Monthly Archives: July 2013

In listening mode

The blogging thoughts and words have been scarce lately. Summer is rolling along and we are enjoying time at the pool, mountains and looking forward to a whole family, long weekend at the beach. Re-entry after our China trip has been challenging. So much of my energy and thoughts were directed at those 21 days, and now several put off decisions and tasks are looming up ahead. Researching middle schools, figuring out best places for our daughters and other matters that flow from that aren’t as appealing or exciting as China travel plans, and at times can feel quite daunting. In truth, my own middle school years were quite miserable and as a parent, just leaping right over them would be an attractive yet totally fantastical idea.

In light of this, I am attempting to be more in a place of listening during this season of life. My husband and I recently spoke after he had spent time with two of our grown sons. As he recounted some of their interactions, something he said about their conversation truly resonated with me. The spirit of his words was that he realized that he needed to spend more time listening and less time defending and talking. Which of us hasn’t been in conversation with someone and been consumed with what we would say next rather than truly being present and deeply receiving the thoughts and heart of the other? I surely am guilty of this on many an occasion. Rather than entering into the space and goal of understanding, I am often just playing mental gymnastics and waiting for my turn to make my point, especially if it involves a topic of some passion or disagreement. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” as taught in the epistle of James needs to be emblazoned upon my mind.

A friend gave me a profound book entitled Listening Below the Noise, the transformative power of silence by Anne D. LeClaire. I am only one quarter through it, but I have already been challenged to turn down the volume of the noise in life and practice listening more fully. Making time and space for silence so that I can make sacred space to hear the voice of God. Intentionally putting aside the endless distractions of life so that I am truly available to more fully listen with grace to those that I love as well as my own heart and mind on important matters. More completely listening to my husband as we sort out various daily and life decisions. I am convinced that as I seek more quiet, contemplative times I will be drawn more fully to listen to God and others with ears and heart of grace. A very desired and sacred space in which to live.


My listening spot today….

The breaking and making of ties

Our recent journey back to China with our daughters was amazing in almost every way.  Sorting through the experience has been somewhat challenging – maybe putting so much focus, energy, attention and time toward this homeland trip set me up to drop into an underwater type of emotional space upon return.   As we all attempt to integrate our journey experience with the routines of life, tending to the everydayness of life is a bit of a struggle.  I have tried to spend quiet meditative time to begin to put words to a few of the things that entered my heart and mind while in China.  I am beginning to surface. 


 I once heard a Duke University sociologist who was doing research on adoptive children returning to their country of birth say this, “it is a chance to make ties and to break ties.”  From my perspective and observation, this is part of what took place for our daughters as they returned to the country and place of their early beginnings. 

 One has seemingly spent more time engrossed in fantasy over what did or did not happen during her early days.  A more objective visit to this place she called home for almost 2 years seems to have jump started a greater understanding of the possible realities of her everyday life there.  Dealing with what is real and true provides a more grounded place to further her wrestling with and movement forward in making sense of her story.  A few more pieces of her life story were mined and cherished.  My hope is that there will be a greater level of peace for her as she grows and continues to put the pieces of her puzzle together.  Thankfully, we have already seen evidence of this happening.


 For our other daughter, there was an overwhelming fear about re-visiting the place of her early days.  Most of her experiences there were pre-verbal, and she had no words for the engulfing emotions that were rising and at times swamping her as we prepared to go back.  With extra help and attention, we were able to create a scenario that allowed her to walk through the doors of her early home.  For that, I am extremely grateful.  The fact that she went and experienced positive interactions alongside the safety net of family and friends was a huge gift.  We were ready to let her make the call to cancel if she became overwhelmed, but I fear that if she had, this unknown and sometimes overpowering emotion would have grown and expanded in her mind.  Because she bravely walked through the door, the fear has receded.  She was light and joyful throughout the remainder of our time in China. 


 For all of us, it was a beautiful making of ties time together.   We had space and occasion to appreciate and share life together in the country where we first met.  China is an amazing place – it is modernizing and changing with lightning speed yet it is grounded by an incredible ancient tradition and culture.  We were able to get a taste of both the history and the rapid change.  Making connections and sense of our time there as we integrate back into our life here will be an ongoing journey of the breaking and making of ties.  


Back and still alive

Dear blog readers,  I do not want you to think that I dropped off of the planet.  We returned this past weekend from our amazing trip to China and so enjoyed exploring the land and places of our daughters’ early days.  We spent almost 3 weeks in this lovely country and it was an emotional and clarifying and hopefully healing trip.  I will have much to say about it in days to come, I imagine, but right now with a 12 hour time difference, jet lag foggy brain is interfering with much of that processing!  When I can get my mind and body back into sync, I hope to begin blogging again.  For now, here are a few of my favorite pictures and memories of an incredible journey.  Be back soon….

Beijing’s Forbidden City




The famous Great Wall of China




The view out of a high speed train






Some beautiful children



Panda love





Gorgeous countryside





Queen of the river for a day OR the day I couldn’t say no to the persistent sellers





I look forward to days ahead as I process, pray and do my best to express this incredible journey.