Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just for Fun

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable

You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm joining in the Thanksgiving fun over at 5 Minutes for Mom (again!). Here's my kitschy way of telling you all what I'm THANKFUL for this year.

T - a Table full of guests this year
H - Healthy, Happy kids
A - Aidan's first holiday with us
N - our Needs are always met
K - Kisses from my Gang
F - Family who loves the Lord and each other
U - Undeserved grace from My Father
L - Enduring Love between The Boss and I
I'm also thankful for my readers and the kind, generous support that you all have shared in your comments, notes, & prayers during our adoption journey and our adjustment period since we've returned. And for my incredible network of friends and family across the country who keep up with The Gang and all our going's on. You all have made my life richer this year and I pray for you to enjoy the fullness of the JOY of the Lord and the celebration of His birth as we kick off this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thankful Heart

A friend forwarded this link to me, reminding me of a little thing our family does each year to express our gratitude. This website, called Let's Say Thanks, is sponsored by Xerox. All you do is head to the site, choose a card and a message. I always pray over them as I'm submitting my choices. Xerox takes care of printing them and getting them into the hands of our armed services.

It's a easy and quick way to keep our troops encouraged. When scrolling through all the hand-made cards from kids all over the nation, I feel my heart filling with pride. And one more thing for which to be thankful this year.

Go there now. It's quick. It's easy. And it can be one more way to share Jesus today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Contest that Cares!

Under the Tree Banner

In addition to the great Christmas Giveaway being hosted over at 5 Minutes for Moms, they are running a wonderful "partner" program called "Under the Tree." Every giveaway that goes to a lucky reader-winner is also being donated through their program to bless families in need.

If you haven't already entered some of the fun give-aways, head over HERE and get yourself signed up.

Don't forget to drop a note or comment at the "Under the Tree" post site and express your appreciation to all the companies who are generously donating what you might be winning. While you are there, take a moment to thank the Lord for all your blessings and pray for those who are receiving these great donations. A gift like these to a child in need is so much more than a Christmas present. It can be the tangible touch of Jesus on his or her little heart.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sad Fans Here Today

I had a conversation with Baby BlueEyes this morning about the talk going on surrounding Donovan McNabb's benching at half-time yesterday. It's been a rough season for this Eagles lovin' gang - we're all frustrated with the games and with the speculation. I was trying to prep him for the possibility that his beloved #5 might not be starting the Thanksgiving game his Thursday night. Apparently, BBE had so much going on in his heart and mind after our conversation that he had to "get it all out." I found this note on the coffee table after he left for school.
Eagles Ha Micknab I just wotid to tal you that I am your bigist fan I have you'er jazey and my mom told me that you whr popley going lew football. and I falt sad very very sad ckaz Im your bigist fan. by micknab see y sun.
Poor little guy. He just doesn't understand that football is a business. Or that Eagles fans take that business very seriously. He can't fathom that anyone would blame "his" NickNab (what he used to call him before he "grew up!" - yes, that's what he told me) for like 14 interceptions in one game. Well, okay, not 14, but sheesh. Way too many anyway. (Just for the record, I didn't say he was going to "leave football." I said other stuff. But not that!)

And here's the face of another little Gang member who wasn't too happy yesterday. I don't know that it had anything to do with the outcome of the game, but it was a funny face and she was in her Eagles hoodie. It kinda fits how we all felt by the end of the game, that's for sure.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spread the Word!

This note was forwarded to me by a friend, after I'd seen it appear on a couple of the Chinese adoption and special needs forums to which I belong. Please consider sharing it with those whom you know that may have connections within the Chinese adoption community. As you read, you will see why the need for prayer for this family is so great. And why spreading the word about their need might just help them save their little girl.

My daughter Lydia was adopted from Guangdong Province China on July 5, 2004. In August 2008, she was diagnosed with AML, a very pernicious and deadly form of leukemia. With the help of her Chinese-born doctor, we were able to locate her birthparents and some of her siblings in China that her family kept. We know she had at least two sisters older than she (born somewhere between 1993 and 2002) who were also abandoned. The birthparents have refused to assist with her bone marrow transplant, even though two of her already-found siblings were a match. We are now looking for these other potential siblings to see if they were adopted and might also be a match.

Lydia is part of the Hakka ethnic group, and so a match from someone other than a relative is unlikely because of her unique, almost bi-racial typing. Lydia has classic Hakka features: “Brooke Shields" eyebrows, and rather full lips and a round face. Photos have been posted of Lydia and her birth family on their Caring Bridge website.

Thank you for any assistance you may be able to lend.


Monica Miyashita
website name: lydialimeieikomiyashita

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Almost Wordless. . .

Happy 13th Birthday, Dr. D!

You are a great big brother,

a wonderful son,
and a treasure to our whole family!
We are very proud of the young man
that you are and the godly way
you live your life.
Thank you for the joy that you bring
to all of us.
Your light-heart and funny antics
keep us all laughing.
We love you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Progress is Perfect

On Saturday, we marked 7 weeks since our return from China with Li'l Empress in our arms. To say that we have all been on a roller-coaster ride of learning and adjusting would be the understatement of the year. However, I fear that the last couple posts only gave you a partial view of all we've been learning and experiencing. The hard stuff of adjusting to our "new normal." Here's a peek at some of the really fun progress we've seen as the Gang has become 7 strong.

Li'l Empress has made tremendous strides in overcoming some of her self-soothing behaviors. When we first got her, we noticed quickly that she would scratch her head almost to the point of tearing her scalp when she was stressed, over-tired, or uncertain. The kids and I made a special trip to W*l-M*rt our first week home and purchased this. It's made a tremendous difference in comforting herself. She's not totally at the point of actually sleeping with it yet, but "wubby" is a regular part of our nap and night-time routine now and a great substitute for the painful scratching.

With our choice to practice attachment parenting, one of our goals is to model to Li'l Empress that we are always going to be here for her. That we will never leave her. She's had a lot of leaving in her little life already. (Much more on that in a future post. Trust me, you'll want to come back for that one! I just have to process what I've been learning and summarize it accurately for our family "journal" here.) This consistency and focused method of trust-building and bonding will help pave the way for the message that she is unconditionally loved and accepted. It's been our experience with our other kids, and continues to be our prayer, that it will pave the way for her to learn trust in her family and later, as she grows, in her Father God. In the process of that, it is strongly recommended that the primary care-givers be the ones to meet all her most basic needs. And that she always be in the care of one of us who will be her forever family. Yesterday, Momma took a huge step forward in leaving Li'l Empress with Aunt L and the cousins. It was only an hour and a half, and was much harder on me than it was on her. But it was progress for us all around. Aunt L, Uncle P, and the cousins will always be her family. It's vitally important that we allow her to build trust with them.

While Li'l Empress was being completely spoiled by Auntie L and the cousins, I got to dip my foot back into the pools of school activities. Baby BlueEyes begged me to be a mom-volunteer at Clifford's Birthday Bash for RIF. It was a great time and reminded me of just why I love our local elementary school. And BBE knew just where to get me: anything that promotes the love of reading is right up my alley. I had a great time and I know he was thrilled to have his Momma around for the morning. The progress there was tangible proof to BBE that our "new normal" is about all of us getting our heart-felt needs met. He just beamed all morning long!

The Gang has been busy teaching Li'l Empress all kinds of fun things. Of course, you all know she's walking now. And recently started "dancing" by swaying back and forth either when she's sitting or standing. Makes me a little nervous that she's trying to do it now when she's actually walking, but it's part of learning! And this week, I noticed that she's even attempting to run a bit. OY! Here's a quick list of some other things that we are sure she knows now, in just 7 weeks:
  • "Where's your nose?"
  • "Where's your ears?"
  • "Where's your belly button?"
  • "Excuse me" (our family sign motion when she burps)
  • "Hot!"
  • Baby signs for: please, thank you, eat, more, all done, and milk
  • Her first English word was her biggest brother's name, which eternally secured her spot in the deepest recesses of his "too cool for words" teen-age heart
  • "Wow" - comes out "Bow" but it's still adorable
We've also discovered that she really enjoys a few minutes of creativity occasionally. LadyBug and BBE are always begging to color, and many times she's just stood there watching them. So I took our OT's suggestion and set Li'l Empress up with her own art station. She seems pretty ambidexterous right now, and when she's got both fists full of crayons, she's VERY focused!

Finally, another fun bit of progress that we've made is that Li'l Empress appears to be making the connection between her Chinese name and her new American name. We have many pictures of her posted up on our fridge from our long wait for her. She loves to point to them and say "Wawa." (That is the Chinese word for "baby.") After about a week of her pointing and saying this, I started pointing at the picture, saying "Wawa" and pointing at her, saying her American name, followed by her Chinese name. After a couple days of watching "the light go on" for her, I added the question, "Who's my Wawa?" and answered it by tapping her chest and saying her two names together. Now, she points to the pictures, says "Wawa" and points to herself and repeats "Wawa." Her name is a hard one for a baby to say, but I think that's pretty good logic and connection.

I can hardly believe she's 15 months old already. She's growing and changing so quickly and I feel so blessed to be able to so many of her firsts. Having a baby in the house with older kids provides hours of entertainment and we are thoroughly enjoying how quickly she picks up things - literally like a little sponge, just soaking up all the atmosphere around here. From dancing when Shaggy practices drums down in the basement to the funny faces she makes when she's filling her diaper, life with The Gang is never dull. Always progressing. And just perfect for this happy Momma!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

My new cyber-friend, Aus, and his wife tagged me for this meme. I "met" Aus and his wife when they started following our blog during our China trip. They were consistently helpful with their knowledge of the country and encouraging all the way. If you notice, their comments even since we've been home have been in the same vein. That's one of the things I love about this new "family" we find ourselves in the midst of - the international adoption community is tight-knit and so helpful. There's a real "you can do it!" mentality that we've so appreciated!

So anyway, I've been tagged for this particular several times recently and just never got around to doing it. If you are reading this, please play along! Just leave a comment to let me know you played. And then link up to me. Otherwise, have fun reading this mish-mosh of crazy random-ness about me :)

7 Random Things About Me

  • I am still friends with my best friend from Kindergarten. That’s 35+ years and counting for those of you who are trying to do the math in your head. I think we are perfectly matched and besides my hubby, she’s the best friend God could have ever given me.
  • My husband is appalled that I can drink day-old coffee. My words to him (just this afternoon, again, in fact!): “I don’t care what the actual coffee tastes like. If there’s room in the mug for my sugar-free hazelnut creamer, throw it in the microwave. Not down the drain!”
  • I have struggled all my life with keeping my relationships in the right priority. However, I also despised the label “social butterfly” and still do. I do not "flit." I form deep, lasting and meaningful friendships that usually end up meaning more to me than to many of those I am/was in relationship with.
  • I cannot stand to leave my toe-nails unpainted once April comes around. But once it's November, I could care less what my feet look like. Inside my FABULOUS shoes, that is.
  • I am seriously afraid that my two junior-high boys are already smarter than me. Please, don’t tell them – they haven’t quite figured it out yet. And it’s still endearing when they come to me for help with homework. A little scary, but endearing nonetheless.
  • The first big snow of the season gets me totally excited, sentimental, and domestic. After that, I’m done: “bring on the spring!”
  • I love unusual jewelry. Hand-made, cultural or ethnic. I could stand in those craft booths forever looking at all the cool earrings and pins. When I find one that “speaks to me,” I have to have it. I tend to lose my frugality in the face of funky accessories.
There you have it. The good, the bad, and the weird. All in my little head. Aren't you lucky you aren't me?!

Come on, play along and join the fun - what quirky and random things are lurking in your brain today?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank God It's Friday!

I can't remember the last time I so longed for Friday. I love the feeling of wrapping up my weekly chores. Bustling around the house to finish laundry. Checking the calendar for the coming week's events. Folding that last load of laundry till Monday (for the sake of my sanity and a break in the "scenery" we have a "no laundry on the weekends" policy!). Squeezing in a baking project. Planning meals for the the next few days ahead. Typically, these are all the things that make up my perfect Friday.

I think I may have mentioned in the last few posts that my weeks have been anything but typical as of late. In fact, it's been a rough and rocky road here lately. I hinted at it in my last post: beyond the broken arms, viruses and infections, there's been some other things going on here. Things that weigh a mom down. Things that make the day-to-day difficult to navigate. Things that make adjusting to a "new normal" even harder than it should be. Things that have long-term implications for our health and well-being as The Gang.

None of these other things are any different than what stuff other families deal with, but after much prayer and talking with The Boss, I've come to the realization that these things are all being dealt with wrongly. We've all been looking at these "things" and reacting to them. We've been weighed under by them, allowing them to press us to the mat. And when we've been pressed, frustration, anger and selfishness has been leaking out all over. We've been attacking each other. We've each been looking at what we need to do to make it through the day for our own needs. We've been tearing each other down. We've been feeling defeated and continuing to act out of that defeat.

After a rocky and frustrating start to our day, after I allowed my selfish expectations and angry feelings spill out all over my beloved family, I stood in my kitchen and felt sick to my stomach. Recognizing the feeling for what it was, I quickly repented to My Jesus and then to my hubby. The Boss and I made a plan to have a family meeting tonight, to share with The Gang our observations and our (re-newed) perspective of the activities around here. During this re-focus and our re-connection with The Gang tonight, we hope to re-establish who we are as a family. Who we are In Christ. And where we are going. Together. Re-draw the battle lines, if you will. It's time. Frankly, it's way past time and I'm sorry that it took me this long to see it.

So, I've got a pot of soup simmering in the crock pot. There's a loaf of bread rising in the bread maker and some peanut-butter cookie bars cooling on the counter. I picked up a fun family movie we've all been dying to see. And around our great big family dinner table, we're gonna have that talk. We're going to repent to each other and to the Lord and we're gonna start fresh.

Mmmm, maybe I'll frost those cookie bars. Can't have a deep, intimate conversation about intentionality, team building, and self-less loving without chocolate frosting on peanut butter bars. Now, can we?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The ER and a Cute Video Alert!

Sorry to have left ya hanging! I had a bit of a relapse yesterday with my sore throat and achey self. I spent most of Wednesday on the couch or the floor with a clingy and crabby Li'l Empress in my lap. We were both a bit crabby and by the end of the day, I was actually looking forward to the run to the grocery store for a moment alone. While I was driving there, I was vividly remembered feeling just like that when the older two boys were little. The Boss would get home and I'd head to the library for some time alone before heading home to help with bedtime. I guess in all the excitement of bringing home baby #5, I kinda forgot those harder times. Those days when you just want to have five minutes alone with no one pulling at your leg or crying for your arms. This week has been a strong reminder of those days, in many ways. It's also made me excessively grateful for my older kids and the help they offer when they return from school.

So anyway, back to our crazy weekend. I know the suspense has been killing you. All three of you.

I stayed home from church Sunday morning, with a fever and that awful sore throat. LadyBug stayed most of the morning to help me. The Boss checked in (our church meets only 3 minutes from the house) and picked up the casserole for our fellowship luncheon. By then, LadyBug was ready to head out and Li'l Empress was ready for a nap. With the quiet house, I crashed on the couch and watched an old 80's movie. I can't even remember which one, I was so out of it.

Later, after everyone returned home and settled in for the afternoon, I headed up for a nap. Around 5:15 when I was halfway down the stairs, I heard a tremendous crash and total chaos. Li'l Empress was screaming. BBE and LadyBug were crying. The Boss was panicking and calling for ice. Now, when The Boss panics, I know something is wrong. He never panics and we all count on him for his steady hand and cool head. So I took a look at Li'l Empress and panicked. And gagged. And cried and had my own little freak-out session.

Seems Li'l Empress (who has been walking for about 2 weeks, mostly from person to person) got super confident and was walking alone again. Only this time, she was shaking her head from side to side and giggling while she walked. She made herself dizzy and pitched head first into the edge of the coffee table. At this point, I must say that the ironic thing of all this is that our coffee table is an older hand-me-down and has no sharp corners or outer edges. Except for the apron trim that goes around the underside. That's the edge she hit. We couldn't replicate that one-in-a-million angle if we tried. When The Boss picked her up and turned her over, he found the BIGGEST. UGLIEST. goose-egg either of us had ever seen before. And with 3 older boys, we've seen ugly goose-eggs. This thing was pure white and had a huge dent in the middle of it. It was nasty enough to throw us into a panic. It was pure adrenaline rush that carried us to the ER.

Half-way there, I realized that I hadn't showered or brushed my teeth or my hair since Saturday. I was, after all, sick. And once the adrenaline settled, feeling sicker all the while. I'm sure the other patients in the waiting room were wondering which of us was the patient. By the second hour of our time there, she was perky, talking, and trying to walk all over . Mommy was slumped in a chair holding her head!

This picture is at the 2 hour mark,
waiting for the "Fast Track"
office to call us in.

Three hours, several nurses and a doctor later, we were released. No x-rays, CAT scans, MRI's or stitches - thank you, LORD! Armed with a little re-education about the warning signs of concussion and proper wound care, we dragged our weary selves home. It seemed utterly ridiculous that it was only 8:30 - it felt like midnight. The little ones had been such great sports the whole wait at the hospital but the anxiety was wearing on them and they dragged themselves off to bed. The older boys had been at youth group during the whole fiasco and were anxiously waiting for us to walk in for the full report. Li'l Empress got lots of lovin' and sympathy from her big brothers!

So, she's fine now. She survived her first ER visit. She's sporting some lovely colors on her forehead and they are settling down between her eyes now too. The swelling has gone down and we're looking at corner covers and edge protectors on-line. Maybe some heavy-duty batting and bubble-wrap for those extra energetic moments!

Oh, the joy of her first
Dora band-aid. Ha.

And just so I don't leave you on a down-turn, here's a video of her walking on Saturday night. She's trying out her new "squeaky shoes" that we purchased for her in China. They finally fit and she had a ball in them!

Now you know why we're praying for boring, dull, plodding weeks. We need them. There's so much more going on here than I can even blog about, but trust me when I say that boring would be so welcome right about now.

I know, how cute is that?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Okay, I am back. And praying for a really boring week. Uneventful, dull and plodding. Here's just part of the reason why! Stay tuned later (maybe today?) for the rest of the eventful weekend wrap-up. I swear, I need some industrial strength bubble wrap for my gang . . . Let's just say that the self-imposed hibernation came to a screeching, screaming halt on October 31. There's no hope in sight of extending it or letting it gently recede into my memory. The calendar is mysteriously full again. Life is back to its roaring, raging pace. And I'm not keeping up very well at all.

After the dust settled from LadyBug's broken arm, we went right into two days off of school and a sick little Baby BlueEyes. While I'm grateful that he didn't have to miss school because his virus conveniently adhered to the district planning, I was sad that his time off was mostly spent sleeping and wandering around in his jammies moaning about his aching head.

We were able to put off real life by one more day, as The Boss's team of colleagues hosted a shower for us at his office on Thursday. Getting into the city with a baby and back was an almost all-day affair! Bottles, food (which she refused anyway!) and extra clothes. Oy! But the shower was lovely, complete with a great cake and pictures from our trip posted all along the wall. It was very thoughtful and so sweet of everyone to rejoice with us in our little treasure.

Once The Gang and The Boss all headed off to regularly scheduled life on Friday, I kicked into high gear. I had lost time to make up for. I had stuff to do. I had plans.

I also had something brewing. Something scratchy and raw in the back of my throat.

By Friday afternoon, I made an appointment with my nurse practitioner to be checked. Her words were not comforting. "Wow, that's some serious yuck you got going on in there" as she peered down my aching throat. And, "I can't believe you have been up and about all day today. Usually a throat that bad would have someone flat on their back." Finally, my personal favorite was, "You probably waited too long to get this checked. This must have been bothering you for quite a few days now." Um, yeah. But I lost two days home with a sick kid, two days the week before with another kid's broken arm. And I haven't grocery shopped in weeks! I really had to keep moving.

I filled my prescription (Did the doc tell the pharmacist that I needed this for a raw and inflamed throat?! That pill is humongo!) and headed home to straighten up. My good friend, Kateri from Blessed Beyond Measure, was on her way for a visit, and to join us for a "Welcome Home" party that my family planned for Saturday for Li'l Empress's official debut to our friends and family. Bless her heart, Kateri was so understanding of the ahem, shall we say, "laid-back style" of entertaining that I mustered on Friday night. I'm just hoping that she didn't see the bathroom before Dr. D got to cleaning it after dinner for me! We had a great time chatting and catching up. I just wish I'd felt better and our time hadn't been so limited by getting dinner on the table and kids into bed! Maybe next time. . .

Saturday we headed to THE Partay! It was obvious that my sister and my mom put a ton of work into the preparations. It was decorated very festively by my nieces and nephew and the smells coming from the kitchen were amazing! Pizza from my home-town pizzeria, baked ziti, meatballs and sausage, pasta alfredo, cookies and sweets galore. Mmmmm. Shaggy was in heaven!

The guest list included several friends from church, some surprises from my home church in NE PA, my cousin, and other friends from our former church in Central PA. We were so humbled and blessed by the generous, loving support, the encouragement and the effort everyone made to join us in celebrating our Li'l Empress. I found myself in tears quite a few times over the course of the day. The only sad tears were from missing my other sister and her Viking Clan. It was hard to celebrate without them, but I knew they were with us in spirit.

Here are a couple pics from the "winding down" part of the party. We were too busy visiting and enjoying our friends and family to even remember to use the camera most of the rest of the day! At this point of the day, there was only a fraction of the crowd still around. The house was PACKED all day long!

Saturday night, we got everyone home and showered and into bed at decent hour. The Boss and I really rushed them all through the routine, as he could tell I was hanging on by a thread. Finally, at 8:50 p.m., my body cried "Uncle!" Long and Loud. I was chilled and feverish and in bed by 9 p.m. I was done.

Stay tuned for the run down on our eventful Sunday. Here's a tease: our local hospital is getting quite familiar with our health insurance ID number. :(

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No Matter What

I am proud to be an American.

I am proud to be a citizen of a land that grants certain rights and privileges inherent to my citizenship.

I am proud of the fact that my citizenship allows me the honor and the choice of who to worship, where to live, and how to vote.

I am extraordinarily proud of the fact that my newest little citizen gets those same rights and privileges. Every day for the rest of her life. The alternative course of her life is unthinkable to me right now.

I am humbled by the right to raise this new little citizen and her other citizen siblings in a land of freedom.

I am humbled by the responsibility of raising our little corner of America's future in the manner that my husband and I deem appropriate.

I am confident that my first citizenship and its Kingdom carries far more weight and authority in the dealings of this world than my earthly citizenship.

I am proud to be in this season of my nation's history.

I am certain that God is sovereign and the rule of man, any man, is at His bidding and His hand.

I am honored to pray for our in-coming administration. And I will. No matter what.

For a great perspective
and a godly response to yesterday's election,
head over to my friend
at The Campbell Corner.
She said it beautifully!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted, Did YOU?

I'm linking up to God's Grace In Practice, to share the voting experience I had today. Head over there if you voted and join the fun.

We got an early start today, as I had to run two of the boys to the local lab for some blood work (don't worry, they're fine, it's just screening/precautionary type tests) by 8:30 a.m. The lab was moving very quickly so after the boys finished and had their quick snack, we headed off to the local polling place.

Our polling place is my kids' elementary school. My kids particularly LOVE election days because it means no school. This year, we actually have two days off for Staff In-Service. I walked in with the boys and Li'l Empress and registered in the gym. I was pleased to see that The Boss had made it to the polls this a.m. when they opened. I wonder if he had to wait at all? I signed my name, showed my id and got my "Voter Ready" slip. Can I just say at this point that I am actually looking forward to getting my license renewed?! I cringe whenever I'm asked for i.d. When this picture was taken, I had just gotten THE. WORST. highlighting job OF MY LIFE and the blond in the picture is glaring white. Ugh. The lovely ladies verified my name, address, and voter number. It took all of 3 minutes.

I headed into the booth, while the boys walked Li'l Empress around the cafeteria area. I could hear her babbling and charming the elections workers with her smiles. I voted my straight party ticket, voted on the water works referendum (I had completely forgotten that was up in this election!) and cast my ballot. Easy peasy. Again, took all of an additional 3 minutes.

No lines, no picketers, no volunteers shoving obnoxious stickers and notepads in my face. Just a quick, painless carrying out of my right to vote.

But while I was there, I was struck anew by something my brother-in-law said on his Facebook page: this right that we often take for granted, (or worse, treat as if it's meaningless) came at a great price. My dad, my father-in-law, my great-grandfather, scores of people I love, have all fought at various times in our nation's history to ensure the freedoms I enjoy. May I never treat this right callously. Whatever my vote, may I always remember that that vote was purchased by life given in service to my country.

God Bless America.

*Updated: Just read a great voting story
over at House Mix. This is the blog of
Steven Curtis Chapman's manager
and today's post is especially great. Enjoy!

**Updated again: The Boss just called.
He arrived at the polling place
at 6:40 a.m. (sick, I know) and waited
behind about 50 people.
Not a long wait, but pretty quiet.
Apparently, he doesn't chat up
the folks around him
when he's waiting in line.
Does that surprise you?! :)

Exercise Your Right

And then stop over at my friend, God's Grace In Practice, and share your voting experience today. It'll be fun to read what everyone saw and heard and experienced on this historic day.

Go. Vote. Share.