Tuesday, July 5, 2011

transparency...and awe

*DO NOT MISS THE POST BELOW THIS!*


Dear Friends,

This is going to be an extremely transparent post. After reading it and seeing all my glaring character flaws, you will probably laugh a little~ or hopefully pray for me more. I'm going to be, as the saying goes, brutally honest...and it might not be pretty.

Ready?

Here goes.

Sometimes I really, really struggle with what people think about me. It's gotten a lot better over the years, when I realized that my extreme self-introspection and weighing of everyone's words was causing a lot of chaos for my emotional well-being. Being super sensitive can be a good thing when it comes to not hurting other people's feelings, but not so good when you analyze every little detail of life just so you can answer the question: do they like me?

So having a blog and putting my feelings and words out there has sort of been good therapy for me. Because it's taught me that there is no possible way everybody is going to like me all of the time. I can hold giveaways to bless Lily's readers, because I feel so indebted to them for coming here and leaving sweet comments and supporting us, or giveaways to raise money for orphans-- and somebody accuses me of rigging them for my friends. (And if I did do that- which I don't- wouldn't you think my relatives or close friends would be winning the iPads or the cameras as opposed to a hairbow? But I digress:) )

Moving on... I have learned that there are always going to be critics, or even counselors, no matter how hard you try to balance everything out, and even when you put disclaimers in a post, like "we do know that God is in control, but the truth is this orphan needs a family SOON"- people are still going to leave comments saying we need to trust God and that He's in control. It's just the nature of things, that people might not really read all the words in a post, or absorb what you're really trying to communicate- which is a sense of urgency about a situation, rather than a lack of faith in God...and it's also human nature to find fault. So again- blogging is good for me to learn to not take things personally, just hold my chin up and know that maybe not everyone can relate to my emotions or passions or ideas, but that's okay.

Blogging has also been a good lesson for me when it comes to the comparison trap. Because it is very easy for me to get caught up in comparing myself to the really "big" and polished bloggers. I could get 30 comments on a post and still feel like I didn't totally connect with people...because I look at another blogger who gets 700 comments. Or I read someone else's posts, and their words just really flow and inspire me and paint a mental image or trigger a memory for me...and then I read my own words and they just fall flat. I'm trying to get what's in my head to flow through my fingers onto the keyboard, and when I'm done it sounds like canned soup compared to the gourmet bouillabaisse that's served elsewhere. Compounded with my own insecurities are the words that somehow made their way back to me about my gushing, gag-me style of writing...and I feel like a fourth grader trying to submit a college essay. I type and backspace, type and backspace, until pretty soon I just delete the whole darn post and start over.

And every now and then I glance over at the followers box, even though I've told myself life is not about who is following me, but who I am following...and I notice I lost three in one day (?!) and I think - what did I say to offend them? Was it my writing style, my music selection, did I post one too many photos of Lily, or maybe someone just got tired of hearing me talk about needy orphans all the time? Or maybe I didn't talk about them enough. Or maybe....

You get my point.

Soooo...why am I saying all of this? Because I want people to see that even though someone can have a lot of insecurities, and go through a lot of mental gymnastics, and struggle with whether they're good enough, and sometimes really drop the ball when it comes to getting everything right...

They can still make a difference.

I don't have to be perfect- thank GOD- or be the best or biggest blogger, to have impact. God can use me in spite of me, and I am so very thankful for that.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, who I met through blogging, sent me an email that will forever be lodged in my brain as proof that God is into the details, and that He is mighty to save. And He is bigger than my problems and bigger than my solutions too.


The email I'm referring to was in regards to a beautiful little girl on Reece's Rainbow that I had fallen in love with months ago. This little girl, with the bobbed brown hair and shy little smile, just melted me from the moment I saw her. It killed me that she was facing transfer to a mental institution solely because of that one extra chromosome. A beautiful butterfly in the making, she was never going to have that chance to spread her wings and fly, but instead she would be shut away from the rest of the world simply because she was born with a little something extra in life. And that broke my heart.

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Pauline already had a prayer warrior- someone who had passionately advocated for her long before I saw her. She had been listed on Reece's Rainbow for quite awhile, so I knew there were other people spreading the word about her sweet little face. But one morning I just felt so overwhelmed with a desire to do something to help her...I posted her photo on my Facebook wall (and fyi- I'm not on FB anymore, so please don't think I unfriended you if you wondered why I dissappeared!) . I said something to the effect of "This beautiful little girl does not deserve to spend the rest of her life in a mental institution. Ask yourself- Are you her mommy?"

Not ten minutes later, a friend of mine responded on my wall, asking me if I knew anything more about her. We wrote back and forth a bit...I referred her to Andrea Roberts at RR...and a few days later she told me other families had already inquired about Pauline.

But the story gets better.

Because of the location of Pauline's orphanage, combined with some recent controversy involving another little angel being adopted in her region, there were new requirements listed on her profile on RR. Pretty strict requirements. Intensely strict requirements.

A family adopting her would have to make a certain amount of money.

They could have no more than 4 children.

They would have to already have a child with Down syndrome.

And they would have to live in the state of Maryland.



Are you ready for this???













AMY MET EVERY REQUIREMENT.



Every. single. one.

Now what are the odds of that? She didn't inquire about Pauline after she read the requirements. She fell in love with her first. She inquired about her and found out there were other families interested, and she thought she was taken. And then the new requirements were listed...

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I am so very happy- beyond happy- WILDLY FLIPPING ECSTATIC!! - to announce the Livingstons as Pauline's forever family...

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God, YOU are so good.

God, YOU are the one who weaves together this big tapestry called life, who brings to pass Your purposes.

God, YOU set the solitary in families: You bring out those which are bound with chains.

I couldn't have orchestrated that whole scenario if I tried.

I am flawed and sinful and over-sensitive and insecure and weak and emotional and doubtful and human, but

YOU ARE GOD.

And You did this for Pauline.

You made a way where there was no way, and if you can do that for Pauline, you can do that for so many others, and I am not going to sit around whining about who I AM NOT because

GOD IS MIGHTY TO SAVE.


And if you are as amazed and thrilled about that fact as I am, please go tell Amy and her family how very happy you are for the journey they are about to embark upon.


HAPPY HAPPY DAY!!!!

45 comments:

Becca said...

That's such fantastic news!!! I'm off to check out their blog now...

What happened with FB, btw?

Also, I can't help thinking (hoping!) that those lost followers were just the result of closed blogger accounts or something on *their* part, not a result of how they feel about you. I can't imagine why anyone would choose to stop following you, Patti - you have the BEST heart.

((hugs))

Katherines Corner said...

how wonderful!!! So happy I found your blog and now I'm off to Amy's too. Big hugs!

Amy said...

(((((((((((HUGS)))))))))) Patti, thanks so much for sharing our story! <3 Your blog touches more people than you will ever know... in more ways than you'll ever comprehend. Please keep doing what you are doing- it means the world to all the butterflies out there waiting to emerge into life!

Ashley said...

SO EXCITING! :D
I feel the same way sometimes, Patti. I will write out a long post from my heart, and get one comment on it. Then I question myself if maybe nobody cares about what I say because I am only a sibling. I always realize how silly I am being, though, and remind myself that the whole purpose of my blog is to write letters to Laura. So, if no one ever found them important, they still are because they are for Laura. I love you and your blog <3

Jane@flightplatformliving said...

this is wonderful, i am so happy. and patti i cannot believe anybody would stop following this blog! it is simply the most wonderful place to visit even when you are having an insecurity fit! x

Erin B said...

Patti ~ I think your blog is everything a great blog should be....thought provoking, inspirational, and includes extremely cute pictures of an extremely cute little girl. Such awesome news about Pauline, one less orphan and one more completed family :)

Team Lando said...

Saw both your posts at the same time... So excited!

cathy said...

you ate THE best, my dear friend!

xoxo
cathy

cathy said...

are

Elissa said...

Amazing! So happy to see Pauline will be going home and to such a wonderful family.

You and I have discussed your above other topic before, so I wont go into it again. You are amazing. Keep doing what you are doing. You are helping to change lives. You are helping to save lives.

Wendy said...

Dear Patti,

You have been such an encouragement to me during my journey in adopting our little man . . . our domestic, international, special needs adoption. (We adopted our son domestically, but his birthparents were from Albania and had been here for 8 mo. when he was born. He has an extra chromosome and an extra measure of cute!) I have been loving your blog and it turns out that my very dear friend, and my matron of honor is Amy Livingston. Small world, huh? We adopted both of our sons, so we went down the adoption road first. Amy has been a great resource for me as a momma of our little man with DS. God is perfect in His timing and in His orchestration of our connection to one another.

BTW - I always look at your blog and think, I wish I had so many followers or was as faithful in posting as Patti. See, it's all perspective. Thanks again!

Becky said...

I follow your blog because you are honest...you are real...and you always speak from your heart. I love that. You have a beautiful family and are changing perceptions on Down syndrome every time you post a precious picture of Lily and show how wonderful life is with her. I understand being oversensitive, suffering from comparing, worrying about what people think. That is me too. :) My daughter with Down syndrome actually has taught me a lot in that way....that is one of the many lessons I have learned in my journey with her in the past four years. I cannot imagine what I will learn in a lifetime!

You inspire so many people daily...you are doing amazing things. Never forget that. Also, your faith inspires me too. I love seeing God at work in people lives. :)

Michelle Z said...

Followers? What are those? I think the only person still reading MY blog is my dad. :)

<3 you, as always, my friend

Ilisa Ailts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilisa Ailts said...

Wow, Amy!!! I am so far behind on my blog reading from stuff here and I am in tears. I'm so happy for them.

God is mighty to save!

You know, I am sensitive too and I know what you are referring to.

The whole giveaway stuff usually asks for poor losers. Sorry to say it that way. Really? If we want something that bad we should just go buy it ourselves and not rely on a blog giveaway. Besides, yes, friends and neighbors and relatives are the ones most likely to win. Why? Because they are the ones "playing" and getting in on the giveaway. Hello?!! Smiles and hugs Patti.

tekeal said...

becca said it right- you have the best heart.

i often wish i was doing more of what you're doing... but like you said, comparisons don't serve us well. may we all inspire eachother to be bigger, better human beings in our own ways.

and it must've already been said, right? that amy and pauline look so much alike??

thank you again.

Ilisa Ailts said...

oops, 2 for one comments

nicole said...

You are just full of good news today aren't you? Boy, is that Pauline a sweetheart and she fits in with their family perfectly!

Now I know for sure I could never author a blog . . . I type, backspace, type, backspace my comments for goodness sakes! And I know you're not fishing for a pat on the back, but many times I've thought to myself, "I want to be like Patti when I grow up."

Blessings!

Susanna said...

Patti, I am thankful you have stuck it out thus far, and I hope you don't quit until God lets you off the hook! I think of blogging as being willing to die a private death so that God can receive a greater public glory. Sometimes it feels like dying over and over again w/in the space of a few days. Owie.

You keep up the good work, friend!

Dee said...

I've been reading your blog for a few months. You've been a constant source of inspiration and information for me. I consider you a "gourmet" blogger ;-)

What I really appreciate about your blogging is that you focus on your sweet angel AND the other sweet angels that are in need a forever family. Although you don't have as many followers or comments that another blog I read from time to time, you reach out for help to the ones you have. If the other blog I'm referring to would do a portion of what you do in trying to raise adoption funds for the angels at Reece's Rainbow, I'm sure their little accounts would fatten up in no time. Sometimes it's not just about our own personal journey, it's about helping others. Especially when you have the ability to draw 400-700 comments with every blog you post. Just saying.

Please continue to use the Gift that God blessed you with because YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Thank you for helping and sharing.

-Dee

Pam said...

That is wonderful! I, too, looked into Pauline's requirements and thought how could anyone meet all of those? I can't believe in the short time of following your blog, how many have found their forever home! Yay! God IS good!! (sniff sniff...the tears just pour down...)

Hugs!!
Pam

Jonana said...

God is so good! I remember seeing those requirements on RR and thinking, "Maryland..really, it has to be Maryland?" but God already knew who he had for this little girl. And those requirements didn't scare Him one bit! Yeah for Pauline and her new family!

Heidi Ehle said...

I do the same thing with my blog. I worry that if I show too much of myself I might offend someone. Not that I would be rude, or nasty, or anything like that. Just that I feel so strongly that I need to use all the blessings God has given me to touch someone else. But I think that if I only touch one person by telling our story, I must be doing something right and it will be worth it. :)
Celebrating Pauline's journey home! We love you, Patti! XOXOXOXO, Heidi and Liddy

babypelly said...

that other blogger gets 700+ comments because she is a professional photographer not to mention she lives in a beautiful place doing beautiful things all day long... your writing is immeasurably better!

For what its worth, I usually get like 2 comments per post (from my husband's aunts haha) but I know many many more people are reading. And I know there are a small handful that I have helped get through this journey. I'm positive you have helped many more (including me!) and for that you should feel extremely proud.

xoxo

Race Bannon said...

Um...looking at Mr Livingston, I think he hacked into the orphanage and changed the requirements. I'm just sayin'...he looks like a smart guy, with computer hacking skills. How else do you explain it?


PS Thanks for the iPads sis! ;P

Laura said...

I saw her too on Reeces Rainbow and she "caught my eye." Then I saw the requirements and it made me so sad to see the country was being so specific because I thought it would cut her "chances" of being chosen by a family so scarce... I am soooo happy to see that she has been "found" by just the right family! Now I think God allowed those imposed restrictions to be the catalyst for her family finding her even more quickly!

Kellan's momma said...

Thank God! And you Patti! You don't give yourself enough credit. And I agree with the first comment about blog accts. I don't know why you're not on FB anymore, but that's how Paulines family found her! Just sayin'!!

Julie said...

Patti, I will ever think of you as a person that can move mountains. Your post reflects SO much of me and my insecurities I find in myself and yet you find the strength to do great things...and there was I...

Love you and TY again.
Julie and Peter

Julie said...

And Mr Race Bannon...yeah, he always makes me laugh! and his picture makes me think of some cartoon character I cant place...

Patti said...

the funny thing about Race? He looks just like that in real life! White hair and everything :)

Patti said...

tekeal- I said the exact thing!!! SO sweet!

Rochelle said...

I don't follow blogs daily, but I do purposefully read yours when I come across them...because I ENJOY them! I'm also hypercritical of myself, and know the feelings you've described...I have always been easy to get along with, and it just bothers me when someone doesn't "like" me! Spare yourself the pain, Patti...write from your heart, and don't worry about those who are critical of you. :) HUGS

Rochelle
Elk Grove, CA

Rochelle said...

Oh your sweet heart! You are a fabulous blogger, advocate, mommy and friend. God made you perfect just like Lily so no need to question it =)

So excited for Pauline and family. I was a bit worried about her when I saw all the strict guidelines go up. But, God was just weeding and picking the perfect family for her to blossom in.

Lori said...

Totally exciting news - and I love your blog and you tons!!!

Jenn said...

I'm so happy she has a family! When I saw the new requirements come up for her, I was sad, and as Chris & I talked about them he said "Only God can provide all those in one family" :) And He did!!!!!! My heart smiles a little more each time another child finds a family. And you Patti are a HUGE part in many of these children finding a family. So keep on writing your blog just the way you do, because God is using it and you in big ways. Love ya

cara said...

GOD is MIGHTY to SAVE!!!! And I love how you end this praising Him. All we need to do is look to our Maker, our Savior, our God who is ALWAYS MIGHTY to SAVE!!! And praise Him and give Him glory. Only He can orchestrate this perfect plan for Pauline and so many other orphans HE is setting free. Thank you for sharing Patti.

And you know I love you! I am SO inspired by all that you do in spite of the attack and all the decisions you have to make. Your blog is like a daily devotion for me. I am always ministered to by it and learn so much. You are one loved lady, and I am SO thankful for you. Much love to you.

Melissa said...

Type...backspace...type....backspace.I seem to do a lot of that! Maybe that's why my blog hasn't been updated in a while. Oh well. I've given up comparing blogs. I'm doing it for me, for Claire, for those people that choose to follow along. Not for fame and fortune, but comments are always nice. :) I like knowing I'm not talking to myself!

katekopp said...

Patti, I love your writing and your sweet heart for all of these kids! You are awesome and have plenty of people lifting you up. Ignore the crows - you are an eagle!

*Tasha* said...

OH my goodness!!! I emailed you about Pauline once, I think... or maybe I just thought about it. I did email a "big-name blogger" about Pauline- I emailed people asking them to donate... but then when Pauline's country got put on hold and then the new requirements came up... I just felt so sad, but DEEP DOWN, I KNEW, I just knew, this little girl couldn't and wouldn't languish in an institution. Some things you just feel & know. And now that's been answered. I am so happy. I will be offering to raise money for this dear little girl and her amazing soon-to-be family. My heart sings. :)

*Tasha* said...

By the way, Pauline's Christmas ornament hangs at the end of my bed & she is often the last thing I see before I sleep. To think that she will have a bed of her VERY OWN & that someday when I look at that ornament, I will know she's safe at home, not locked away in a sad place.... oh, happy tears.

Dana said...

We saw the requirements show up one day and thought how strange it was. I told my daughter there must be a family that they are holding her for that meets those requirements. Well I guess I was right only RR wasn't holding her for them, God was!!!! Amazing... our God is so Amazing!!!!

Laurie said...

Patti, I felt like I was reading about myself. Thanks for sharing my life story with everyone ;p but seriously, I think you express yourself beautifully and your heart is shining brightly on your sleeve. Thank you for the transparency and for loving the least of these so well. You are a voice, a huge voice. Keep using it bcause people are listening and God is using you. think you just got proof. :D

Deanna said...

oh Patti- how I love you. We are so much alike, and I love that you posted all of your insecurities even though I'm sure your mind was screaming "what will people think" if you put it all out there. But I honestly am a big honesty-no-matter-what fan on my blog, and I love that you are too. These past two weeks as Chubbs and I were traveling all over the country, I just kept thinking...I wish we were going to Oregon. Even though we've never met, I miss you, and love every bit of corespondance with you! Hope your week has gone well...and I'm back to my regular blog reading schedule...(-:

Liz said...

amazing! thank you!!!

Amy said...

Since there's a link back to this post I just wanted to update our blog address- I had to change it mid-adoption process since it contained her name, and now it appears a troll has stolen it since I took it down. Lina's adoption blog is at www.gracefulbutterflywings.blogspot.com Thanks! :)