Wednesday, April 25, 2012

separated for the first time

Okay, that makes it sounds a little more dramatic than it really was, but today, for the first time ever, the boys were apart. It's not like we were always trying to keep them together before. We just never had any reason to separate them. Additionally, they aren't joined at the hip. They have taken naps in different rooms before, and they play in different parts of the house, sometimes. However, today was the first time that they were really not together. Gabe had a follow-up appointment with the cardiologist, and Alex didn't. So, for the very first time in their lives, they were in different cities.

Here's Gabe on the way to the doctor; he's making that face because he had to wake up early. Not because he's missing his brother, I'm guessing.

Here's Alex. What does he do when Gabe is gone? Him and his sister get into Gabe's bed and act like they own the place!

It's so fascinating to have twins; just had to document their first time apart from each other!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

happy birthday boys

When I think about where I was one year ago, I actually shutter a bit. One year ago this morning, I was "waking up" from a sleepless night in the ICU. I didn't really know how my babies were doing because I hadn't seen them except for a brief moment when I said hello to each crying baby after my C-section the night before. The cries, by the way, were one of the best sounds I had heard in all my life.
Gabriel Roland 4.96 lbs born 4.23.11 at 10:15pm.
As I lay in the ICU lined with beds filled with other women, I didn't know when Brian would be coming, and I didn't know how long I would be waiting. All I knew is that I was in so much pain, and I just wanted to get to my babies. You see, what I didn't know then, is that they really don't do much for pain here in Central Europe. It's not like the states, where the goal is stay ahead of the pain. Maybe it was better that I didn't know that ahead of time! Finally, Brian arrived mid-morning; he had been navigating the NICU and trying to figure out how to get me to my babies! Brian showed me pictures of the boys, and he explained to me that I just needed to take a shower, on my own, to be released from the ICU. Can't tell how determined I was to get out there!
Finally, I was released, and I got to see my boys. It was a little overwhelming, I must say, to see them all hooked up in the NICU, but I was so relieved that they were healthy, just needing to grow a bit! While the remaining time in the hospital seemed like an eternity to me then, here we are a year later, celebrating their first birthday.IMG_5467 IMG_5471

(Gabe--he's never seen frosting in his life!)
Alex trying to "help" Gabe! (Just to give proper credit, these gifts are from the Ellenwoods, not from us.)
Cece looking at Uncle Mel--it's not my birthday, but THANKS!!
All this to say, I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am to God for all my kids! I truly believe that he redeemed two miscarriages by giving us our three kids in ways I never would have planned on my own. While I thank God, all the time, that my boys are alive and healthy, I often think of others who have lost children or whose children are having to overcome being born with problems. I praise God for the ways that He is working in this world to bring His Kingdom to earth, and I pray that I might be a small part of that!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

leadership lessons from Slovakia

I have read a lot about leadership. I've attended some really great leadership conferences, and I have listened to a lot of leadership podcasts. There is a plethora of advice on how to be a good leader. However, a few weeks ago, I saw something in Slovakia that demonstrated what I see as great leadership!

Brian and I went to Slovakia to check out KPM, an annual youth leadership conference. This year there were nearly 750 students who attended!

During the Friday morning session, Peter Michalcik, a JV national missionary in Slovakia, began talking about an English camp ministry that he led several years ago. He talked candidly about what he thought of one specific member of the team, Jany Simocko (also a JV national missionary). I don't remember exactly how Peter put it, but he wasn't a fan of Jany in the beginning; however, over time, he began to really appreciate him and his contribution to the team. Eventually, he handed the ministry over to Jany.

Jany, then, came onto the stage. There was a moment of comic relief, and Jany took the microphone. He shared about the team when he was the leader and spoke candidly about a young guy that he eventually passed the baton to. As you may have predicted, this young guy come onto the stage, took the microphone, and he began to share about a young girl who was on the team when he led it. Now, she is the leader of this English camp ministry.

Here they all are, starting with Peter on the far right.

To me, this is a priceless picture of leadership! I think leaders lead too long sometimes. There are others, right under your nose, who, if just given the opportunity, are also very capable of leading. It takes something very special to realize that you are not the only one who can do the job. What I love about this picture is that the baton was passed on, and the ministry is still thriving. Well done!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

family picture fail

So, I had dreams of a family picture on Easter. My kids were all dressed up; I was not wearing yoga pants. It was going to be awesome. Did not happen. However, thankfully, we were with the Patty family, and pictures of our family were taken, and the day was captured. Check out Connie's blog. (You will not find, however, a picture of us all together, just use your imagination!)

Living By Lysa: Easter Snow:  In all my years of celebrating, I've never seen it actually snow on Easter day. As we worshiped in the morning at Malenovice, I couldn...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

parenting: don't trust your instincts

"Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey 'people.' People say different things: so do instincts," C.S. Lewis

About a month ago, Cece and I were sitting on my bed looking through some keepsakes. She was asking me about her footprints from the day she was born.

"What is this, Mommy?"

I explained how her footprints were made.

"Was I scared?"

(I paused.) "I actually wasn't there."

"You weren't there, Mommy?"

"I wasn't there when they did your footprints, but your birthmom was there. I came a few hours later."

"You mean you didn't sleep with me in the hospital?" 

(Pause again.) "No, I didn't. I visited you every day, and you were safe with your birthmom until your daddy and I took you home with us forever."

We have an open adoption, so Brian and I spent precious time with Cece's birthfamily in the hospital the first two days of Cece's life, and on the third day, we brought Cece home. Our instincts certainly would have prevented us from wanting an open adoption, but advice from those who have gone before us and a lot of research about adoption shows that giving an adopted child the gift of knowing her biological family is huge. In addition, truth is freeing, and we are not afraid of what is true.

From the huge in our family to the small, I am realizing that instincts are not what parenting should be based on. While instincts and intuition are different, I really believe that parenting well usually doesn't happen naturally.

Instead of my instincts, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me know how to answer Cece's questions honestly. I have to trust my Heavenly Father to heal the wounds in my children's lives, and lying to them to protect them will only do more harm. It's hard not to want to keep your child from experiencing any kind of pain, but those are usually instincts talking, not what is truly best in the long run.