Wednesday, August 28, 2013

School + A Letter

 On Monday, Famous began first grade.  
His first year in school in America after having only attended school (in Ghana) for a total of 8 months in his 7 1/2 years of life. To say I was a little anxious was an understatement.  
But, he rocked it.
He is staying for only 2 1/2 hours each day right now, and the plan is to slowly increase the time as he is ready, both academically and emotionally.  He loved it, and his teacher continues to sing his praises.  The Lord provided an amazing teacher for him that Chris and I have known for many years, whose son was in our wedding and is moving to Ghana in a few short months to work for Mercy Project.  If I question the Lord's faithfulness, I need to look no further.
Famous came home with a smile on his face and has been eager to go back to school each morning.

Micah began pre-school on Tuesday at a local episcopal church.
She was definitely more ready than her momma, armed with the most precious butterfly backpack and sweetest smile you ever did see.
She had a great day and was only a little sad that her painting had not dried enough to bring home.
Micah is our social kid who thrives around people.  I always say that being with friends and family is her happy place, and she just comes alive.
I think preschool may just suit her.

Thinking about sending these two off to school was and is a bit overwhelming for Chris and me.  We have so many hopes and dreams and prayers for them.  It is hard to let them go and even harder to not be able to guide their every step, letting them forge their own paths.
Chris wrote a letter for them from us the night before their first day of school.  With his permission, I am posting it here.  He shared our hearts for our children in a most amazing way.

My precious Micah and Famous,

I can’t believe you’re going to school. It seems like just a few short months ago that we were hushing you to sleep and putting tiny bows on your head or visiting you in your village and playing soccer with you in the open fields of Ghana. And now, just like that, you’re going to school for the first time. I don’t remember my first day of school specifically. But I do remember the first year well. My kindergarten teacher, my school, my classroom. If I close my eyes, and focus, I can still remember which side of the hallway it was on and how the room was laid out. I remember reading “Spot” books for the first time. I remember our Kindergarten circus (I was the lion tamer…ha!). And I remember my best friend John. So many good memories. So many chances to be light and hope and goodness in a hurting world. So many times I didn’t take advantage of those or even created the hurt instead of the healing. I want to talk to you about that as you start school.

For the first time, you’re going to be making lots of decisions and choices that won’t be overheard by mommy and daddy. Your teacher will surely hear some of them but not all. Much of what you say and do, the faces you make, and the way you treat your neighbor, won’t be seen by anyone but your peers. I want you to remember that good is good, and right is right regardless of whether anyone is watching you. Being kind and loving is always right and good. I wish I could tell you that others will always treat you like you treat them, but I cannot tell you that because it is not always true. You can be as good and kind as possible, and there will still be people who don’t treat you well. It’s okay. Good is still good, and right is still right. This doesn’t mean I want you to be a punching bag or a pushover. I know you too well to think that you will be either of those, but it does mean I don’t want your first instinct to be hitting back or dominating those weaker than you. I want you to remember “hands are for loving” even when we’re not there to mouth it to you on the playground.

Even at a young age, you’re going to see and meet other kids who are different than you. Some of them will be different from almost everyone else in your class, maybe even your whole school. Some kids will make fun of these kids. They will tease them for being short, or tall, or white, or black, or purple, or whatever. They will tease them for being different. When that happens, stand up for these kids. Be their friend. Hold their hand. Look at the teasers in the eye and say, “This is my friend, and I don’t think you should speak to them like that.” It’s going to be hard for you to do this. But it’s good. And it’s right. And it honors that child and God. And those teasers, like me, are going to grow up and wish they had as much as courage as you. Believe that.

School is going to give you a thousand chances a day to do good and right. To your classmates, the lunch ladies, your P.E. teacher, the custodian, the principal, and to your teacher. Even though most of the people I listed are grown-ups, they want and need to be loved just like you do. To really be seen. To be heard. You can do this. At a young age, you can look in their eyes when they talk and smile to show them that you care. Take the extra 5 seconds on the way to recess to do this. You’ll never know how much it means to them. Please pay special attention to the janitors and lunch ladies. They work so, so hard and often go days without anyone telling them “thank you.” Tell them every day, with a smile, and maybe even a hug. I promise it will change both of you forever.

You know those words we have you say every night before you go to bed? “I’m beautiful, God made me, and I’m going to change the world.” Those are true. It’s time to let those words become more than a nighttime ritual. To let them fill you up and spill over into every moment of each one of your days. To live in such a way that those words become a truth that brings an overwhelming light and hope into the world around you.

Love deeply. Love unreasonably. Forgive. Trust. Do your best. And when you get home and it’s been a terrible day, we will be here to kiss your cheeks and tell you how amazing you really are. And we will get up again tomorrow and do it all over again. A beautiful, terrible mess. All of us. Just doing what we can to make the world a better place. We’re so proud of you and can’t wait to watch you change the world at school like you already have in our lives.

Daddy and Mommy
p.s. Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, please. And don’t pick your nose

Saturday, August 24, 2013


 My dear Beckett,

You turned two just one week ago, and each day it seems that you are becoming more of a little boy.  I know this is cliche, but I truly feel like I was walking into the hospital to deliver you just a few months ago not two whole years ago.  Time has gone crazy fast, but I could not be more thankful to have already had two years knowing you.  You are an incredible little person, and the Lord is already working His glory in and through you.  The truth is that even as you melt into a little boy right before my eyes, I am so thankful for the creation and gift of enjoying each day with you and seeing who you are becoming.

Your sweetness and gentleness are so evident, and I pray that you will always have a gentle soul--that your strength will not come at the cost of your compassion.  Your dimples still get me every time I see them, and I cannot tell you how many times a day your daddy and I look at each other and say, "he is too cute."  The way you smile, tilt your head, say different words and phrases, and imitate your brother and sister are just some of the things that contribute to your cuteness.  You adore Famous and Micah, and the feeling is mutual.  Really, we all just adore you and your sweet kisses that you dole out every night to each family member, over and over, before you go to bed.

A lot has happened in your little world in the past month, and every night I pray for your little heart in this time of transition.  You have handled it all like a champ and are still such a joy. Your bring a richness and peace into this family that could never be overstated.  You have a calming way about you that centers me even after tough, long days.  You and I, my sweet boy, are so alike, and I sometimes find myself comforted just by your presence because I "get" you.  I am deeply thankful for the bond that we share.  Your life has changed me in ways that I never predicted or knew that I needed.  I could not be more thankful that God gave us you two years ago.  Happy Birthday, Beckett Lucas!

I love you, to the moon and back!
Your Mommy

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Five

Famous is home.
That is one sentence that packs a lot of reality and a lot of God work in three words.
He and Chris arrived one week ago tomorrow, and it has been both lightening fast and incredibly slow all at once.
We are learning life as a family of five.  It is hard, and it is beautiful.
We are learning more about the Lord's redemption each moment of every day--in Famous but mostly in our own hearts.  I can only imagine how that will grow as the days continue to pass.
We are settling in, and all five of us are adjusting into a new normal.
Before I move on completely, the homecoming was one for the books.  It was emotional, raw, and real.  I never want to forget Beckett running to the car and yelling "Famous" repeatedly.  I never want to forget Micah grabbing Famous's hand to introduce him to his grandparents and then to excitedly show him his room and his toys and his soccer goal.  I never want to forget Beckett trailing behind and Famous stopping to take his hand and watching all three of my children holding hands in our house.  I hope those memories are etched into my brain and my heart forever.
Our dear friend, Gretchen, came over to silently capture some of these moments for us, and I've made a short video of them.  We will treasure these days always. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

3 1/2

Almost 2 months ago, a certain little lady in this house turned 3 1/2.  I know that half birthdays aren't a big deal to many people. We never necessarily celebrated them growing up, but I do remember my parents always acknowledging it when it came around.  With my kids, I find myself a little extra sentimental when their half birthdays roll around, and I think I always wonder how in the world 6 more months has passed.  The blink of an eye, people.  It is true.

Just like that, this precious one is 3 1/2.
Here is a little bit about Micah Elisabeth Field right now, interview style.
How old are you?  3
What is your favorite color?  pink
What is your favorite animal?  leopard
What is your favorite book?  I don't know. 
(I believe it because she almost never picks the same one over and over again these days.)
What is your favorite TV show?  My Little Pony
What is your favorite movie?  Tangled
What is your favorite song?  "When Will My Life Begin" from Tangled and the Girls Song (Girls Just Want to Have Fun)
What is your favorite food?  fruit snacks
What is your favorite drink?  Gatorade
What is your favorite breakfast food?  Popsicles
What is your favorite snack?  fruit snacks
What is your favorite outfit?  dresses
What is your favorite game?  ????
What is your favorite toy?  Lalaloopsy
Who is your best friend?  Emma
What is your favorite thing to do?  play with markers
What is your favorite thing to do outside?  play with flowers
What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Lalaloopsy
Where is your favorite place to go?  Freebirds
What is your favorite restaurant?  Freebirds
Where do you want to go on vacation?  Schlitterbahn
What do you want to be when you grow up?  Firewoman
Micah girl,
We are so proud of who you are and thankful to be your parents.  You are a gift and a ray of bright sunshine.  Your passion, love for life, and fiery personality have seared themselves on our hearts for forever.  We love you to the moon and back.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

He Is Coming Home.

It feels really surreal and strange to speak (and type) these words, but Famous will be here, in this home, in 5 days.
I've longed to type those words for 11 months, and now it is finally here.
I am awestruck at the faithfulness of the Lord.
I wrote this post two and a half months ago, and I could not have fathomed the way the Lord will so directly answer our pleas.
He has, in every possible direction, made a way.
We got the paperwork we needed as well as 2 family members from each of Famous's parents plus the chief of the village where they died to a village many hours away in a matter of days.
We submitted those additional affidavits and got an approval in a matter of weeks.
We got a visa interview appointment on the exact day we needed it to work out with Chris's crazy summer schedule.
We passed that interview without question, even though there were many things that could have caused them to deny our initial petition without additional investigation.
I almost cannot even think about all of it without falling on my knees in thanksgiving.
Several people made their way to my home on Monday evening (the night before the visa interview) to pray that the Lord would, again, make a way.  I soaked in their words and tucked them away in my heart.  When my phone rang at 4:55am on Tuesday morning and Chris excitedly told me that we had passed, I was giddy.  As he began to explain how the interview had gone, I got chills as I heard so many of the specific prayers from the night before directly answered.
Since then, I have been reeling.  Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Overwhelmed.
Mostly, I cannot stop being thankful.  For people who love us and support us so completely.
For a God who will never let us go and who will always make a way.
I will never forget the day I met my son, Famous.
Cannot wait to open my door and see that kid standing on my front porch.
What a glorious day next Wednesday will be.
Will you be praying for our little family?  For Famous as he encounters a whole new culture and grieves the one he is leaving?  For Chris and I to learn how to love him through the changes and grief?  For our children as their world is about to change?  Thanks!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer So Far

I think I have rediscovered my love for summer this year.  I always loved it as a kid because who doesn't love no school for 3 months?!  As an adult, I was kind of over the hot temperatures and sweating just walking to your car.
This summer, I will take the sweat and the heat just to play outside with my kids.
We are taking advantage of a lot of water play outside in our little pool, friends' and neighbor's pools, sprinklers, etc.  
The sun stays up longer (and rises earlier which is a good thing in a house with a super early riser), and the days just feel more free.
Sweet, sweet summertime.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ghana + Famous Update

Four days ago, I returned from my third trip to Ghana.  I am still in recovery mode, and my house is a bit of a disaster.  I am loving being home with my kids, but the greatness of our trip is not lost on me yet.
It was one really amazing trip.  I have been to Ghana three times now, and Chris has been 21 times.  Yes, In 3 years.  However, this was the first trip that we have taken to Ghana alone, and it was marvelous.  I may never go with a group again :)
Chris and I got to experience life in Ghana together, and that alone made it really special.
I got to see the land and the beginnings of the foundation where our Mercy Project house will be and where our employees will live.  I got to spend sweet time with the Lord as I walked around that land and begged Him to make it holy ground and a sacred space for our families and all who gather in those buildings.

But then, the real joy came.  We got to pick up this sweet boy and spend 24 hours with him.

  Oh, man.  It was rich.
We stayed at an amazing resort near El Mina right on the ocean. 
(I apologize now for the insane amount of pictures to follow.)
It was absolutely lovely, and Chris and I probably didn't stop smiling the entire time.
We got a flat tire when we were about 30 minutes from our resort, but not even that could steal our joy.  We just walked across the street and introduced Famous to the ocean.  He loved it, and we loved being there with him.

Famous rode a horse for the first time.

He swam in a swimming pool for the first time and was not the least bit afraid but loved it.
We ate 3 meals sitting under a hut right by the beach and listened to the waves crash into the rocks.
We were served fresh pineapple juice right out of a hollowed pineapple.
We toured the El Mina Castle, which was one of the points of departure for African slaves to Portugal, England, and America.

We talked countless times about how amazing this place was and how we would have to come back more when we visit Ghana.

I really think the most amazing part of it was being able to bond with our son.

24 hours is not a lot of time, but it is enough to make us long for him to be home.  His tears as we drove back to his temporary home where we would say "see you soon" confirmed that desire.

Then we received the BEST news the day after we got home.  We received our I600 approval, which means we are hopefully 4-6 weeks from Famous being home!
The last step in this journey is our visa interview, and ours is scheduled for July 16.  Yes, that is only a couple of weeks from now.  Please be praying with us for increased favor in Ghana on July 16 for Chris, Famous, our POA, and the consulate who will be making the decisions.  We want to pass the first time, so Famous can get his visa and come home.
We have been in full celebration and excitement mode. 
Ready to have our family of 5 under one roof.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Swim Lessons

Last month, Micah took swim lessons.  She went every day for one week and spent 30 minutes with her teacher each time.  
It was seriously the perfect scenario for Micah.  One on one which meant that she got plenty of attention and couldn't just play off in a corner instead of actually participate, and only half an hour which meant it wasn't too much of a stretch for her to pay attention.
Her teacher was absolutely precious and wonderful to Micah.  She is a high school student, and I actually knew her when she was Micah's age.  Crazy.  And makes me feel a little old.
Our main goal was not for Micah to learn to swim laps but for her to obtain a higher level of comfort in the water.  She has always been timid and a little anxious in the water, so we wanted to help her to see that she could float or even swim if needed.  
Mission accomplished!
Micah was a pretty big fan of swim lessons from day one, and we are proud of our sweet girl.