Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Words to think about

Our Greatest Fear
By Nelson Mandela quoted by
Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

After renovating our home, and doing other projects I was getting cocky at my handyman skills. This was until I was assigned to assemble and install a baby gate at the top of the stairs. Very frustrating, but I overcame the poorly written instructions. So far we haven't had to put the stops and locks on our kitchen cabinets and drawers. We are taking a page from a friend with 3 boys. She made it clear that they had their special drawer in the kitchen with all sorts of stuff inside. They have always taken the bait-rummaging through the "OK" drawer, and ignoring everything else.

Geri thinks our bambino looks like Ernie. What do you think?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My family ran a carpet store growing up. I always liked going there just to explore. Behind the counter we had various pamphlets of CO. One vacation guide had a picture of a woman that bore a spittin' image of Dad's grandma (according to him), different magazines like MO Conservationist, Maps of good camping areas, Old Ad's from the Moonlight Madness Sale and the Sidewalk Sale, and Newspaper clippings. My favorite newspaper clipping was titled "Applebutter Makin' Days" or something to that effect. It had a picture of Grandma, and talked about her family-famous apple butter. I miss her, but there are certain legacies around to remind me of her.

During Christmas we were fortunate enough to get a batch of "Grandma's Apple Butter". 3 words: MMM, MMM, GOOD. This is the gift that keeps on giving (at least for another week or so). Some things I never tire from: Reminiscing about exploring the volumes of behind-the-counter stuff at Towne & Country Carpet, chowing on Grandma's Apple Butter, and munching on Grandma's Sugar Cookies. Maybe I better get on the stick and mix up a batch of cookie dough for the freezer. Just for old time's sake.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Touching The Fan

I love kids. They have enthusiasm. If you want a supersized example of youthful exuberance, just watch American Idol.

Here at the homestead I call this enthusiasm "Touching The Fan". Benny has more than a passing interest in all things above. Not figurative, but literal. He cranes his head to see lights and ceiling fans. In his room he will sit and stare endlessly upwards at the rotating, white blades. Like a soul in need of mercy he lifts his small hands Heavenward. He doesn't know and understand physics. His tiny little legs cannot possibly lift his body high enough to feel what he sees. He has faith though. You can see it in his eyes and hear it in his shallow breathing. He lifts his hands to Touch The Fan because his Father will eventually see, and help him to his goal. I see and I do. I want him to experience sucesses, even at a young age. The payoff of reaching his goal is spying a priceless smile of amazement. You would think he was the first to touch a buried treasure from the looks of his little face.

I challenge you (because I am mainly talking to myself) in trusting the Father to help you Touch The Fans you are currently reaching for. Trust Your Father in what you are reaching for, and foster a noble enthusiasm for those around you. After all we are surrounded by people that are reaching for something. Allow The Father to lift you up.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Vegas was built on winners! Wrong. My stellar record was a perfect 0-2 in the final stretch to the XL Super Bowl. This my friends is why I don't have an affinity to gamble. Of course there is the penny poker sessions in college, and the time in Puerto Rico where I flushed $2 down the toilet playing the one-armed bandit, and the $20 flushed out to sea somewhere between St Maarten and Antigua. I also shouldn't be reminded of the 10's of lottery tickets bought over the years (self-imposed "Idiot Taxes"). Such great results. Zip, Zero, Zilch, Nada. Remember the only way to leave Vegas with $1 MIllion, is to arrive with $2 MIllion.

Oh yeah, Steelers over Seahawks.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Never. I repeat, never. Never go off the scripted list of questions. While we were talking to the roomfull of prospective adoptive parents at the Lutheran Church in Creve Coeur, I could sense another of my ramblings beginning to form in my mouth. How can I not speak from the heart about when the process to get Benny. I do alright when we are clinically describing the process..."Well, the paperwork was daunting at first, but we organized our files and broke it down to make it manageable".

When I write, sing, or speak from my heart I process mental pictures that are very colorful in my head. No, not like Timothy Leary, but full of detail nonetheless. I was explaining the moment we first held Benny, when my mind reset to the picture of G crying beautifully with her baby boy finally in her arms. Suddenly it was if Brittney Spears was singing over my shoulder.."Oops, I did it again"...the lump in my throat swelled, and my vocal cords shut down. I couldn't talk. All I wanted to do was just pour out my happiness, and all these people were just looking. Saved by the lunch break, where I had my first pizza since our New Years Eve pizza food poisoning episode. Mmmm. Nothing like throwinng up mushrooms while ringing in the New Years. Anyways, we made it through the talk. I even volunteered to do it again in May. I love this stuff.

Here is a pic of our future Spud Webb slamming the rock. Benny just might be the first 25th height percentile Guatemalan in the NBA. By the way, I did not teach him the creative finger signage. One day I'll teach him that hanging on the rim is a "T". His Daddy never really had to worry about that particular rule though.

DENVER STILL BY 6 to keep the perfect homefield season going. Pittsburgh will lament the day they try to blitz us into making mistakes in Denver. I have a feeling the Broncos will be telling the world a'la Brittney..."Oops, we did it again" in a few weeks with their next Super Bowl ring. It's just a feeling though. I have to have some joy in my thinking, as I am getting ready to settle in for a long night working on tax stuff.

Hows this for a goofy picture.

Here are my predictions for this weekends games:

Denver over Pittsburgh. Mile High Thunder pounds over the Steel City. Shades of 1997. My beloved Broncos will find a way to overcome the vaunted Steeler rushing defense. I am seeing Plummer getting some good breaks with the bootleg. Rod Smith will shine and Ashley Lelie will have a few key catches. Ultimately this will be a kickers game. I'll take Elam any day. Broncos by 6.

Carolina over Seattle. Who cares.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Better late than never

For the anon. poster, here are some prelim thoughts. I call this the (not so) daily news because I don't always have time to type and post what I want to say at that particular time. Quite often things (such as this response) are saved as "draft" (late at night) until I post them. It's somewhat hard to be in a new biz, have a new child, and be stretched thin. Somethings gotta give-usually it's blogging. This has been a very, very hectic week. Extend a bit of grace.

Here was my draft response to date. It isn't completely thought out, but for the time being here it is. Email me at eric.cope@netzero.net (a backup email). Maybe we can have a better dialogue than this forum. I'm more of a personalized one-on-one guy anyways.

I understand where you come from. It's hard be a Christian thinking that God is constantly switching his "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" based on how you are living at that particular moment.

I try and live a life pleasing to God. At different times of life, my faith and walk with God have seen their relative high's and low's. Oh, I'm sure that God has been right by my side. Probably the selfish side of me has contributed to my experiencing the low's. I am strong-headed, and have displayed a tendency to try and reinvent the wheel and question the "why's" alot. This makes for an interesting career path, but what about my spiritual path?

There are certain things I did not question until relatively a short time ago. For instance, my stance in the arena of worship content and style, Christian music, or the particular Church I attend. What is important to God? is it that we omit musical instruments during worship? is it the sign on the building (are these the only people going to Heaven?). Does a "liberal" church fall out of favor in God's eyes over a "conservative" church becuase they have a praise team, or they encourage small groups?

For those not knowing, penned below is a line of questioning that was sent to me recently. Of those that read this blog, what do you think?

I will be the first to admit that no congregation is perfect (no matter what the sign on the building says). I try and examine myself through Phil 2:11-13 when I look at how I worship and in reflection of my beliefs and motives. I grew up in a conservative congregation, and have attended or visited the scope of conservative/mainstream/liberal congregations.
I have read your blog entries and some of those of your friends. You seem to have quite a head full of knowledge. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions...I grew up in the Church of Christ. But the older I got the more I felt like I was in a faith of hypocrisy. Not just my church but the whole faith. I was taught that if you sin you go to hell and that we dont rely on the Grace of our God. Well we sin everyday, Grace is one of the only things we can rely on. How horrible to think that I accidently did something wrong right as I die, and think that I was going to hell because of it. I was raised to think that if I used any Bible besides the King James I was going to hell. We as a Church of Christ were quick to judge everyone who wasnt "COC" I was a strong believer in my religon and now I feel like I was pushed away. I am now attending a Baptist church. They are involved in the community, very uplifting, non-judgemental. They also teach about that Grace which I believe, and its not just the once your saved just sit back and relax, it is actually a "live faithfully" attitude.

I just dont understand, what makes the "COC" so perfect. I always heard of there being too liberal of congregations. Well there is such a thing as too conservative too. Any words of enlightenment.

How cool is this

He had it right when he sung, "Suprise Your New Love Has Arrived..." I just love George Strait. It wasn't out of the Blue, Clear Sky though!

Just look at this picture. Isn't it great. Let me introduce my small blogging world to Olivia. She will finally be sleeping in her cute room (decked out with custom paintings) this weekend. We are so happy for her.

Throughout their long journey, there were months of anxious moments and tears of frustration. It was OK. It's hard to understand the big picture when your "hut is burning" (see a previous post). I am convinced God delayed things in their adoption journey knowing that Olivia was waiting for her mom and dad to pick her up halfway across the world.

When the 4 of us were having lunch in December, I tried to explain to Olivia's mom and dad, through my awkward and teary silence what they now know about how the frustration simply melts away when you hold your child for the first time. When you are finally a family united. If I try and voice my feelings about my first experiences with Benny, my throat clamps shut and my tear ducts open up. Holding your baby that first week affects your life from that point on.

Have a safe flight back from China.

Since we are speaking to a group of prospective adoptive families on Saturday, I better practice not tearing up. After all, there's a free lunch in the deal.

Monday, January 16, 2006

two halves

There was a slight drizzle tonight. Not to be undeterred, we bundled Benny up and donned our jackets to go stroller jogging. With the Georgetown to Idaho Springs 1/2 marathon looming around the corner in August, I need to get on the stick!

Good news. With the new Korean adoption regs coming out in February, they are placing emphasis on adoptive parents who are Korean in heritage. The wait is 1/2 the normal time. This is great. To space our kids apart, we can have more 1 on 1 time with Benny.

Here's a pic before we went jogging tonight.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Again, all is right with the world for day 86. This morning Benny woke up early. Since G and I had a work dinner last night, the one taking care of Benny put him in bed at 7pm. He promptly and abruptly woke up at 6am. I swooped him up and popped him in our bed. He played for a bit, then fell asleep until 8:25. Of course I did too, which is why I am typing this instead of getting ready for class. I hate missing class, but sometimes things happen.

We are hustling out of church to meet up with some good friends from Denver. They are flying out this evening, and wanted to spend some quality time just catching up.

Speaking of everything being right in the world...the Broncos finally pulled off a post-Elway, post-season VICTORY.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What's in a number you say? Yesterday was the dreaded Friday the 13th. No problemo. Traditionally my favorite number is 88 (ala Lynn Swann). Today my favorite number has officially changed-just for the day. Today my favorite number is 85. We picked up Benny up 85 days ago. These have been the best 85 days. Better days with tears and smiles are coming, too! No matter what day or what year, I'll still feel this way when I'm old and grayer.

In the words of one of my favorites, Jimmy Buffett-"Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been."

Of course all will be right on Tuesday when I get back to the number 88.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Yesterday Dillon Int'l emailed us to see if we would show off Benny and make a presentation about our adoption experience. Of course we said yes. How could we experience this and not share it with others. While there is only one Benny, there are sooo many other children that need to be matched up with their parents.

Do you ever feel like God is trying to say something to you?
G and I have been focusing on Psalm 127. Through some circumstances that have gone on this past week, we feel that God is trying to speak to us through this passage about our family, and tough decisions we are coming up against-really soon. My instinct is to talk back and try to solve our challenges, but know we need to pray and then be quiet.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for GOD to rescue him, and everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. "GOD, how could you do this to me?" he cried. Early the next day he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because GOD is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain, and suffering. Remember that, the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of GOD.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Here's a glimpse of our ever improving kid-friendly basement. I hope we will have a home that Benny's (and his future siblings) buddies will want to hang out at-and not just when we come home with groceries.

When G and her friends were growing up, they were always doing something with the youth group during the weekends, or after the HS football games. Her parents and friends' parents tried to provide a place that was full of good influence. This is our goal. I am looking forward to hosting youth group stuff, taking our kids on trips, and helping them choose to go down a good path.

As I write this, Benny is screaming his lungs out. We just put him to bed (actually in his crib). He is tiiired, but doesn't want to sleep. This is just like clockwork. He is like his Daddy-fighting every urge to slip into slumber. I'll wager that we (that means Me) will check on him at 12 and 2 am as well. Hopefully this doesn't last too many nights. No complaints though-we waited too many years just to be able to hear a baby cry in our home. Every day we marvel at how much we love our little bambino. Each successive day heaps more attachment and love in our hearts. If you have kids you understand. What I know is this: I'll slumber off to sleep tonight with a prayer of thanksgiving. We are really blessed as a family. Plus we have a really cool floor in the basement!

Here's another pic from Christmas. Benny really took to his Pa Pa (and vice-versa).

We have been transforming our basement to a kids area. A good friend of ours will be taking care of Benny during parts of the work week. She has 2 great and awesome kids, so we wanted to make the basement Montessori-like for when they are all here. Pictures will be coming. We have had a good time getting it ready. It's also a good excuse to pick that place up, and get rid of alot of "stuff" as Dave Ramsey puts it in "Financial Peace".

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ketchup and Babies

Do you remember the old ketchup commercial...."Anticipation, it's making me wait." I love this state of mind. It's all about dealing with the expectations you have created in your mind. Some good examples I experienced over the years are waiting up to steal a glimpse of Santa, waiting to go to deer camp, packing for our mountain campouts with the Cope boys, getting married. In 2005 my biggest anticipatory moment was getting on that plane to Guatemala to meet our little one. Today I feel like that kid waiting for Santa. Benny is asleep, it's a Saturday, and I can't wait till he starts making ANY noise. This is my cue to run in and give him a smile and wait for his little arms to stiffen towards me. Of course this is accompanied by his cute little smile. We will then sing his usual morning songs to greet him to the day..."It's (insert day), what a happy day, it's Saturday what a happy day........".

Right now I really feel like that kid watching that ketchup bottle, just waiting for that drop of goodness when Benny finally stirs. This is the feeling I hope my good friend Chris will be having soon. Chris and Christina are probably getting ready to land in China as I type this. This is a trip they have been anticipating for a long time. They are picking up their first little girl Olivia. They will make great parents, and Chris will make a great Dad. After all they have been anticipating this drop of goodness for several years. Our prayers are constantly with them. Right now, I think I'll walk the floors to make a squeak or two. Maybe Benny is anticipating seeing his Daddy hovering over his face with a song.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Correctly guessed. A close-up of the noggin' of my favorite accountant. Tomorrow we finally have a date night. Movie choices are: Hers: Narnia Mine: the Jim Carrey flick. We'll see who wins out.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

From inside the belly of mommy, here's Jonah. Benny's newest little buddy.
He is a doll. Tomorrow he has a diagnostic ultrasound done to check out a kidney. We are praying all will be well.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


It's halftime. Texas is up by 6 over USC. I hope they win out. Being an OU fan, I'm rather uneasy about rooting for Texas. It's not that I dislike the state. Heck, 1/2 of my gene pool originates from there (even though Brownsville is probably more Mex than Tex). I just think it's the Longhorn's time to shine in the SoCal sun. USC got all the good press for the past several weeks, and like usual the Big 12 hardly gets the "love". The prognosticators (big word for bumbling televised goofballs) seem to have pegged this a high-scoring affair. I seriously doubted that from the get-go. I foresee the rest of the game being defined by some big runs, great passes, stupid turnovers...not a bunch of scoring. Then again what do I know...I'm a bumbling blog goofball. Nonetheless, let Texas have their glory this year. Next year the Sooners will start their road to dominance in college football again (reference the bumbling blog goofball), and all will be right in the world. For those interested: The Sooners are 3-0 when Benny is watching. He is also perfect when watching the Broncos. He will be watching Shanahan win another Super Bowl this year (I know..bumbling blog goofball).

Happy birthday Dad!

By the way...any guesses to what this mystery picture is?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Holiday Road

Here are a some pics from our journey. This last picture is on par with rare pictures of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and Elvis at the IHOP...It is my brother-in-law caught smiling for the camera.

On the drive back we started reading a book by Dave Ramsey on financial peace. I am looking forward to delving into what he has to say, and to start implementing better financial habits. There is truth to being able to uncover what is dearest to your heart-simply by looking at the entries in your checkbook. I want to be a better steward of what has been given to us. His main point seems to be this:

What could the People of God do for the Kingdom of God if they were debt free?

We are finally back from a long and winding road. STL to NEO to OKC to Woodward to OKC to Gravette to NEO back to STL. That is a lot of driving with a kiddo making the trip in a carseat. Overall Benny did great. I won't go into our experience at Ted's (OKC restaurant).

We had a wonderful time at Dad's home and Laura's, where Benny met my side of the family for the first time. He was treated like royalty being the sole grandson. I love this picture of Granny and Benny. I absolutely love her, and have written about her in the past. She is an inspiration.

It was great being back at McKnight. The singing was uplifting, and I got the usual lump in my throat thinking of how God has blessed our family. It was good to be back to see everyone (and for Benny to see his other "Grandpa" Ed, Sr as well). By the time church ended, G and I were running on fumes. We celebrated New Year's Eve watching Arrested Development Season 2 DVD's, and eating Pizza Hut, and rang in the year with food poisoning. It might be awhile before we eat mushrooms again. It really makes me think how much of a trooper Kelly and Everlie are to take care of kids when they are sick. Thank God for health.

I will tell more and post more pics soon. I hope you have a blessed new year, and start out with a plan and purpose for your lives.