EXTRAORDINARY through the Ordinary... (Rachel's New Heart #3)


The first incision to prepare Rachel for the arrival of her new heart was made at approximately 1:30 AM on May 6, 2015.  Earlier in the day, part of the transplant team had already made their way to the site of the precious donor who would ultimately bring life to Rachel through their beating heart.  It wasn't until the team had arrived there and actually gotten a good look at the heart that the final decision was made as to whether they would accept or decline this gift for Rachel.  It was perfect!  Surgery was a "Go"!!!  The extaordinary redemption of what was broken had begun!

I honestly don't know what I did during those hours...  I talked to Doug several times through out the night, before he boarded a plane to the capital city of India, and I tried to busy myself in updating my friends and family as they waited with me near and far.  But mostly, I spent the night alone in what would be Rachel's hospital room for her entire recovery, and I waited for news.  Everyone encouraged me to get some sleep while I had the chance, but I could not imagine sleeping while my little girl fought for life just a few floors below me.  There would be time for sleep later.  Instead, I laid down on my recliner bed and literally visualized myself laying in the lap of God.  I am a lover of words, and I am rarely without any, but on that night, I couldn't find a single word to say to the Lord that hadn't already been said.  Tears came instead.  I knew God understood those better than words, and I found comfort lying there with Him and allowing my emotions to overflow in tears of joy and grief mingled together.

My heart literally agonized for a mother I didn't even know.  I have prayed for her for over three years now... wondering who this unknown hero might be that would ultimately share life with my daughter.  Tonight it didn't matter.  I knew that wherever she was, she was hurting, and I was hurting with her.  I wept because I knew that in those very hours her child would slip into eternity and leave a vacant place in her heart, while hope for more time with my child would be born in mine.  I was overwhelmed with the unfathomable thoughts of God that I am certain I will never understand.  Why her child?  Why not mine?  Why should I receive?  Why should she lose?  The gravity of such an exchange from one mother to another unleashed emotions from within me that I didn't know existed.

The anesthesiologist caring for Rachel in the operating room was kind and kept his promise to update me frequently throughout the night with news of how surgery was going.  He was most gracious to let me know precisely when they expected Rachel's new heart to arrive at the hospital and I intended to be there when it did!  So, at 4:30 AM, our weary crew gathered outside the emergency room entrance of the pediatric unit of Shands and huddled in blankets as we waited for the ambulance carrying our precious gift to arrive.  I could not stand still, so I paced up and down the sidewalk, hardly breathing until the ambulance finally rounded the corner and made it's way toward me.  An ordinary ambulance delivering HOPE for my daughter!

The transplant team and surgeon carrying the heart jumped out of the ambulance and hurried past us with great urgency.  They seemed amused that we were waiting there, as if this were unusual, but they didn't stop us from following, so you can bet we DID!  I remember saying something to the surgeon as he hurried by about "my daughter's new heart", but otherwise no one said a word! I was so fixated on the cooler rolling in front of me with the simple words "Human Organ for Transplant" and  "HEART" stickered on it, that I'm not even certain I was breathing!






We followed the transplant team and that beloved cooler right through the Pediatric Emergency Room and as far down the hospital hallways as they would allow us to go before a door finally closed behind them and they disappeared into an elevator that would take them and this extaordinary gift of HOPE to the operating room where my daughter was waiting.  No one spoke a single word. I just stood their in the hallway of the hospital at 4:45 AM and I sobbed.  All of the uncontainable emotions within me collided and spilled out.

This extraordinatry gift, and the indescribable loss that it represented, ...delivered in an ordinary cooler.  The sight of it and everything it represented literally knocked me to my knees!

I am struck at how God has always chosen the ordinary through which to perform the extraordinary.  Maybe that's why we miss Him so often.  Even God's saving HOPE in the gift of His Son was delivered to the world through the ordinary!  Can't you see it?  Extaordinary HOPE through the ordinary!
         

I saw Him again tonight when extraordinary HOPE arrived for my little girl in an ordinary cooler!








Unacceptable Alternatives... (Rachel's New Heart #2)


There are certain moments in your life that you have longed for and dreamed about for so long that when they finally come, a numbness washes over you and it is as if you are living a dream in slow motion.  So, on May 5th, when I got the long awaited phone call that a heart had been found for Rachel, I can remember trying to take in every single detail of the day and committing them to memory so that I could recall them, to not only share with Doug, but to better digest them later, when my emotions were not so on edge... That's much how I felt as I made my way to Gainesville from home with Rachel for an operation that would ultimately change our lives, either for our incredible gain or for our indescribable loss.

While the opportunity for life can not even begin until that phone rings and news of a perfect match is announced, the realization that this milestone could also mean the end of an earthly life for our precious girl lingers behind every thought.  I learned as we waited, to not take the moments we had been given for granted, knowing that this time could be all the time we had with our daughter!  This news rightly brought the celebration of hope for the life this new heart might bring, but we would have been unwise to forget that the surgery that could bring life to Rachel was a very dangerous one and hers would hang precariously in balance through it.

One particularly poignant part of the process was when they brought consent forms for me to sign as Rachel's mother.  It included a list of risks involved with heart transplantation that was long and daunting.  Most of those risks seemed way beyond any a sane mother would voluntarily agree to.  But without this surgery, the risk of losing Rachel was 100%.  No one could predict how much longer Rachel could survive with her broken heart, but most agreed that she had already far out-lived all expectations and without this life-giving gift, her days, months or years would likely be few.  I've always considered myself to be a risk taker, but the only thing that made me willingly pen my name along that blank line was the unacceptable alternatives we were facing if I did not... 


I was humbled and saddened, too, that another mother had signed a consent much like this one only hours earlier, except that her signature gave life away, while mine received it with hope, in spite of the risks.  My signature had never before felt so weighty or life-altering.  Once I put the pen down, there was no turning back!

The mission trip that took Doug to the other side of the world at this precise time, meant that I would face this life-altering surgery without him.  In our years of waiting, we had always made certain that one of us remained at home with Rachel if the other was far away- whether on mission trips, another adoption journey, or even a planned anniversary trip to Israel!  And though we were always prepared, I had hoped God's plan would not mean that one of us would be gone for such a momentous event as this one.

For reasons I obviously can't understand, God's plan included just that, and I would have to make this particular part of the journey without my partner and best friend.  Several friends and even my mom and youngest son gathered around me for support- but Rachel and I both felt a huge void we wished Doug could have been there to fill!  I carried around my Ipad like a security blanket all afternoon and night- both to capture the events on video for him and because it was my only link to him via Facetime calls in between flights as he made his way home to be by our sides!

One incredibly special moment was the time Doug spent with Rachel just before she was taken to the operating room.  He read scripture, encouraged her for the battle, and prayed for God's mercy and protection over everyone involved.  Thanks to modern technology, their time together was possible, as was this beautiful video I will always treasure...


Time seemed to stand still, and yet in all the preparations, 11:30 PM came quickly and the team from the operating room arrived to escort us to Rachel's long awaited heart transplant!

We could escort her just to the hallway doors near the operating room, but would have to say good-bye there.  The ride down the elevator seemed like a balancing act between overwhelming excitement and fear of the unknown.

Crazy brothers can make even the scariest moments seem like FUN! 


We stopped just outside the doors that we could not go beyond.  I got down on my knees to say goodbye...  The answer was obvious, but I asked anyway.  "Are you scared, Rachel?"  Her bottom lip quivered and she started to quietly cry.  My brave warrior was afraid, and I can't say that I could blame her!  I was afraid too, but this was as far as I could go with her, and she'd have to take these next steps on her own.  I whispered Jesus name in her ear and promised her He would be near.  I would be by her side as soon as she woke up with her new heart.



I stepped back as her brother said goodbye and prayed with her and then we watched as the doors shut behind her and she walked away to the biggest event of her young life... 





Incredible Risks vs Unacceptable Alternatives
HOPE WINS!!!!






A single moment... (Rachel's New Heart #1)

 ...can change EVERYTHING!  



The events of the past week have been amazing- miraculous- unexpected.  After three years and two months of waiting, I had all but given up believing the call that a heart had been found for Rachel would ever come… ever.  The hyper-vigilant state I had begun with right after Rachel was listed for a transplant did not last long.  I realized quickly that it is not possible to stay in such a vigilant state long term!  I’m embarrassed to admit that I had become so un-expectant that I had even unpacked my hospital bags.  If the call suddenly came, I’d throw things back together, but the constant reminder of unmet hopes and dreams those packed bags represented were finally put away.  After over 1,000 days on the waiting list, I wasn’t even counting anymore! 

The most difficult thing about waiting is that most of the time it does not include the knowledge of when it will end.  A waiting mom has a good idea when her baby will finally be born, of course, and this serves to help her hang on when the days get long, but other times of waiting hold no such promise.  Rachel’s wait for a new heart included no promises of a happy ending.  This alone made the wait especially hard.  Would we wait in vain for a new lease on life or would all the waiting finally pay off with the realization of everything we hoped for our little girl? 

There have been times in my life when the object of my waiting appeared so far out of reach, it seemed as if it would never come!  In those times I needed to remind myself that in a single moment, at God’s appointed time, my wait would suddenly end and what appeared endless would slip from my memory as it faded into the past.  In fact, the truth is that the most profound moments of our lives are usually ushered in with little warning and those moments actually change everything!   But we would do well to remember that this is also true of our most prized treasures.  In a single moment, those too can slip away!



I've learned over the past several years that since those moments of life altering change come so quickly and sometimes unexpectedly- we need to heed the words of Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom."  God calls us to live for the moments of today and then trust Him with the moments to come that He has secretly ordained for us.  Some of those moments bring inexpressible joy; and some heart-breaking grief.  I am grateful that we can rest confidently in His sovereign hands - knowing that He is wise and will withhold no good thing from us.  I especially need to cling to His truths on days like this one, when life-changing moments overwhelm me!

On May 5, another mother, whom I have not yet met, had one of those moments that would change everything about her life and mine…   One moment her child was alive and thriving and then suddenly, in a split second, that child was gone.  Her choice to give life away in her loss meant that at 2:34 PM, the moment that would change the course of our little girl’s life would finally arrive!


The phone call that we had waited for exactly 1,153 days would actually come in the form of a FaceTime call from our transplant coordinator and our beloved Cardiologist.  I couldn't imagine why she would be calling via FaceTime and the thought didn't even occur to me that our happy news had actually arrived!

I joked around in my usual way and told her I was too busy to chat!!!  I had five little girls about to get off the bus and my day of real work was about to kick into full swing!  With Doug in India- this was serious business and I had my hands full with so many needs!  I was quick to assure them that I was a woman on the edge!!!!

They didn't seem interested in how I was or wasn't coping with all of the new changes in my life and suggested that maybe I needed to pack a bag and drive to Gainesville that very afternoon!  Huh??  I didn't have time to come to Gainesville!!!  Had they completely missed my rant only a few moments earlier?

This very moment was the one I had waited for and dreamed about for so long, and yet I don't even remember what was said!  Something about an "offer" for Rachel and "how quickly can you get here?"  My heart understood before my head did and it momentarily stopped beating and dropped into the pit of my stomach!  Was I hearing what I thought I was hearing?  A heart for Rachel??? Now???

My mind started reeling with all that needed to be done in the moments ahead if this was truly what I had been hoping for!  I had unpacked long ago!  My husband was on the other side of the world and Rebekah was so new!  How would we pull this off?  But of course we would!!!!  I had a lot to do and very little time to do it!

I was to get off the phone and pull things together in order to get to the hospital two hours away as quickly as possible!  I was frantic to get off the phone and somehow reach Doug in India, where I knew he was sleeping, before Rachel climbed off the bus to hear the news herself!!!

Doug didn't answer his phone!!!  Maybe the FaceTime ring would awaken him...  Ahhh, yes!!!! I could hardly wait while it connected!  The room where he was sleeping was completely dark, but I could hear his groggy voice as he answered, obviously alarmed and not knowing what to expect from this middle of the night call!!!  

I couldn't hold back the tears of joy that flowed from an announcement I had wanted to make for three years and two months!!!  "Doug!!!!!  They have a heart for Rachel!!!!  They have a heart!!!!"  We literally sobbed together through a dark phone screen!  It was one of the happiest phone calls I ever remember placing!!!!  And in that moment, Doug's trip was redirected and he would somehow find a way home to be a part of the long awaited answer to so many prayers on behalf of his precious girl!

He asked if Rachel knew yet... She didn't, but her bus was to arrive from school only moments later! I wondered if it might help him feel closer to home if he could have the honor of telling Rachel the news!  He cried at the thought!  

We were ready and waiting on the family room coach connected to Daddy in a quiet hotel room on the border of India and Nepal when Rachel walked in the door from the school bus...  She came running in and headed straight for the bathroom!  Clearly she had no clue that the moment that would suddenly change the course of her life had arrived!  

I hurried her to the front of the screen where Daddy was waiting.  "Daddy wants to talk to you Rachel!  Come here!"  I was surprised at how Doug held it together for the announcement!  But that ended as soon as the words escaped his mouth... "They have a heart for you, Baby!!!  You're getting a new heart!!!!"


Rachel looked as stunned as I was... I think the long wait had taught her to not expect this moment anymore and she actually thought that her Daddy was joking!  When she realized that he was not- she buried her head into my chest as she tried to grasp the way this moment had suddenly changed everything for her!





Daddy promised to hurry home as soon as he could and we raced into action!  My head was spinning!  I had begun to believe this moment would never come and now that it had, I felt paralyzed and unable to think a sound thought!  Everything went into warp speed!!!  My phone rang off the hook and I celebrated with friends and family as I ran around the house collecting everything I thought one would need for a momentous occasion like this one!  












I was in the car and headed to Gainesville within an hour and would arrive at 6 PM to begin the process we had only dreamed about for so long!!!  It seemed as if the whole Congenital Heart Center at Shands had already begun to celebrate!!!  The moment we had all waited for had finally arrived!  

One moment we thought we would lose our waiting daughter- the next moment brought word that maybe, just maybe, there was HOPE for many more tomorrow's with her instead!




In a single moment… everything had changed!  We thank The Lord for moments like this one that could have only been brought through His loving and gracious hands.  We rejoice in this answer and yet grieve that it only came through the heart breaking moment of another family.  We trust, as joy and grief mingle together, that God has ordained all of our moments and will sustain us through them with His sufficient grace.  Our prayer remains that He alone would be glorified in each and every moment of this journey!


To the mother of my little girl's new heart...


You were my first thought this morning when I awakened to celebrate this momentous Mother's Day. You are not celebrating today.  Instead, you are grieving the loss of your precious child.  Your loss brought life to mine, yet I grieve with you.  I cried out to God for you as I wept.  In your hours of deepest pain, you made a decision that would alter the course of my life and the life of the little girl I love.

You, precious Mother, are the hero of this miraculous story and your legacy that lives on, now beats inside my daughter.  Without your gift, my daughter could not live and before long, I would have joined you in your loss.  Instead, on this Mother's Day, I am celebrating new life.  But I want you to know, more than anything, that I have not forgotten you.  I will never forget you and the imprint you have left on me will never fade.  With your signature, you released the one you love and with mine, that love was received.

While others slept, I counted minutes with you.  I knew precisely the hour your precious child took their last breath and you were releasing your gift and making it mine...  We waited outside in the wee hours of the morning to honor the arrival of your gift in an ambulance from the airport.  I thought of little else but you...  My heart ached for yours as we waited and when it finally arrived and I followed the precious cargo into a back door of the hospital and down the hallways to the Operating Room where my daughter was waiting, I couldn't hold the pain I was carrying for you a moment longer.  I stood in the hallway and wept.  You had taken your devastating loss and used it for the good of someone you didn't even know.  Your act embodies true love and witnessing the arrival of that love in an ordinary cooler literally brought me to my knees.

It would be many, many hours before I would see my daughter again.  In the early morning hours of our wait, I laid alone in the room where they would bring Rachel after receiving your precious child's heart.  I have never before been enfolded into a miracle like this one and it left me speechless before the Lord.  I laid in His lap and simply cried.  Tears of loss.  Tears of joy.  Thankful for life.  Thankful for you...

I remember little about Rachel when I first saw her lying there with her perfect, new heart, except her hands...  Her fingers, always blue and chilled from the lack of blood flow, suddenly pink and warm.  Those hands symbolized the gift she had been given... the one you gave... and again I wept for you.  I doubt that I will ever look at the beautiful hands of my daughter and fail to remember you.

When the monitors play the rythym of your child's heart, I think of you again and the sound of your child's heart thumping healthily in my daughter calls out your name, though I don't even know it.  In the past months and years, I have memorized the shape and rythym of my daughter's broken heart on the echo's monitor.  I would hold my breath as it stuttered and stammered to keep pumping life into my little girl.  I have even fallen asleep with my hand on her chest and felt the irregular pounding of her broken heart, wondering how much longer it could beat all the odds.  I stood in silence as the first images of her new heart came up on the monitor.  It beat in perfect time.  It was strong and healthy.  It was pumping oxygen-filled blood into the body of my little girl.  In that moment, all I could see was your precious child, and your open hands.

That heart does not belong to me.  It doesn't even belong to Rachel.  That heart belongs to you... It always will.  In the greatest act of sacrificial love I can humanly imagine, you chose to give that heart away in order to give life to another.  I am deeply humbled and I will never forget that this immeasurable gift is a sacred trust that binds us together as mothers.

On this Mother's Day, the sting of your child's absence must seem unbearable.  But because of you, your child's life goes on and still has the power to change the world through the lives it touches.  I promise to treat the treasured heart that you have entrusted to us, as I would my very own.  I will nurture it and protect it with everything in me as it beats inside of my daughter.

I pray that God will use the life you have shared to impact His Kingdom mightily and that your gift of a beating heart will send ripples into eternity.  May the HOPE of Christ shine brightly through the life of my daughter, Rachel, and the miracle story that includes you!

My prayer will always be the one I am praying for you today... May your HOPE be renewed.  May you sense unexplainable JOY in the role you have played in redeeming the broken.  Christ understands your sacrifice so much better than I ever could.  I pray that His sacrifice on your behalf would be dearer to you than ever before and that you would find His immeasurable grace to be sufficient for you today and in the days to come.

You were my first thought this morning and you will be my last as I close this day.  I hope you can hear my tear-filled whispers, as I celebrate you today.

Happy Mother's Day to my hero, the mother of my little girl's new heart... 

On your mark... Get set...

GO!



I am writing from an airplane tonight, heading HOME from an incredible, life-changing trip to China with our fifth treasure in tow.  I am happy to go home, but feel as if there is just not enough time to digest the events of the past few weeks, or more specifically, the 8 days since I finally met Rebekah!  She is so much more than I could have imagined!  Precious - afraid- tender hearted- bossy- hurting- joyful -tearful- affectionate- grieving- excited... I have been swept away in all she is and her entrance into my life seems almost like a dream. 





I am reminded though- as I return to life as normal- that some things will never be normal again.  I wonder how all of my other angels will change as they adjust to her presence in our midst.  Will it change my marriage or steal away the little freedom I had remaining in my days?  And while I leave breakfast buffets and hotel maid services behind and the fun-filled days of just getting to know one another becomes a thing of the past, I am reminded that the toughest work lies ahead.  The traumas of abandonment and less attention from Mommy to go around will mean a heavy workload for me in the foreseeable future.  I am happy to go home, but in a moment of gut level honesty- I am nervous.  I feel selfish and wonder if I am up for the challenges ahead.  The call God has placed upon my life means a greater to death to self, and like anyone else, I shrink back at that idea more than I embrace it! 

If I have learned anything about the Lord in this journey, I have learned to see His many tender mercies woven into my days when I most need them.  As we settled into our seats on the plane and I got Rebekah started with an episode of Winnie The Pooh, I began to scroll through the many, many choices of in flight entertainment.  I was shocked to see that the movie "Chariots of Fire" was offered.  While I have known for many years about the famous runner, Eric Lidell, and even quoted him when speaking before, I had never had the opportunity to see the entire movie about his running career and his bid for an Olympic Metal.  Little did I know that God would use this film to tenderly speak to my heart and remind me where I have come from, why I came, and the path He would have me run on the journey ahead. 

Eric Lidell was an amazing runner and there was much promise for him in doing what God had blessed him to do.  But he also felt a call to serve the Lord on the mission fields of China.  He felt a constant struggle between what he felt he was good at and what he sensed to be God's will for his life.  Finally, after much prayer and a refusal to compromise His commitment to honor God in all things, whether running or on the mission field, Eric decided to continue to run.  He understood completely that God is most honored when we do what He has gifted us to do and when we do ALL things for His glory.  His words echoed through my soul, as they have in the past and strengthened my resolve for my own run ahead.

Eric Lidell said this- "God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast.  And when I run I feel God's pleasure."   So He ran and He honored the Lord in his running and he earned an Olympic gold medal in the process!  The movie ends with his triumphant victory in the Olympic Games, but after all the credits had run and honor had been given to all the actors of this amazing story, there was a quiet footnote... "Eric Lidell died as a missionary to China after many years of faithful service".  That little footnote told me so much more about this man than an entire movie on his running career could!  He was committed to honoring the Lord with EVERYTHING he had, and he did!

Being a homemaker is not going to win me a gold medal or any earthly prize.  Neither will it earn me fame or riches.  But if I selflessly love the children God has given to me... If I love and respect my husband as onto Him, and if I care for our household with honoring Him as my ultimate goal, then I can sense His pleasure over me as I do those things too! 

My sense of purpose has been renewed as I make the final lap of this race and prepare to begin a new one when my feet hit the ground at home.  Already I sense God's pleasure and it spurs me on to give it my all!!!!   Strap on your running shoes with me!!!  We have a race to run! 


On your mark...  Get set... GO!


(Following is the video of our homecoming when Rebekah finally met her Daddy for the first time!  It was as miraculous as our Gotcha Day in China 8 days earlier!)




I cried too...


Before my traveling partner and photographer spills the beans on me, I think I should just go ahead and confess.  The first time I heard Rebekah cry, I cried too...  I know, I know!  It was only a little blood draw for her TB test and I wasn't even in the room because new parents aren't allowed.  But the sound of her crying through that closed door pushed my unusually tender heart over the edge and I lost it!!!!  Then my always tender hearted videographer lost it too, and we were both toast!!!!

Sonia and I have been through a LOT together.  We've walked through life and death situations with our heart kiddos side by side and have prided ourselves in our uncanny ability to find laughter in the midst of it all.  Never have we failed to howl our way through the most difficult circumstances we've found ourselves in.  Yes- we have cried too, (in case you're worried!) but we are best known around the hospital for our laughter.  It's our hilarious coping mechanism, I guess, and until that day in the adoption medical clinic, Sonia and I had an unspoken understanding of one another.

But in that single moment it all crumbled!  Sonia stood opposite me and clicked photos in a state of what must have been unbelief!  I was crying over a TB blood draw!!!!  I'm guessing that my unpredictable tears probably appeared only half as foolish as I felt, when I realized the camera was capturing this embarassing moment for all time!  Worst of all, I knew that my photographer would hardly let those tears dry before she responded in her most typical fashion and laughed hysterically over my upsurdity!  She did not disappoint!  





I haven't heard the end of it from Sonia, of course, and I have to admit that I, too, find myself hysterical each time I remember the events of that day.  But I feel that in defense of my behavior, I should explain...

I am a typical adopting Mama and a relentless dreamer.  That combination can create some pretty unrealistic expectations for the first few weeks together after Gotcha Day.  I have had my own share of disappointments in this area, so I dedicated many, many hours of prayer regarding this matter of my heart.  I wanted to love simply and selflessly, as Christ would.  I wanted a heart that loves for the good of another, instead of the rewards for self.  This does not come naturally for me, so I begged God to do a super-natural work in my heart and give me a sweet affection for Rebekah that I could not produce on my own.

The unexpected tears that flowed from a tender heart, for a little girl I hardly knew, were proof of God's sweet answer to my prayers.  I was keenly aware of the work He had done in my heart from the moment I met Rebekah, that flowed into those first hours and then days together.  I knew that while my emotions are unpredictable and flaky, the instant affection and tenderness I felt for her were a gift from the Lord.  I will always treasure the wonder I felt as I witnessed His super natural love flowing through me onto this broken child.


The tears that Rebekah shed at the medical clinic were the first I had seen, but were the beginning of  a time of deep grieving for her.  For several days, Rebekah's smile disappeared and the pain of all she had lost bubbled to the top.  She would hold it in as long as she could and then the tears would flow from her broken heart in the saddest sobs you've ever heard.  I felt helpless.  There was simply nothing I could do to lessen her pain or shoulder her losses...


She even bled in the shape of a heart that day!




And in one of the sweetest answers to prayer I have ever known, I cried too...

Selfie Fun...

With full disclosure I must admit that I hate the new selfie culture!!!  Never have we been more focused on ourselves and the ability to take endless instant photos of ourselves that we can share with everyone we know via social media so that they can look at us too!  This is pure craziness!!!

While on a cable car over the mountains outside Hong Kong, we had the distinct privilege of sharing the ride with a teen girl who primped and polished herself to perfection and then proceeded to take selfie, after selfie, after selfie of herself for her adoring public.  She was so engrossed in herself that she didn't notice the nine other riders witnessing the entire event in unbelief!  Someone help me!!!!

While we were in Shanghai, visiting the Ancient City, we discovered that the latest craze on the tourist market is something they call a "selfie stick"!  Sellers of these contraptions came from every direction and tried to pawn theirs off on me for "the best price" in town.  Time for some investigation as to what this thing was and why I might want one!  OK... maybe these thingies are a little bit cool!  I'm pretty certain my "yuppy device" generation kids would think so!

I must swallow hard before I type this.  Here goes...  I bought three selfie sticks.  THREE.  How embarrassing!  I am now offically contributing to the prevailing selfie insanity, including the one in my own home!  This purchase will forever allow my preteen girls to take photos of themselves from every angle and at any distance they choose within the selfie stick's extended length, with a simple click of a button!  What has become of me?

Since I had already lost all my sensibilities in this area and spent money to further its' cause- I decided to just go with it.  I had no desire for a single photo of myself, but I was pretty smitten with a little someone who rather liked taking selfies.  If a simple selfie brought a smile to my hurting girl, I was all in!

So then, with no further ado...

Selfie Fun with Rebekah~