adoption · family · heritage · life · wisdom

turns out…

You can reference a post titled I Am Romanian if you have any questions about what you’re about to read. A dear dear friend who loves me and my heart read that blog post and sent me a DNA kit to solidify or nullify recent news of my ancestry.

Good friends want you to know what you want to know.

When I received my 23andMe kit, I quickly sent my saliva to the lab then patiently waited a good 5 or 6 weeks. Finally the results are in!

Shockingly, the report does not read, “Your wax technician was right on the money honey. You are indeed Romanian.” She wasn’t exactly right, but she wasn’t completely off. Same region just different stock.

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The report reads:

99.8% European. 62.9% of that being Irish and British.

16% French and German and 1.8% of Scandinavian.

I am not a smidge African or Native American. I am not Asian.

Here’s the really cool part!

Hannah and I decided to take a trip to celebrate her 21st birthday combined with the last year of my 40’s and her college graduation. Without knowing ANY of this we chose Ireland.

I’m going home to my people. My motherland. My roots. 

 

It all makes COMPLETE sense. My early 90’s aspiration to master the River Dance…my affections for Ed Sheeran, James Vincent McMorrow and Enya…how I hate beer but sometimes I try it anyways with perhaps a feeling deep within my bones that I should like beer?! I have BIG LOVE for potatoes in every form. Ask me my favorite childhood cereal. Go ahead. Ask me. Lucky Charms. Of course. Craic! All the signs were there! My freckles…my love of rainbows…and now the story about the red headed young man that showed up at our house when I was a baby asking to “see the baby” makes me wonder…was that him? Did you see me in my dark skin and dark hair and think to yourself…Oh no…that baby is Romanian. I’m Irish. Can’t be mine. See ya! 

Flashback.

The year was 1990. I was substitute teaching a 3rd grade class. I was 21 and 7 months pregnant with Paige. Two boys seated at the back of the class were causing quite a stir with their arguing…I disrupted them and asked what the problem might be.

We are fighting over whether or not you are White or Mexican.

I said I was white and the young hispanic boy looked really upset. Did he just bet his lunch money on my ethnicity? Should I tell them it’s a truce because I’m adopted and they could both be right? Was a Little Debbie oatmeal pie up for grabs under conditions that were not completely factual but speculative?

This was the beginning of me wondering on a deeper level about who I was and what I wanted to be…Right there at Devonian Elementary in Andrews, Texas in a classroom full of 8 and 9 year olds I erased the titles of White Baptist Republican and wanted real answers. I had a baby due in a few weeks. Who am I? What are we? Are we Mexican???

But seriously…

As many of you know I grew up in the church. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesdays, Week long revivals…surely by now I’ve heard EVERY scripture at least once if not more?! Maybe so, but lately I’ve been craving something deeper…richer. Wanting something stronger than all past knowledge and a fresh start with Jesus, in January I made a decision to read through the entire Bible, cover to cover, with intention.

While waiting for my DNA results I read this verse…as if for the first time.

“Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

It stopped me. I read it again. Do you mean my biological parents, God?…. or Jim and Dorothy…my Mother and Daddy? Which one do I honor for this long life in the land?

I sat in my question and let it do what it wanted to do.

I waited on God to give me a heart answer…He did. Boy did He…and I got real with my feelings about my adoption…about my story.  I’ve had an unforgiveness in my heart that needed to be dealt with. Unforgiveness is sneaky people. You might need to dig deep to find it. It’s often buried…buried beneath sad and fear and busy and quests for perfection. Dig deep.

I’ve often been asked if I want to find my biological father. I’ve always said, no. Turns out…I do want to find him.

Not to see if we look alike. Not to ask about other family members or health related questions. Not to ask anything…

I want to find him so he can know he is forgiven.

Dear God, I forgive him. It was all he knew to do at that time and I pray he is well. I may never meet him this side of Heaven but I hope with all my hopes that more than the bloodline we share in our DNA, we share the precious Blood of Jesus. And I love him. Just as Christ does. Thank you for my life. Thank you for every cell that played a part in me being here. Thank you for every hand that cared for me, prayer that was prayed for me, both in and out of the womb. Bless them all. In Jesus Name. Amen.

love gina

Parents of Adopted Children.

If you have an adopted child do them the sweet favor of ordering them a DNA kit. Let them know as much as they can with an open heart and understanding.

Part of knowing your ancestry offers a huge sense of belonging…and a sense of belonging is a huge part of our basic human needs.

Oh…and I almost forgot this important detail…

Gina, based on your genetics, you have a slightly higher than average chance of hating the sound of others chewing.

It’s called misophonia. Hi my name is Gina. I am European and I have misophonia.

The only cure is drinking wine.

 

blogging · grace · life · motherhood · wisdom

let’s go be 49…

IMG_2198For the past few years on my birthday I’ve blogged a recap of the year gone by…this year I asked my Facebook followers to ask me any questions they might have about a prior blog post or anything else they might care to know about me…I got two questions:

What is the greatest lesson I have learned in the past decade and What was my biggest challenge in raising girls…I truthfully without hesitation answered THAT one on the spot…BOYS. Quick and perhaps witty but any mama of girls will say Yes and Amen to that answer.

However…the truth and the biggest challenge I faced in raising my girls was not stinky boys or mean girls…it was not the fighting over who wore my shirt without asking or I can’t believe you left my favorite shoes at a friend’s house. No. It had nothing to do with arguments or mood swings or lack of obedience…

The biggest challenge I faced in raising my girls was loving myself as much as they desperately wanted me to love myself.

My self deprecation was alive and well while at the same time trying to convince all three of them that they were more than braces, a bad haircut or the size of their jeans. I was begging them to recognize how kind and smart and brave and beautiful they were, all the while I was hating my reflection and wishing I were more…more of what? More of anything than what I saw staring back at me.

 

 

If I were looking at 40 year old Gina in the mirror right now I would love her. I would say be nice. I would say get over it. You are not perfect…you never will be. You’ve made some mistakes but you’re still standing. It’s not EVER going to be easy. Life is super unpredictable and totally crazy and you don’t know it but your next few years are going to wreck you more than you could ever wreck yourself. Hold on sister…

So if my greatest challenge in raising my girls is anything like any of you might be facing, here is my suggestion…Stop beating yourself up. In the same way you desire for your daughters to love and accept themselves for who they are…to be authentic and kind…start with being kind to yourself. They don’t need you to be a size 2…they just need you to be you. You are the first face they look for in the audience…in the stands…in the crowd. They need you to be so crazy about yourself that when someone says, “Wow, she looks just like you!” That is a huge compliment.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned in the past decade falls in line with my first answer…I’ve learned that loving myself is not arrogant or to be ignored, but crucial in order for me to give honest love and accept love in return.

Thanks for asking.

This is just the beginning of me…

All the days before today were just training days…

Let’s go be 49,

love gina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blogging · life · wisdom

Hello 2018.

I have been buying Bath and Body Works scented wall plugs for what?…20 years now? Seems like it…might even be longer. I recently took advantage of the end of year clearance and bought all new flavors knowing it was time to change them. I have my favorite scents and part of my nesting ritual is deciding where to plug them in so the entire house has a little smelly good in all areas…usually one per room.

We’ve been remodeling and shifting some things around here and I moved the wall plug in my living room to another outlet. Days passed and I couldn’t smell anything…I thought perhaps the fragrance I chose was lighter and also blamed my stuffy nose and this cold that won’t quit. Not the case. I removed it and with the vacuum cleaner nearby plugged it in and turned it on…nothing. The outlet was to blame.

I googled what to do if an outlet does not work:

Switch the circuit breaker off until you’ve located the problem. In most cases, a tripped circuit breaker is caused by a temporary overload on the circuit or a short circuit in some device plugged into the circuit. But in rare cases, a loose wire in an electrical box could be causing the problem.

Tripped up. Temporary Overload. Short Circuits. Loose Wires.

Made me think…

I wonder how many dysfunctional things we are plugged into that are keeping us from doing what we were made to do.

It’s a new day. A new year. Ready to make some changes? Ready to get your power back?

I am!

refresco

Here. I’ll even make us a little starter checklist…

  • Look at your circle. Okay. So we all have people in our lives that can be difficult. You might want to eliminate them all together but let me offer something that has worked for me. Just step away and while you’re away, work on you and be an example. You can’t change anyone, but you can change you. Someone else’s decision making is their decision and your decision not to participate is totally up to you. Bullying is not limited to school yards. Adults can be mean. You know it. Be kind to everyone and pray for those who hurt you. Don’t exchange mean for mean. God can change hearts and perspective. I’ve witnessed this too and it’s beautiful. Please….if you only read one book this year, read Boundaries. Here’s the link…
  • Eliminate the negative thoughts. Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress. Everything takes time. Be good to you. Speak life over your life. If you don’t love you…why should someone else? See?
  • Unfollow.  You have all the power in deciding whose life you want a peek into. That’s all social media is…a virtual look into another person’s quick visual. Following means someone else is leading…let’s look at who we allow to lead us.
  • Delete some apps.  Clear the clutter and look up from your phone. If it’s not making you smarter, kinder, healthier or more productive get rid of it. We are captivated by our phones…our screens…technology…information. We look like a bunch of zombies. It’s sad. I don’t want to look back at my life and see how much time I wasted on things that were trivial and mundane.  Can it get worse? Yes. Can it get better? Absolutely. But it’s totally up to us.
  • Be intentional in what you watch on tv. Look. It’s good to be informed and we can’t live in a bubble of oblivion but get the main points and turn it off. The banter will drive you nuts. You do understand the news runs for 24 hours around the clock and they have to blab about something…stop giving them your ears.
  • Pray for, more than you moan about your country.  Trump won. Let the man serve and pray for him. He won’t be president forever and the unrelenting and uneducated demands at bringing down our leader make us, as a country, look foolish(er). It’s wasted energy. Are you in office? Are you planning to run for president? On that note…begin now praying for our next president.

I haven’t always practiced what I’m preaching here. The lessons have come at a price. And in regards to reformatting your circle of influence…let me add…there was a time in my life that friends I’d known and loved stepped away from me. Yep. And for good reason. Not my proudest moments. I was the one acting a fool and they in all their wisdom had to create boundaries that they felt were best for them. Ouch. Even thinking about it hurts.

Flashback…

I remember a time, just before my divorce…I was living with my sister and my life had dramatically shifted. I’d messed up. Big time. Lots of cold shoulders…and I’m not talking about the fashion trend that invaded our closets in 2017. My little world was turned upside down in a small town with one grocery store…One night the doorbell rang and my sister came to my room…”Gina, someone is here to see you.” I went outside and there she stood beside her suburban. I had yet to hear what she thought of me…I’d yet to hear anything from her. She handed me a plate of chocolate chip cookies. “Here. You need to eat.” I said thanks and she continued… “We don’t hate you. We don’t. We’re just mad at you. We’re mad at you for showing us it can happen. We are all struggling to keep our marriages in tact and if it can happen to you…it can happen to any of us. You are reality and we can’t look.” I took my cookies and went back inside. I wrote down her words and cried. They can’t look. I understood now. I had created a life that was hard to watch. They needed to step away.

It’s okay to step away…

I’d love for you to tell me your plans for 2018 in the comments section below. I will forever be the girl who loves January 1st…who loves fresh starts and new beginnings. THANK GOD FOR NEW BEGINNINGS. I am looking forward to the next 12 months but intentionally living in this very moment. I don’t want to be so plugged into something so dead that I miss finding my true purpose and power.

I pray 2018 finds you plugged into the things that give you back your power…things that allow you an opportunity to shine and emit a sweet fragrance of peace that naturally draws us into your presence and positive energy.

love gina

Continue reading “Hello 2018.”

blogging · friendship · grace · life · wisdom

…just saying

Ice Cream Party

Just saying ?….

No. Sorry. Nope. Actually…we are never…ever…”just saying”….

Words. Man. Oh. Man. The power within them…it’s SO MUCH MORE than just some consonants and vowels and sentences…inflections and expressions.

Our sentences can sentence someone to a life of wondering if what we just said is WHAT and WHO they really are?!

Maybe you are not aware of this yet, so I’m here to tell you…You have the power in your tongue to speak LIFE and DEATH.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21…The Message version puts it like this: Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.

Speak Life.

If we wanted we could take out a piece of paper and write down all the times someone has said something that hurt us, crushed us, belittled us and left us for dead. But, it would only be fair if we flipped that piece of paper over and began listing the times we lost a grip on our own tongues and flew off the handle…leaving someone questioning their worth and creating distance between us and those we love. Ouch. I wonder if the list of our own verbal scars would be much longer than the times we remember being the offender. Oh how we carry around the words spoken to us…it’s too heavy.

Let’s set it down.

Let it go.

Do better.

And do everything we can to make sure we are not increasing the load for someone else.

Can we do that?

Together?

It will truly change you when you recognize that we are all walking around with a loaded weapon…a *”humanly untameable…unruly and poisonous” beast totally ready, willing and able to destroy someone…and often someone we love. *james 3:7-8

You can’t take back what you’ve said…it’s already out there. And the sting will remain long past the apology. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” ~Abraham Lincoln.

And if what is coming out of our mouth is rude and nasty and distasteful…well…here’s another thing we need to know:

Our words are just our hearts talking…yep…

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” ~ Luke 6:45 NLT

Heart Check.

We have soooooo many ways to communicate a message! Face to face, phone, text, email, social media….so many ways to get it wrong and wish we’d stopped before we fired that weapon.

How about this…before we open our Chatter Boxes let’s PAUSE and ask ourselves:

  • Are my words going to build up or tear down?

  • Will my words encourage or discourage?

  • Use the TKN acronym: Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary?

  • Am I gossiping?

  • Is this MY story to tell?

  • Do I really…like really know what I’m talking about?

  • Will I still feel this way tomorrow? You’ll be amazed at how different you feel about something if you just give it 24 hours.

  • Is silence in this moment a better option?

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And look here…

  • If you have to say, “Don’t say anything, but…” before you say anything…just don’t.

  • Taking a verbal jab at someone followed by “just kidding” is not funny. No one is laughing.

I’m sure you can add to the list but it’s a good place to start…don’t ya think?

And remember this one too…

To belittle someone is to be little.

Let’s be the bigger person…

love gina