My Happily Ever After...
My Happily Ever After…

I’ve always been a day dreamer. A lover of Christ from as long as I can remember. And, my earliest memory of creating a day-dreamy happily ever after, a life with prince charming…” was imagining my “I do’s” with Han Solo. Yes, my pinnacle ideal as an 8 year-old kid was the bad boy ¬†of Star Wars!

My handsome prince charming...
My handsome prince charming…

When I married my sweet husband in 2000, and we both assumed our family would come straight after.

But God had other plans for us.

A dry season.

Infertility.

Our journey to parenthood is one of multitudes of stories out there on the road to ultimately adopting two beautiful daughters.

Just the four of us... all we ever wanted...
Just the four of us… all we ever wanted…

Waiting for a family wasn’t just difficult for us. It became all consuming. We were proactive, doing what we thought was the best. Meeting with specialists. Surgeries for each of us. Trying and failing to fill those rooms upstairs through an act of science, the will of prayer. The waiting got too much for my mother-in-law, sick with cancer, she finally asked me if we would have a baby soon, and I just shook my head. I didn’t know. I couldn’t imagine that God wouldn’t make Perry a father, fill our home with love when we had so much to give.

In 2002, we planted the lemon tree in her honor. And no, it didn’t look like this back then. Just a tiny little thing. A handful of leaves. No flowers. But my grandmother always said, you can’t have a house without a lemon tree.

The little lemon tree that could
The little lemon tree that could

In the fall of 2003, we stopped trying to use science to start our family. God had other plans in mind, and blessed be! my husband and I both had hearts for adoption. In the face of all those tears, all that heartbreak, we at last were of the same mind even as the Santa Ana winds came, burned San Diego with searing fire, blew every leaf off of that lemon tree. Was there life in that stick of a tree that never once bore fruit?

The world was dry. We were empty, but maybe we had to be completely empty to be filled with the stuff that God intended for our lives.

My hubby wanted to chop it down, but I managed to keep him from it until spring. “Wait and see,” I pleaded.

That blustery fall turned to icy winter. And on the first day of the next year, a call that our daughter’s birth mother had selected us.

Ray was born less than 30 days later. The joy of my heart. And, as happens in southern California, the growing season started early. The lemon tree was awash in flowers. My first novel was written with that precious bundle wrapped in one arm, typed with my free hand.

By the end of summer, we had more lemons than leaves on that tree. This continued the following year, a short 18 months later, when our second daughter, E’s birth parents found us. And the love story of our family was complete.

The rest is history.

More lemons than leaves...
More lemons than leaves…

And this is what happily ever after looks like in my world.

Soccer games, school work, endless amounts of laundry, “What’s for dinner, mom?”

Every once in awhile, a night out at a SoCal winery, listening to live music, watching the girls play, sing, dance, grow.

Aspen trees
Aspen trees

Our family history and the lemon tree are intertwined. The green leafed giant is testimony to that dry, hot, and windy spell in our world. The time when all could have been swept from us, but my sweet husband and I bonded closer together. When we were still. Hopeful. I found my writing voice again. When I stepped back out on faith that something greater than us was in charge of our destiny.

Slurpees and Saturdays...
Slurpees and Saturdays…

Whether the hands of angels, a sign from heaven, or just a wonderful growing season, this lemon tree of ours has steadily produced an abundance of lemons ever since. It frequently buds “Lemon Flowers” or “Buddhah hands” as I’ve learned to call them. The twisted tangle of fruit loaded with personality and fun.

Lemon flowers or “Buddah hands”

We no longer have sweet Gramma Anne, but her tree has taught, both my daughters and me, many things.

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Sometimes we must go through our dry seasons for the bounty that awaits.

And, by sharing, the “giving tree” keeps us in more lemons than we know what to do with.

Lemons to lemon juice.
Lemons to lemon juice.
Candied lemon peels.
Candied lemon peels.

Keep an eye on our “Lemons to Lemonade” Pinterest Board and see all of the gorgeous things we’ve learned to make with these glorious lemons.

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