Boy Says I Love You

Alternately titled, Girl Needs Pants.

Part One

Part Two

In June of 1999, I was working as an intern at First Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas and was slowly but surely wading into the waters of forever with Lee.  Toward the end of the month, he came for a visit and during this time we met up with my family in Branson (where I learned that my future husband, Mr. Super-Athlete-Who-Can-Play-Any-Sport-Like-A-Pro, cannot, in fact, water ski.  He looks like gumby when he water skis and I will confess that it brings sweet joy to my soul to know that there is one thing I can do better than him.)

As we drove back to Conway, we had the official moment when Lee laid out his intentions for our relationship.  I’ll never forget what he said as we twisted and turned through the dark hills.  “I just want you to know that I plan on pursuing this relationship to marriage.  Are you okay with that?”

Um, yeah.  I’m good with that.  Totally.  You’re hot. We’re good.

Some of the details of my summer in Conay are murkey.  For example, I can’t remember if Lee came once or twice to visit.  I know that at some point Fourth of July happened, you know – like it happens every year.  And my parents came to Conway to meet Lee’s family.  I can’t remember if this was the same trip as the Branson visit or a different one.  I do remember that the night of July 4th, Lee was goofing around and through a fire cracker at me and it popped right at my feet.  And my dad was standing right there watching.

Bad move, dude…

The other thing I remember is the obssession that Lee and I had back then with roller blading.  In fact, I’m fairly certain we roller bladed the entire town of Conway at 1:00 in the morning the night before he was to return to Waco.  From Texas, he would be leaving to Germany for a month to play basketball.  So the night before he left, we stayed up until the wee hours talking, laughing and enjoying the energy that comes with youth and new love.

Around 3:30 that morning, we said good night to each other and went to our separate rooms.  I climbed into bed exhausted but ecstatic.  And not five minutes after I laid down my head I heard a little knock on the door.  It should be noted that I was wearing nothing but a small t-shirt at this moment.

“Can I come in for a second?” Lee asked.

I pulled the covers up to my chin.  “Okay,” I said, assuming that he just wanted to say something quickly before heading back to bed.

He walked in the room and turned on the light.  Then he grabbed the desk chair and pulled it to the side of the bed and sat down, leaning forward to put his elbows on his knees.  And I did not move or sit up,  but stayed firmly planted beneath the covers with the blanket pulled up around my chin.

“I just wanted to tell you something before I leave tomorrow,” he began.  His eyes were all serious and I sincerely wished I had asked him to wait a minute so I could have gotten dressed before he came in.  “I have really been praying about this and I want you to know that I don’t take these words lightly.  I fully understand their meaning and I wouldn’t say them if I didn’t mean it with all my heart.”

At this point I’m thinking, Crap! But I’m not wearing any pants! 

“Kelli – I love you.”

*awkward pause*

For the few agonizing seconds that I made him sit there in silence, I ran through my options.  Stick out one arm for a brief hug and thank him?  Nah.  Sit up and pull the blankets around my waste and say it in return?  Nah – because not only was I not wearing pants, I wasn’t wearing undergarments…and the shirt was white.  I was ready for bed, people!

So I said the only thing that really made sense. “Um…could you go stand in the closet for a second?”

Lee’s eyebrows furrowed.  I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the response he hoped for.  “What?” he asked.

“Just for a second.  Go stand in the closet.”

He stood up and walked slowly to the closet.  Poor guy.  I could see the worry in his eyes.  I leapt out of bed and got dressed as quickly as I could, then told him it was okay to come out now.  He opened the door and stepped out and I grinned.

“I love you too,” I said.  And we hugged.  We did not kiss – not yet.  I wrote about how long it took my chivalrous husband to kiss me here (and about how terribly I tempted him).

“What was with the closet?” Lee asked as we embraced.

“Well…” I said, “I wasn’t wearing any pants.”

And that, folks, is the day my husband told me he loved me for the first time…

Girl Falls in Love

Lee and I are just months away from our 10 year Anniversary (July 22).  Last week, I purchased our tickets to Milan, Italy for mid-September where we will spend ten days driving through Switzerland, Austria and Italy (we may even try to swing through France if we have time) to celebrate.  As we ramp up to this big milestone in our marriage, I will be recording some of the favorite memories of our life together…

Read part one of this story here.

While I was in Kiev, Lee and I emailed back and forth several times.  We both had the purest of intentions, of course.  I mean, obviously, I was concerned with how his first few months as area director for K-Life were going and I was emailing him solely to encourage him in his new endeavor.  And he was clearly concerned with how I was coping in a foreign country all by myself and just wanted to encourage me in my endeavor.

Ahem

I still have those emails, by the way.  I printed them off and saved them.  Because I knew I was going to marry this man.  Turns out that the night I left for Kiev, Lee called his parents and told them he was pretty sure he had just met the girl he was going to marry.

So when I returned to Waco in January of 1999, I prepared myself to see Lee again for the first time.  We worked together in ministry so I knew I had to tread carefully.  I couldn’t let on that I had a mad crush on the new guy.  So when I arrived at that first K-Life meeting, I made a very concerted effort not to look down the aisle at Lee.  We met in an old movie theater and he was standing right up front and it took every bit of willpower to not head straight for him and say hello.  Instead, I very slowly meandered my way down to the front, stopping and talking to friends along the way.

Two of my sweet friends had caught on a bit to Lee’s crush and told me later that they were watching Lee when I walked in the room to see what his reaction would be.  Apparently he was a little obvious because they both say that their suspicions were confirmed by his point blank stare.

Lee says he still remembers what I looked like when I walked into the theater.  Short hair (due to a very unfortunate incident in a hair salon during one of my side trips to London that involved an orange-haired stylist from New Zealand…), orange coat and blue jeans.  I don’t remember what Lee was wearing – probably jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball hat – but I remember that when I finally got to the front of the room and spoke to him, my heart started racing and my palms sweating.

After the meeting, I hung around a bit to catch up with my future husband.  I believe we talked for about an hour.  He sat on one side of the aisle, I on the other.  I left on cloud nine and practically floated back to my apartment.

That second semester of school found Lee and I dancing around one another, both coming up with random reasons to call each other.  I worked really, really hard to hide my feelings for him.  And, for the most part, I succeeded.  The only person to figure out what I was up to was Dana, Lee’s partner.  Lee, however, did not do as good of a job hiding his feelings.  Almost everyone suspected that he had a bit of a crush. 

Lee and I both led Friday morning Bible studies that semester – I with the senior girls and Lee with the senior boys.  My girls were supposed to meet me at the K-Life house at 6:45 and Lee’s Bible study started at 7:00.  I would always arrive around 6:40 so Lee and I could have a few minutes to talk.  My girls caught on to this and decided to take it upon themselves to hook us up.  So they conspired to show up late every week.  They never showed up before 7:00.  I did not know about this until much later.  Turns out they were certain that Lee liked me, but they weren’t sure how I felt, so they wanted me to have some alone time with him to figure it out.

Brilliant girls. 

In April of 1999, I drove with Lee to Conway to interview for a position as a youth intern at his home church.  Even though I had offers that may have been a little more exciting for the summer (I had a job offer coaching gymnastics at Bela Karolyi’s camp in Houston and I also had an offer to intern at a church in Orlando), I really wanted to go to Conway, Arkansas so I could get to know Lee’s family and have easy access to him for the summer.  On the way home from that trip, Lee asked me if he could keep in touch with me over the summer – he would remain in Waco for part of the time and then go to Germany to play basketball for a month.

That was as close to a DTR as we got.  And that day, I bought a journal and began secretly writing letters to Lee.  I gave him that journal a little over a year later the day we got married.

To be continued in which I will share the first time Lee told me he loved me.  Definately a story worth recording…

We Interrupt This Broadcast

Life is so busy and crazy right now that I seriously feel like I am suffocating.  I can’t breathe.  We only have a few weeks of school left and it can’t come soon enough in my opinion.  I need a break.  I’m sure two weeks into summer I’ll be begging for school to start again…

All that to say – I got nothin’ today.  So I’m sending you over to Becke’s blog where you can read the post I wrote for her yesterday.  It’s a post that I need to read myself today and I hope you will be encouraged by it, as I have been.

Girl Meets Boy

Lee and I are just months away from our 10 year Anniversary (July 22).  Last week, I purchased our tickets to Milan, Italy for mid-September where we will spend ten days driving through Switzerland, Austria and Italy (we may even try to swing through France if we have time) to celebrate.  As we ramp up to this big milestone in our marriage, I will be recording some of the favorite memories of our life together beginning today with when we met…

scan0003It was March of 1998.  I was a 19-year-old sophomore at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  One of the things I did with my free time was volunteer with a youth discipleship organization called K-Life.  Our two area directors were getting married and moving on, so they brought in a new guy, who would start serving as the Waco area director in the fall.

His name was Lee Stuart.

He came to one of our leaders meetings and the memory of that night is seared into my brain.  He was sitting on the floor, against the wall next to the front door of the K-Life house.  He had on a baseball hat, shorts and a T-Shirt and I thought he was adorable.  I tried not to be too obvious with my staring…

Did I mention that I was dating someone at this point?  Yeah – I should mention that.

We were split into groups to write monologues for an upcoming Easter Cross Talk where people would portray different characters from the crucifixion.  Lee was placed in my group and we were assigned Peter.  He laid on a bean bag behind me and we contemplated what Peter must have been thinking and feeling during that long night.  I fought hard not to be a silly, giggly girl.  I was being all aloof and cool.  I wasn’t going to be that girl who fawned all over the new guy, even though my heart was racing… 

After the meeting was over, I stood talking with a couple of the other girl leaders about the new guy.  “My only fear with him,” one girl said, “is that all the female leaders are going to see him as someone to date and he’s going to be a distraction.”

“Oh yeah, totally,” I agreed.  “Hopefully people can remember that he’s not here to find his wife but to lead the ministry.”  I said this while envisioning myself in a wedding gown.  Nice.

It should also be noted that Lee does not remember this first meeting.  Boys! *eyeroll*

Lee left the next day and I went about my business at school, dating my current boyfriend and planning for my next semester, which would be studying abroad in Kiev, Ukraine.  I went on a tour with my choir in May to Spain, then came home for a little downtime with my family.  During that time, I found out that Lee was working as the Program’s Director at Kanakuk Kamps, so I did what any self-respecting girl who had a little crush would do.

I wrote him a letter.

You see, I had worked at Kanakuk the summer before and I knew what kind of girls were there.  Cute girls.  Athletic girls who loved God.  The kind of girls that would  be very attractive to someone like Lee.  And he was quite the catch so I didn’t doubt at all that girls would be after him.  I knew I had to get my name out there before some other girl swept in and stole his heart.  And yes, I was still dating someone else at this point – but I was keeping my options open.  Clearly…

So I wrote Lee a letter telling him how excited I was to have him come to Waco and that I was praying for him as he prepared to move and change jobs.  I was completely shameless and my motives were anything but pure. 

I headed back down to Waco in June for a semester of summer school and while I was there, Lee and the other director, Dana, came down for a couple of days to meet some of the kids.  I met up with them for ice cream.  I laid on the charm and sent Lee on his way, confident he would be thinking about me at least for a little while.  Turns out he was pretty smitten by the time he left Waco. 

I’m good, folks.  Really good.

A week later, my boyfriend and I broke up.  I really liked that guy and I was very sad to see the relationship end, but I was equally relieved because I had a feeling, deep down, that Lee was the man I would end up with.  It’s the terrible cliche that you always hear, but in my case it was true.  I just knew.

I would see Lee one more time the night before I left for Ukraine.  I went to the K-Life house where a group of the leaders was hanging out.  Lee and I tried swing dancing together.  We were flirting terribly, but both trying not to be obvious.  I’m not sure we totally succeeded.

The next day, I left for Ukraine and I wouldn’t return until January.  And the first time I saw Lee upon my return is a pivotal moment that both of us remember…

To be continued at a later date…

Grey’s Anatomy and FRIENDS and Glee, Oh MY!

After talking with several people and thinking through the question I asked yesterday, I thought it would be fun to expand a bit on the topic of protecting our kids from the images thrown at them from popular culture.  (That’s right, I said FUN.)

This train of thought started with Tuesday night’s episode of Glee, which was a little over the top.  It was Madonna night so I should have been prepared, but I was still taken aback as I watched “high schoolers” dance and sing about losing their virginity. 

Now again, I will say that I do appreciate the ultimate message portrayed (even if it was watered down) that girls should take control of their bodies and not succomb to pressure, but the way the message was sent made me terribly uncomfortable and had me questioning whether or not I would want my kids watching such a show were they old enough to do so.

I tend to be a little conservative when it comes to what my kids watch and listen to.  Sloan and I have already had conversations about this as there are several  movies that he wants to watch that I simply won’t let him watch.  The main reason is because I want him to learn what it means to guard his heart and his mind.

Remember the Twister fiasco?  That was one instance in which I let my guard down and for several nights we dealt with the consequences.  So he and I have talked about the fact that God doesn’t want us to be scared or worried or anxious and if we watch movies that make us feel that way, then we are not doing a good job of guarding our minds.

And I plan to continue to vigilantly guard the hearts and minds of my children as they grow older.  Just as my parents did for me.  When everyone I knew was watching Beverly Hills 90210, I was left in the dark.  I didn’t know who the Walsh’s were or why Kelly and Donna were fighting.  Because my parents were protecting my heart and mind from the bombardment of messages that did not line up with the way they were raising me.  And you know what?  I was no worse for the wear for missing that show.

(I did ultimately see many of the re-runs when I was in college and studying in Ukraine.  Everyday when I got home from school, my brain was fried from speaking russian all day, and 90210 came on just as I got home.  The translation was on enough of a delay that I could hear the English and for an hour didn’t have to try and translate in my head.  So I got well acquainted with the show then and truly realized that I hadn’t miss much.)

It is a similar story with the show FRIENDS.  While I don’t ever remember a specific time that my parents told me I could not watch that show (I believe it started airing my junior year of high school), I also don’t remember ever once seeing it until my later college years.  There just wasn’t an emphasis on television in my home and while I watched it a little, there were certain shows that I simply knew they wouldn’t approve of, so I avoided them. 

FRIENDS ultimately became one of my favorite TV shows, but I began watching it when I was older and better able to filter the messages through a more developed worldview and stronger sense of who I was and what I believed.

So, back to Glee.  I don’t know that, after Tuesday’s episode alone, I would forever forbid my kids from watching the show.  For the most part, while the show clearly holds rather loose values, I think it’s a fun, campy hour of television that does not take itself too seriously and, yeah – I think it would open the doors for a lot of conversations.

Now a show like Grey’s Anatomy, on the other hand, is hands down, no way, dont-even-think-about-asking if you can watch this show.  I’ve even forbidden myself from watching that show anymore, it got so ridiculous.  It went from once upon a time being about the characters and witty, quippy dialogue to some kind of political message wrapped up in preachy dialogue and completely inappropriate scenes that do not deserve to be on public television.

I realize that I may be more sensitive to this subject than others are.  While I doubt we will ever swear off TV altogether (although I have no problem with that if the content of shows continue to spiral down the path they’re on now), but I take my job as mom very seriously.  And, in the long run, I don’t think my kids will suffer irreperable damage if they aren’t able to watch the one show that all of their friends are watching.  It won’t send them into counseling.

Oh no…there are plenty of other crazy mom neuroses that I can pull into play to make sure they end up laying on a counselor’s couch someday.  Like, for instance, this insane notion I have that they should play outside instead of watch TV or play computer games all day long.  Sloan literally moments ago stomped out of my room grumbling that I never let him do anything fun. “You always make me play outside and read books and stuff.  That’s boring.”

I’m so mean…

Random bits of information and a question

* Today is the day.  We’ve waited four months for this.  We’ve cried and labored.  We’ve thrown our hands up in frustration and cheered at small victories.  We’ve begged and pleaded and felt utterly desperate.  And today we will see if our hard work and efforts paid off. 

What, pray tell am I talking about?  Why – I am talking about Landon’s weigh-in!  Yes, we are going to see if he’s gained the 3/4 of a pound that the doctor wanted him to gain.  Given that he still eats only a few bites of food per day, I’m a little nervous.  But I think he’s gotten taller so I’m hoping that compensates for everything.

* Speaking of Landon, I love his hair long.  It’s so very cute the way it hangs in his eyes and bounces when he runs.  But the other day, I must admit I started to feel sorry for the him as he had to tip his head back to an uncomfortable angle just to see anything.  So I trimmed the front of his hair just slightly…

Slightly too much.  I’m going to need to take him in because now he looks like he has a mullet.  Remind me to never, ever, ever try and trim my children’s hair.    I really should know better…

* I’m sitting next to my daughter who is wearing the most adorable little bubble dress with her hair up in frilly bows.  I would take a pictures to show you, but I’m lazy and don’t feel like it – you’ll just have to trust me.  She is sugary sweet and looks like a little doll.  It never gets old dressing little girls.

* I’m still upset about the russian adoption situation and frustrated that no charges have been brought agains the woman who sent her adopted son back to Russian with a note pinned to his chest.  Why on Earth hasn’t she been charged?!  I don’t get it.  The child was legally hers, he was officially an American citizen and by the letter of the law, he was her son.  Does this mean when I’m having a particularly difficult day with my son, I can ship him to Russia without fear of repercussion?  Because, trust me, there are times when that sounds appealing…

The whole situation makes me angry.
* Lee and I took the kids to the local high school last night and ran the track with them.  It was really fun.  We sprinted, raced, jumped and laughed.  Lee strapped a parachute to his back for wind resistance.  He looks ridiculous while running with that thing, but it’s a great workout so he does it anyway. It was fun to watch to watch him use it until he ran past Sloan and the parachute caught the back of his head, yanking his feet out from under him and resulting in a fat lip.  Good times…

* We watched our two favorite shoes last night: Glee and LOST.  LOST did not disappoint.  Seriously, I think I’m going to go through withdrawls when that show ends this year.

Glee, however, was a little disappointing.  It was Madonna night so I expected big things.  It did make me laugh out loud several times (I love Sue Sylvester), but it also made me uncomfortable.  The whole high schooler’s dealing with sex thing makes me squirm.  Remember how I felt after seeing the movie Valentine’s Day? 

To Glee’s credit, they did handle it as well as I would expect a Hollywood produced show to handle it.  It was all about female empowerment and girls taking control of their bodies and not succombing to pressure.  So, you know, that’s good.

But as I watched all I could think was how in the world do parents with teenagers deal with shows like this?  Because I don’t know that I would want my kids watching that show if they were older.  And yet it’s such a piece of popular culture, I wouldn’t doubt that they would want to watch it.  So what would I do?  Would I let them watch it and then dialogue with them afterwards about what a healthy, godly view of sex is?  Or would I simply not let them watch it?  Parents with older children, give me your thoughts.  I really want to know.

Do shows like Glee that are light hearted and fun and uber-popular make parenting a headache?  Do you let your children watch them?  How do you handle these pieces of culture that bombard our kids with messages that aren’t enitrely healthy?

Do share!

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!!!

Because I’m just having so much fun with my new baby and because I know you just can’t get enough of their adorable faces…

Okay – maybe that was a bit presumptuous, but you have to admit, they are pretty dang cute.

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I seriously love those kids.  Even if they won’t go to bed right now like they’re supposed to…

Does this mean I still got it?

Sunday mornings are crazy hectic here at chez Stuart.  I sing lead vocals at church, Lee plays guitar.  Which means nearly every Sunday one of us has to be there early.  And yesterday I had to be there particularly early – 7:30 early.  So, like I do every Sunday when I have to leave early, I got up before the sun and got myself ready so that I could help get the kids ready before leaving.

Because if I don’t at least get Tia’s dress on and her hair done before I leave there is no telling what she’ll look like when I pick her up after church.  One time I picked her up and her dress was on backwards.  That was the day I realized that I needed to stick around long enough to help.

As I walked out the door at 7:20, Lee called out, “Hey, my right front tire is really low, so you’ll probably need to put some air in it on your way to church.”

Duuuuude.  Wha?!

I was wearing heels.  These lovelies…

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And he wanted me to do what again?

So, like the loving, dutiful, amazingly incredible and humble wife that I am, I stopped at the gas station and pulled up to the little air-filler-upper-dooly-bopper.  And right there, in my dress and rockin’ red heels I filled up his tire.  I contorted this way and that to make sure that my dress stayed in it’s proper place as I knelt down to fill up the tire (it was really, really low).  I tucked and twisted and held tight as a slight breeze blew, all the while perched precariously atop the teetering heels.

And then I heard it.  At 7:25 on a Sunday morning.  A honk.  My head snapped up and I caught site of two boys who didn’t even look old enough to be driving as they puttered past in a shiney black truck.  One of them gave me a thumbs up.  Seriously?

I gave them a nod of thanks and a small smile and went about my business trying to put air in the tire trying all the while to keep my flaming cheeks from spontanteously combusting.  I texted Lee and told him he owes me one.  He texted back and told me I should have flashed a little leg and really given the boys something to talk about.

So if I got a honk on a Sunday morning, does this mean that I still got it?

‘Cause I think the boys had just been up all night and may have been a little delerious…

Check out my post today at STL Family Life.  I interviewed Kelly Stables, an old high school friend who is now an actress.  Her new show, with Alyssa Milano, is called Romantically Challenged and it airs tonight on ABC at 9:30/8:30C after Dancing With The Stars.

On the Russian Adoption Situation

As a family who is seriously praying over and considering the possibility of international adoption (particularly from Russia or Ukraine – I’ve written about my love for the adoption process before here), we are following this story pretty closely.  It breaks my heart to read about this situation and I find myself frustrated and angry.

When any parent enters an adoptive situation, particularly with an older child as this one was, there is the potential for psychological or emotional issues.  Any child that has been neglected and virtually unloved for much of his life is going to have problems adjusting and accepting love.

If what the adoptive mother in this situation says is true, then I agree that the little boy she adopted had severe emotional problems and that she likely felt overwhelmed and incompetent to parent him.  But here’s the kicker:

YOU DON’T PUT A CHILD ON AN AIRPLANE WITH A NOTE PINNED TO HIS CHEST AND SHIP HIM BACK TO RUSSIA!!!!!!!

The absurdity of what she did is astounding.  This is a child – not a defective puppy or a ripped shirt that you can just return.  It’s a CHILD.  A child she agreed to parent, incidentally.  She never told her adoption agency of the problems she was having with her son. 

Her SON.  She adopted him.  He was her son.  In my mind, that is abandonment and she should be ashamed of herself. 

No.  She didn’t make anyone aware of the struggles.  She didn’t ask anyone for help.  She just shipped him back.  What did she think was going to happen?!  Did she think the Russian government would send her a thank you note?

Thank you, Madam, for your honesty and forthright thinking in this sensitive matter.  Of course, we would be happy for you to come over and take a look at our other children and find one that better suits your needs.  Perhaps a mild and meek little girl who will sit quietly and let you brush her hair all day long.

Ugh!  Can you tell this story has gotten me a bit riled up?

There are so many ways this woman could have handled this situation.  She could have given her adoption case worker a heads up, first of all.  She could have gotten counseling both for herself and for her son.  The fact is that she hadn’t even had this boy for a full year.  So no – I don’t think she put any effort into helping this child overcome his obvious issues.

There are even reports that in December, this woman told her adoption agency that she would like to adopt a second child from overseas – something she was discouraged from doing right away.  So clearly, this woman has an equal amount of problems and likely shouldn’t have adopted in the first place.

But what about the child she shipped back?  What happens to him now?  He’s branded as being violent and psychologically unstable.  He spent the first seven years of his life in a Russian orphanage and he is finally told he has a mother – someone who will love him unconditionally – and what does she do?  She abandons him.  Sends him packing.  What will this do to this precious boy’s heart?  It literally makes me sick to think of this little boy and what he’s been through.

And now, because of this woman’s foolish, careless and selfish decision, Russia has shut down adoptions to the U.S. until better regulations can be set in place.  I don’t blame them.  I just hope that this doesn’t destroy the trust forever.  I also hope that this doesn’t set into motion stipulations and regulations that are so impossible to meet that U.S. families will no longer be able to afford Russian adoptions.

The fact of the matter is that adoption is never to be taken lightly.  In my viewpoint, if you are called to adopt a child and a child is placed in your care, then that child was ordained for you by God just as your biological children were ordained for you by God.  I know not everyone probably holds that same viewpoint and it’s probably really easy to say that if you don’t have a problem child.  But I know many people who have adopted or fostered children from around the world who had severe emotional problems and I have seen the power of perseverence and love in the life of a troubled child.

Does that mean it was an easy road for those families?  Nope.  Not at all.  But they didn’t love their adopted child any less than they would have a biological child who had a difficult temperament.

If Lee and I choose to follow this route of adoption, we will, of course, pray that God spare our adopted child of severe emotional distress.  But I trust beyond a shadow of a doubt that should God choose to give us a child that is more difficult to parent, He will also equip us with the grace to parent the child well.

I could go on and on about this, but I think I should stop now before I break out in hives.  And I shall now climb off my soap box and carefully tuck it away once again…

Tia Tales: The Four Year Old Edition

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She is part girl, part Tazmanian Devil.  She is gregarious and passionate.  Equal parts sugar and spice, she really is everything nice.  And she is 100% a four year old, which means she lets loose with a few gems now and again.

Take, for instance, our trip to Target last week.  As we run into the store (and when I say run, I mean run.  This child rarely walks), she smacks right into one of those big, red, cement balls out front.  And at a decible only a preschooler can create exclaims, “Ow!  My penis!”

And the older couple in front of us turn in surprise then melt into laughter.  And I wonder if I could possibly dig a hole in the ground and bury myself there…

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She’s a happy girl who loves to dress up, but won’t let a dress stop her from having fun.  In fact, I’m pretty certain you won’t find a messier child on planet earth.  It’s probably a good thing we don’t have a little girl behind her, because I don’t know that I have a single outfit without a stain on it.

She’s also fearless.  She will climb up and jump off of anything.  Case in point, we were at a friends country home this weekend.  They have a swing chained to a tree branch and it swings out over a hill so when you’re swinging forward, you’re much higher in the air than you expect to be.

My kids love to jump off swings.  Sloan went first and in keeping with his thoughtful approach to life, he waited until he had slowed down a bit before jumping and rolling down the hill.  Tia went next.  In keeping with her fly by the seat approach to life, she jumped at the peak of her swing, which means that she was easily 6 feet in the air when she launched.  Maybe more.

Lee and I had heart attacks and both yelped.  She arced through the air as confident as could be and slammed to the ground.  I was certain she broke both ankles, but she hopped up, turned around and gave us a look like Dude!  I totally had that.

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She takes delight in tormenting her brothers.  De-light.  Here she is spraying them with the hose.  Despite the fact that Landon was screaming his head off, she chased him across the yard, spraying and grinning like the Cheshere Cat.

Then she tried to spray me.

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I caught her putting on my make-up last night.  She had on blue eye shadow, a LOT of blush and red lipstick.  She looked like a little Vegas Showgirl.  When I asked her what she was doing she gave me “the look” (the one that clearly says, Duh Mom…) and said, “I jus want to be woody (really) pitty for Daddy.”

I caught her taking a swig out of the Infant Tylenol bottle yesterday.  Fun times.  She didn’t get but a sip, but I made sure she understood how dangerous it was to drink medicine.  She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Yes Ma’am, I undewstand…but I still woody, woody fink I need medicine.”

“Why do you need medicine?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said.  “I just fought if I said dat you would give me some.”

She is my girl and, my goodness, I am madly in love with her.  Even if I am fairly certain she is conspiring to make sure I age at hyperspeed.

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