Monday, January 24, 2011

Telling a Story With Ornaments

Still behind. Our Christmas tree, sans ornaments, is STILL up in our living room. Oh well, that’s how we roll! Anyway, this post has been floating in my head since the beginning of December!

Ornaments tell a story. For that reason, ornaments are one of my favorite gifts to receive from family and friends. I’m a sucker for mementos anyway (just ask my husband or mom). Ornaments make wonderful mementos, pulled out of boxes year after year, attached to some memory: a new house, a trip to Notr.e for a football game, etc.

I still have ornaments from my days as a high school youth minister, an elementary school student, or even a preschooler (don’t worry, I’ll spare you the latter). My husband still has the plush Tig.ger ornament I gave him the first Christmas we began dating. I also have many childhood ornaments, including a plush velvet stocking from one of my early Christmases. Since starting a family (which began on our wedding day, not the day we became pregnant), the ornaments have also told a story:

First Christmas together, 2006:

Last year (December 2009) I decided to make an ornament to remember my journey (at the time) towards adoption. I even chose the South Korean flag colors as the background. While painting the ornament with fellow blogger Molly, I thought about holding a sweet Korean baby in my arms the following Christmas.

That same year, the IF blogsphere began a prayer buddy effort. My Advent Prayer buddy was In All Things Good, who also started a blog called D.C. Baby. She sent me this beautiful hand woven basket ornament from somewhere in Africa. Inside, she enclosed a handwritten note containing a prayer asking God to send me a child.

2009 came, thankfully, to an end. 2010 arrived and became one of the most exciting years of my life. Around mid-December, I finally hung the ornaments on the tree, which was a miraculous feat to perform with a newborn in the house. After waiting so long, this was the first ornament that went on the tree:

I also loved this ornament at the mall:

Not surprisingly, the “waiting for baby” ornament hung nearby. I plan to arrange those two ornaments likewise next year. The “waiting” ornaments will always remain a powerful reminder of the long journey it took for KB to come into our lives. Perhaps in a future Christmas she will understand their story. I think infertility should never be forgotten. Amid the whirlwind of KB’s arrival, the ornaments became a powerful memory of sorrowful days past that now point to the gift known as Katie Beth. As an added bonus, my Advent prayer buddy gave birth to her baby boy 2 weeks after KB.

I don’t know what additional ornaments we will have on the tree in December 2011. But I know the story will continue…

Friday, January 7, 2011

Prayer buddy reveal and a miracle to report

I am WAY behind.  Some of our friends and family are only now receiving Christmas cards.  Oh well, better late than never, eh? (the "eh" is a shout out to a certain Canadian IF friend).  This past Advent I was honored to pray for Hope and Faith, a delightful blogger traversing through PCOS among other things.  She has a wonderful husband and stepson to support her along the journey.  I especially admire her perseverance, which I am especially lacking these days.

Also, among the many miracles that have occurred in the blogosphere (A Complicated Life, yea!), one happened to a friend for whom I've been hoping and praying for a long time.  Her past 3 pregnancies have ended in miscarriage, the most recent happening this past spring.  Her faithfulness to God and ability to keep going amid crippling sorrow never ceases to amaze me.  PLEASE add her to your prayer list.  I am so longing to one day share in their joy at a baptism of a child, rather than its funeral (I've been to the last 2).

In thinking about the community on the IF blogosphere and the recent miracles, this verse really exemplifies the wonderful bloggers and lurkers:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  --Romans 12:15

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So Thankful

I am so thankful and so tired from 2 weeks of Christmas, KB's baptism, and a wedding of 2 dear friends.  So instead of attempting to write a coherent, thoughtful treatise, I will use pictures instead. 

A few days before Christmas, this wonderful surprise package arrived from KB's blogger aunties.  Thank you so much!!   The IF blogging community is awesome!

Then my Advent prayer buddy, Shoved to Them, sent a most wonderful (and appropriate, considering the title of this blog) gift from Mystic Monks Coffee.  Here's KB sniffing the bag, contemplating when she will get to drink her first cup of coffee someday...

(KB's onesie was a gift from a friend of my dad's.  

At Christmas, for the first time since my wedding, the families of my husband and me were gathered together.  We celebrated Christmas Day at our house.  Of course, KB had no shortage of arms to hold her.  As a bonus, the California/Oregon contingent got to experience a white Christmas for the very first time! (nota bene: we didn't take a picture on Christmas Day so I'm using one from the baptism instead)

Snowman or snow-woman?  Hey, we had powdery snow and a thin layer of it to work with. :)

KB was baptized on Dec. 27th, wearing the Barrett family gown worn by me, my mom, and my sister.  To finally have a baby in our arms, bringing her to the church for baptism, and having so many of our family and friends present was such a gift.

Me crying during the blessing of the mother.  I wanted to ask the deacon, "Are you really talking to me?  Is this real?" Two of the members of the SHE group attended the baptism, which really touched my heart.

Finally, I'm grateful for the gift of Katie Beth's life, and for all of you readers/bloggers.  2010 was quite a year, and I continue to hope and pray that God will bring blessings upon you and your families in 2011.  And as always, pray for those still waiting...