Thursday, May 23, 2013

There's no stopping it...

Well here it is. The day I've pretended wasn't coming. The day I scoffed at, promising I would avoid. And yet, in about 4 hours I'll be head to head with 30th birthday.  That's right, I'm getting old.  In years past I dreaded 30, thinking my good life, my dreams...and everything else would be gone, head south and not come back.  That was before I turned 29.  Once you get to the 1 year count down it gets real, BUT you have 364 days to figure it out.  That's where I am now, day 364, and's not that bad.

Well, it wasn't that bad until I just looked down realized I went the whole day with a huge spit up ring on my dress- right below the collar bone.  Awesome.  Not sure what is worse, the fact I didn't notice it at any point when I washed my hands/looked in the mirror--or that I never smelled that distinct musty-spit up smell.  My oh my it's glamorous being a mom...I wouldn't trade it though, even on the hard days--they soon pass, and all the "bad stuff" is forgotten...I'm sure you have a story you could share on forgetting difficult times too :)

Back to getting old, had you asked me 5 years ago on my birthday where I would be in 5 years-- it surely would not look anything like it does now.  (Thank you Jesus I did not write my own story).  Back then, in 2008, I was planning to move to Washington DC, doing marketing/event planning "stuff", making lots of money, having fun- YOLO!!! (for all of you oldies like me, that means "you only live once"- great theology huh??)  PRAISE GOD that didn't pan out.  Believe me, some days I wonder what I would be like, where I would be if that were my path, then I shudder.  No thank you, I know how different it would be. I would not have cultivated relationships with friends & family like I have/do now.  I wouldn't have the most handsome, sweet, perfect-for-me husband that I do, or my 2 crazies (Brynnen & Graycen)!!  Most importantly, I am pretty positive I would not have a deep, growing relationship with Christ my Savior.  I wouldn't know the joy of community in the church and I certainly would not know what is truly important in life-- raising my sweet babies and growing old with my hubby-- all while trying to imitate which we can't compare, and often fail- but are so grateful for the grace, mercy, compassion, love and patience our heavenly father has with/for us.

Wow, am I ever more aware how I was rescued from that to be transplanted in the south, as a loving wife and mother to the most precious beings on earth..even if it is chaotic & and I smell like spit up for a few months...

HERE'S TO BEING THIRTY!!  I am excited for the adventure it may bring!!

Our little family!

my MAIN squeeze!! 1 week before 30!

my heart...cuddling this morning :-)

crazies on mother's day!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Drumroll please....DIEGO!!

A lot of you have probably heard us or Brynnen talk about our "boy" or Diego- well it's time to get rid of the confusion.  Diego is not the name of the boy in my "belly" and is not Brynnen's favorite Nickelodeon character.  "Our" Diego also speaks Spanish (well, his nannies do), has dark hair and olive skin just like the cartoon, however, he is a two year old little boy from Guatemala.  Who has a piece of our hearts, all three of us.
Stephen had the privileged of meeting this sweet baby our second day in Guatemala.  We were touring Hope of Life  and had stopped at the Baby Rescue Center. Stephen headed to the toddler room, while I was infatuated with this sweet baby girl who was alone.  So sweet seeing giggles, smiles and just loving on her/them! Here are a few of the other babies
She has a cleft-palate, waiting for a sponsor for the surgery

Henry, a 3 y/o weighs (i think) 11 lbs.

Could not wait to get back to them!!

We were moving on to the next part of the tour (walking), I was jabbering on about how I wanted all of those babies and what a blessing this place was! Stephen was quiet, not sharing his joy...knowing something was wrong, I said "Honey, are you ok?"  He waited a few seconds...his voice cracked as he softly uttered "They put him in a trash can." My eyes filled and I started crying, not because I had a clue what he was talking about-but anything that moves my husband to tears is worth mine too.  A little louder he said "a trash can....a trash can!  Who does that?"  I could tell by his tone he was appalled, broken-hearted and angry...mostly angry.  He told me about Diego.  Someone heard whimpering coming from a dumpster, after checking it out the discovered it was coming from a baby boy, not a wounded animal.  He was brought to the Rescue Center, was nursed to health, now has a bed to sleep in and nurses who love him.  Praise God!!!

Here he is...
Sweet Diego!
Having a daughter around the same age, this hit our hearts hard.  I don't care the circumstance, Brynnen would not be left in a dumpster like unwanted, discarded trash; all alone, probably cold and afraid.  So many other options.  Cannot fathom.

We got to see and play with Diego several more times on our trip.  One of our last days, Stephen had him (of course), Diego wanted to play with a fly swatter.  No big deal, there were not a lot of toys, so Stephen gave it to him and put him down to play.  One of the nurses came over and took the fly swatter from Diego and put it back (not at all rude or disrespectful).  Diego looked at her, his face sank and he dropped to his knees in a pity party.  His world was crushed, his toy taken- so dramatic.  I started laughing.  I had watched this scene play out before.  Except instead of being in an orphanage in Guatemala, it was in my kitchen in Knoxville, it was at grandparents house, it was at the park or any other place my sweet little girl decides to have the same response. Haha, I always laugh at her dramatic style too :-)

That exact moment I realized this boy belongs at the Sene house, he fits perfectly.  Stephen felt the same.

Right now Guatemala is a closed country for adoption.  Basically Americans cannot adopt children from there (or any closed country).  It's a long story- but it involves the lawyers and doctors (among others) in Guatemala- kidnapping, lying, and forcing women to get pregnant to sell their babies to unknowing Americans.  Bad stuff.  So while they sort out all of that mess, and set up proper adoption channels, we will wait...and pray...and look at our few precious pictures.
We have no idea if God will bring Diego to our home, His will not ours.  (Lord Willing) We are going to adopt from Guatemala when it opens even if we can't get Diego.  Pray for us, for him and most importantly for the 147 million children who are without a "forever family" - also pray for the people (maybe YOU) who could be forever changed by the life of a child, through adoption.

I have one more post about adoption...coming soon!!  :-)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Guatemala stole my heart!

I keep promising to do better about posting, and here it's been 4 months and 13 days since my last post. It seems like much longer, so much has happened.  I would say the biggest change in our life has been since we returned from Guatemala.

Stephen and I were blessed to join a group from our church on a first time mission to Hope of Life International (Clike here for info) in Zacapa, Guatemala.  We had never been to a third-world country.  What a life changing experience.  You cannot understand "needy" or "poor" until you visit outside the United States- the "poor" here do not even compare.  Mainly because of opportunity.  In America millions of people rely on the government to feed them, clothe them, pay for bills, even for job opportunities.  The people of Guatemala do not have that luxury.  I've heard/seen people say/post "They should take care of themselves," I would guarantee anyone with that attitude has not witnessed poverty on this level.

One day we got to do a TOMS shoes delivery (this does not change my views of TOMS shoes, you can read here my thoughts).  We pulled up to the village of La Laguna (no running water or indoor plumbing), you would have thought we were celebrities the way the street was filled and cheers erupted when we opened the windows to wave hello.  My eyes immediately filled with tears.  These people are so excited for a pair of shoes.  Plain black, mediocre quality shoes.  A pair most kids (and some adults) would scoff at- or possibly wear because of the blue/white label on the back.


Men who serve those that can do nothing in return are REAL men! He's handsome too huh? ;)

This is a day I will cherish the rest of my life, I don't think any of us left unchanged.  We went back to La Laguna one more day, walked around the village, saw the school building (2 rooms, no electricity, no air conditioning or fans), heart breaking, but in a way so humbling and encouraging.  Here we are surrounded by some of the poorest people in the world, and yet they wore the biggest smiles.  When you looked in their eyes, especially the older women, you could see clear to their soul.  What reflected back was something so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes every time.  Still does.  I saw gratitude, humility, joy, a pure kind spirit, sincerity, and peace.  Add to that the weathered hands and face, and you can imagine the life she has lived. So beautiful.  I can only hope my eyes speak that much depth about me one day!

Sharing clean water!

 This is the current church, as you can see around 35 people is a packed house-
 Our church Chilhowee Hills Baptist, has partnered with World Help (Lynchburg, VA) and Hope of Life (Zacapa, Guatemala) to do a total village transformation.  The first and MOST IMPORTANT is to build a well, with clean water.  The water "system" was not put in correctly, the water is mixing with the sewage- making children and people sick :-(

 My buddy Alex, in front of the new well site, and where eventually(Lord willing) the new church will go. The well will cost over $15,000 PLEASE CONTACT ME if you are able to donate, completely tax-deductible!
Some of "our" people!

The next day we went to a feeding center at a trash dump.  These people lived in or right outside the dump, they worked there (picking out recyclables to sell).

These faces are etched in my mind, so beautiful- gracious-sincere.  These are the poor of the poor, and yet, like in James 2:5 they are "poor in the eyes of the world, to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom..." 

The kids didn't even care- didn't "know better"- they played and laughed- I loved seeing them. Humbling.
Would you let your kids be here??

There was so much more to our trip, but it would take hours and hours to record, and most of the pictures are on facebook.   Please consider a mission to any third world country, God will provide funds and break your heart in the most glorious way possible.  You will see that even though you don't have everything you are blessed with MORE than you need!   Your heart will be stolen, just as ours was!!!

PS- In my next blog I will introduce you to Diego!!  :-)