The Saturday 7

1. Jen Hatmaker. Oh my goodness. I want to say I love that lady SO much but I feel like that's weird since I've never actually met or spoken to her. She was amazing-- totally worth the long drive.

I met up with an adoption friend from Baltimore (they've adopted 3 kids from Ethiopia and 1 from Korea) ... and I'd actually never her met in real life. We met for chinese before the event and hit it off immediately. (It's amazing how adoption makes instant friendships!)

Anyway, Jen. I'd read her book For the Love earlier this year (last year?) and just fell in love with her love for Jesus and her funny, easy style of writing. She was no less amazing in person.

At the Q&A session at the end of the night, one lady last asked Jen for her advice on teenagers. She started laughing and was like... why do people think I'm an expert on raising teenagers, I know nothing. But then she talked about how she has distilled her rules for raising teens down to three things: BE KIND, BE YOU and LOVE JESUS.

Be kind: she talked about how there are so many teens that are struggling and how huge it can be if our teens can just reach outside their comfort zone and be kind to those that are marginalized by social groups and societal norms. Be you: everyone has their "thing". We should tell our teens that they were made who they are and the way they are on purpose, by God, and he loves how he made them! So they should be good at what they're good at, and not care about what others are think. And love Jesus. This one really struck me (as someone who considers herself a recovering "good little christian girl")... she talked about how we as parents should want a love for Jesus to stick with our kids far more than we want our rules to stick with them. Because one day they will fly the nest, and a deep-rooted love for Jesus will carry them further and keep them on the path far better than our rules ever could. She said something along the lines of, "You guys, we have to want more for our daughters than to raise them to not say the f-word and have a pretty good sense of dressing modestly. We just can't let that be our goal! We have to want them to love Jesus more than anything, because that is what will guide their lives, long after we are gone." This resounded with me so profoundly that I will probably always refer back to it through my kids' teen years. It's just so true. (Also I feel slightly vindicated in my preference in kind over right of last week ;))

2. My sisters Anna and Emily graduate today from Eastern University, Anna with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing, and Emily with her Masters in International Development. I am so, so proud of them and their hard work, particularly as secondary education was never particularly encouraged or seen as a goal to aim for in our home growing up (especially for us girls). I've been a witness to how hard Anna has worked over the past years, tirelessly studying, working, pushing, prioritizing, making tough decisions, and never ever giving up. In similar form, Emily completed her degree while living, married, in Rwanda, while working full time and (now) 37 weeks pregnant. I could not be prouder of the example they have set for our younger sisters and for my kids and for everyone who needs to know that yes, hard work and personal commitment and unbending determination really does pay off. Congrats, girls. I love you and am so unbelievably proud of you and the good light that your lives shine.

3. While I'm at my sisters' graduations today, Olivia is at Andrew and Jen's, playing with her cousins.  She told me yesterday, "I'm pretty sure I'm Aurora and Brielle's favorite cousin. Also Eva's." She looovvvess being the "big cousin" (understandably as she is the baby of the family and never the biggest of anything) and will singehandledly entertain her younger cousins for hours.

4. Graduations are so long. We've been here for a full 90 minutes and they just started calling names. And they have 100's of graduates. There must be a better idea somewhere to make these things less torturous... Right?!

5, I hate to be "that person" but the weather lately has just been awful. Cold and rainy for literally weeks. They say this summer is going to be hotter than usual and I hope it is. I will not complain EVEN ONE TIME.

6. Dan and the kids had a Mother's Day surprise for me tomorrow... and then Dan wanted my input on planning details so he told me, but I still have to act like I'm surprised when the kids tell me tomorrow/tonight because they are VERY excited about it. Haha. I'll report back next week. ;)

7. In between the graduations today I'm meeting a friend for lunch. She's a mentor and fellow adoptive mom and we share a lot of life similarities. I'm excited for the chance to catch up with her and fill my "you got this!" tank.

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