none of which have had a significant affect on me. i spent all night and all day in bed trying to will my migraine away. because of botox (yes! botox. fda approved for migraines as of april!), my migraines have decreased from 4 times a month, to two times a month. 
im writing this because my goal is to be migraine free by april of 2012.

Monday, September 12, 2011

im still alive!

i lived through my 25th year of life!!!!!! this is a huge victory. there has never been a bumpy, more turbulent year in all of my existence. this may be my biggest accomplishment yet. i think 26 will be the part that comes after the climax where everything is calm and all of the lose ends start to tie together. hooray for 26!

Monday, July 4, 2011

on restoration

one of my sweet students passed away on saturday. draven was a beautiful child, who was very sick and missed a lot of school. the few times that he came to school, he was delightful and brought joy to those around him. he was in a wheelchair, had vision and hearing problems, was non-verbal, and ate through a tube. in these moments, and all of the moments where my students are in pain or at a disadvantage, i praise god for restoration and the promise of heaven. there is nothing that gets my tear ducts going faster than the image of my sweet kiddos dancing and rejoicing with Jesus. many of us have moments of fullness or completion in this life, but many of the students in my class never do. they are born into broken bodies or minds, having to wait on the people around them to somehow meet their needs. im thinking about draven this morning, as god has restored him and he is full and free from the bindings of this life. thank you, sweet boy, for drawing me closer to jesus. i will never forget your smile and laugh.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


i am in almost exactly the same place that i was in four years ago- in 2007, i wrote this:
being pure in heart is the single most important thing to me. people seem so fixated on what the rest of the world thinks of them, of their actions, their motives, the things they do that are seen. i think that integrity, and the purity that goes alongside it are much more valuable than public opinion. i love the way Mother Theresa says that if God calls her to clean toilets, that she will do it with as much passion and honor as if He had called her to witness to the president, or when Martin Luther King says that if you're called to be a streetsweeper, to be the best streetsweeper you can be. i dont care what anyone else thinks about my vocation, my marriage, or my ministry, as long as God sees where my heart is, the rest is just the opinion of men. every relationship i have, every "act of service" i do has nothing to do with the other people involved, it has to do with my relationship with my Creator at the time that i do them. when it comes down to it, at the end of my life i am not going to face my friends, or the people i work for, or even my husband...everything that i have ever done is going to be stripped down to the condition of my heart when i did it. i want to do everything to Him, for Him, and with Him.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

something i learned from my friend, sarah

“When John Kavanaugh, the noted and famous ethicist, went to Calcutta, he was seeking Mother Teresa … and more. He went for three months to work at “the house of the dying” to find out how best he could spend the rest of his life.

When he met Mother Teresa, he asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she replied. He then uttered the request he had carried thousands of miles: “Clarity. Pray that I have clarity.”

“No,” Mother Teresa answered, “I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh said that she always seemed to have clarity, the very kind of clarity he was looking for, Mother Teresa laughed and said: “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

Sunday, January 30, 2011

child fever

there is a 6 year old boy with two dimples who winks and raises his eyebrows and pretends to hate kisses. who showed up in our extended family with two suitcases; one half-filled with summer clothing two sizes too small, and another one filled with happy meal toys and a superman cape. whose little life was created in a terribly broken world, surrounded by broken people, a boy who i would not blink at the thought of giving everything for.

there is another child who i have the honor of loving on a daily basis. whose little twisted foot and underdeveloped brain make it impossible for him to live an ordinary life. who screams and drools and giggles and only says 3 syllable words. i cannot, for the life of me, shake the desire to take him on the teacup ride at disneyland, imagining his joy and laughter as he spins in circles, as i hold his little body in place.

next door to my classroom, in a class of 3, 4, and 5 year olds with developmental delays, is a darling little boy who has completely captured my heart. he is defiant and angry and complicated and i love him completely. his beautiful soul longs to be valued and cherished and cradled, and it shows in every step he takes. i heard a story once about a teacher who sued for custody of a mistreated child, and won. i get that.

my best friend is pregnant with her first baby. this is a landmark in our lives and in our stories, as she is the first person in my immediate group of best friends to embark on this journey. i always wondered if this is something we would do together, the pregnancy/baby thing. and yet, over the last few months i have come so far from wanting to bear a child. i rarely find myself standing side ways in front of a mirror pushing my stomach out, wondering when there will be life inside of me, like i have far so many years of my life. now, the desire to love a child born outside of my womb has gone from strong, to unquenchable. the holy Spirit has been pounding at the door to my heart, creating in me a sense of urgency to mother a child that isnt mine.

the three little boys in my life have been placed there as a picture of love. to show me how intensely i could love a child that wasnt born mine. when i think of those three boys who were born into hopeless situations and how much i would give up to make their lives whole, i can only imagine what God has in store for the children that are waiting to be in my forever family. waiting and praying and waiting and praying for the things in my life to align as God prepares my heart for what awaits. i can only imagine what he has in store. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011


when i reflect on my walk with christ, ive seen alot more evidence of his presence in my heart than in my circumstances. i spend alot of time trying to save people and change people and get people to make better choices (by my own obscure standards) for their lives. the thing is, i also pray for these people and ask god to change their circumstances.
i have completely missed the meaning of life. 
there are mountains and valleys and the mountains are amazing and the valleys are supposed to suck. that is the nature of mountains and valleys. in valleys, you cant see beyond what is right in front of you. valleys are hopeless and there is no way out but through. 
when i reflect on my quarter century of life, the moments that have defined me have been equal parts mountain and valley. the mountains have been incredible, but the valleys have shaped the way i see the mountains. on the mountaintop, i see things clearly, i feel exuberant and hopeful and alive and free, there is nothing blocking my view of jesus. these places are often based on the condition of my heart being equal to my circumstances. 
but, oh the valleys! these are the places when my circumstances are often completely out of my control and the only thing i can do is pray for god to change the condition of my heart. and he does! he doesnt often change my circumstances (he can, and he sometimes will) because they are ordained to shape my heart. 

the point is, i have decided that i dont give a damn about circumstances in 2011. last year, i allowed my heart to completely depend on them (ex: we just won a trip on wheel of fortune! life is great!-- or, we just argued for three hours straight! life is horrible!). 
i just want to focus all of my efforts on being the person that God created me to be, and praying (not manipulating) for the people around me to be who He created them to be. 

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.  What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.  I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection.  ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” – Thomas Paine