May 232010

Thank you for giving us the time we needed to find our storyline again and pick it up where we left off.

During the excitement of telling our story and getting the response we did from you, we somehow forgot everything we had just learned. That doing hard things, things of consequence, is never done on our terms and schedule.

Instead we set off to make getting involved easy, to make it just one-click to making a difference. We wanted to make sure that you got to see the results quickly, received your tax deduction, weren’t offended by the core mission of the orphanage, weren’t distrustful of those collecting money, while at the same time helping GSF in a way that was actually helpful. We were exhausted before we even got started.

Because helping in a way that is actually helpful is often hard, uncomfortable, illogical, and never quick.

Please forgive us for getting caught up in the excitement and not thinking it through, for underestimating the effort and for forgetting that making hard things easy is a stinkin full time job, and we both have full time jobs and some kids that need us to cross the “T”s and dot the “I”s to get them home.

So we need to step out of the orchestration business and ask you to use the processes already put in place by

Email us ([email protected]) to get our address if you have materials already collected and we’ll get it there. Thanks for those that have already done so.

We want to thank all of you for your understanding and grace as we’ve sorted this out behind the scenes. It has been an extremely hard and humbling decision to make but one we feel good about. If you’ll still have us, we’d love to introduce you to our kids when the time is right.

-Mike and Megan


Monkees, G here.

So. To be clear, there will be no official partnership between Momastery and GSF, but you are welcome to donate individually and send what you’ve already collected to M &M. And Mike and Megan, we will still have you, absolutely. Everything you wrote was true. We love you two. You’re right, this is hard stuff.

Monkees- I have spent much of the past month trying to prepare this service project for you. I have cried, lost sleep and prayed exasperated prayers. I have run into wall after wall, and like Ms. Pac Man, I’ve turned around and chomped full bore in a different direction. I’ve flailed about. That’s what I do, I flail about. I stress, I worry, I panic. Even though I encourage you all not to. Because I believe in service, and I believe in you. Because I cherish your enthusiasm and courage and generosity and confidence in me. Because I really, really don’t want to let any of my dancing partners down. And mostly because I always forget that I am Not In Charge.

I always expect that when I jump up and say HERE I AM, God will respond: Oh YAY! There you are! How wonderful of you! You look so CUTE! Come right on in and help!”

But He doesn’t. Ever. Instead He says in a million different ways: “Are you sure? Are you really sure?”

Ask anyone who’s tried to start a non-profit. Or tried to adopt. Or tried to teach. Or answered the call to serve others in any capacity. Ask Mary, who must’ve been thinking…A DONKEY, REALLY? NO ROOM AT THE INN? Are you KIDDING ME? I don’t know why it’s so hard to do what He asks us to do, it just is.

It seems especially hard when you’re trying to work with children. I think maybe He loves those little ones so much that He doesn’t let anyone near them until He’s positive that her heart is in the right place. Until she’s ready. Until she’s been tested. And I think He might be telling me that my heart has some more preparing to do.

Don’t get me wrong, Monkees. I’m not giving up. Quite the contrary. I am mind-numbingly stubborn. But this journey requires some serious humility. And it appears that right now I’ve got a hell of a lot more learning than teaching to do. I have been schooled this past few weeks. And I’ve got a hunch I’ve only just begun my education. I’m like in service preschool. I keep thinking of U2’s line….If you wanna kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel…..

The good news is, I know a few things I didn’t know a month ago.

I know that my heart is in Rwanda, with my Sister. Rwanda is where my service project is. That’s where my partner is. I’m not taking another step unless it leads there. So that’s good information.

But this time around I’m taking a much different approach.

I’m going to take my own advice and step back, slow down, and focus up. I’m going to stop worrying and planning. God willing, I am going to visit Rwanda, squeeze my Sister, and meet her new friends. I am going to slowly learn from Sister, who is there now and is a willing partner. And I am going to make you no promises and offer no time-line. I am going to be patient and listen for God and try to elongate my five minute Western attention span. I am going to relax and keep my heart open and get on with life and love the ones in front of me and see what happens.

And I am going to encourage you to do the same. If your heart is on fire to do some good, then do it. Find it. No need to wait for me. There are Calcuttas and Ugandas and Rwandas all around us. God has a place for each of us. Ask Him to clear a path for you and then follow the bread crumbs.

And if your heart is telling you to wait on Sister and Rwanda and me, well I think that’s wonderful too. I am confident that when the time is right, He’ll gather the people He wants working with us. Whether it’s a hundred Monkees or five, the right people will show up. When it’s Time. And When it’s Time, nothing will be done publicly.

And here’s what I really want to do now.

I just want to keep telling you my little stories. I want to keep introducing you to each other, making you laugh and sharing my thoughts about hope and love and faith and big old human hearts. Also, if it’s okay, I’d like to keep writing about my zits and bangs because they’re on my mind a lot, too. And they’ve gotten much, much worse. Just terrible.

I have so much news for you. Not big world changing news, just little family news. I’d like to get back to that for awhile. That’s about all I can do, that’s what I love to do.

I hope that works for you.



P.S. This is Monday’s post, it’s just up early. Catcha back here on Tuesday. With some funnies.

Feb 142011

“Even if your hands are shaking . . . and your faith is broken. Even as the eyes are closing . . . do it with a heart wide open. Say What You Need to Say…”

Thank you, Sarah…for being brave enough to Say What You Need to Say.


Hi, my name is Sarah and I have post-partum depression.

Thanks to Glennon, who has cured me of the need to measure up to her blogging standards, and after much agonizing, procrastinating and rewriting, it finally dawned on me that I don’t need to tell you all my story and teach you something about post-partum depression (PPD).

Instead, I just want to have a conversation. And maybe while we’re talking, you might have a “me too” or “aha” moment. Because I believe that it’s not PPD that kills mothers, it’s the silence that surrounds it. It’s how much like an untouchable you feel while experiencing it; an outcast. Even among your closest, most supportive friends, spouses, sisters, mothers. At least that’s how it felt to me. By admitting I had PPD, I felt I was breaking the universal law decreeing that women are born to be warm, natural, stable mothers. Like I was breaking up the band

Things are much better now, but I still don’t really feel like a true success story–my oldest son turned 4 years old in November, his little brother turns 2 in March. I’m still dealing with PPD, but in ever-changing ways. Just when you feel like you’ve really gotten one over on it, it bites you in the ass. That has been the hardest lesson for me, that I have to be ever vigilant in order to maintain the balance I’ve clawed may way back to. Frankly, it tires me to be that vigilant. But on most days, I’d tell you—joyfully–that I love my children, my husband, my life as a mother.

I’ll start things off by laying it out there and doing what Brené Brown, a wonderful researcher, teacher and writer, calls “speaking shame:”

I suffered from PPD with both of my kids, but didn’t get help until the second one. Yes, I went to therapy weekly once I got help, for over a year. Yes, I just saw my therapist again a few weeks ago for the first time in almost 6 months. No, I’m not taking medication. But I think almost weekly about trying it just to see whether I’ll feel better more consistently. Yes, my husband is supportive and wants me to get better. But no, he doesn’t really understand it and might never do so.

Yes, my oldest son would tell his Daddy that he didn’t want to be alone with me because I “yelled at him and cried all the time.” No, I didn’t think I was suicidal, but then had thoughts about how much better off my family would be without me. Running away was another possibility.

Yes, there were a few times when I was afraid I might hurt my second son. No, I did not tell that to my therapist. Yes, I put him in his crib, crying (both of us), and walked away when I felt that way. No, I never hurt him. Yes, it ripped a hole in my heart, and continues to, when I think about it. Yes, I’m caught off guard many days with waves of nausea-inducing shame for aiming that much anger toward a small, helpless baby. Yes, I have a normal, loving bond now with both of my boys.

Yes, walking, fresh air and time alone helped. Yes, yoga helped. No, bubble baths and wine did not help. Yes, getting four consecutive hours of sleep for several nights in a row helped, a lot. Yes, I seethed with hate for my husband for a long time, for no clearly apparent reason. Yes, our relationship suffered. No, we never went to couples counseling. Yes, I wish we had. Yes, I had to hire a babysitter to stay with me and my sons when my husband played golf every Monday night during the summer my second was born. Yes, I called him on the phone, hysterical, the first time he tried to leave me alone with my two boys to play golf. Yes, I was working full time when I was in therapy, still fighting PPD. Yes, it sucked. Yes, I did tell a few colleagues.

No, I don’t plan to have any more children. Yes, I’m happy with that decision. No, I didn’t have complicated pregnancies or deliveries. Yes, I needed and enjoyed therapy.

Of course, there is much more, but I think this is enough for now.

Oct 202011
A Guest Post from Tova

Dearest Monkees,

Do you remember when Glennon and Andrea started the auction for Joy (Rocky at that time)? And then a friend joined in with a book sale? And prior that a friend auctioned an Ipad for us? And after this auction we raised another $1,400 by selling paperbead necklaces that had been donated. And then, we received an adoption grant of $10,000.


That all really, really happened.

You need to understand that adopting Joy was a complete and total leap in faith. I remember emailing with Glennon and mentioning to her that I felt like we had no business starting this adoption because I felt like we had none of the resources needed.

And we didn’t.

No savings, no investments, no loans available, no credit available. Heck, we STILL have our adoption loan from our first adoption. We managed to save and fundraise our way through our second adoption. It was such a gift.

I had no faith for a third adoption. I figured we had maxed out our resources. All of them.
We had those moments where adoption payments needed to be made and we literally didn’t have the money.

And it came. Every single time. Surprise gifts from friends. Organized fundraising. The grant. This is the first time we are drowning in debt after an adoption. We are flat ass broke and about a month behind, but I am fine with that because it feels so good compared to what we’ve experienced in the past.

If you think that I was the faithful, peaceful and trusting adoptive mama through this, you are wrong. I hedged all my bets. Did all the fundraising saying that if this didn’t work we would give the money to another family or return it to people.

The process of adopting Joy brought pain. Struggle. Fear. Questioning.

As you might remember, Joy has HIV. We were asked by our agency to consider adopting her. They did everything they could to make it possible for us.

We had relatives freak out. People said the dumbest, most thoughtless things. I wrestled a lot. With what we were doing. To our finances, our existing children, our community.

There were two things that kept me facing towards Joy.

1. The question was ‘is this harder for me, or is facing the possibility of my child not getting adequate medical care harder?’

2. Can I do this? Can I raise my daughter to be kind and gracious, but firm, in the face of some of the most stupid, stubborn ignorance that I’ve ever seen? In order to do that, I had to learn to be kind and gracious, but firm.

The first question required more wrestling than I care to admit. But it really was the easy one.

The second one? That required a lot of support. Some from my counselor who walked me through appropriate and allowable responses to different people’s comments. This was an amazing experience for me and impacted all aspects of my life. I had friends who let me bitch, whine, complain and rage. And I have this community that tells me over and over to ‘look for the good’, ‘try not to be a jerk’, that ‘We belong to each other’ and that being gracious is a huge gift. That looking beyond the stupidity and ignorance often leads to healing and redemption.

And it’s all true.At one point we had enough reasons to justify leaving our church. People suggested we do that. But I got stubborn. And maybe a tiny bit tired. We stayed put. We kept trying to talk and to listen. It’s not been perfect, but the overwhelming majority are supportive and wonderful. That would not have existed if I had left when it was just overwhelmingly horrible. That’s what this Monkee community has given me. Stories from all of you to lean on. To hold onto. Stories of staying still, stopping to listen, or just taking that one more uncomfortable step.

So, thank you.

Going to Africa to bring Joy home was excruciatingly difficult as I have a PTSD diagnosis that results from a home invasion/hostage situation I was in the last time I was in Africa.
Going to bring her home was the bravest thing I’ve ever done. I could have stayed at home, but I knew I would regret that more than pushing through the fear.
It was fantastic. Our trip was hard, but I was both strong and vulnerable. I was present for my new daughter. I found a lot of personal healing on my trip. There was a lot of weeping, but so, so much joy. And she is.

Since coming home I have watched my little peanut win hearts, break down big huge grown men, and crumble people’s fears and hardness. I literally watched one person who was dead set against her, start to cry when seeing her for the first time.

Our child is so special. This is brought home to us again and again. The nurse at her Children’s Home told us that they called her their miracle child because they almost lost her. Her pediatrician here, told us at her last visit, that she cannot explain why this child is alive or doesn’t have massive brain damage. That her medical records show three times when most other children would have died. That she does not understand how this is possible.

But she is. She is healthy, happy, thriving, getting chubby, and mentally, emotionally, and physically on target. Not one medical professional has been able to explain her. She is now labeled as technically HIV + but unable to transmit. How’s that for shifting people’s preconceptions?

This makes my heart so glad. I’ve learned so much on this journey, grown a tremendous amount, discovered strength I had no idea I had, learned that vulnerability is the baddest ass strength of all, and done so much healing.

Thanks Monkees, wish you could all come over for a cup of tea and meet her.

Note from G:

Hm. If Toves hadn’t made herself vulnerable here . . . we would’ve missed all of this Joy. Hm. Hmmmm.

God Bless You, Tova.

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