Monday, November 17, 2008

The BEST DAY of the year...

Every family has special celebration days. Birthdays are a given. Around here, we have 5. Then there's Christmas, Thanksgiving, anniversary, and all the other random holidays. Today is our favorite. It's the most special of them all. It's one that not many families have - we are so lucky! Today is family day.

4 years ago today - everything became official. God's plan from way before we were even created came to complete fruition. We all *legally* became what we had always been - a family.

November 17th, 2004 - adoption day.

A girl who had once only had empty dreams was suddenly all she ever wanted to be...a mom.
A boy who always wanted boys to play ball with a son of his own suddenly had an entire infield...ready made. :)
2 boys who were lost and hurt were suddenly found...and healed. AND used to heal broken hearts and dreams.
AND a little 8 month old baby who was a miraculous, unexpected first-born became the youngest brother.

We couldn't have written it any better. We NEVER IMAGINED the depths of God's plan for our lives. We wanted 1...we got 3. We wanted *now.* We we told *wait.* We waited...for 3 years. Every single minute was worth it. Every penny spent on infertility treatments. Every month on Clomid. Every Lupron shot. Every follistem shot. Every disappointing meeting with the doctor. Every failed IUI. Every tear. Every prayer. Every bit...worth it.

Each November 17th, we celebrate. We have a special breakfast (Daddy cooked biscuits, sausage, eggs, bacon, etc - not our usual cereal). We have a special dinner (the boys chose - Sonic. AGAIN). We talk about what it means to be adopted, and how that means that you are chosen. We talk about God being perfect in His planning and timing. We talk about loving a child and having them grow in your heart while they grow in somebody else's tummy. We talk about being a family FOREVER, and never having to go live with another foster family again.

I knew that Shawn was going to cook breakfast, I didn't know he even bought accessories. When we came into the kitchen, he had balloon plates for everyone with those #4 candles that usually are on a 4-year-old's bday cake. I LOVE that he chose all of it himself and that it was special. Each boy had a 4 in his biscuit...4 years together. Keith couldn't wait to get to school to tell Miss Tisdale and Mrs. Tidwell and Mrs. Vicki that today is family day. "Mama, everybody doesn't have a family day, you know?" "Yeah Keith...I know. We're just lucky..."

Sometimes I wonder where she is...what she's doing...if she remembers them. Does she miss them? Does she wake up at night and wonder how they look, if they're good boys, what their laugh sounds like? Does she miss them? Does she cry for them? Does she ever call out their names? Does she realize the incredible gift she gave us? She gave us what we couldn't give ourselves...the gift of life. We gave them what they needed Safety. Shelter. Future. They gave us more than they will ever realize.

It's only been 4 years, but I can't remember life before them. 4 years ago...we were 2. 4 years later...we are 5. 1 birth... 3 children. 3 children... 2 mothers. 3 children... 3 fathers. Mathematically it doesn't add up. I've never been a fan of math anyway.

We are so blessed, all of our children have an amazing story. Griffin is our miracle boy. We were told that we'd never conceive without medical intervention. 6 months of clomid. 7 IUI's. (Jon and Kate only needed 1...YIKES!) Countless shots. All equaled nothing. Doing nothing except praying for God's intervention on behalf of Keith and Zack equaled Keith, Zack, AND Griffin. Miraculous.

We tell K and Z how special their lives they are chosen by God and have a special honor. Moses was adopted. Esther was adopted. Samuel was technically adopted. Pretty special people. And God compares us as adopted children, brothers and sisters of Christ.

K and Z have new birth certificates. They read that on their birthdays, in the hospitals where they were born, Amy Garrett Martin gave birth to them. Shawn Webster Martin is listed as the father. NOWHERE is there an asterisk...nowhere does it say "these aren't the real parents, these children are adopted." They are as much "mine" as Griffin Christopher is. (actually, if you've seen Griffin's behavior, you will know that he is WAAAAAYYYYY mine, especially if you happened to see him getting his little tail blistered in the car rider line this morning). I don't remember where exactly I was on July 15, 1999 or August 31, 2000. But I know where I was on November 17, 2004. Becoming in the eyes of the law what I had always been...Keith and Zack's mom.

Soon we'll be saying "Happy Thanksgiving." After that it will be "Merry Christmas." Then soon after that we'll have to sing "Happy Birthday" to both Shawn and Griffin. Then will come "Happy Easter," then "Happy Mother's Day," then "Happy Anniversary," then 3 rounds of "Happy Birthday." All are wonderful days; all are great things to say. But...nothing will be better than what I heard this morning. 3 sweet boys with messed up hair and sleepy eyes sitting around a kitchen table with birthday candles in biscuits singing, "Happy Family Day to you...happy family day to you...happy family day 5 Martins...happy family day to you."

I have pictures of the morning that I want to share. But our Daddy is at a Men's Dinner at church, and my camera cord is in the car outside. It's cold and dark...I'm not going out tonight. I'll post the photographic evidence tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A proposition for ya...

Okay - raise your hand if you love to laugh. (lots of hands up here) Now, raise your hands again if you love to eat. (again, lots of hands) Finally, raise BOTH hands if you love to eat GOOD food and laugh till you want to pee on yourself. GOOD! I have just the thing for you! My church is having a Comedy Dinner Theater on Sat. November 22nd at 6:00. The food is going to be super yummy. And, I can ASSURE you that the comedy is going to be off the chain ! (isn't that what all the cool kids say?) How can I make such a guarantee? Well, because I AM PRODUCING THE WHOLE SHA-BANG! Yep, you heard right, this is my comedic debut. Well, for those of you who know me, you know that I've been funny for practically EVER. :) But I have pulled together a night of a thousand laughs, and you HAVE to come! Remember the More Cowbell Skit from SNL? It's there. And SHAWN is playing the Will Farrell part. Remember the Spartan Cheerleaders? I can tell ya, they ain't got NOTHIN' on "The Martin Cheerleaders." Yep, Craig and Arianna will be there as the form of Shawn and Amy. That's about it for my acting roles, but I've written a few original skits and recruited some uber-funny church pals to star. I simply can't wait. YOU CAN BE THERE TOO! This is a fund raiser our mission team; we are sending a team of 20 something to Costa Rica for a week next summer. This will be my dad's 2nd trip to Costa Rica...Gigi's first! We planned well, there are NO BAMA or Auburn games on the 22nd. So you're free! The cost is $15 per person, that includes dinner, dessert, and comedy! If you're interested, (and you know you are), let me know. We are ending reservations this Sunday, and we're booking up fast. So check you calendar and make your reservations. Cha Cha Boochie...Cha Cha Cha Boochie ROLL CALL! (just a little taste from Arianna)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I said it's be...

from ALABAMA! What a game! What a year! What a team! For the record, I am not now, nor have I YET bragged about "what we will do" or anything like that. I am simply savoring each victory as they come. This particular one was *especially* sweet. Um, hello. To quote my sweet mama, "Aim, they burned Coach Saban in effigy. That is klu klux klan behavior!" was. I still haven't figured that one out, yet. They can burn scarecrows on crosses. I'll take a win on the field ANY DAY. So...who's with me? Who is LOVING the Tide this year? Um, hello...who isn't?!?! Hit me up with a comment, what a better way to start the week than with a big Roll Tide?


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

3 in one day? Are you KIDDING me?

In conclusion...(one more time) I must share this epiphany I just had. I can see it now...2012... a new Presidential team. 2 mavericks. 2 deep thinkers. 2 influential candidates. We need a "shake up," and I have just the team for us. They might not fit in the box of either political party, but I think this lethal, um, logical combination is a sure thing for America. That's right...I am stepping out and going ahead and calling the next leaders of the free world...Amy Martin and Kristin Fields for Co-Presidents, 2012.

Can you even IMAGINE how stinking CUTE the White House would be? And how much laughter, and spanking of children would take place on Pennsylvania Avenue?


One last political word...

I just watched John McCain's BEAUTIFUL concession speech. I was touched. Everything he said, I pray that we as Americans will commit to achieve. In defeat he showed more class and honor than I would think possible if I were in his shoes. While I may not agree wholeheartedly with the party he represents, I also don't agree wholeheartedly with the party of our new president. I do wholeheartedly love America. I hope that we can do as Mr. McCain said, and come together with the common goal of making an even better America for our children.

Things I learned today...

1. It's amazing how quickly you hear from people that you NEVER hear from when you mention politics. Hello strangers! Welcome back to my life. Where have ya been? :)
2. It's nice to have intelligent people as friends who both stretch and challenge you. (hello Kristin)
3. It's OKAY to disagree. Really, it is.
4. It's nice to hear that your opinion has in some way influenced the thinking of other people. Especially when that's what you were trying to do in the first place.
5. It's FUNNY how just expressing your disagreement with the views of a certain political party automatically equates to campaigning for/endorsing/"being in cahoots with" another certain political party/candidate. Someone please show me where I said that I was an Obama supporter on my previous posting....I can't seem to find that particular section. :)
6. I tend to ramble when trying to convey my point. I INTENDED to talk of my absolute disgust at labeling those less fortunate as "lazy and deserving," my hatred of racism and how rampant it still is today, and so forth. Instead, I came across as a torch bearer of Universal Health Care and Barack Obama.
7. I should find a good seamstress. I need to have a scarlet letter crafted up. Mind you, I don't need a scarlet "D" or "O." Instead, I'd like one of those nifty ghost buster circles with a slash mark surrounding a big ole' scarlet "R." (that is for you, know who you are....I am having a scarlet letter fashioned for you as well) :)
8. Good Lord...we need a good laugh! (Thanks Codie!) Codie has really thought out the Presidential issue, and she is supporting Mickey Mouse for Pres. I must know me...I'm a maverick. (LOL!!) Well, maybe not a about a pot-stirrer? :) I can't support Mickey Mouse for President. Instead, I am supporting Buddy the Elf from Elf. He is good at smiling, smiling is like his favorite thing. He is always happy, and he has a great strategy for settling hot disagreements/wars. He would simply meet with the people who were against us, call them "Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins'" and be done with it. He might say that they smell of beef and cheese, but come on....they probably do.
9. If McCain/Palin win...we'll be fine. If Barack Obama wins...we'll be fine. Tomorrow is another day. The sun'll come out - tomorrow. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow.
10. Joannie Spates - I stinkin' love you. You are the most positive, uplifting person I know. And I love you. You are a blessing.
11. Just for Kristin - I will share this number. This morning around the breakfast table, the Martin boys were talking politics. K and Z were discussing that today our school would be voting for President. Keith said, "Zack, who are you voting for?" Zack said, "Well Keef, Obama is da' blue one...Johnny McCain is da' red one." Griffin said, "Daddy, who are we voting for? Obama or Nick Saban?" Without missing a beat, in unison, we both replied, "NICK SABAN." Come on, people...can ANY of us argue with that choice?

I love you all. I do. More funny postings to come. But get ready...I still have a big ol' rant on racism that I've been itching to get out. It's coming...when you least expect it. :)


Monday, November 3, 2008

Here it political blog! Please pretend this picture is at the end...not the beginning...

So...the election is tomorrow. I've sat patiently by and listened to all the political fodder forEVER. I've received all the jokes, poems, video clips, etc. I've watched the debates, done the research, read everything I could find on both candidates. I have long debated sharing my opinion because it stands in contrast to almost everyone around me. Shawn and I have the same political feelings, and by the time this post is finished I hope that you will understand why. Many times I find that my tendency to convey my point and my normal headstrong ways are overbearing, so I have just chosen to remain quiet for a long time. I believe what I believe, I am 100% confident in the validity of my beliefs. Nothing that anyone can say will sway my opinion. Honestly, I'm not out to change the way that people will vote. I just hope - I pray to change the way that people think.

I've long debated how I should convey the basis for my political views. I've had a draft blog saved for about 7 weeks now. I've never posted it. Much like a journal, it did me good to actually put my beliefs and thoughts into visible words. Even then, it was very wordy and very "Amy." Tonight, I am going to go in a different direction. So here goes.

I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a perfect, sinless life, and died for my sins. I believe that He rose on the 3rd day and that He is now in Heaven, seated at His Father's right hand. I believe that with every fiber of my being. My Christianity outranks any political party allegiance, any presidential vote, etc. I fail MISERABLY every day in living a life worthy of the name of Christian. But I try. I pray a lot, ask for a lot of forgiveness, and keep trying.

I used to say that there were many aspects of religion that sickened me. I am finding it more and more difficult to distinguish between religion and Christianity. That saddens me. It keeps me up at night. It makes me sneak into my bathroom with all the lights off and turn on the fan so I can have a little noise to stifle my whispers. While there, I pray. I cry. I ask God why people are the way they are. Why Christians are the way we are. Why we are so easy to judge, why we think that it's our JOB to do so. Why we are so quick to label and feel NO REMORSE when we do just that.

I despise abortion. In my opinion, it is not justified, ever. You can't argue with the Word of God, and it says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." What more do you need to prove that life doesn't begin at conception, it truly begins BEFORE conception! Therefore, abortion is the taking of life. It is murder. It is wrong. Period. End of story. When Shawn and I were struggling through infertility, we often cried out to God begging Him for a child. I couldn't understand why some people could get pregnant, then would abort the children. I couldn't even get pregnant. It wasn't right. It isn't right. EVER.

Here's my HUGE issue with the republican party. I agree with them on the pro-life stance. I TOTALLY disagree with them on their view on what to do with the children once they are born.

I've received all of the emails. All the poems. The trick-or-treat cartoons stating, "This must be a Democrat's house, they want to give our candy to the kids who are too lazy to go trick-or-treating." And I must be honest...I have found them all repulsive. Sorry to say it, but it's true. I hate them. I hate the opinion that people who are less fortunate are "lazy" or "deserve it" or aren't worth helping out. I can't stand it. It keeps me up at night. It invades my prayers daily. It is a major issue with me. Know what else? It is a MAJOR ISSUE with Christ. Yep, that's true. IT IS.

..."For I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' Then they also will answer Him saying, 'Lord,when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." Matthew 25:42-45

Notice, Jesus didn't say ANYTHING about people being lazy, not deserving help, etc. He didn't say, "You can go out and work just like I do. I'm a carpenter. It's good enough for me to work, you ought to work." Nope. He didn't ask questions, did He?! He said, "Whatever you do to THE LEAST of them, you do to ME." Those cartoons aren't so funny now, putting Jesus in the place of the "lazy" or the "undeserving."
Proverbs 19:17 says, "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and HE will pay back what he has given." We sit and wonder why our nation is in the state that it's in. Why? We would MUCH rather judge the less fortunate than help them. Why let our tax money support lazy, worthless people? We are Christians. We've got it all figured out. We're working hard, we're better than them. This attitude disgusts me. It is so Pharisaical in nature, yet we feed it. We foster it. We are proud of it. God help us...God forgive us all.

WHO ARE WE to judge who deserves help and who doesn't? Jesus didn't put qualifications on the ones who deserve help. He said HELP THEM. What we do to them, we are doing to Him. Are you all comfortable with what we are doing to Jesus? Sorry, but I'm not. Seeing it that we, we aren't doing enough.

We push to get those babies born, and WE SHOULD. But when they're here...then what? What if they are born to young, uneducated, drug-addicted mothers who already have other children? Do we just judge that mom and say, "Look at her, she should know better. Why should my hard earned money go to people like that?" Look at Leviticus 19:10. "And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather EVERY grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD." He doesn't leave much room for guessing there, does He? We are to help. Not judge...not second guess. HELP. More red words coming...Jesus talking, here. :) "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." Matthew 7:1-2

There is an older praise and worship song that we sometimes sing at church. There is one part that always stands out to me. When we sing it, I can physically feel a pricking in my heart. It says, "May my life reflect the beauty of my Lord." I ask myself, does it? If not, what is my life reflecting? I John 3:17 says, "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" Really. Can somebody answer that one for me? HOW DOES IT?

So, unlike almost EVERYONE in the Bible Belt...I am FOR health care for everyone. You know that feeling we all get when we hear Barack Obama say that he supports the right to choose (abortion)? Well, I get that feeling when I hear John McCain say that health care is a privilege, not a right. I WANT my tax dollars to help others. I believe that we should do MORE for the less fortunate. I agree with something I heard from a McCain supporter, it isn't the government's role to provide health care and support for the poor - it is the church's role. Amen. It is. But, we aren't doing it. Instead, we are casting judgement. We are figuring out who "deserves our help" and who isn't worthy. We are making cartoons and poems and emails, and sending them around. Who do we think we are?

I remember 4 years ago on election day...I remember it well. A fellow teacher who happens to be A FELLOW BELIEVER came to me with this declaration, "Amy, I heard that you aren't a republican. Is that true?" I had to say, "Well, I don't agree 100% with the republican party's beliefs, and I don't believe 100% with the democratic party's beliefs..." She then interrupted me with this lovely word that has stuck with me ever since, "Well...if you aren't a republican, then you are a baby killer. I hope that you can sleep with the blood of innocent babies on your hands." Nice thought. Sweet sentiment. WWJD? That? I wonder....

I hope that you still love me, or if you don't, that you at least still pretend that you do. :) I believe that God is bigger than all of this matter WHAT, He is still on the throne. It isn't "Country First" like we've heard. It's GOD FIRST. Then family. Then church. THEN country. If we truly believe GOD FIRST, then we need to do what He says. I hope that I've done an adequate job of conveying what He says.

I'm going to end with this. Remember that young, drug addicted mother I spoke of earlier? Well, I've met her. Many times. I've taken her out to eat. I've sat across from her at court. I've accepted a letter from her written in her 4th grade level handwriting and vocabulary. I read this letter and choked back tears, hearing her try to convey her sincerest apologies, fondest wishes, and deepest regret for her sons. And...I have judged her. For a long time, I judged her. Then, one day, I heard from God. He said, "Don't you DARE judge her. You pray for her. You love her. DON'T judge her anymore." So I don't. It isn't easy, but He didn't say that it would be. He knows all the aspects of the situation. He sees her faults, and they are many. But He says, "Don't judge." In my heart, I know that this admonition isn't just for's for ALL who are less fortunate, unworthy, etc. We aren't given the right to determine who is worthy of compassion or help. Truthfully, we have all been given a gift far greater than anything we deserve. I don't know about you, but nothing that I have done, or could ever do makes me worthy of receiving salvation. I didn't earn it. I received it. Without judgement. Funny how we forget that, when we speak of money. As if money is worth more than salvation.

Lastly, (for real), I really took GREAT offense to the cartoon dealing with "those kids who are too lazy to trick-or-treat." I took offense to what it represents, what it stands for. MY BOYS are EXACTLY what that premise is built on. Less fortunate. Born to that very drug addicted mom. Remember her? The one God told me not to judge? THEY are the main reason why I will NEVER support any party or candidate that thinks that one class of people is better than another, or that one group of people don't deserve help. Are there people who abuse the programs? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT. Jesus didn't mention them. He said HELP. So while so many people that I know and love send the jokes, post the cartoons, I can't. I won't. When I think of "those people," I see these faces. Maybe the next time you receive one of those will too. (pretend that the picture at the beginning of the post is actually here)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

why the crap did my pictures load backwards?

This picture is supposed to be last; I don't know why they loaded in reverse order. Whatever. This is Griffin, who is obviously the last of my children who think that carving the jack-o-lantern is cool. He loved every bit of it.
Keith and Zack, on the other hand, would much rather play football in the yard. Notice Zack's play-clothes. Yes, he chose them himself. Yes, it's like 60 degrees and he is wearing his summer clothes. That's Zack!
All the rest of you amateurs can use your pumpkin carving specialty tools...this is how we roll. Straight up jigsaw, baby. That's my Shawn...
Halloween 08...

I love this one...