Holy Week

I love Holy Week!  I love the closeness with Christ, the closeness to His story, the story of our redemption.  I am taken in at the last supper, I grieve the suffering on the cross, I anticipate with great joy the resurrection and I celebrate new life on Easter.  A week full of emotion, meaning, deeper spiritual growth, love and gratitude.  Holy week has it all and not only to I get to benefit by taking part I get to give back to God by being apart of it and letting it change me.  Here are a few images to stir His spirit within you.

 

Maundy Thursday

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Good Friday

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Holy Saturday

This is a writing I found, author is unknown.

Something strange is happening — there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

 

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, o sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’

 

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I in you; together we form one person and cannot be separated.

 

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

 

See on My Face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On My back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

 

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced My side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

 

Rise. Let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity. “

 

Easter Sunday

 

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Have a blessed Holy Week!

 

 

 

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Our NEW house!!

Brian and I have been married for almost 14 years and this is our first house!!!  We are VERY excited, in fact we are so excited that all of the home renovation projects seem fun right now. 😉  We were so blessed to find a house in Chicago which is where we wanted to live and in a neighborhood that we really love.  Everything that we had hoped for in a house God provided for us, His blessings are abundant!!!

Our home, a 102 year old Chicago Bungalow!

I will post more soon after I get back into the swing of life, right now it is all unpacking and playing in the yard!

Chicago + Blizzard =

That's a lot of snow!

That's alot of snow to shovel.

These are cars stranded on Lakeshore Dr. in Chicago, they sat there for almost 2 days!

This is what Lakeshore drive looked like, these cars were stuck for almost 2 days.

Apparently the winds coming off of Lake Michigan were too much for these trees, poor trees :(

Looks like the winds along the lake were too much for these trees. Poor trees:(

Digging out.

 

 

 

This is looking down my street.

 

 

 

Looking down my sidewalk.

Catching you up

A lot has happened since my last post which was on Thanksgiving, so this post is to catch you up on what has been going on in the Grant Clan.

-Brian and I got away for a night and visited the New Glarus Brewery, and stayed in a super cute B&B.  Brian had a ton of fun sampling the beers at the brewery, I was prohibited from drinking due to all of the gluten in beer but I really enjoyed watching Brian have fun.

-We saw Santa:

 

Ewan really wanted to visit Santa so we met a friend at the local mall and the kids sat on Santa’s lap.  Shortly after our Santa visit, in fact we were still at the mall, Ewan started to ask questions as to the legitimacy of the mall santa.  He came to the conclusion that the mall santa was a man dressed up, and personally I also thought he was kind of creepy too.  Later that afternoon we were at our home school group Christmas party and the kids started debating over whether santa was real or not.  A mom came to me to warn me of the conversation in case I was a die-hard santa person, which I am not.  I figure my kids will find naturally and I am a-ok with that.  Later that night as we moved furniture around to make room for our Christmas tree Ewan started to ask the direct questions as to whether santa was real, in fact he asked me straight up if Santa was real.  I stop sweeping, and since I was not facing him at time allowed myself to panic quietly for a moment before turning to answer his question.  I have always been of the mind that if my child asks me something directly I will not lie to them.  So, I told him that santa was not real and we talked about St. Nicholas, the conversation went really well, until he started asking about the Easter Bunny, at that point I told him to talk to Daddy.

 

We ACCEPTED an OFFER on our CONDO!!!!!!:

 

This has been by far the biggest and best thing that has happen to us since my last post.  It has also been an answer to prayer and completely guided by God, and amazing we can see that happening in the midst of it all.  We accepted the offer a few weeks before Christmas and are slated to close in the next few weeks.  For me the most amazing thing about this whole experience is how God has answered our prayers and given beyond what we have even been praying for.  We have seen his provision and experienced his leading and been able to see his plan for our family unfolding.  I am learning patience in this process and to trust in Gods timing, I am learning that even when it feels like things are not moving, God is.

This Saturday we are looking at a house in our neighborhood (which we really love) for the second time.  At the showing we are meeting woman who owns the house, who was also raised in the house and then purchased the house from her parents and raised her children in the house.  We are praying that she likes us and feels good about possibly selling to us.  We are also praying that God would perfectly orchestrate this for us, which we know he can.  So feel free to talk to God on our behalf if you feel lead.  🙂

 

– I started a group at my church:

This fall I started an adoption support group called Odyssey at my church.  The group was started to meet the needs of the adoptive families in our church and outside of the church as well.  A safe place we can come to talk about things related to adoption, a place to feel supported.  Each month we have had a topic, this months topic is “How do we keep our children connected to their culture”?  I am happy every month when we come together and share our experiences, I am always learning new things from the other parents.  I am also elated that my church is so supportive of adoptive families and of orphan advocacy.

 

-Looking to Ethiopia:

 

With the sale of our condo and the purchase of a house on the horizon we have started teh conversation about possibly adopting again.  We are currently discussing when we might want to start the process again.  I am eager to get to a place in which we are earnestly praying about the next adoption, I can’t wait to see where God leads us.

 

Well I have just about used up my time at the computer, the children are getting restless.  Esu is actually standing on my chair behind me and pulling at my hair, I better wrap up before he pulls too much out. 😉

 

-My last picture is a current one of the kiddos, they are growing so fast I can hardly keep up.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

May all your feasts be memorable!

Bonding

Last week I wrote for the first time in months, and was greeting with many wonderful comments of support, Thank you!!!!  This week I wanted to share what I did to encourage bonding between myself and my son.

The first and I think most important thing I did was voice my heartache to my husband and some close friends.  For a long time I kept my struggle to myself thinking that it would go away if I tried harder.  It didn’t go away.  Talking about the struggles I experienced with bonding helped to free me from the shame that was starting to grow in my heart.  It also showed me I was not alone and that this is a very common issue that adoptive parents deal with.

Once I was free from the silence.  I carefully examined what I was feeling.  This is what I came away with in my time of self-examination:

  • These feelings and this struggle in my life is NOT about love!  I love my baby, there is no question of that!
  • My life is crazy and adding a child in the most ideal of circumstances can be difficult and often is.
  • I am thinking too much!  I was in a terrible habit of over analyzing my feelings, I needed to just be.  I guess I needed to stop catching all of my feeling in my “net” and just let them wash over me.  If they persisted or became a problem then I would “catch” them one at a time and talk about it with Brian or a close friend.
  • Living in a 2 bedroom condo with three children and a husband is a challenge and I would be struggling if my third child had been from my own belly.  Recognizing that some of my frustrations are really space issues and not child issues.

Some of the practical hands on things that I did to encourage bonding were:

  • To be more hands on with Esu.
  • Smelling him, all the time.  I know that may sound funny but for me I knew my older two children’s smell right away, it was familiar and it was comforting.  I needed that with Esu, I needed to know him in that way.
  • I carry him in a sling when ever my back is ok with it.  He wanted to be close to me and I wanted to give that to him, so we carry him in the sling pretty frequently.  We have carried him in the sling since the beginning, and I think that it has been really helpful.
  • New sleep routine.  When Esu came home is was sleep trained and that was totally what we needed at that time.  But, as time went on I realized that I needed to be more apart of his sleep routine, I wanted him to fall asleep win my arms like my other children had done.  So I started rocking him to sleep, it does not happen every night, but I really love it when It does happen. Esu will also sometimes co-sleep with us.  This was something that I had wanted from the beginning but was not something that was working for Esu, so we abandoned the idea.  About 10 months later Esu started showing a great interest in all things attachment; nursing, co-sleeping and being held all the time.  I think that this happened because when he came home at 11 months he was so traumatized by the situation that he just needed things to stay the same.  He needed his old routines to cope with the new people in his life.  As time went by and his comfort, bonding and love grew for us he became able to change things up, and to “ask” for what he needed.  He needed and wanted us!  That was what I needed too, for him to need me!  Wow, I kind of went off on a tangent there.  But I hope a useful one.
  • I gave myself permission to let time do it’s thing and to be patient while it grew us together.
  • I talked to God, a lot.  You know the bible talks about how we were knit together in our mothers wombs, well I think that Esu and I are being knit together.  It is going to take time and I need to be patient and lean on what I know which is that I love him and he loves me and God loves us both!

This journey is not over for me, I am still finding my way.  I am right there with you, the good the bad and the ugly.

Now here is a little GOOD:

1 year

Yesterday we celebrated our 1 year anniversary with Esuyawkal, one year ago yesterday we first held him in our arms.  It is hard to believe that a year has passed so quickly and that he has changed so much, but it is true, and I am happy for it.

This past year has been a challenging year as well as wonderful, joyous, and spirit filled.  I have experienced things I anticipated about being the mother to three children and I have also had my share of surprises.  I have experienced known and unknown things about adoption, good and not so good.  I have grown a lot, know myself better, and love, love, love my children and husband who has stood beside me as I struggle with the growing pains of being mother to three and a wife with three kids.

The Good:

This year has been full of good and wonderful events, moments, and experiences for me and our family.  The best “event” for me has been finally feeling normal, finally feeling that I know my baby, and finally feeling that I know how to manage three.  This “event” occurred over the entire year and was unchartered territory for me.  I experienced a lot of twists and turns, lows and highs.  Thanks to a supportive family and wonderful friends I was able to struggle openly and freely with the tender topic of “bonding with my baby” which turns out was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Watching my children play together and love on each other, when they are not arguing has been a joy.  Watching Esuyawkal bond with us and love us and his siblings has been a blessing.  Being apart of a family that is taking shape and learning everyday more about each other has been a wonderful journey. Each of my children have grown this year and I am proud of each one of them for weathering the changes this year brought with grace.

The Not So Good:

The biggest not-so-good part of this year has definitely been my struggle with bonding, which does not mean in any way that I do not love my child!!!  I just want to make that very clear.  What it ment for me was that I had bonded in an effortless way with my first two children and only realized that had been the case when it did not happen effortlessly with Esu.  Some of the things that I had done with Ewan and Anwen, for example breast-feeding and co-sleeping were not working for Esu.  I had anticipated this but for what ever reason did not think it would affect my bonding, it was January before I realized it was.  It was actually a relief to come to a realization about this, I had been feeling so crappy prior that I was happy to see a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.  It did feel a little like I was back at square one, but that was better than were I had been so I started over.  I started looking for other ways to bond with Esu and little by little it worked and what I had been looking for started to take shape, a mother and child bonding!

As a side I want parents to know that if you struggle with bonding you are not alone!  This is pretty common in adoption circles, people are just not talking all that much about it.

Another realization I came to in the spring was that I had fallen in love with an infant (in pictures), but had brought home a baby that was on the cusp of toddlerhood.  We did get a few months of limited movement from Esu but once he learned how to crawl which was soon after he came home everything changed.  Life got a lot more difficult.  Of course I knew all of this logically, I knew Esu was coming home at nearly a year old, and I knew from experience that toddlerhood can be really challenging.  What I did not know was that my condo going to feel like a shoe box once a toddler was running around again.  Which in turn would make me feel crazy.  I also did not realize how much bonding really helps you deal with the challenging behaviors of your child, at least it helps for me.  Thankfully when I had made my most recent realization I was already bonding and the realization was mostly just allowed me to put the pieces together.

Today, I feel grounded and I feel bonded (though everyday I am still working on it with ALL of my children).  I still feel like a crazy woman a lot, but those times pass quickly and I can usually laugh at them by the evening.  I can go to the grocery store alone with my children, all of them and I can survive the trip! Believe me those trip are fewer today then they were a year ago, I will do just about anything to get out a trip to the grocery store with the kids!  🙂  My life feels normal, a little nutty but normal, my kids are my priority and I live my life with that in mind.  I am happy to feel like my life is finally fitting me again, and believe it or not, I might just want to do it all again!

I hope to be writing again regularly but I won’t be promising anything, life is busy with three kids and homeschooling.  I do want to say thought that I really miss my blog and you!

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