Ch-Ch-Ch-CHANGESSSS

It’s been quite some time since I have written anything. In fact, almost a year. There have been tons of changes that we have gone through as a family in the last year. I have started and stopped… then started a new job. Jason has been promoted at NEMCC and will have the opportunity to teach in the Fall. He and I are both still in college, Though I hope to only have a semester or two left to finish my associates degree.

The boys are doing fabulously. Jake is 10 now and in 5th grade and has been recently been dubbed “rain-boy”  because of his ability to retain historical facts at an alarming rate. I am a proud Mom that likes to show him off to all of her friends like a party favor. Seriously, I am very impressed with him and how he is developing his amazing little personality. He is a very caring person, the best big brother that any kid could ask for, and has a great imagination and a silly sense of humor.  He is my morning child, my rose colored glasses child.

Jack is still my sweet baby. He is 7 now and in 1st grade… yet, still finds the time to cuddle up to his dear old Mom every chance he gets. He has such a wisdom to him… kinda like when people say that others have an “old soul”… well, that’s Jack. He has a very natural ease with his school work and actually tends to get bored with it easily. He has a dry sense of humor, but also loves to have tickles and fun giggling. He is slowly getting over some of his fears that he has developed over the last few years. He is slowly becoming a bit more independent and learning to venture and trust in himself again. He is the also the one who will roll is eyes at the things you say and test you to the utmost extreme. I catch him often deep in thought as if he is analyzing the entire world around him.

We have had such a wonderful time over the past year getting to know each other better and loving each other deeply. God has really been wonderful to us. We have  found a new church where we have completely enveloped ourselves. We feel incredibly passionate about our service to God. It is awesome how God works. We always imagined that we were completely faithful to God, but I really don’t think we had any idea what being faithful to God and church was until we started attending at West Corinth Baptist Church.

Jason and I have started teaching a couples class on Sunday mornings. It is awesome that God ha entrusted us with that because Jason and I are NOT a perfect couple in any way, shape, or form… yet through our struggles and mistakes we can help other couples with their walk with each other and with God as well. Several other opportunities have presented themselves as well that we are praying about. It is the first time in our married life that we have really felt at home in a church… felt like a part of something bigger than us. We understand the saying “a family that prays together, stays together”. I know there are people out there right now that are rolling their eyes at me… it’s okay.

We are not the picture perfect people. We are sinners, every single day. We still have our issues just like anyone else, and I am not trying to make us out to be holier-than-though… because we are not. We are just happy, and trying to let the Lord’s light shine though us. I have always tried to have a light alive in me and to be an inspiration to others… it’s just easier with ammunition. HA!

I hope this little letter finds everyone happy, happy, happy and I hope to hear back from you all.

Difficult Decisions

Jason and I had a heart to heart last night. We are putting adoption on hold. It seems as though no matter which way we turn we are running into roadblocks. In the past we have come to realize that if it isn’t God’s plan then it is incredibly difficult. This journey for us has been horrible so far. Every direction we turn it is like running into a brick wall at 60 miles per hour.

We will be returning money to those of you who have donated to our cause. We are going to focus on life in general for now. Enjoy our beautiful family that the Lord has already given us and wait for a sign on what we are supposed to do next. Our children are disappointed and we are too, but we have to do what is best for us right now. God’s timing is key to all of this and right now we really don’t feel like God’s wanting us to go this direction. I think he has bigger plans for us, I just don’t know what they are.

Please pray for our family as we adjust to this decision.

Coincidence, I think not.

Einstein said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” I believed once in coincidences. These days, I lean more toward Einstein’s statement.

This past weekend, we were blessed to be able to take a quick overnight trip to Monroe, LA. We packed a lot in for a short trip. We had our own Duck Dynasty Experience. My oldest turned 10. We visited Vickburg’s battlefield. Cold Stone Creamery. Good stuff. My BFAM (that’s Brother From Another Mother for those keeping score), Derrick, came with us.

Believe it or not, I actually drove. This is rare if you don’t know me. My wife continues to battle all the things she’s experiencing. My driving allowed her to rest. We had a great trip, really. Other than Dez’s struggles, I do not think we had any negatives. The kids were excellent. Dez rested. Derrick and I talked on the ride down and back home.

Randomly (or was it?), on the ride home, I mentioned to Derrick he should try Cold Stone Creamery if he ever gets a chance. I shared with him our experiences in Branson. Unrelated, we talked about the movie Strange Brew (oldie but goodie). Derrick and I recalled lines and scenes from the movie. Again, two unrelated topics of conversation.

We reached Starkville and the gas light came on. I typically do not wait until the light comes on; however, I am cheap. I was holding out for cheaper gas, which is an oxymoron. For the two or three of you that might read this and that know me well understand that I do not know much about Starkville other than it’s the home of the “Dawgs” and bell-ringing. The two or three of you that know me well also know that I have been struggling: tons of things on my mind, a restlessness that is unsettled, frustration with no direction, life’s purpose.

As a pseudo-Christian, I believed in coincidences. As a Christian, I’m with Einstein. You see, as we drove down the road, following signs to gas, we reached a gas station eventually. It was on the other side of the stadium. It was the first station we came to. We pulled in and amazingly and unbeknownst to us, there was a Cold Stone Creamery there. Beside it, Strange Brew coffee shop. Yes, we filled up with gas and ice cream.

It’s hard to explain to you if you do not believe, but these “coincidences” perhaps to you were signs to me. These two unrelated events gave me hope that things were going to be okay. To me, it was God reassuring me that the concerns I had, the thoughts I thought, and ideas I have were on track. I got peace from these two “coincidences,” a peace that surpasses all understanding.

I said this a lot when I was younger, but I believe if you look, you will see. You can find fault with others if you try (usually a deflection away from us), OR you could try to see the good in them. You can see coincidences in these events if you choose, or you can see how I see it: a blessing that gives me some peace and comfort over some things in which I have been worried and stressed. After all, if you look hard enough, you’ll see it. It’s up to you.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%204:7&version=NIV

Tummy, Anxiety, Depression… Oh my!

I woke up Monday with the worst anxiety I have had since January 2011. It was like someone flipped a light switch and here comes all of the pain, stress, and anxiety rearing its ugly head. When that happens for me I have a hard time weeding through all of the junk that comes to the surface. It is like being in turbulent water and getting pulled under. The water lets me come up for a brief moment, long enough to get some air and then pulls me back under until I feel like my lungs are going to explode. 

I have had stomach issues for the last 2 weeks… each day seems to get worse. My body and mind associate tummy trouble with anxiety… when I used to have panic attacks when I was young the first thing that would happen is my stomach would get knotted, I would get nausea and a nervous stomach.

Right now, It is almost like that cycle is in reverse. I am having tummy trouble which is causing anxiety. 

So I start flailing in the water… What is causing it??? The bill I got for the hospital, The fact that this adoption stuff is going in reverse, I’m a bad Mom/Wife because I cannot control my feelings, I am a horrible person.

Pretty ugly, huh? Then I feel bad for my husband because he has been through 15 years worth of these cycles. I start apologizing and trying to explain. 

I went to the doctor Tuesday, explained my stomach problems and in turn what it is doing to my nerves and how EXHAUSTED I feel. She ran a gambit of tests, trying me on a medication for my stomach… which should be in Friday… and put me BACK on something for my nerves. After which I went to see my good friend Sheila and had a good cry and the beginning of seeing someone right regular for stress and how to deal with myself when I get this way. I don’t deal with it every day, but I DO deal with it enough that I know when it starts I have to nip it quickly. 

Yes, I am tired, I am exhausted even… adoption stuff has been very stressful, my stomach issues are making it so I have no appetite and when I finally do eat it doesn’t stay with me… I can’t imagine I am getting much nutrition from the food going in. I started the medication for my nerves on Tuesday night, it takes upward of 2 weeks for that to really kick in good. 

I pray that my job is understanding, I pray that this blanket lifts, I pray that I feel “normal” again very soon, I pray that when I am “myself” again that I can keep all of this from happening again for a very long time, The last thing I want to be is a hindrance on my husband and family… this is why I apologize. Now I just have to make myself put my feet on the floor and not sit my butt here all weekend in this bed. PLEASE GOD, I BEG YOU, Let me feel better TODAY! 

Restless and homesick

This has been a rough week as Dez said. I believe firmly when there is a consensus–solid and unmoving belief–between us both, we need to pay attention to those types of feelings. Dez and I are very opposite kinds of people. Thank God it works for us (despite what tests say or don’t say!). Thursday, we woke with similar feelings–we’re not in the right agency. We have exchanged a few emails and have requested a refund, which is scary in and of itself. (We believe we’re in the right as far as that goes and believe we’re not asking something that is unfair. If we do not get a full refund, we should get back a large percentage.) All of this is out of our hands. It’s unfortunate and really stressful because we sent in our first “big” payment. God’s timing is perfect and always right. Acting on faith can be challenging because the devil is relentless. He knows your weaknesses and uses them against you. That morning, my Bible app verse of the day was 1 Timothy 6:12 read, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” That’s faith. Not many things recently have felt right about the agency. We’ll see how things progress; we’ll share it, too.

Other things haven’t felt right for some time. I find myself restless, like there’s more that I should be doing–something big. I do and have done a lot of personal growth. Sometimes, it’s evident; sometimes, it’s not. For the first time in our lives, Dez and I both are blessed to be at jobs that feel more like careers. We get to do things we both believe we’re meant to do, mainly help others. Certainly, it’s not perfect, but I tell you I enjoy work way more than I don’t. I receive feedback from students near daily. So, I don’t believe it’s about jobs or anything like that. Thank God!

I joked about it, but when we moved back, but it’s true: Corinth was the last place we wanted to be. God had other plans; His plans win out. :) It has not been without challenges. For us, oftentimes it comes down to how we feel. Do we fit? Corinth has always been like an ever-changing puzzle in which pieces rotate. It has always been hard for me to fit here. I believe Dez feels similarly. I/we do not really get caught up in what we call “ladder climbing” or at least that’s not our intention if ever we’ve come across that way.  I don’t think we do. I’m open to hearing what you have to say if you disagree. There are many reasons not to want to be here. It’s very easy for me to focus on them rather than the positives. This place has always been hard for me to just be me. Again, I think Dez feels similarly. We struggle to fit in most things we do or attempt to do. It’s not without reason that we tend to stay to ourselves or small network of friends who do not judge or climb ladders and simply accept us for the people we are.  Thank God for them! We pray for our friends and are grateful for them. We relish the times together we have.

At the same time (did you sense a “but” coming?) ironically around Thursday, Dez and I both had conversations about missing “home.” Home as we call it is Montana. I can try to describe life there. It’s something you’d probably have to experience for yourselves as we did. I miss waking up to fresh air and mountains. Cool mornings and non-humid evenings. Long days of Summer. Forest service roads. Snow. I miss the freedom. I miss our neighbors, the Palmers. Even Jack, our youngest who was 2 at the time and doesn’t remember much, says he misses it. Jake does as well. It’s a longing really.

I’ve come to believe that for whatever reasons we’re here in Corinth will not stand in the way of us returning there some day. Like many other examples in my life, I believe we have unresolved business here. We’ll figure it out with God’s help, and some day, maybe, we’ll move back home. These days, I try to focus on what we can do to make things better here. It, too, may involve changes. It often does.

 

Until then, I’m restless and homesick. You can judge me if you want. (Half of you probably will, right.) That’s where I am, and it is what it is. We’ll remain faithful, blessed, and at God’s mercy.

Gut Feelings

This past week has been Hell for us. It has been a roller coaster full of a lot of up in the air stuff. We woke up Thursday morning and made the decision that the agency we are currently with ISN’T what we need. We have requested a refund and have yet to hear back about it. So we are in limbo right now… almost like completely starting over but with the uncertainty of whether or not we are going to get back the great amount of money we have already invested. If this agency is ethical and NOT in it for just the money then it will happen. We have not received anything we payed for, in fact we have paid extra for stuff that has seemed unnecessary. 

This decision isn’t being made in haste, it is mutual between my husband and I. We are working on our plan of where to go next and what to do. First, though, we are at the mercy of this current agency as to whether or not they will refund what we have given them. So, please pray for God’s will here. I hate to lose this money, but if I do I am going to make sure to spread the word on what agency NOT to use and why we decided to change. Until then I will keep it to myself, unless you ask us privately. I do not want to be the type of people that spread negativity unless I feel as though I have been done wrong and can help others from going through that as well.

Rough riding

The past week has been fairly rough. After our initial interview we were informed that we had to do some tests to prove our relationship as well as our sanity. You know, we have done SUCH a horrible job raising our own two blessings and our marriage has ONLY lasted 15 years… but there might be that “thing” they need to judge us on. It’s pretty frustrating when you know the truth and total strangers are peeking in uninformed trying to turn over something that isnt there.

You see, there is something that Satan is incredibly fabulous at… sewing seeds of doubt. You start asking yourself questions, and then questioning things in life. You find yourself swimming to the bottom of the pool without a good breath of air before the dive. Good thing is, with prayer, you learn to kick off the bottom and find your way back up pretty quickly. Yet, while you’re down there you do tend to panic and wallow in circumstances.

Our agency hasn’t seemed the most supportive. We have a social worker who seems fairly green in life. Is that her fault? No, not really. It just seems like there is an attitude of  “let me find out everything I can possibly find wrong with you so I can get this experience under my belt and move on”. I feel like we are being held in judgement. The last thing a family trying to adopt wants from their adoption agency is to be stressed even more… and in a way which is really uncalled for. We don’t have anything to hide, and it feels like our honesty is being trampled on by someone who is doing a “job” and not a “mission”.

With all of that said though, we know that there are channels that we must take. We know that there will be tests, that there will be moments of doubt and hardship… it doesn’t make me want to stop though.

You see God put this in my heart for a reason. I don’t believe it was to dash my hopes in the end. I believe I have a mission and that this is the way we are supposed head. Even if  the mission is only to encourage one person reading this blog 15 years from now… I have a purpose, my family has a purpose and it is much bigger than anything we can imagine for ourselves. I believe that.

I don’t think God puts a longing in someone’s heart for no reason. I don’t think that my God is sitting in heaven with a sparkly thing on a string only to jerk it out of my reach when I get close. That isn’t how my God works… he loves me and he has allowed me and my family to go through things in order to be strong for the things to come.

I have no question in my mind these days that I am a GREAT wife and mother. I KNOW God gave me that talent. He gave me abilities to be the mom, wife, plumber, mechanic, landscaper and dog groomer. He gave my husband ethics, the ability to work hard, and to make fabulous decisions. My sons he gave love and a zest for life and family that I ALWAYS wanted my kids to have.

There is nothing… NOTHING…that will take that from us. Jason and I may be ying and yang but we complete each other… sometimes we fuss about it, or try to re-arrange it… but, we finally give in to God’s will and say “Oh! Okay, God. I get it now… we are SUPPOSED to be complete and utter opposites and bring different things to the table”. So as we put this week behind us we look to the future. There are probably going to be some changes in the future weeks if things don’t change on their own a bit… and that comes from both of us as a team. I refuse to bad-mouth this agency, it has just not been the right fit so far… maybe that will change in the coming weeks.

Please pray for our mission, our families strength, Jason to feel better, and direction.

3:58 AM

I sit here wringing my hands in the early hours of the morning. It’s not for reasons that you might think. I am not worried, I am not stressed… I am a little sleepy though. I thought I would have MAJOR issues getting up this morning… but God is divine. As for the wringing, I actually have a severe case of poison ivy on my hands and they ITCH incredibly bad.

There are also two reasons I am up this early; I had a steroid shot yesterday AND I am supposed to meet friends in about an hour to start an exercise program. I thought I might have trouble waking up, but I actually had trouble staying asleep. Thanks God, for modern medicine that burns horribly when going in.

I have been giving a great deal of thought to exercise as of late. I had gall-bladder surgery a few weeks back and I am pretty much over that. I really have no excuse not to get up and begin doing something to slim down some. I don’t wanna be skinny or anything like that. In fact, even if I were to weigh 100 pounds I would most likely still be in a size 14 because the good Lord blessed me with hips. I just wanna get some of this weight off and feel a little lighter on my feet and fit in my clothes better… and actually be able to see my feet. Really, it’s not that bad… but it has been. Over the last 8 months or so I have already lost about 35 pounds. I need to lose a lot more.

When reading Proverbs 31 I get the feeling that the virtuous wife would more than likely not have been overweight. I imagine, if this woman existed and this wasn’t some man dreaming up what he thought the perfect woman should be like, that she would have been Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way). I know I will never attain that status but I can TRY!

There are a great deal of things I can think of this morning that I need to change. Procrastination, organization, self preservation, self love, and patience. It’s a laundry list that I am working on slowly. I actually used my calendar in my phone for planning the other day. My husband would be proud if he knew. I put all of the kids games in my phone so I didn’t have to try to carry around schedules and totally fail by losing them 2 days later.

I have also stopped taking all of my RX medication and I am trying to use “herbal remedies” (no, NOT THAT kind) to help with my ADD and moodiness. So far it has been about a month and after a discussion with the husband yesterday I have decided that I am just a touch more edgy than usual so I am going to up them just a touch. Nothing horrible, just impatience showing through more than normal. No more crying for no reason though…and I actually have feelings and am a tad bit more opinionated. Kinda nice.

I am steady trying to make the changes in myself that I feel need changing. The hardest one for me is going to be coming back out of this shell that I have seemed to found as a protection. Some may laugh at that and say that there is no shell… but I promise that there is. When I was young I never met a stranger, you were my friend from the moment I met you and you could forget a handshake, you were going to get a hug. After getting burned by a few “friends” I think that I became scared to put myself out there. I stopped being “me” and started being “turtle girl” that got really quiet around strangers (stranger danger), Especially women. Part of that is I am not comfortable with myself anymore and part of it is my ability to judge a book by it’s cover as a survival instinct.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some of the most fabulous friends on the planet, but I don’t put myself out there. I was invited to visit with some new folks the other night and it took my husband and kids calling me a pansy to make myself go. There is nothing wrong with these new people, just my perception of myself… scared out of my mind that I wont be accepted and that I might become annoying. Plus, what if I get hurt again… what if I put myself out there 100% and as soon as I turn my back I am the butt of the joke, or seen as one of those pity invites… yeah, I know… I totally need to stop.

I hold people at a distance and I 100% do not mean to. Again, it’s a survival thing. Something I very much need to work on as well.

Well, those are my wee-hour musings. If you are praying for me and my family in our adoption endeavor then please pray for finances, peace of mind, a good home study, strong bonds, and Proverbs 31-ness. As for me and my house, we are going to serve the Lord.

Whew!

So Friday Jason and I had our first “interview” with the adoption agency. Most of it consisted of them letting us know that they weren’t going to do anything unethical in order for us to adopt a child (DUH!) and questions about our marriage, our children, and life insurance…

There were also separate interviews in which we were asked in depth questions about psychological stuff, past abuse (if any), and whether or not there were any secrets we were hiding that would ultimately doom our marriage. I know that these things must be asked for the welfare of the child that we WILL be blessed with, but you can’t help but feel like you are being judged and raked over the coals for anything that has happened in the past. Supposedly, this interview will not affect our ability to get a child. Luckily for us, we have no doom on the horizon and our marriage is in tip top shape… I’m not sure if Jason would pass a psych eval with his Hannibal Lecter- like personality though (pffft). In other words, we will be fine and any child that God blesses us with will have an amazing Dad and Mom. Heck, we have two AWESOME boys that we have done pretty well with. They are my testimony to the world that we know what we are doing.

Don’t get me wrong; neither of us have been perfect, we both have our issues…  we are not the picture you see when you look up “perfect marriage” or “perfect parent” on Wiki-pedia. We are human; we are flawed and we accept that. Though, we have a stronger bond now than we ever have before. We are there for each other; we accept responsibility for our flaws and we honestly try to work each and every day on being “better”. Yet, I’ll be the first to tell you I am NOT perfect in any shape, form, or fashion and Jason will too.

I have been working REALLY hard at this Proverbs 31 wife stuff. My biggest triumph has been working on not being idle. I have gotten up in the mornings, made breakfast, made sure clothes were ready for the day. I go to work and try my best, work hard and smile… try to be that sunshine that someone may not get everyday. When I get home, I cook; I clean and try my very hardest to get stuff done until it is time for bed. I have also worked on patience a bit this week too. Trying to be more patient with the kids and husband, though sometimes I feel like I fail at. I think God finds humor in me trying to find patience because he has given Jason 5 million questions to ask me throughout the day… what are you doing, what are you doing, what are you doing, What Are You Doing, WHAT ARE YOU DOING… aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrgggggg. Seriously??? I am trying NOT to lose my patience… that is what I am doing.

I have a great reminder when I get home too. We bought a new welcome mat to scratch your feet on. It says “enter with a  Happy Heart”. It reminds me each day, when I get home, that this is my safe haven, the place the Lord blessed me to be and I should walk in happy. I love its reminder because no matter what kind of day I have had I know when I get home that all of that can go away because I have my family.

Wedded Bliss

I bought a book … that has been put on the shelf with every intention of reading it. It was called something to the effect of My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife. I thought it would be an appropriate read since I am DEFINITELY not the “Proverbs 31 wife”. I fail miserably at so many things as a wife. I don’t appreciate what I have most of the time, I constantly look at the 20% of Jason that I don’t have and forget the 80% of him that I do. I am a horrible, nitpicker who gets in my own head most of the time and who takes advantage of the AMAZING man that I have. Most of the things I pick apart are technically issues that I have with myself and broadcast them on to him. So I suppose this post is me saying enough is enough. I want to BE a Proverbs 31 wife and I don’t even really know what that consist of. So I am going to put it down here on this blog…

 

Proverbs 31:10-31

Wh0 can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her. So he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax and willingly works with her hands.

She is like the merchant ships, she brings food from afar.

She also rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and a portion for her maid servants.

She considers a field and buys it from her profits she plants a vineyard.

She girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms. 

She perceives that her merchandise is good and her lamp does not go out by night.

She stretches out her hands to the distaff and her hand holds the spindle.

She extends her hand to the poor, Yes she reaches out to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all of her household is clothed in scarlet.

She makes tapestry for herself. Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them and supplies sashes for the merchants.

Strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice in time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.

She watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also and he also praises her, “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all”.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing; but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. 

Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.

 

WOW! Ummm, what a woman!! What can I say?!?!?! It kinda sucks for my husband because I am really none of those things. I am fairly selfish and I used to think I could pride myself on being one of those women who wasn’t high maintenance. Apparently I am sorta kinda  supposed to be… in a way. So, I am on my own mission to be a better woman, wife, mother… one day at a time. I suppose I should make some goals.

I will start by saying that Jason has no clue I am in our room currently typing this up. Except he is standing over me right now asking what I am doing and I just answered “stuff”… he shakes his head and walks away saying “okay, Cryptic”.

Over the last few weeks I have had this heavy on my heart. I want to be the kind of wife and mother that deserves God’s blessing of another child. So I need to say goodbye to the old me and embrace this butterfly that is trying earnestly to burst out of this cocoon.

I have said, since I left Montana, that I REALLY want to grow up to be a woman like Sharon Palmer. She was my neighbor in Montana and she was THE PROVERBS 31 wife. I suppose the best place to start would be a letter to her and a re-read over this scripture… maybe even crack open the book I bought. I will let you know how this goes.

If y’all would, say a prayer for me as I begin this journey and say a prayer for Jason who I ultimately (besides God) want to please. I thank God for him every day… now I want to give him what he deserves… a Proverbs 31 wife.