Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Full hearts, tired bodies

About twelve years ago, I received a call that would change my life, and I didn't even know it. Twelve years ago, a little brown haired girl walked up the sidewalk, and into my house, and honestly into my heart. 

For the next 7 months, there were a lot of days that I didn't know if I was coming or going. We organized schedules of therapies, home visits, family visitations, and medical appointments. We actually became pros in a very short amount of time. We kept notes of every day activities and notes of medical appointments. We went to meetings at the school, we went to foster care meetings, and staffings. 

Some days ended in joy, some in tears, but almost all ended with exhaustion. Bedtime for her was 8pm, and I think most days, I was dead asleep by 8:30pm. I was exhausted. 

At the end of the seven months, two days after Christmas, I packed all the toys, clothes, shoes, and recently bought Christmas presents into my 2005 Grand Am and took that little brown haired girl to her new home. I walked her in, unloaded the car and sat on the floor with her and told her how wonderful things were going to be in her new home. And then, at the end of our time together, I walked down the sidewalk, as she cried and asked me to come back, with my head down, and barely holding it together. I got in my car, drove to an empty parking lot. I turned off my phone and I just sat in the car and cried. Sobbed. I literally felt that my heart was being ripped out of my body. I had never had my heart break like that. 

The blessing for me and my family, is that this child didn't leave us completely. We have been gratefully involved in her life since the day that she walked into ours. Some seasons more than others, but always there. 

About 90 days ago, life changed again. This not-so-little-girl has moved back into my home. And its very possible, this time it will be permanent. 

We are walking a different path than we ever imagined, but we are so grateful that B is here. She's an amazing child. She has overcome so much and she just keeps going. 

I can't wait to share more, but for now, our hearts are full, but our bodies are tired. In the most wonderful way. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.

I don't just mean the biological or adoptive mothers. I'm talking about ALL the moms.

Maybe you're a foster mother, or a step- mother. Maybe you're a spiritual mother, or someone who is in a mentoring roll to others.

You are all mothers. Its not just about biology. It's about the heart.

I hope you all have a wonderful day. Find the precious moments that you can to cherish.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What Infertility Means .... to me...

This week is National Infertility Awareness week. I thought I might take a moment and just express what infertility feels like to me. While at times I do feel sorry for myself, this isn't a pity post. Just an awareness one, and one that comes from my heart. 

I truly believe that God makes families in many different ways. It can be biologically, fostering, adoption or maybe He choses that your family is just to be the people around you. Although I know that its sounds cliche, but I believe that God's plans for me are better than what I have for myself. I do not know if I will ever have a biological child. I hope too. Very much so. But, I also know if in my life, it is only ever my husband, dogs and I, that I can be happy with that as well. 

However, there are days where the ache for a child can be almost overwhelming. When it seems like every woman at the grocery store is pregnant, or when invitations for baby showers, gender reveals and first birthdays arrive. This does not mean that I am not genuinely happy for those friends and family, I certainly am. And I sincerely hope that they know that. But it also makes my heart ache and I ask myself, "why not me? why not us?" I don't have the answer to why it isn't Steven and I. Only that I have to trust in God's timing and His plan for my life. 

Infertility also means that there are no surprises for us. Everything is planned. I have a calendar where I have to check everything. Blood work every 21 to 30 days. More exams than I could have ever imagined. Waiting for test results. Waiting to test. Waiting to know. Infertility means medications. Every. Single. Day. I'm not talking about prenatal vitamins, although it means those to, but other medications that will force my body to do what it should do naturally.

Infertility means that family and others, who mean well, ask when we are going to have a baby. And I have to tell them, I don't know. Maybe soon, maybe never. 

Infertility means grieving every month, when pregnancy is not achieved. Sometimes, for me, it means avoiding things like gender reveals, baby showers and the like. Because, try as I might, I can not help but to feel sad as the games are played and gifts are opened. Sometimes the sadness is more than others. 

At times, for me, infertility means self doubt when I wonder if God hasn't given me a child because He knows that I would not be a good mother. Or that maybe it is because I lack some kind of personality trait needed to be a good mother. It has also meant, for me, that instead of loving my body for what it can do and does every day, that I focus and hate what it can not do or doesn't do, and with this, treating my body like it is hated, instead of loved. I am working on this. It is a process. 

Infertility also means trusting God. And believing that no matter what, He is good. I think it has brought me a place to where trusting God is a must. I don't have any other choice. I trust that He has plans for me, I trust that they are good (Jeremiah 29:11) , and that God, in his omniscience, can and does see this situation from all sides. He knows what has been, and He knows what is now, and He knows what is coming. This has been a gift from infertility. I do not think that I would trust Jesus and be seeking Him the way that I am, had it not, in part, been for this journey. It has brought me times like last month, when we had just found out that we were NOT pregnant again, and my heart just was hurting. I was listening to the radio on the way to work, crying and praying. And I said to God, "What about in the Bible, all those women that you gave children? What about Sarah, and Hannah, Elizabeth, Rachel and the others? Why can't I have the same miracle? "(okay so slight pity party.. but ya'll, it was a rough morning).And I had this thought spoken to my heart.... "but what about all the other women that I didn't give children to, ones you have never even heard of? Does that not mean that I still didn't work a miracle in their lives? Does it make me any less capable? Does it make me any less loving or good?" And I had to reply, "No, Jesus, not one bit." This brought me hope, and comfort, and actually changed my whole day around. Infertility has meant that I have CHOSEN to trust God. He knows my heart, and I am learning more and more about His. 

Out of all the negatives, this has been the greatest lesson of all. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Ain't it Funny How Life Changes...

So many things have changed, even in the last 2 weeks. Steven and I are doing great. We have settled into life so well. I just realized last week that it has been almost a year since we moved into our home. We are loving the space in the yard and worked hard last summer to clean up the yard a bit. We will have to do some more this year, but its coming along very well.

In December, we adopted a new dog. A true blue bluetick coonhound. She's such a sweetheart. She has some nervousness that we are working on. We have named her Peyton, and she gets along great with our other two dogs, Jarvis and Loki. Crate training/potty training is the biggest challenge, but we are making some progress!

The battle against infertility continues, but we continue to be hopeful. Knowing that God can make families in many different ways.

We actually have had my god daughter come to stay with us. It has been a life adjustment, but things are going well. I think everyone is a little tired, but, we wouldn't trade it for anything. She is a great kid, and is a lot of fun. We truly enjoy watching her learn, and we have been working on her spelling words. I think sometimes I am more nervous about her spelling tests than she is. Her confidence is growing and we can't wait to see the progress that she will make.

Overall, life is good. We are blessed. And we are thankful.

God is good all the time, and all the time, God. Is. Good.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sundays are for....

All things relaxing...naps, coffee, crock pot meals, reading and even watching Hallmark movies...

We overslept this morning, and did not have time to get ready to get to church. I am so thankful that our church streams the service online, so that if you can't be there in person on a Sunday, we can watch online. I love my church, so we don't make the viewing online a routine thing, but it is nice to have in times like this morning or if you are sick.

It has been really rainy here this week, and although the sun is shining some today, its extremely windy. I'm a little worried about power outages, but for now, we are good. I try very hard not to complain about the weather. No one can control it. We only can control our reaction or moods to it. But, cheese and crackers, I am very much over the rain. Our yard is just a muddy mess and walking the dogs almost requires giving them a bath.

February is my least favorite month. I don't get hyped up for Valentine's Day, and the weather in February always seems so glum. I am thankful that it is almost over.

I'm looking forward to March, and warmer weather and birthday celebrations. We have a weekend getaway planned for March too, and I am very VERY excited for that.

I am also ready for planning the summer vacation, and just all the activities that are offered for outside during the spring and summer.

What is your favorite warm weather activity?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Friends...

My husband is my best friend, and my favorite human.... but long before I ever met him, I had my best girlfriends in the world.

I had met Beth and Tasha years ago, in college. We were classmates with the same major and so we almost always had the same classes. We were friends, but not like kind you hang out with regularly. One spring break,  there was a small group trip to Gatlinburg, and by the time we left, I knew I had made my lifelong friends.

We have seen each other through so many things. We don't have to talk every day to know that we are there...but I definitely think that as we have gotten older, and have had more life events, we talk more.  They are the most supportive, honest, funny, and both humble people you will ever meet. They both are hard workers, love their families and so smart it will amaze you!

As much as we have in common, we have many differences.

Beth is a farm girl, who is surrounded by cows, dogs, and the most beautiful farm land that you will ever see. It has often been my quiet place to go when my heart has been broken, or if I needed to just get away from my world for a little while.

Tasha is our traveler! She loves going to the beach, taking a cruise, and she is always on the move. I don't think she spends the weekends sitting at home, ever! Two beautiful children, and a husband that make up her world, she is also extremely close to her sister and parents.

These two women help make me a better women, wife, and friend. I honestly think more of them as my family (and, its nothing for each of us to invite the others to family events), than my friends, and I couldn't love them anymore if they were my sisters!

I know, with out a shadow of a doubt, that God himself picked these two to be my friends, and my sisters by choice!

The picture below is from my wedding in October sums up our friendship perfectly...and is one of my favorite photos from our wedding.

and now for a more formal photo:

I hope that everyone can have friends as wonderful and special as these two!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fall Bucket List

What are your favorite Fall ideas?

We always go to a pumpkin patch, and corn maize. Those are just two every year traditions. Every year I say I am going to host a Halloween party, and this year we actually have the space, but I think I am just going to participate in our church's Trunk or Treat.

 I want Steven and I to pick a theme and really go all out for it. I have 30 days to plan it, so I need to find a good theme and start getting the decorations together. I am thinking Mary Poppins and Burt? or Anne of Green Gables and Gilbert (which no one would get), or maybe even a character from Once Upon a Time. Not sure yet. I'm open to suggestions. Just as long as they aren't anything scary.

Here's our fall bucket list:

Corn Maize/Pumpkin patch/Hayride
Carving Pumpkins
Watch "The Wizard of Oz"
Go to a football game (We have our tickets! Go Vols!)
Head to the Peaks of Otter for some fall scenery and a picnic
Visit some fall festivals
Fall Camping?
Coffee by the fire pit...many times (will this weather ever cool down??)

I want to fill every weekend with something to celebrate my FAVORITE season.. what else should I add?