Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why Life Really is Grand



I love my Papa Smurf in a Toy Train life.

He turns up in my kitchen and I didn't even hear him clacking down the rails. I didn't even know there were rails.

I just never know what might happen around here, but a solid seven times out of ten, the surprise is one that makes me smile.

I wouldn't have scripted this life of mine. This heart could not possibly have been inventive enough and I would have grossly underestimated my bravery.

But thanks be to the High Heavens, it wasn't up to me to decide.

I come in from a whirl-wind trip and stay the next entire day in my jammies. I tote Silas around like a happy monkey boy and bake peach cobbler at 10 p.m.

One day later, I invite Ruby's birth family into my kitchen and there's no tip-toeing around, no awkward silences. We have cut our groove. We are family, and our heart-beats sound awfully alike.

What a surprise.

This is proof that you might think you know the span of your own bravery, but as surely as we huddled together around paper plates of cheese and pear cake, in our stocking feet, you do not.

We wrapped our too-short time up in a loose bow and the sun hunkered down around us, en route to a different surprise: Dinner at Texas Roadhouse.

Well, that's no big surprise.

But our dinner date was brand new. He was 17 and dressed up in a shirt emblazoned with pistols and a skull, his jeans down around his hips, his phone a compact security blanket.

He had never eaten in a restaurant where they bring the food to you.

He had steak at our urging, and then dessert, because shouldn't everyone have cheesecake to celebrate their 17th year? We thought so.

He was infinitely more out of place than I have probably ever been.

But he answered our questions and before long, he asked a few of his own. His shy eyes kept careful watch on all of us, on everything. He took it in and I swear I saw a real smile once or twice - a real one.

You think you know how brave you are, but you are wrong, because there are families stitched together across this world by ribbons of trust, and there are teenaged boys walking through life with an absence of tangible love, celebrated by almost no one.

All of them choose to see beyond what closes in around them. They go places they never thought they'd go. They trust in a way they never thought they'd trust. Love is made real to them in ways they would have never dreamed, all because they were braver than they knew.

And so are you.

58 comments:

  1. Shan, when I saw those pics come up on Cory's FB tonight, my heart swelled three times it's size. You guys are His hands and feet, for reals. I love your life too, and I live vicariously through you, and think of you so often when my own life is so quiet that my ears ring. But God has plans for me too, and I'm so excited! Why can I smell crayons now? Must be thinking about your life again. ; -)

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  2. Because I am shy by nature, this post spoke to me. Don't we all want to feel loved, welcomed? My mind is telling me the next time I meet someone I don't know, take the first step to say HI, how are you? I am banking on not being hissed at. Love your writing. Inspiring.

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  3. You are such a blessing to so many! xo
    jamie b

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  4. More story behind the story I hope we will be privy to one day. As always a pleasure to visit.
    Dana

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  5. Love is made real to them in ways they would have never dreamed, all because they were braver than they knew.


    girl, i miss you too.

    but i am always here, reading your stunning posts... being blown away every time. sometimes it's hard to read them because i wish so badly i could be your real-life friend. :)

    btw, if you have a minute, could you share that peach cobbler recipe? i have so many frozen peaches, i am going bananas (ha ha). love to you friend. xo

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  6. Those "teenaged boys walking through life with an absence of tangible love, celebrated by almost no one." Those are the boys my heart breaks for and those are the boys I know without a shadow of a doubt I am called to make a home for, to give roots to and to love. The time isn't now, but I know it's coming. And I can't wait!

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  7. Beautiful Shannan. I love your heart. You are a reflection of Him.

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  8. This is proof that you might think you know the span of your own bravery, but as surely as we huddled together around paper plates of cheese and pear cake, in our stocking feet, you do not. Love that.

    And, love that honest snippet of these experiences and where my mind took it all...look forward to hearing more!

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  9. Wow Shannan. This makes my heart swell.

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  10. Shannan, you are sweet,courageous and open hearted..This young boy is lucky to know you..I have a 16 and 13 year old son and words cannot express the love I have for them..God points us in the direction and it's up to us to get to the destination and you are definetly a god send, to him and to your 3 angels..xx

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  11. One of my favorite sayings/quotes is "you do not know the upper limits of your strength." Don't remember where I first heard or read this but it scares and inspires me all at the same time. We all think we know our limits, we say things like, "that's it" or "I've had it" and "this just can't continue." But can it? Can you do better, more? Deal is, I don't know if I can. The well that those abilities come from is as deep as the ocean and is filled up by Him...it never runs out. So when I say "I can't" it's true, but when I dip back into the well just one more time...He always has a little more in there to give me. Gets me ever time I tell you, every time.

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  12. I love this. I love that families are not blood lines and matching DNA. And I love that families are truly stitched together- by God Himself, and they form a fabric that we could never have imagined. Vibrant and colourful and miraculous.

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  13. The beauty of life happens when we are pushed to our limits and realize God walks right beside us, giving us the courage and bravery to do the impossible. Travel onward friend, your life is one for the books, your legacy is amazing. God Bless.

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  14. So, WHO is this 17 year old boy that got to celebrate his birthday with you lot???
    We want MORE of THIS story!

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  15. So glad your back, I've missed the little peeks in to your life, your realness & humor and just your wonderful way of being. In other words, just stopping in to let you know you are one incredible momma. So glad I get the chance to "know" you. Thanks for making that young man's birthday a night he'll remember and for letting Ruby's birth parents in to your lives. I was in and out of foster care and adopted several times before a family finally stuck for me, you certainly break all the molds I remember during that time in my life. What a blessing you are for so many

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  16. Another morning began with goosebumps and tears thanks to your beautiful life. THanks for letting us all in.

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  17. I can't wait until you have a book out...b/c I'll buy it and read it and feel honored to have it on our bookshelves.

    I'm curious....are you going to foster this 17 year old boy?

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  18. Beautifully written. Another instance where you were/are His hands and feet.

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  19. You are His hands and feet and arms and smiles... You are a blessing.

    Cha Cha

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  20. Your way with words always catches my heart. I love the image and the fact that you were with a teenage boy in a restaurant and he was in awe.

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  21. "...all because they were braver than they knew."

    Such simple words with such power and beauty. And they speak of a noble aspiration - to be braver than I know if for no other reason than to see what He makes of it.

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  22. oh you make my heart swell...every time girl!

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  23. I feel so blessed to be able to read your words through this little blog of yours - thank you.

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  24. You speak your heart...that's what we love about you.

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  25. It's 9:49 a.m. here in the South and you, with your beautiful words and your Papa Smurf picture, have already made me cry this morning.

    Well done, Shannan. Have a good day!

    Joy

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  26. Read this aloud to Kevin last night.
    Such an incredibly moving post!

    :-)

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  27. Word evade me today, but just know, I loved this post.
    -FringeGirl

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  28. Beautiful post. Our pastor just spoke yesterday about Jeremiah. He talked about the importance of putting focus on the children - reaching out to those children that don't know Christ's love and how we can embody it for them. How appropriate is your post today in my life. <3 your sweet words!

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  29. ^^ Oh dear this is Annie - not Janie - apparently the design work I've been doing on her blog - has made me pretend to be her!!

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  30. how is it that you manage to make a non-cryer like me into a bag of mush? Blessings.blessings, with whatever is going on in the land of smurfs and 17 year old lost boys...

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  31. you are inspiring.
    your beauty is so unique.
    i love your words today.

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  32. i love that your life stomped in all a big and bold and reminded you of why it is loved.

    you know my husband works for a children's home, right? that dinner at texas roadhouse. that is my life. it's hard sometimes. i won't lie. and i don't get to be as much a part of it as i would like to be. but i love what you did and i love the teeny tiny little glimpses of smiles and openness we get from time to time. even though i am as selfish as all get out.

    feeling challenged by your post, friend.

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  33. Wonderful sentiment, Shannan... how amazing it must've been to be able to do that for someone, who, like you said, hasn't been celebrated by anyone. We all deserve to be celebrated, don't we? :) Love you, girl!

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  34. "I wouldn't have scripted this life of mine. This heart could not possibly have been inventive enough and I would have grossly underestimated my bravery."

    Love it shannan and I get it. Praying for you and your family and this journey that makes me stop and pay attention.

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  35. Hey snowy sister, I left you a little award today on my blog- hope it brightens your day!

    http://misstrixiesfavoritethings.blogspot.com/2011/01/stylish-blogger-award.html

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  36. So many great things about this post. As always you have just the right words.

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  37. Beautiful, a simply beautiful post. I have relished every single word. Thank you for sharing. You speak the truth!

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  38. Shannan from now on I shall think of you as a Nancy Drew, you always make me want to turn the page and see what is next with you.I know there is so much more to this post and hoping you share it with us soon. You inspire me so. nancy settel sheepishgrin92@yahoo.com

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  39. You are such a beautiful writer. I plan on stopping by when I can! (Virtually of course). It was so nice to meet you at Blissdom even if it was just a few minutes. Going was a total leap of faith for me (I knew nobody) and I have a teeny tiny little blog but I'm so glad I met so many lovely ladies! :)

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  40. You're writing just makes my heart sing and yearning for more.

    Bridgemor

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  41. I truly enjoy your writing! Thank you for the words of encouragement.

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  42. You and Cory make my heart sing!! To think I thought I was just raising a sweet little girl, only to find out she is one of the very few who truly lives what she says she believes. I love seeing where God is taking your family. Living by faith is wonderful, and has nothing to do with money or "things", it is all about stepping out and seeing Him stretch us, and do things with our lives that only He could think of doing. You are an inspiration to Dad and I.

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  43. Wonderful, as always, Shannan!

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  44. What to say...when we stop and ponder the goodness and mercy that we have, it's overwhelming. When we stop and ponder the needs that are unmet and that we have the ability to show mercy and love to someone, it's overwhelming. Thank goodness two special people (my grandparents) lived an unscripted life and allowed me to live a life that's abundantly blessed. Thank you for sharing.

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  45. I knew a boy like this one.
    And I celebrated his life when he couldn't.
    There is a special place in heaven for you and your husband.

    Your Friend,
    Deborah

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  46. What a blessing you are....love your words today. xoxo

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  47. Amazing! I love that you guys were able to do that for this boy who so obviously needs someone to care. Just think how you could change his life just by caring. Incredible!

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  48. You're the real deal, Farmgirl.
    I'm so glad you're my friend.

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  49. Love this post... and boy, isn't it the truth. We're constantly glimpsing these moments, working at a children's home, of taking a group of kids to a restaurant or a football game and realizing just how rich those experiences are for many of them -- how they'll probably always remember the first time they ordered in a restaurant at the age of 14 or 16 and had to be taught what to ask for. It's been a blessing for my biological children to be on this journey with us, to see just how privileged they are, not only to be familiar with restaurants but to get to witness these golden moments alongside us.

    Anyway, as usual, I just love everything you write. Keep at it, you {seriously} inspire me.

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  50. Beautifully written, as always. You are inspiring.

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  51. shannon... you are so beautiful... your words, your deeds, your soul. you.
    it was yummy being here today.i get to go to sleep now w your words lingering ...

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  52. Found you via one of the decorating blogs. What a treasure this blog corner is! Your bold, beautiful words...a conduit of His power. I love your poetry of everyday life!

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