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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I learned this year...

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1. Life is a gift and we're all on borrowed time. Chose wisely how you spend that time. you will one day be just a memory, chose the memory you wish to be for others.

 2. We are blessed. More blessed than we can imagine. We did not earn our wealth we were born into it. It's important to share it, because it is not really ours any ways. The earth has shared with us.

 3. We do not choose our circumstances but we choose how we behave within them. I have been very blessed these past few years because while they have been the hardest, I have miraculously gained many more friends and family along the way. I consider that one of my greatest accomplishments.

 4.Sometimes lighting a candle really can change your whole world. One tiny flame can light up your life.

 5. We have unlimited love and kindness within us but limited energy in our life. Hold the world in your heart and do what you can to give back, but be wise with what you spend your energy on. It's ok to let go, you can still love from afar.

 6. Embrace what you have and who you are. It's the only way to be at peace.

 7. Even if you are merely grateful for a cup of coffee or an easy comute that morning remember to sit with that gratitude. Gratitude can change your attitude.

 8. We are all the same in the world. My son is just like any other canadian little toddler but kids look different in the news or on tv programs. Somehow they seem so far away. All kids are the same and deserve our commitment to helping them, and the planet they will inherit.

 9. Laughter really is the best medicine. Really. I promise.

 10. It's more important how you build yourself back up, than how you fall apart.


 I have been very lucky this year, and in many ways I feel like a different person. Africa changed me in ways that are not quite describable but that has made me view life in North America through very different eyes. Sometimes eyes of gratitude and sometimes tears of frustration. It's been ife changing. My son has given me a great deal of perspective. At this time of year it has been a challenge to see the extreme wealth in contrast to the orphanages with babies wrapped in soiled t-shirts because they have no diapers. Children desperate for a family. Children just like our children, our nieces, nephews, grandchildren. When we realize that, it is almost impossible not to change how we go into the holiday season. The season of giving needs to be with us all year and needs to extend beyond our four walls. I have been lucky indeed for all my experiences, some that broke me down, but ultimately left me a better person. I hope. Thank you for everyone who was part of our journey, part of our year.

We are very very grateful. J xx 

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Those Who Fought, Those Who Worked & Those Who Prayed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails I have been home now for three weeks and not a day has gone by when I haven't felt extreme gratitude for those who fought, those who worked, and those who prayed for us during our journey. I've always had a natural affinity for the fleur de lis (I'm a french girl through and through) and love that it represents those three elements. So to all of you who were part of this process, I thank you. I thank you from a place so deep in my heart, and I hope somehow my gratitude reaches you.

 I am one of the lucky ones. I am finished this process and in my arms is the most precious little boy who brightens up our world at every turn. I have spent the last few months being a mom and that has been an immense gift. One I don't take lightly, and a responsibility I hold quite dear.

 I feel it only fair though as I ramble about my good fortune and happiness to share a secret with you. I've always been lucky. I've always been fortunate. The one thing I have always had is an abundance of love in my life. Without which it would have been unbearable. While at times it of course felt that way, I have ruminated often about the incredible support I've received. I have e-mails from people I haven't seen since High School sharing support. People across this country I've never met but who are also adopting. People who are in no way connected to me but who stumbled across my blog through decorating sites and sent me a note here and there. I feel as though this process and the love sent our way has let me see the best parts of the human spirit which was especially poignant after witnessing some of the worst. I am blessed.

 I thank you, Doug thanks you, and Ozington thanks you. Because of all of you we three found each other. Because of so much outcry, and outreach, our adoption was completed. We can not thank you enough but we will continue to try.

 I must go now as my tiny spark will be waking soon. Please know that every time I look at him I remember. I remember those who fought, those who worked, and those who prayed. He is the happiest little boy you could ever hope to meet and I wish you all to know your efforts will never ever be forgotten. He will always be a reminder of great love, and great hope.

 Much Love, Jessa, Doug & Ozington xxxxxxxx

Monday, April 16, 2012

Poverty Of the Soul


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The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

~ Mother Teresa ~

I was not certain how I would feel in Ethiopia. How would it be to see so much poverty coming from a country of such ostentatious wealth? Would the weight of such massive disparity feel overwhelming? Would the helplessness leave me feeling paralyzed?

The truth is I felt all those things. Useless, angry, and at times dispair. We are a spoiled nation. We are spoiled individuals. The distance in wealth and the overwhelming awareness of my own sense of entitlement was polarizing. However, what left the largest impact on me was not that our 756 sq foot condo here is a large home there. Or even that I can go to the tap and pour myself a beautiful glass of clean water, something that I have not been able to stop relishing in since. The biggest residual impact has been that as a collective the people in Ethiopia are among the happiest I have ever had the fortune to meet. They are gracious, humble, polite, and smiling. They have something that as a nation we do not.

If you do not work you do not eat. They are happy to be employed. They are grateful to be working, It is such a difference in mentality as I myself have had many days when going to work felt like a huge burden. Not that I've ever had a job so horrid, my entire attitude was one of wanting without effort. In fact it is an attitude that makes it harder to not only enjoy my day, but doesn't enrich anyone else's day either. It is an attitude I dare say we have all shared in for much longer than we'd care to admit.

The orphanage had a kitchen not much larger than my own tiny one where they cook for 58 children. When we met the amazing women who do this 3 times a day they were laughing and smiling and very humble when I told them how incredible it is what they do. They didn't even seem to realize the extraordinary nature of this accomplishment. They work harder there than anyone I know and with seemingly little effort in making it fun. The inspiration there was in every corner and crevice.

It is not how much we do,
but how much love we put in the doing.
It is not how much we give,
but how much love we put in the giving.

~ Mother Teresa ~

The love put into the actions was magical. The love put into the children was something you could see the children flourish with. There is love in abundance in that country. One of the employees who drove us to the southern region had a ringer on his phone I will never forget. Every time it rang a booming voice came on saying " You are blessed. You are blessed in your family. You are blessed in your work. You are blessed in your finances. You are blessed in your relationships." After spending 12 hours listening to this every 1/2 hour or so it was impossible not to feel lighter, refreshed, grateful.

While on this drive we were accompanied by nurses carrying for two eight month old babies. One was paralyzed from the waist down, and had fluid in his brain. He was suffering horrible headaches as his head grew. The other a little girl no larger than a new born. It was shocking to see and I knew the nurses and our guide were very understanding of the pain that kept crawling across our face as we looked a these precious children. We were obviously not used to seeing such suffering especially in such circumstances. While I held the tiny girl who felt lighter than a kitten I could not imagine doing a job such as this. How much emotional strength it would require. They do it though with love and kindness. They give this so freely it seems effortless. Like the earth gives freely to us, they give freely to each other and that is a lesson in being human I will forever be thankful for.

Upon arriving home I am once again caught up in my own first world issues as is human nature. While certain things in me have changed, I work harder to not waste food. I love water even more than I did, and I am challenged to give of myself more. Old habits still remain, but ultimately I think little parts of myself have been changed, and other parts have tasted the inspiration that leads to change.

Ethiopia did not just give me a beautiful son, it gave me perspective, happiness, and a desire to enrich my soul that I have somewhat neglected along this journey. For that I offer my deepest gratitude.

Where there is great love,
there are always great miracles.

~ Mother Teresa ~

Jessa xx

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Yoga Mat, Sophie Kinsella, and a Plane Ticket.


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I'm not sure how other woman prepare for motherhood but my last few weeks have been spent in the cookie isle of the grocery store, contemplating whether the gold or copper eye shadow pallet would be more flattering and then buying both, watching a lot of The Barefoot Contessa, and of course saying goodbye to my shoes. All in all I've learned that when it comes to big life changes I enjoy sugar and the frivolous. Although come to think of it that tends to be my life for the most part only slightly less amplified.

Aside from major sugar consumption I've done a ton of yoga and pilates which has helped my stress levels and my abs look pretty awesome. The fact coughing, breathing, eating, hurts is an unfortunate side affect however. I have about a million questions but I've yet to have the nerve to seriously ask someone if I can get Elle Decor and Vogue in Addis. I mean how do you ask that without sounding like an ass? Now to give myself some credit I am going for an indeterminate amount of time. Thinking about being there by myself for months has me a bit nervous. I'm sure once I'm there I'll be relaxed and at ease with my little man but for now I'm having a hard time parting with my clothing, magazines, kitchen aid mixer, washing machine, cats, and husband. Not in that particular order.

Our journey has been a little out of the norm and watching my son grow up through pictures from 2 months old to 1 year has made him seem less than real. I have all these pictures of him but I don't quite believe this is happening. I think at some point believing becomes hard and is replaced by doubt. I am thrilled I get to see his chubby little arms and big brown eyes soon but it is so surreal.

So today is my last day in Canada for a while! I have my yoga mat packed, Sophie Kinsella's new book, Noam Chomsky's new book, and a ridiculous amount of sweater vests for a one year old. I'm feeling nauseous and excited, but I think I have everything ready. Oh my heavens this is actually happening. The cumulation of 7.5 years of dreaming. Thank you everyone for all your support and hard work these last few years in helping us realize the sweetest of dreams. A few years ago I wrote a poem for my future baby and right now the last verse seems particularly poignant.

I have carried you in my heart for years.
You were conceived in the most extraordinary of dreams.
Your father and I have held your eyes, hands and soul for many moons.
We are bound by love.


Jessa xx