The last few days have been so wonderful, especially Halloween, which shocked me because for the last nine years it has been a day that I dread.
Pat let me know before we were married that he had strong convictions about not celebrating Halloween. To me, Halloween was one of my favorite memories of being a kid. We always met at Nana's house to get dressed, then Mom and Aunt Dana would walk with us as we ran through fall leaves going door to door trick-or-treating. After hitting all the houses on foot that we could, we'd jump in the car and go to Aunt Sandy's for homemade popcorn balls. It was innocent fun, and I was raised in a Christian home, so I thought Pat was making way too big a deal about it. We never could see eye to eye on this issue, so we got married knowing that we'd have to figure it out.
Every year since then, we have been trying to figure it out. I have come to really respect and admire Pat's heart in this issue. It hasn't been easy. I worried so much that our kids would grow up missing out on fun and resenting us. I also couldn't figure out how to deal with the day. I didn't think that Jesus would want us hiding in the dark, ignoring the people coming to our door.
This year, I really felt like God blessed us with a special day. It was a day that was remarkably about Him.
Pat had to work, so it ended up being a girls day. I kept Karissa home from Kindergarten because I knew the whole morning would be about Halloween and I didn't want her to have to be the only kid without a costume and have to sit in the library or something for the party. Instead, the girls and I went hiking at a local park. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS Fall day. I could not have put in an order for a better day. I had the girls pack snacks, water bottles, and nature journals that we made. We hiked and the girls stopped and sketched in their journals when they saw things that interested them. At one point while we were stopped, my four-year-old, Amy, was drawing some purple wildflowers and out of the blue she said, "He made all things beautiful." This was one of her bible verses from AWANA, and I was just blown away by the beauty of a four-year-old applying God's Word while she was enjoying His creation.
In our exploring, we discovered a little pond we called our "Peace-Loving-Spot" (Cheezy name, but a childhood tradition from my past for truly special places. We used to look for our Peace-Loving-Spots when we went camping as kids)
This PLS (a.k.a. pond) was secluded with a carpet of leaves. The trees rained leaves on us while the girls threw rocks in the water.
We ended the hike back at the park and the girls spent an hour and a half playing on the playground. I read the end of the last book in the Mitford series and then joined them on the swings.
Later that day, after visiting friends, the girls raced up the hill to home, singing at the top of their lungs a song they made up about "We love Him because He first loved us." My heart was so full as I followed behind and thought about how sweet it was that my girls had hearts for Jesus.
That evening we went to a community harvest party at the church where the girls do their AWANA. They had a blast. I talked to them about what harvest meant, so they picked out clothes that made them feel like farmers. The church fed us hot dogs and then had carnival games and inflatables set up. We came home with enough candy to feed an army.
I tucked them in, satisfied that they had a joyful day that was peaceful, innocent, God-centered, and memorable. I learned that it didn't have to be a day to dread after-all.
Thursday was wonderful because it was characterized by laughter. The morning started by watching the video I posted below. I laughed so hard I cried. It was amazing how much starting the day with a good belly-laugh and with tears rolling down my cheeks, made my day. It seriously was good medicine for me. I have been so serious and stressed these last few years. I had almost forgotten how to laugh. Once I started laughing, I didn't want to stop. I shared the video with friends and family and then they started sending me jokes and more funny videos to watch. I had such a light-hearted day. It was great.
It was also nice to have a few days where I didn't think about adoption. I just focused on my girls, my love for them, and felt such contentment. I wish I could've bottled up that contentment to use on these other days when waiting and being in limbo gets tough.