Thursday, January 31, 2013

Because Sometimes I Just Need a Reminder


Writing down who God is and what He does, is beneficial to me.
It reminds me of what I have to cling to when everything else is uncertain.
Sometimes I make lists about God.
Then I read them and re-read them.
It helps me.


 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yesterday, All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away...

So, here's all we had to concern ourselves with, here in the past 24 hours...

I sat in front of the fireplace and wrote to my heart's content in the quiet, while occasionally glancing out the window. Love the change of scenery while I write.
Jordan was king of the mountain.
Savanna made snow angels.
We stayed in this beautiful place.

We watched two movies last night. Made dinner, did the dishes, tidied things up, sunk down into a bath. Slept.

That's all folks...

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh Boston, bring on the bling!

Today's our last day in Boston before we head to the Berkshires. 

We had a fantastic day yesterday, painting the town with Lou and Nina Zinnanti. They've been showing us all the hot spots of this beautiful town, and been so gracious.

Savanna found this necklace for me. Since this is what lots of my friends have called me for umpteen years, it was just perfect...



Plus it was 50% off. How could I not justify wearing the wonder, at half the price? I want to point out that this is my first Wonder Woman purchase. All of the other stockpile of memorabilia  that fills my home and office comes from friends, co-workers, church members, etc. over the years. Shout out to all who have given me everything from WW pajamas to lunch boxes to mugs to you name it.

Then, I also found a phone case, for me. I got a new phone back in August, when I was at Ormond Beach and forgot that my phone was tucked into my bathing suit top and spontaneously decided to run and jump in the waves.

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So much for spontaneity. Well, maybe it should be "so much for putting my phone in my swimsuit top."

I've waited six months to get a case because I'm the type of person who waits to get what I really want. Jordan gave me his old OtterBox in the meantime, and I have appreciated it. But quite frankly, although they protect a phone a lot more than the decorative cases I enjoy, I find most of the colors and Otterbox designs to be so borrrrrrring! I hate plain. Loathe boring. Gimme the color, send on the bling!

My daughter is really talented at finding things that are so "me". She pointed out this phone case and said, "Oh my gosh Mom, that's soooooooo you!" She was right.

Of course, on this occasion she had to add: "Mom, this is just another reason why you need to listen to me about everrrrything!!! Everything, I tell you!"

Mmmmmkay, okay, orrrrrr maybe not. :) Depends on whether we're talking about a phone case, or...dating. Or house chores. Or "attitude". :)

So here we go, drumroll please......................my new phone case!


If you're wondering, I know, this has been on your mind the entire post, the flowers and pearls are glued on to the case, they are 3-D, not painted on. Soooooo cool, huh?

Dustin says, "Mom, this thing is so hard to hold. These flowers poke out. Isn't that going to drive you crazy?"

No, actually I kind of like it that I will be able to more easily find it, feeling around in the black hole otherwise known as my purse. Wonder Woman carries a big bag that holds all her tools of wonder.



Last night Larry also took Savanna to Fenway Park. That was something really important to both of them, as huge sports fans.

It's been snowing, and cooooooold. So cold. Yesterday it was so cold, I saw a democrat outside with his hands in his own pockets. I've even been wearing layers to sleep. I forgot what it was like to be this cold. I also forgot what it was like to dread taking off my clothes to get in the shower. Ha ha! Larry has gotten us Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate every night. He asks, "who wants to go with me to go get it?" Dustin and I stay snug in our respective beds all bundled up under the covers, and whine about not wanting to go back out in the cold. (We are so much alike.) Savanna gets her coat, hat and gloves on and goes with him every time. Such a Daddy's girl. 

Today we are worshipping at Christ the Rock Church here in Boston. I'm going to sing and Larry's going to preach, and then we're spending the afternoon with Pastors Lou and Kris Zinnanti and their family. Can't wait!

We miss our Celebration family but we're having a super time. And...we get to pick up Jordan from the airport tonight!!! Eeeeekkk!!!!!! Can't wait.

 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

We began our time away together in Boston, being that the place we're staying in the Berkshires comes available Sunday night. We've never been here before, so this is super exciting.

The hotel we're staying in is round. I think that's so cool. It was built in the 1800's and was used to house the lamp oil back then. It's so quaint -- I just love it. It also has small full size beds which I love even more because that means I sleep nice and close to Larry Shrodes. :) Especially in the chill. Oh my! I forgot how cold it is in other parts of the world. I have been wearing three layers on top, including a ski jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. It's been a long time. I'm a Floridian now. I can't remember the last time I wore panty hose, and most days I wear open toe shoes even in winter.

We met up with a college friend, Pastor Lou Zinnanti, yesterday. He and his wife, Pastor Kris Zinnanti, are the co-pastors of Christ the Rock Church here in Boston. Lou took us on a tour yesterday of downtown Boston. We loveeeeeeeeeed it! We took the train and went to Quincy Market, Old North Church, and basically hit most of the downtown landmarks. We also enjoyed some phenomenal clam chowder, lobster rolls, and cannoli's. So good.  Here are some photos of our first two days here:

Savanna took these pictures during our flights.
Where everybody knows your name...

Savanna's lovin' the snow!
Larry and me...Quincy Market in Boston
 
Dustin and me, outside of Old North Church
Mike's Bakery in Boston - evidently famous...we LOVED the cannoli's!

Old North Church

Grave of Mary Goose (Mother Goose)

This girl is a beauty queen. just sayin'!
Without a doubt, the greatest part for me is just being with my family. I can hardly wait until Jordan gets here! He had to come a little later than us with some commitments back in Tampa but he arrives Sunday. I'm counting the moments til' he arrives!

  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Visiting the Frozen Chosen

There's no one I love spending time with more than this man...

 (Look at how passionate he is when he's preaching. I love that about him...)
And these three amazinggggg people...

(Aren't they seriously THE most beautiful kids you've ever laid eyes on??!! Larry and I do a great job making babies.)

We live in a beautiful city.  But this upcoming week, we get to enjoy an equally beautiful place, the climate of which is something we're not used to any more. Right now it's fluctuating between 1 and 3 degrees. Brrrrr! I am sooooo not used to that kind of weather after 11 years of living in Tampa.

The kids love Florida but they do miss seasons and winter activities. A very special couple from Celebration Church provided our family with an incredible gift for pastor appreciation. They gave us a family vacation at their place in the Berkshires of Massachusetts!  (Yeah, I know, that's pretty much the most amazing thing, ever! We are so grateful.)



 
It was actually something they blessed us with last year, but getting all five of our schedules together to make it possible didn't happen til' now. 

Max and Maddie don't get to come, but they will enjoy time with an amazing sitter who will live with them at the house give them plenty of love and attention, and keep things going smoothly there.

Our house is so filled with love, even the dogs snuggle.
I'm a happy wife and momma.

If my face doesn't crack from the cold, it just might crack from smiling so much. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Goal: Downsize to Supersize!


My family is getting ready to spend some special time off together upcoming. I'm still recooperating from Christmas. A few weeks ago I blogged about that here. I say this not to complain, just a statement of fact that the 2012 holiday season nearly slayed me. As soon as the holidays passed I began writing down my reflections about the season, making a plan for things to be radically different next year. I can't help but think that Jesus never intended any of us to be hospitalized because we half killed ourselves over His birthday party.

But I digress...

Suffice it to say I hung on for my sister to get here and us to have our time in Treasure Island and I also had my sights on our upcoming family time. :)  Concentrating on those two things got me through the season.

 My new year's resolutions this year are the most streamlined list I've ever made. I've intentionally made the list short and simple and I intend to go after it hard. My goal is to accomplish more with less stress, and experience more meaning along the journey.

Perhaps you've gone through a reevaluation of sorts in your own life, to simplify or downsize in order to improve your quality of life. If so I'd love to hear about it.

Maybe to some, "downsizing" seems a dreadful thing, like it's giving up or not dreaming big enough. On the contrary, my dreams are bigger than ever. I'm just taking a streamlined approach to get there. I'm downsizing my list to supersize my life!

How about you?


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are...

Yoo hoo................

Are you in there, Deanna?

Some of you wonder where I've been.

Others may be so busy knocking out your new year's resolutions you didn't stop to notice that I'm blogging here part of the time and elsewhere part of the time now.

I haven't left deannashrodes.net,  and have no intentions to. I'm just getting the party started over at Adoptee Restoration. We're 19 days in and it's been an amazing journey for me. It also seems to be making a difference in hearts and lives. The comment thread is super active and my email mailbox has been too much to handle on some days. I try to end each day with an empty box but on a few days I didn't manage it. I guess I need to take my own advice.  It's not good in the sense that there are really that many hurting people out there and in another sense it's awesome to be part of meeting a need!

Today, I'm blogging at the community that started it all for me...Lost Daughters. I enjoy my LD sisterhood to a degree that can't even be fully described. And, suffice it to say even though my sisters have written some absolutely amazing posts the last 19 days and there has been no lack without me, I've sorely missed lending my voice to the mix.  So today I'm sharing about how adoption affects an adoptee in body, soul and spirit.

Join us if you dare.

 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Somebody's Life Depends On This



Yesterday I came to a new level of understanding that every person around us faces situations we have no idea about.

Every single person.

Now.

Not the past.

Now. 

I can safely prophesy this to you, my friends. Without exception, every person you meet today is facing a challenge.

For some it just occurred, and it's devastating.

For others, they have carried the weight of what they face for a long time.

Don't underestimate the power of a caring word, or touch.

Allow your senses to be heightened to the need around you.

When in doubt...still reach out. 


What you say or do might just quite literally...save a life. 

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sometimes Truth Bumps


There are times truth bumps into somebody else's comfortable world.

It's there that we are tempted to be silent about the truth. We are tempted to compromise, to retreat back where we are safe from hurting anyone's feelings.

To be sure, we don't set out to hurt another's feelings. But sometimes truth bumps into them and creates an unintended wound.

It's important at that point to remember, it's not about us.

It was never about us.

When truth bumps and it hurts, it's their issue. Totally their issue.  And when they react, they aren't reacting at us but at truth, which can be extremely uncomfortable. Almost unbearable in fact.

Why forge ahead when it would be so much easier to stop and avoid all that?  

 "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." ~Edmund Burke


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why I Love You

I love you for just letting me show up.

I love that I don't have to do anything, be anything, try harder, stretch myself, change, give, adjust or anything else.

I can just be.

You take me as is.

This might explain why I don't like being away from you longer than about five minutes.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Introverts and Sunsets and Reading Minds and Stuff

My sister and I are back in Tampa and although she doesn't leave until early Saturday morning, I'm starting to have withdrawals.

I miss our special table at Waffle House.



We are both creatures of order and routine!

Both introverts. (Yes, did you know I was an introvert? If not, you probably don't know me real well.) An introvert or extrovert doesn't refer to whether you are shy or can speak in front of a crowd. The true definition lies in how you recharge.) Almost no one ever believes I'm an introvert when I tell them, but I promise you on a stack of Bibles, I'm a classic INFJ. It's the most rare personality type on the planet -- only 1% of people have this type. I'm convinced Shari is this same exact type but I haven't been able to get her to take the test yet. Maybe today!

I will miss watching the sunset with her.


Sitting together, yet not always talking.

Being fully willing and able to speak, yet not needing to every second.

Already knowing a lot of the time what the other is thinking.



Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Treasuring a Treasure

My sister Shari got us a place in Treasure Island for a few days, just to spend sister-time together.
We've sat here and talked til' we're almost hoarse... 
And we've eaten amazing stuff like this. We both had our own piece. Shhhhhh...




I'm not blogging anything deep today...I'm just enjoying living life today rather than just recording it. Get ready though, deep WILL return. :)
 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

OMW, What a Weekend!! (And It's Not Over!)

Oh my stars! Could it get any more interesting?

My cousin Henry, who lives in Tacoma, Washington, came to see us on Friday. We spent time talking for hours, and eating Cuban food and ice cream and having a most wonderful time. I only wish it could have been longer. 


After seeing Henry off to enjoy the rest of his vacation I had intended on preparing the house for my sister Shari to come from North Carolina. I had six hours or so before bedtime to whip the house in shape. However, our son Jordan became very ill. He called and asked if Larry and I could meet him at the emergency room of the same hospital our son Dustin works at.

Jordan has been sick for six days and went to the doctor earlier in the week but nothing they gave him helped. Now in addition to the constant nausea, and pain, he was blacking out and having spasms. We met him there where they began to undergo a battery of tests...

He had it all...urine, blood work, ultrasound, EKG, CAT scan, chest x-rays, you name it, he had it. In the end the diagnosed him with an aggressive virus that had attacked his body. They gave him four medications in the IV, plus 2 bags of fluid and a shot in his leg that took away the spasms. About an hour and a half after administering all the drugs, his condition began to turn around.  We didn't get home from the hospital til' 6 AM the next morning. But...

The  coolest things happened while we were there. 

There was a young couple, Brad and Justina, in the waiting room for many hours and I began talking with them. After sharing a while, I gave them one of my little cards I created to give people that contain encouraging words as well as my contact info on it and a promise to pray for them. I let them know we are available to help them and asked if we could pray for them right there. They were very receptive. And they were quite amazed that Jordan in the terrible condition he was in, got up and joined us and came over and laid hands on Brad to pray for him! Here Jordan was dizzy and faint and having to be held up himself, yet he was reaching out with us to minister to Brad! The five of us gathered in a circle in the ER and began to pray for Brad. At the end there were hugs and Brad had tears in his eyes and said, "Justina, we now have three friends in Tampa we didn't have before..."  

We discovered they are local students and I asked if by chance they knew a young man named Matt Liller who leads the Christian (Chi-Alpha) group at USF. He also plays bass at our church and is one of our college leaders. They were absolutely amazed that we know Matt Liller!! Their eyes lit up as they told us, he is a good friend who actually used to be Brad's roommate! And, he has been reaching out to them for TWO YEARS, sharing with them about the Lord!!  (I know, amazing, right?!)  They said, "Matt has actually been talking to us about all of this for two years...and we know this is not an accident that we met you tonight and all this happened. God must be trying to get our attention..." 

Indeed!

We invited them to Celebration, and they were quite responsive.We were just overwhelmed by the goodness of God right there in the ER and how he brought us together. I told Jordan, "You know honey, I really believe Brad and Justina's lives are changed, and one day you will see all this was worth it..."

Larry and I were also amazed at what we encountered with the hospital staff. Our son Dustin is the Patient Flow Coordinator (basically the coordinator of the transport department) in addition to being youth pastor at the church.  Although he was not working last night, we were able to see Dustin's impact at the hospital. When the transporters would come to take Jordan to a test, I insisted Larry and I accompany him. (I am a big believer that when your family member is in the hospital you have to be an advocate. The patient often can't think for themselves or speak up especially if they are in a lot of pain. When my kids or Larry have been in the hospital, I don't leave them, ever - unless it's a test where I'm prohibited to go in the room.)  What delightful reactions we received!

When we got to ultrasound, the techs said, "Hmmm...Jordan Shrodes...any relation to Dustin?" We affirmed that he is his older brother. The technician said, "Oh my gosh, I don't even know you two but can I just say, you are totally amazing parents?!" We just laughed and asked why.  She said, "Your son is so incredible,  I know you had to do something right." Then she went on and on about him, as did other staff members we met. On and on they spoke of his amazingness. (I know amazingness isn't a word, but I'm using it.)

Of course we pointed out, "yes, and this is his amazing younger brother...and his amazing little sister is at home with him." :)

We are so blessed!!!!!

We finished up at the hospital at 6 AM and brought Jordan home with three more prescriptions, and crashed for a few hours before we had to pick my sister Shari up from the airport.

Nothing I wanted to get done at the house was done, due to having to go to the hospital. However, I was focused on the joy of seeing my sister and quickly got over it. She loves me even though I never vacuumed or scrubbed the floors and a lot of other stuff. At least I had her bed ready and two clean towels for her. The rest is the icing on the cake.

I couldn't have been more excited! Exhausted but excited! We picked her up and headed out to get Cuban sandwiches.   We've been counting the days for months and months. We ate our yummy sandwiches...we laughed, we cried, we hugged repeatedly. Came home and wrapped up in some blankies beside the Christmas tree (which I haven't had time to take down) and talked for a few hours til' we were ready to fall asleep.

Life is good.

 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Why Less is More When It Comes to New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions have always been something I've done each year.  I journal, make lists and arrive at my goals for the coming year with a lot of introspection and forethought.


This year, I've really streamlined things in an effort to simplify. By simplify I don't infer slacking or scaling back on my dreams. 

Photo Credit: qisur, Creative Commons

I learned some huge lessons in 2012, one of which is this:

"You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:21

Last year I set mammoth goals.

Some of them, I reached. Victory was sweet. I love success.

With other goals, I fell flat on my face.  

 I learned a lot, though. And, I've tried to remember, I never have to "fail" again as long as I learn. When we take situations and learn from them, there's no failure, only learning. And, learning is good!

With less goals, I hope to reach more as well as have plenty of available margin for God to surprise me.

This time last year when I developed my goals, I had no interest in having my own adoption blog. The thought of that would have scared me to pieces.

This time last year when I wrote my new year's resolutions I had no intentions of being the spirituality columnist at Lost Daughters. I began reading there in October of 2011, to receive help I was looking for. I had a desire to read and to connect with others, but I never thought that I'd write there.

As the year unfolded, God surprised me, big time. He led me on a path I never imagined that is more fulfilling than I would have dreamed for myself.

I had a lot of plans in my heart going into 2012, but I'm so glad God's purpose prevailed, not mine.

So friends, as you finish up your new year's resolutions for 2013, be sure to leave room for God to surprise you.

p.s. If you haven't subscribed to Adoptee Restoration yet, I'd be honored if you did so, here. Just click the link and then click, "follow."   And, I'd also be honored if you would "like" the blog on Facebook. Thanks for your support as I move forward with the goal of providing healing for hurting hearts, and expand the Christian community's understanding of adoption.