Baby B

I’m feeling a little sad today.  I have several writer friends who are in Gettysburg right now HAVING AN INSPIRING TIME and I’m smiley for them (and can’t wait to critique the work that will come out of this Gettysburg Review Workshop), but I’m also second-guessing whether I should have not gone to AWP and held out for this instead and whether I’ll sign up for next year and Lee won’t be teaching and May and Julie and George and Warren won’t attend….that’s me.  I second-guess myself.

There’s the stress of end-of-year multiplied by (pseudo) graduations from preschool and 5th grade and all their accoutrements.  There was the losing of the class gift by my daughter this afternoon and then, luckily, finding the gift card tucked into her soccer bag (No, she isn’t currently playing soccer.  I have no idea how it got there.)  Twins went to bed late last night and are super-cranky while Diana and Chance had a half-day and have been arguing ever since.  (Why have a half-day when there are only two days left of school.  Does anyone else wonder about this?)

I’m also worried about this “Two Sides” story.  The editors of a magazine liked it, but asked me to revise.  I don’t know whether they’ll like the revisions or if I’ve blown it.  I changed the ending, like was asked, but that meant I had to change the beginning.  There was a comment about the action not being believable so I changed it from being planned to being accidental.  So, um.  Yeah.  I changed the whole story.  Not the title.  I kept the title.  And they are going to pass on it.  I know they are.  I don’t even want to re-submit it.

And there’s another story I’m working on. I’ve known about the contest deadline (June 15th) for a couple of months.  No problem, I thought.  My subconscious is writing it in my head.  Only not so much.  ‘Cause subconscious doesn’t give dictation so well and my fingers still have to type in the morning.

So, feeling kind of glum over here in Baltimore while the remnants of a hurricane water my empty garden.  But, I’ve got a brilliant shiny story for you.  One full of strong Ethiopian sunshine.  It’s not quite over and I know prayers will be appreciated to get to the finish line.

This is the story of Baby B.

I started following Andrea and Nate’s blog while my daughter was being treated for leukemia.  There was this sadness and hope in the entries that echoed my own heart.  Frustration with waiting, trying to understand and be okay with the waiting.  Then it turned out Andrea and I were the same age.  We had been married the same number of years.  She was my pastor’s daughter.  And she believed that God had a plan, but she didn’t know if it was a plan for disappointment or joy.  And, how could I not cry over that?  How could I, waiting through Evelyn’s procedures and chemo and counting down the days until we would see if the cancer would come back, how could I not cry for this woman who wanted to be a mother?  Who had started the adoption process and was waiting…waiting…waiting and she didn’t know the countdown.  She didn’t know.

My whole church was with her on this journey.  Just like they’d been with me.  So, imagine the response to this picture.

It's a Boy

Then Grammy Long (Andrea’s mother and Baby B’s grandmother) started baking.  She made a Facebook page called “Grammy’s Cupcake Obsession” and that woman baked.  She baked and she baked.  She baked herself right into a plane ticket so she could be with her daughter when Andrea met her son.

Wanna see happiness?  Want to? Want to? Want to?


LoveBaby Biruk and his new mommy.

The court date went GREAT.

It’s not over yet.







I hope this squeezed your heart super tight and made you happy.  This is real.  You can’t make it up.  God is good.




Depths of Despair


But I am saying God will absolutely allow suffering, pain, and crisis in order to detach hope from other things and attach it to himself. He will use the suffering of Plan B to strengthen our faith. That is, if we will let him. If we will trust him and let him work. You’ve got to stop looking at your shattered dreams and your unmet expectations as something God is doing to you. He’s not doing something to you. But he might be doing something through you. He might be doing something in you.  (Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up The Way You Thought He Would)

On the way back from the beach the kids were watching a Barbie movie.  I could hear it, but not watch it from the front seat, but there’s this part where the two mermaids must swim to the Depths of Despair during their quest.  That phrase stuck with me this week. 

Monday was all day at Hopkins with Evie.  The day after I always struggle with depression and we just try to get through Steroid Week.  Tuesday was worse than usual.  All of my projects came to a screeching halt. 

My mind was so scattered that I had to think through everything.  I couldn’t stop crying while I was putting away the dishes.  I wondered if I would need to wash them again.  Evelyn wanted shrimp for breakfast.  Put the water on for tea.  Stand here until it boils.  The kids are shouting.  How long have they been shouting?  So many things I should be doing, but I’m just standing here. Oh, I’m waiting for the water to boil. It is boiling.  It is boiling over.  I should turn it off.  Ouch.  I’m being burned.  Where are the shrimp?  Still in the freezer.  Now Evelyn is crying.  She wants mozzerella cheese sticks too.

Project 1 — Cancer fighting.  I’ve been bugging the doctors for the end date of chemo ever since we passed the two-year mark.  There was a rumor that it would be late in October.  That meant her immune system would be strong for preschool in winter.  The older kids could get flumist instead of shots, we’d be finished soon.  On Monday we got the date:  December 9th.  It’s not that much longer, but it is.

Project 2 — I have two short stories I sent to my critique group.  One came back with ‘getting there, but needs a little more work.’  Which I knew, so I was happy.  The other  I thought was ready.  Finished.  Three critiques.  One: thumbs-up.  One: good, except the ending is unearned.  One: she felt ‘confused’ and ‘irritated’ and overall it ‘didn’t add up.’  In confirmation of the third opionion, I had a rejection e-mail sitting in my inbox from the publication to which I’d submitted. 

Project 3 — Voiceover Acting.  I’d ordered all the parts for my home-based studio.  Now the equipment needed to be put together.  This is really my idea of hell.  I’m not good at this, I don’t want to do it, there is nothing enjoyable about this process for me.  But, to get to the acting, I have to have a studio.  Here’s a picture of the boxes.


So, Tuesday was just a survivor-day.  A hold-on day.  A cry until your eyes hurt so bad that when you look at the computer you can’t read and then you think you are going blind because your Lasik surgery is ten years old and wearing off and you’re going to need bifocals or reading glasses and it’s just not fair, but makes sense with the kind of day you are having.

Wednesday was a little better.  I got my hair blown out, which helps.  That evening I tackled the studio-building.  My teacher called and was very patient.  He did tell me, at one point, “This is like Sesame Street for Sherri.  If one cord goes into an output then it has to attach to an input.”  Okay.  And then I couldn’t keep the mixer and maximizer and the multi-gate expander straight and the plugs weren’t working.  But, I kind of had that set up and it’s time to check the software I installed on my computer, but of course that won’t run because it’s missing a link because I have Windows 7 and so we’re trying to download a patch.
I was sweating so much during the 90-minute phone conversation that I had to go turn the air conditioner on and wipe off the phone.   It was nuts.  We got the software figured out, but it turns out that my laptop doesn’t have an audio input.  (FYI — the inputs with a picture of a microphone and headphones are NOT audio inputs.  Sesame Street for Sherri).  Mr. McKibben is SOOOO kind.  I have to go buy a Sound Blaster Card External and then we’ll finish the last 1/3 of the installation. 

I don’t know that I can even count that as a step forward.  A shuffle, maybe?  It just feels so hard.  And I wonder how God can give a person a dream and then just leave them.  So I prayed and I told him my feelings were hurt and I felt really angry and alone.  And I waited.  And then I said, I know you’re not a genie.  I just don’t know what I’m doing here.   Not just the plugs, any of it.  And then I said thank you for the miracle with my daughter.  Because, of course, that’s the most important.  And thank you for my house and my husband.  And then I said Amen. ‘Cause I didn’t know what else to say.