December 22, 2011

Daisy, the deer, at Christmas

One day when I was about 9 years old, I was spending the afternoon with my grandmother when my uncle walked in with a tiny box.  He explained that inside the box, there was a baby deer, whose mother had been shot.  The fawn wasn't going to survive unless someone intervened. He asked my mom if she could take the deer home and tend to its needs.  As I peeked into the box, I could not believe my eyes.  This baby deer, covered in bright white spots, was smaller than a cat... It was unbelievably cute (equally as cute as that tiny giraffe in that commercial), and I was immediately smitten.  One minute I was playing dominos by myself on the living room floor and the next I was holding a baby deer in my lap with one hand.  Pure childhood magic. 

My mother agreed to help and we took the deer home and named her Daisy. For months we bottle fed Daisy, rubbed her bottom with a warm paper towel to help her go to the bathroom (simulating what a mama deer would do) and helped Daisy learn to stand and then walk.  She lived on our back screened in porch where she got used to all the sounds and smells of the outdoors, while being protected from lurking coyotes and other predators. (We lived on a farm.)

Before long, Daisy had lost her spots and had grown into a large, strong, beautiful deer.  Daisy was free to go.  We had many deer that would come to our house in the mornings and occasionally Daisy would run off with them.  But before long we'd see her trotting back from the woods and running beside our car with the other puppies.  At night the other dogs would come inside and Daisy would stand outside by our door.  We couldn't bare the thought of her feeling "left out" so we eventually starting inviting her in every night with the other dogs.  She had her own dog bed and would sleep through the night and then go back out the next morning. 

Daisy was a part of our family.  Here's Daisy one year at Christmas. 


As a kid, having a real deer cuddled next to me by the fire on winter nights was almost too much for my tiny heart to take.  She was the best.  She was sweet and quirky and would occasionally try to get you to play with her.  (Beware of sharp hooves.) Every second with Daisy was like being a part of a really great Disney film... except she wasn't a cartoon... she was a real-live-5 foot tall (when she wanted to stand on her hind legs) animal with a super sweet demeanor and a deep affection for us.

While Daisy is no longer with us, she had an amazing life while adding a very special chapter to mine.

I keep this picture in my "December" section of my calendar each year and as November rolls away and December begins I'm always so excited to put it up on the frig.

Glad I get to share it with you!

Enjoy your holiday weekend everyone!

Merry Christmas!

mae mae

December 21, 2011

Dance Like Everyone's Watching

Some people just know how to live life. 
My friend Danielle sent me this clip today and I haven't stopped laughing since.

Enjoy!

mae

December 19, 2011

I can't think of a title to fit these 3 things.

First, I just found this video of Sean on the internet.  I was there that night (such an awesome venue with amazing people) and I remember how much I LOVED hearing Sean sing this song. So glad someone got it on video! It's one of my favorites.


Second, if you're on a Christmas music kick hit the "Merry Christmas Baby" button on the right.  You can download Sean's song portraying a modern-day version of the Christmas story for free. He wrote it a few years back and I LOVE it.

Also, if you need a feel-good holiday film this week try "Nativity!" Seriously. Try it. (That exclamation mark is part of the title... although I really am as enthusiastic about this movie as it makes me appear.) I'm a fan of Glee and High School Musical, but sometimes it's refreshing to see real kids, being real kids... sans the auto-tune.  Nativity! follows a group of real kids who perform a modern/alternative version of the classic nativity play.  It's super charming and loaded with flat notes, sub-par dancing, and everything great about being a real kid.  Plus, all the kids have a British accent, which makes it a million times cuter.
Here's the trailer.

Enjoy!
6 days until Christmas!
mae

Baby Abi Buttons

The brilliant Maddie designed these buttons for Abiella.
We continue to pray that God would send someone to hold Abi and cuddle her and stimulate her brain and move her tiny muscles and do all the things we can't do right now.
We also pray that the timing for court and bringing her home would be right (but preferably soon) and that she would continue to be filled with joy.

Thanks for these buttons, Maddie! I love them!!
Feel free to grab one if you're so inclined :)
We'd be honored!

xoxo,
mae
 http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html
<a href="http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html" target="_blank"><img src=" http://i1118.photobucket.com/albums/k605/maemcconnell/P4B3.jpg" alt="http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html" width="200" height="200" /></a>

http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html
<a href="http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1118.photobucket.com/albums/k605/maemcconnell/PFBA2.jpg" alt="http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html" width="200" height="200" /></a>

http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html
<a href="http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1118.photobucket.com/albums/k605/maemcconnell/P4B1.jpg" alt="http://maemcconnell.blogspot.com/p/abiella.html" width="200" height="200" /></a>
P.S. Baby Abi rhymes.  (Abiella is pronounced like BABY-ella... not ABBY-ella.)

7 days home.

Okay. I'm back. For real this time.  Life's been a blur the past week.  I still can't believe we were in Africa one week ago.  I think my jet lag has finally subsided... (we went to bed around 7 pm and woke up around 4 am for much of this week)... just couldn't seem to get back on track.  Now, it's 10:17 pm and I'm still awake; I'm doing good!

Here are a few pictures from our trip.  (I can't post full pictures of Abi until after court... so these will have to do for now.)

This is our room with the mosquito net. 
 It was a very nice hotel.

Notice the woman carrying things on her head.  So amazing.
 We got to spend about 3 hours with Abiella each day and she just wanted to be held and cuddled the entire time. Her hands are so cute and she loved grabbing hold of our fingers. Can't wait to show you more!! 
 


This week has been very good and very tough.  Before we left for Ghana, I didn't allow myself to think about what life would look like after the trip.  I didn't want to set myself up for anything specific or place any expectations on what I would feel or should feel.  As our plane left African soil last weekend, I looked at Sean and started to cry.  I was excited to get back home but so sad to leave Abiella.  Twenty hours later as our plane landed in Nashville, I felt so grateful to be home and so incomplete all at the same time.

I thought each day would get easier, but instead it has gotten harder.  Each day I'm here, I feel further away from Abiella and quite honestly the culture shock of being back in America has been a little more than I anticipated... stepping off the plane into the middle of commericialism packed, every kid deserves a million gifts, American Christmas is a little hard to take.  As I see people buying hundreds of dollars of gifts for their kids (not saying that's wrong...) I ache.  I want to give my little girl gifts too.  Except, I simply want to get her vitamins for her formula, a mobile for her crib, a visit to the Vanderbilt Children's hospital, the physical therapies that she needs, the mental stimulation her brain craves, and most importantly a lot of love... and yet none of these things are possible right now. (Of course I can love and pray for her from a distance... but I want to have her in my arms, praying for her, singing for her, kissing her adorable cheeks... )

At the same time, I'm enjoying life on a deeper level.  I feel God.  I look at life with a greater appreciation. I am grateful for the little and the big. I hold life with a looser grasp and find some sort of peace in knowing I'm out of control...

Today, Sean surprised me with a Christmas tree.  I had been planning on getting one all week, but hadn't made time.  When I came home tonight I looked up and in the corner was a beautiful tree, already set up, with the lights on, just waiting to be decorated.  What a great surprise!  He told me to find a Christmas special on tv. I'm glad he did... I landed on Mrs. Miracle... pretty cute. I may just watch it again.  (Instant Netflix.)

Bottom line: This time is hard and this time is good.  It is stretching my faith, expanding my understanding of God, growing my appreciation for those I love, and rocking my world with an ache for this child. 

It's also testing my patience with the country I love so much and a culture that spends an estimated 470 billion dollars on themselves during a season meant to celebrate the birth of Christ.  I can't help but think of the little girl I saw begging for water in Africa, and the little girl down the street receiving her first cell phone, and think "What's wrong with this picture?  This is how we've chosen to celebrate Jesus?"  (And yet I'm part of it... I've spent $8 on two coffee drinks the past two days. WHAT?!?)

On a different note, I'm looking to connect with moms who are in or have been in the same boat as me (adopting, already met their child, and waiting).  So if you know anyone... hook me up :) My email is located in the contacts page above.

Also, if you feel like sending some of your Christmas cheer towards a fantastic non-profit, check these out.  I'm in love with each one :)

Blue Monarch - residential women's shelter for women suffering from abuse and oppression.  I attended a graduation celebration for one of the women today.  These women are some of the bravest, most courageous women I've ever met.
Ride for Reading - donates new and gently used books to underpriviledged children
Ekisa - oprhanage in Uganda for children with special needs

Much Love,
mae