Monday, October 29, 2007

Expect the Unexpected

So, my darling daughter has been taking gymnastics classes for three years. In that time, she's moved from recreational gym into a pre-team program designed to prepare her for competition. In all the time she's been learning, I've never thought to video tape her. However, last Wednesday I happened to have my husband's digital camera with me. The girls were too far away to get much of a view of the activities, so I didn't pull out the camera. PLUS, they were working on round-off back handspring which is the first tumbling pass a gymnast learns. Seeing as how my six-year-old still hasn't quite perfected her back handspring on the floor, I didn't feel the need to try and get a shot of her practicing the skill.

I watched with some friends while one girl after another threw the pass with a spot. Finally, one of the girls was able to do it without a spot for the very first time. It was a fun to catch the moment, to see a child move from inability to ability. Emma was up next, and I thought, "well, in another six months she'll probably be able to throw that tumbling pass. Hopefully, I'll get a video tape of her first successful attempt." The teacher spotted her twice. The third time Ms. Dawn said something to Emma. Then, to my shock, Emma ran, hurdled into the round-off and rebounded into a back handspring all on her own.

And I didn't even have my camera out!

I missed it because I wasn't expecting it. In my mind, there was a limit to what my daughter could accomplish. I'd put her learning abilities into a box, bundled them up, and made assumptions about something based on my own limited view. Of course, all I missed was video tape of a tumbling pass, but the experience made me wonder what other things I've missed. Sometimes I'm quick to say a thing is impossible, or to decide before I even try that I won't be successful. I'm much more likely to put limits on what can happen than to open my mind to all the exciting possibilities.

It doesn't help that society tells us what is and is not possible. Over forty and single? Hang up your hat and buy a few cats. Obviously, you'll never be married. Want to publish the next great American novel? Forget it. The market is too rocky. Want to retire at fifty? Please! You'll be lucky to retire at 100. Want to change the world? Don't waste your energy. There's only so much one person can do.

The truth is much different than what society tells us. The truth is that none of us know what is possible. In God's infinite wisdom He works in and through us, creating possibilities where we think none exist. Our job, then, is to be ready. Ready for action. Ready to move forward. Ready to embrace the opportunities He gives. Success might be just around the next corner, our dream house around the next bend in the road, the child we've longed for, the spouse we desire, the love we yearn for, even the writing contract we've worked for might be just another few prayers away.

When we trust fully in God's power over our lives, over the world, the universe and time itself, we realize that there are no limits. Impossibilities are only walls we build around our dreams. And sometimes our dreams are only a small part of the journey to a much bigger success than we imagined.

If your dreams haven't yet been fulfilled, don't give up. Keep the camera out and keep it rolling, because when you least expect it, the unexpected just may happen.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Where O Where Has Shirlee Gone?

Obviously it has been too long since I've checked in here. I received a postcard all the way from Mexico in the time it's taken me to think of something interesting to say.

Yes, Darlene, I'm okay!

In the past month the following things have occurred in my life -

The home study for the adoption was complete - YAY!
My husband and I decided to request a child between the ages of 0 and 72 months rather than our original request of 36-60 months.
I completed numerous edits, copy edits and art fact sheets for several books.
I wrote a letter to China regarding the adoption (for the dossier).
I rewrote the letter to China.
And rewrote it.
Three kids got sick.
Three kids got better.
I got sick.
I sort of got better (the weather change is horrible for allergy sufferers!).
I learned that my second book in the Sinclair brothers trilogy is going to be out in December of next year.
Four kids participated in a fall recital.
Two kids completed one of three (yes, three) rehearsals for concerto competition.
I almost finished writing my book.
Almost being the key word.
My house became an absolute mess!!!
I brought four kids to (in no particular order)seventeen hours of piano lessons, three hours of rehearsal, 21 hours of gymnastics, three hours of dance, five hours of grocery shopping, three hours of doctors visits.

Things that did not happen in the past month -
I did not make a trip to the police station where I am to get a letter stating that my husband and I are not criminals (this is for our China dossier).
I did not call the doctor to get a second note about my husband and my own health. I also did not get the un-asked-for note notarized. (also for the dossier)
I did not clean my work area.
Nor did a I:
catch up on laundry
meet my goal of keeping the kitchen sink empty
lose five pounds
go for a walk every day
keep my sanity

If you caught on to the last, then you really are reading my blog!