Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blank Slate.

Christmas has come and gone, presents bought and unwrapped. I'm wearing my new riding boots, and Mak has been pedaling around on her new "gear bike" to beat the band, and Jake is donning suspenders with every outfit. Santa was good to us. I've enjoyed my time off- work has been tiresome lately- so just doing nothing has been great! I've laid in the bathtub til my hot water turned cold. Read a book from start to finish under my favorite blanket, beat several hard levels on Candy Crush, and finished several Pinterest projects. :) Decompression time is nice. I also have been productive, getting doctors appointments taken care of, organizing closets and cabinets and draws, rearranging furniture, and cleaning.

Christmas break has flown by and it's hard to believe we already are here- New Years! In 2013, my heart has been broken to bits. In a way, I'm glad to see it go. But at the same time, we experienced a lot of joy and made many good memories this year.
Things to celebrate in 2013:

  • Buying the kayaks and the memories made on them (snorkeling in the bay, my dad's first scalloping trip, Jake's first float down Green River, fishing, exploring area lakes on hot summer days)
  • Jake's and my trip to Chapel Hill on the bike
  • Mak getting her lifetime hunting/fishing license
  • Discovering our love of French press coffee
  • Unforgettable nights in Georgetown with the greatest friends (especially the night Whitney and David said 'I DO!')
  • Watching my Daddy walk again
  • A deeper sense/focus on fashion/style. I've simply been more cognizant of buying staples, putting together outfits that flatter, and trying things that I might not have been brave enough before (like the whole black leggings, brown boots thing, or a high top knot, etc.) I also have been more thoughtful on wearing lipstick, heels)
  • A diagnosis (positive ANA test and MTHFR genetic mutation) for my miscarriages. I am on an aspirin regiment and taking folate, and both the doctor of Maternal Fetal Medicine, geneticist, reproductive endocrinologists, and the ob/gyns at my practice all feel I WILL get pregnant AND carry to term. There's hope, medically, and most of all (spiritually) I have hope that He has plans - to prosper and not to harm, no matter what's down the road.
  • Rediscovering my passion of painting. I finished one I started in 2008, and did many more. I never have proclaimed to be good at painting, but painting is very good for me.
  • We put our house up for sale and have left that in God's hands.
  • We ended the legal battle with Mak's birthmother and have strengthed the relationship with her and her biological grandmother.
  • My faith has been tested and tried. And proven strong. 
In 2012, I didn't really make resolutions for 2013 as I was in the throws of a miscarriage having lost the baby around Christmas and had my D&C the first week of January. My focus was on emotional survival. Sooo, that brings me to this year's resolutions... which I kind of don't even like the idea of, to be honest. But, I think it's good to refocus and refresh and set goals, so I've always been a bit torn on the whole to resolve or not to resolve debate. So here's what I'm thinking for 2014...
  1. I'd like to get rid of the 15 pounds I've picked up as a result of three pregnancies and hormonal fluctuations. I don't want to do programs or special foods, but I don't have the time in my schedule for a regular exercise plan due to my commute... So, I am just going to work harder at being cognizant of what/how much I'm eating and when, and try to exercise more, particularly with yoga, hiking, and kayaking- the things I enjoy the most. 
  2. Obviously, I want to get pregnant (and stay pregnant) and sell our house and move. But those things are not do or not do things. They're the things I have to turn over to God, and trust.
  3. As a couple, Jake and I are resolving to be better at tithing. We certainly tithe, but we want to do a better job of tithing regularly and more intentionally. 
  4. Be a better mother. I know that my voice will be come her inner voice, and I've been coming up with some ideas to make sure Mak's self-worth is strong and sure. ;)
  5. I'd loooove to resolve to make 2014 the year Mak takes her first flight- butttttt, all that depends on the court. I wish they'd get it together and set our date. Just waiting on a judge to bang a gavel and will get her a passport and have a Caribbean summer. :)
  6. I do want to go back to grad school- I'm going to wait til Jake finishes though, so that might be a New Year's resolution for next year. I do want to make a decision as to where and what I want to study this year, though. 

There you have it. Like most, I want keep getting better. I refuse to set crazy unrealistic goals, but I do want to continue to grow, most importantly in my faith. 
So, here's to a new year, a blank slate, a clean start. 
Through it all, trial or triumph, to God be the glory!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Worn

I'm going to go ahead and warn you that this is a very raw post. I'm throwing it all out here. My one goal in sharing this is to share my testimony of the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer.
I don't think I "dealt" with my last miscarriage very much at all right after it happened. In some way, I think I quietly withdrew. From God, and in a way, from others. I also think I knew I'd be working through all this when it happened. I knew this was going to be hard. 

When I got pregnant this last time, I had several people in my life who got pregnant right before/after me, one in particular who had a due date a week or so from mine. I hated being around her because I did not want to be the kill-joy.  I did not want to be the elephant in the room. Her happiness, her milestones reached, her exciting developments were meant to be shared, and wanted that for her without any guilt for her. This was a great moment for her and she should be able to share without having to hide it for my sake. At the same time, while I felt such happiness for her, I hated the reminder of my own loss, and in a teeny-little way, I resented her, all while loving her and feeling happy for her at the exact same time. So, being near her became so emotionally exhausting it distracted from my worship and study of the Word. Since then, I have avoided nearly any pregnant person in fear of resenting them, because I honestly don't want to be that person. I don't want to harbor such feelings. I want to be happy for them and not feel awkward. 
All of this has been a constant reminder of my humanity, of my sinful nature. And that convicted me... I hated this sin. I hated feeling so distant from God. In my "anger" and sadness in the unanswered prayer of a continued pregnancy, I had pulled away.  In addition to this, my possibly hormonal nine year old hasn't been such a peach lately.... and her struggles have been so taxing too, and I have laid awake at night wondering what we have gotten ourselves into, what she will grow up to be, and why parenting her has to be so, so hard, particularly when to everyone on the outside it seems like this precious, precocious girl is a walk in the park. In short. I have been distant, ungrateful, and angry. I have sang, prayed, and loved, but not in the passionate way I know I should as a follower of Christ. In some ways, I was going through the motions, simply because I knew better than to pull entirely away from Him and going through the motions was the best way to stay focused during this rough patch. Like a placebo pill. It's just that those feelings, of loss, anger, and frustration are hard to talk to anyone about, hard to admit, and hard to move through alone. Fortunately, I never have been alone in this. More on that in a bit. Anyways. I've spent Spring, Summer, and part of Fall, a good 5-6 months in this spiritual and emotional rut, without the words to explain it to anyone. But then, I heard the song by Tenth Avenue North called Worn. And it was like the words were coming directly from my soul in a way I couldn't verbalize. The bridge of the song hit the nail on the head:
My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I'm worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I'm worn
I've lost my will to fight
I'm worn
So heaven come and flood my eye
s

And I started praying the words of the song.
 I "
cried out with all that I had left."  
Did my pain go away? Nope. But I did start to feel whole again. To feel Him again. That's the beauty of seeking Him.
Jeremiah 29:12-14a:
[Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.]
So for the past few months, I have tried to draw nearer. And I have felt hopeful. 

I finally made my follow up appointment, nearly 6 months later, just another step to move on and move forward. I researched, I read, and recorded, and armed with lots of questions and possibilities, I brought my list to my OBGYN and asked him what testing had already been done, and what tests he could now do, and what tests he could refer me for. I had a list of syndromes, diseases, disorders, and other things I wanted to discuss. I was very proud of myself for the research as every thing I had on my list my doctor confirmed as sound possibilities worth exploring and testing. 10 ridiculously huge vials of blood, and two appointments (one at the hospital lab, one at radiology) later, I had the results. A positive anti-nuclear antibody test. Likely Hughes/APS, the auto-immune blood disorder that can cause repeated miscarriages. Kinda scary to hear, but I felt so grateful for some answer, some validation of my research. Anyways, with blood thinners, it can be treated.
Today, I had an HSG procedure (uterine x-ray that was.... very invasive and extremely painful. I cried.  It came back negative for any structural abnormalities, meaning no fibroids, cancer/tumors, polyps, ruptures/tears, or blockages, which helps confirm that APS (or whatever is behind the positive ANA test- again, most likely APS which i have an appointment coming up with a specialist) is the main culprit in our pregnancy problems. 

Hurting from the cramping from the HSG procedure, I came home after picking up Mak from her Nana's and checked the mail today. I was feeling glum and distant again, struggling with the frustration that folks with no business raising children because of their sordid lifestyles, women who choose to abort them because it's inconvenient timing, never have to wait months for an appointment with an auto- immune specialist, never having to lay exposed and vulnerable with excruciatingly painful dye flowing through their Fallopian tubes... and then I flip through the massive stack of bills, brochures, and sales papers from the mailbox. I find not one but two hand-addressed envelopes with my name on them. I thought, it's a bit early for Christmas cards. When I opened them, I found that two friends, from two different circles and stages of mine and Jake's lives, who didn't even know each other, had written powerful words of encouragement to me both citing a conviction or pull to pray for me. I was overwhelmed with tears when I read their letters, each lifting me up in such a profound way. 

I tell you all of this to testify to the power of the Holy Spirit. When you are in a dark place, when you struggle, whither you know it or not you are NOT alone.  In my time of spiritual weakness, friends were praying without even knowing that I have been struggling so. With my 3rd due date fast approaching, I know the struggles are not over. In fact, I know that what we've been through will probably always hurt some, a scar on my heart so to speak. But wow. The words of that song are so SPOT ON. Sometimes when we are worn, heavy-hearted, we are going to want to give up, to doubt, to wonder, are You there, God? Are You paying me any attention? Do You love me? Why don't You heal my pain? --The lyric that says "I've let my hope fail/ My soul feels crushed/ By the weight of this world" says exactly what I'm talking about.--  But in the midst of those dark feelings, the Holy Spirit moves! He stirs, He speaks. He HEARS us, y'all. Through prayer (my own and from those moved to pray for me by the Spirit), through music, and their words of encouragement, I felt HIM. And in the words of another current favorite song, O the Blood resonates:

And in my sin, yes EVEN THEN, He shed His blood for me.
 

He doesn't stop loving me for asking Him bitterly WHY He allows a drug addict to get pregnant and carry a child and not me.
Even when my praise becomes half-hearted, lack luster. 
Even when I am so resentful of another's successful pregnancy.
Even when I have doubted His love, His plan, HIS VERY EXISTENCE, He still loves me. 
Even when I have shut Him out.
Even when I am ungrateful for the amazing gifts He's already given me.
And what's even crazier is know all this, knowing my doubt, my fear, my SIN, He willingly hung on that cross, thinking of me. 

That's just... Wow.

God, forgive me for my sin. All of it. All the darkness in me, all the doubt, all that. Thank You for restoration. Thank You for hope and peace. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, and for prayerful, loving friends who lift me up. Thank You for a supportive husband who like a rock, lets me lean on him in my weakness and never makes me feel inferior for my humanity. Thank You for taking my place when I am so very undeserving. 




Sunday, September 08, 2013

How’s school going?

I flaked on the whole back-to-school post.

Here’s the quick recap before I fall over and conk out on the keyboard…

  • It was a mad race to finish with the big move to our new school, but we did it. We couldn’t print for the first week and didn’t have rosters til the first day and nobody knew if they were coming or going, but we pulled it off. 3 days down, 177 to go.
  • being the only one who’s done it before means youre the one who must often teach and lead and bring others up to speed. translation? dead. tired.
  • planning a 9 year old b-day party the week of back to school was like planning my own suicide. pulling the party together almost killed me, but the kiddo had a blast.
  • my 100 babies (er. students. they are sooooo little to me! fresh outta the elementary craddle!) are very different, but I like them. can’t help it.
  • I’m a tad overwhelmed, but in that happy way, kinda like that part of college when you’re in your core program classes, not the gen ed stuff, and though you feel like someone has waxed the floor with your face, you kinda like the feeling? anybody get me? probably not
  • I’ve gotten pretty pissed off at folks dissing charter schools lately and I’ve started speaking up when people start going off on them and I am quick to correct misconceptions and rumors about who we are and what we do.
    Ps… if you wanna know what I think, watch this video- in general, I really like how this guy explains them:
    What is a Charter School?



End of story??

-I’m so tired, but glad to be a part of something big, exciting, and challenging. My job may not be my calling for life, but for right now, I enjoy what I get to do!

Anti-Education in the Media

image

This is a screenshot of a headline I caught on the local news website. How horrible? They are making a homeless kid pay for his lunch? What?

Headline ambiguity is driving me crazy, particularly in the area of education. The media so frequently blasts headlines like above that, upon first (or second) read-through make schools, teachers, and other educational personnel and groups bad guys out to get students. But if you read further, the schools/teachers are most often following procedures and someone got their feelings hurt.

This article is ACTUALLY about a FORMER STUDENT (who has either been expelled, moved from the school zone, or dropped out- an important detail left out, mind you) who snuck onto campus with a friend to eat lunch because he is now homeless. Because it violates school safety, the student who brought him on campus is facing punishment and Logan Santos, the former student grabbing a lunch at school where he was not enrolled, has a warrant out on him for disturbing schools. The tone of the article headline places blame and has a negative tone towards the school, which was doing exactly what parents would hope schools would do- stop and prevent strangers and other possible dangers to students from coming on to campus.

My outrage lately about working in the world of education (besides NC legislators punching teachers right in the gut lately) has been this negative media for schools doing what they fundamentally must do to keep order and make sure learning is occurring. Schools aren’t just failing because they want to. We as a country are failing our schools! I am so fortunate to work at a school that values community and holds parents accountable for student behavior… a place where we do not tolerate anything that jeopardizes student safety or learning, and we are supported by our community for holding true to what some would see as rigid rules or principles. It’s a beautiful place for students to learn, and a fantastic place to work because of that. So many other schools aren’t like this, though. If the school expels a kid, the school is horribly discriminating, over-reacting, or otherwise messing up and is thrust into negativity, even IF expelling a child is what is necessary for school safety and learning.

Couple this dynamic with the decay of the moral fiber of our nation and the lack of basic parenting (respect, responsibility, manners, and humility), no wonder our plight!

#thoughtsattheendoftheschoolday

Friday, August 23, 2013

Keeping my my world un-mad

So this song keeps coming up on Pandora, and I was struck by the lyrics today.

As school and Jake’s new grad school schedule begins, with all the changes at work too, I have to be vigilant of falling into the worn out faces category of people described in the song. What scares me is getting so wrapped up in going through the motions and getting stuff done, that I miss those kids, the ones described in the fourth verse- I don’t want to look right through them- I want them to learn and grow and feel loved.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very, very
Mad world
, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me, what's my lesson?
Look right through me
, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very, very
Mad world, mad world, enlarging your world
Mad world

(Gary Jules - Mad World)

It is a beautiful song- but what I appreciate is the reminder to make each day matter, to connect with people even when I’m tired and frustrated and such. Just a note to self as we get the ball rolling on Year 4 & some change! :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Evangelical errors.

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This lovely little graphic floated across my Facebook newsfeed recently.

I shuttered.

I am known to be a  English nerd and a bit of a grammarian, so of course this would annoy me. But, really? Angles?

This is an ANGLE.

This is an ANGEL.

(I’m particularly fond of this print, by the way… it reminds me of one that was in my grandmother’s house when I was little. I’m not so sure I agree with the traditional depiction of angels, but not sure if I disagree either. It’s just one of those mysterious aspects of Christian faith I take a guess-I’ll-know-someday attitude about. I don’t get the appeal so much, as I imagine Jesus by my side rather than some winged creature, but that’s just me. I also prefer to think of them more warrior-like, since God’s almighty and all that. In my head, He’s not so much grandfatherly, but beyond description- not necessarily human form [maybe?] but glowing and evoking that same feeling you get when you see Rambo. Blowing evil out of the water… I get this bubbly feeling in my heart knowing He rescued me- He’s taking out darkness and sin with a machine gun of love and forgiveness. I realize my vision isn’t exactly orthodox, but, whatevs. He’s my God. He loves ME, and until I see Him face to face, I’ll let my imagination run wild with longing for Beulah Land.)

My point, my frustration, my annoyance is this:
Whatever you do for the Lord, do with ALL YOUR MIGHT.

Colossians 3:23-24… Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

I realize not everyone who knows and loves the Lord is educated in spelling and grammar, and by no means should ignorance, a lack of knowledge, or a poor background stop someone from sharing about Jesus. He died for ALL.  (So, know that I say this next part without condemnation, but constructive criticism for a fellow believer…)
If you’re going to take the time to make a spiffy little graphic like above (and have the KNOWLEDGE and wherewithal to make such) specifically for Facebook reposting folks, AT LEAST take the time to get your spelling right (ON A 3RD GRADE WORD). It makes Christians (and subsequently, the Christian faith) seem ignorant, and in a world where we must be quick to have an answer, to be knowledgeable to defend our beliefs, this junk does nothing to spread the Gospel but rather elicit eye rolls at those ignorant “Christian” people. If spelling and grammar is not your area of strength, use another method to spread His love. Talk to people. Pray. Go on missions. Build, give, and use your talents to reach out to people in need. But for the love (literally?), don’t make silly Facebook graphics. M’kay? Thanks.

Okay, end rant.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August again?!

Au revoir, Summertime!

Next week, Jake goes back to school, and then the next week, Mak goes back. This August is sooooo weird. My usual angst has been mild- mostly anxious and excited in the good ways, most likely due to the fact that this school year will be so different for us. Mak is staying at her school, but with J’s fellowship, he has now left the classroom and entered the world of full time graduate school, meaning he will be taking M to school, coming home to work on school stuff or observe in schools, then go to class at night three times a week, while I will be continuing to teach at MICS, despite thoughts that I might jump over to the neighboring county. Nothing panned out as every position (just a few opened up) where I wanted to go involved math or science and not ELA or social studies, so instead of risking it with a school I was unsure of, I’m staying put where I’m happy and just going to make the drive. After all, we’re in that –keep calm & carry on- mode… no babies coming anytime soon that we know of, house is still on the market, waiting, and so there are no big moves or changes for our family other than J’s job. I am a bit anxious that my coworkers have jumped ship (a few of my absolute favs and best listening ears, all seemingly with the aim to leave teaching in general… understandably so with all the crap teachers are facing in NC… more on that later). I think my new team is going to be interesting- a new dynamic and fresh start. I loved last year, and while it’s going to be different and I’m a bit bummed about it, I’m staying positive that this year will be good too. I’ve got a good bit of planning done, and since I am not changing grades or subjects, I’m finally going to get to reuse ideas and start honing what I’m already doing rather than reinvent the wheel and focus on treading water, the way you end up doing your first year in a particular subject/grade. That second year is sweet- you have the framework for lesson plans and most resources already gathered, so you can focus more on refinement and improving your teaching. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt more excitement than fear this year? That or it’s just not hit. MY first day isn’t until September after Labor Day due to the relocation of our school campus. The moving was delayed because of the ridiculous amount of rain earlier in the summer, so we’re just this week supposedly going to be allowed in the buildings. I can’t wait. I love setting up my classroom. I think I like to pretend it’s my dorm room and it’s like back to college. Matching rubbermaid storage drawers, rugs, and lamps. School supplies. You know. It’s how I can pretend, at least. Hahaha.

I got a Lilly Pulitzer planner the other day (LOVE her) and it’s filling up with notes and plans already. I set up my desk at home for working (it’s rather bland during the summer) complete with cinnamon candle to keep me motivated.

Summer 2013 started a little rocky with nothing (the pool, money, vacation planning) falling into place as I expected, but dog-gone if it wasn’t a blast. Heck, just follow me on instagram and you’ll see. ;)
Between Florida, lake days, time on the river, mountain trips, motorcycle rides, paddling in the kayaks, fishing or swimming, reading tons and tons of suspense/thrillers, library days, bakery trips, summer camp and VBS, lazy days sleeping til noon, catching up with friends, and generally doing lots of cool stuff, we’ve made it fun, despite the fact that a lot of our summer traditions (like the pool, the rained-out symphony & fireworks show, Blues out Back, the rained out/flooded garden- or lack there of, etc.) simply didn’t get to happen this year, not to even mention the influx of debt from two back-to-back miscarriages (hospital/dr bills) and my teaching in SC scholarships now turned loans all calling. Ugh. But again. We’ve juggled the struggles and frustrations and had a great, great summer. We’re richly blessed.

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Oh, and not to mention a good old political debate with a local government representative that lead to me getting blocked on Facebook by the very representative I voted for who happens to represent me… but that’s a side story you can read about here.

It’s been such a good summer. I’m blown away by how much my baby girl has grown and changed (it’s scary for this Mommy!) and I’m in awe of how great my little family is.

Random additional thought: I’ve decided that I think* I’m going to go back to school after Jake finishes for media specialist. It’s been rattling around in my brain all summer. Feels good to start to see a long range plan in my head. Finally.

And, on top of that, Mak’s adoption should be final-final really soon. What a reason to celebrate. So I guess my August angst this year is more like August Appreciation. Appreciation of what we have, what we’ve done and what memories we’ve made, and what wonderful things lie ahead! :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dear Makinzy,

Oh, sweet pea. It's been two years since my world was rocked and you landed in my arms and changed me forever. It seems like forever ago though. Tonight I'm watching you surf fish in your camo bathing suit and pink bow. I'm watching how in love your grandparents are, how tenderly your daddy helps you, his eyes warm and happy. Your personality has blossomed. You've got so much spunk and fire. You are brave and courageous like your daddy, always ready for an adventure. You say the wittest things. You can be wild and untamable, just like he was as a boy. Like me, you're social and talkative. You fearlessly make friends with anyone, anywhere. You love stories and knowing things, even though you have to make yourself slow down enough to listen. It thrills my heart to know how much happiness abides in you. I see sometimes a flicker of pain at the thought of the first seven years of your life, and even sometimes nostalgia at the good times, missing them a little. You love music and being on the water just like we do. You love helping, and you have the same stubborn streak I have. I swear, sometimes I truly can't believe I didn't birth you myself. I love our little wink when someone says how much we look a like, or when we see those wild kids out and about. I love your smell, your freckles, the way you always get a wedgie in your swimsuit no matter how many times you fix it. I love your tears and your giggles when you get cracked up. And don't even get me started on the way you sleep. You look like heaven when you sleep, and it makes my heart feel like it is literally going to burst with love to watch you sleep. You're beautiful inside and out. I am so in love. Being your Mama is a hard job, I won't lie. I loose my temper, we argue sometimes. Disciplining you is no easy task. You know what buttons to push. You can be relentless. But you know my love for you is so fierce. And being your mommy more than anything, sweet girl. You are my greatest joy. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Blog Posts that were started and not finished.

A overview of blog posts I’ve started and not finished.

-Ranting over politics. Summary: 1. As much as we want to, we can’t legislate morality. Sinners will still sin, and God’s word still stands. I’ll vote based on my beliefs everytime, but that’s me. What erks me most is when a state’s voters’ choice is overthrown by the federal government. 2. Calling conservatives biggots for their values, and calling liberals whatever else for theirs gets nothing done. This whole mess is a weapon of mass distraction. While we Christians are getting riled up over this, homes are falling apart. Children are parentless (either literally or with ones who are might near worthless), marriages are crumbling, and we are neglecting to share the love of Christ with the hurting, filling their lives with substance rather that Spirit. Homosexuality is sin, will always be a sin, and I personally will always vote against it, anything in support of this lifestyle, but so much time/money/energy spent stopping them from marrying is out of line in terms of priorities. So it DOMA was overturned. Darn. Hate that. Oh well, and move on!

-Paula Deen and the uproar over the N-word. My (gay) friend Nate said it best on FB… suing/firing her is ludicrous. Should then everyone who has muttered fag to or about a homosexual person have that same kind of retribution for past errors? Such utterances are wrong, true, but let’s not be dramatic.

-I really like frying things. I’m happiest when I’m wearing an apron and have something sizzling in the frying pan. Or when I’m reading. Currently into psychological thrillers/suspense. Also discovered another library where the librarian has learned mine and my daughter’s names by heart already. And I’ve breezed through quite a number of novels in the last few weeks.

-My sweet friend Casie’s little boy was born, and he’s doing well with his surgeries for his spina bifida and hydrocephalous. I’m so proud of her as mom and thrilled that Elam is making progress and doing well. He’s going to be an amazing little man and God sooo has a plan for his life. I’m so excited to watch what the Lord does through him!

There’s more. In fact, it seems I have a habit of starting a blog post and getting worn out of bored before I finish, so into the draft box it goes never to be finished. I’m sure this could be a whole post of self-analysis too.

Nevertheless, I’ve purged my musings for now. :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Blues.

Summer has been a bit stressful.

Money is tight, we’re tired from moving not one but TWO classrooms home (roughly 4 carloads per classroom… ask yourself what would YOU do if you had to store 8 carloads worth of books, furniture, rugs, and other crap in your home. Where would it go?! Welcome to our world…) and subsequently trying to store it.

Then the wall caved in. Literally. Our pool wall on the fiberglass insert caved in for some unknown reason and we don’t know when and if we can financially take on the burden of redoing it, if it’s even at all salvageable.

Jake’s working this summer, and all our craziness this spring between a BFF’s wedding, plus two miscarriages (creating more medical debt, without the consolation prize of a bundle of joy), changing jobs, interviewing and applying, and whatnot meant no time for getting a garden in. We’ve just been drained in time and money this spring.

So no swimming, harvesting, planting, or landscaping has made me blue. It’s just not what I’m used to. It seems so different not having these ususal summer happenings filling up our time.

But it’s not that bad. We’re rearranging, cleaning out and purging, and having a yard sale in two weeks. The peach tree is hanging full for the first summer. We’ve got summer plans galore. A trip on the bikes for two to Chapel Hill last weekend for our 5 year anniversary/Jake’s orientation for Principal Fellows. Family reunion trip to Franklin this weekend. Whit’s birthday at the beach. Camping. Florida. Mak’s week at sleep away camp… I mean, we're gone every weekend- who needs that pool and garden, right, if we won’t even be home to enjoy it anyways? At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Still. It’s a bummer. It’s not what I wanted to expected from this summer break.

Honestly, I know there are much bigger things to worry about than these. I have so much to be thankful for! Seems so trivial.

Sometimes, we get used to how things are supposed to be, how they should be, what we’ve always done. We are all guilty of sometimes getting stuck that rut. But if anything, God has proven time and time again that it’s futile to make my own plans, and I will see that His are grander than mine in time. Even if it’s just my summer plans.

I have a dear friend who’s pregnancy didn’t go according to her own plans, and in just a few short weeks, if that, she will deliver a precious little boy some didn’t think would even make it. He’s going to have Spina Bifida, and she and her husband know he will have some challenges to face. But they also know that his life is precious and that he is a gift, and that in his own amazing way, his life is going to make a difference in the world. I’ve seen her pour out her heart, exposing the fear, sadness, and worry that comes with his prognosis, but I have also seen the joy, triumph, and praise that comes with realizing that even when what we plan doesn’t come to pass, God provides and He has a plan.

Sometimes I just as have to remind myself that He provides in the little things just as much as the big things.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Whirlwind

I’ve lost track of the number times I’ve driven to Georgetown/Pawleys over the last few weeks, but the gas has been so worth it for the memories made and cares lost. I’ve lost a lot of glum on the back roads of 527 through the butt crack of SC… it’s easy to see the world through happier eyes when the sun is shining, fields are blowing in the breeze, your hand is out the window, radio is up, and your on your way to see people who love you, coming or going. All that ughhh inside kind of gets sucked out and left in the dust behind you.

Whitney’s wedding festivities have been so fun. I came down for a much needed break back in early February, and again in March for Spring Break, but the first time we came down as a family this year was in April. Mak had a baby sitter there in town, the daughter of Whit’s mom’s best friend, and a family I’ve grown to know and love from my many pilgrimages down. She was in great hands as we attended a beautiful shower and barbeque on the Black River, and with Mak out cold, after a fun evening with Miss Taylor, we were able to bide a few more hours and go out to the Roost, the best little bar downtown and hangout. I was pregnant at the time and enjoyed decaf coffee and a breeze from the harbor, talking with friends old and new. It was a fantastic weekend, even with the speeding ticket Jake got in Kingstree thanks to a really ridiculous speed trap.

The next weekend was Mother’s Day and Mak made it memorable by getting me face masks and facial cream and asking to do facials with me for Mother’s Day. It was precious and totally her idea. She even insisted on a cucumber. I was an emotional wreck that week as the feelings left over from the miscarriage came bubbling up. I was moody and teary and- just a hot mess. I was so grateful for the next weekend as I left Friday for the bachelorette weekend.

We stayed in a condo at Litchfield, 6 girls, long time friends. Friday we watched cheesy wedding themed movies, shared blankets, and chilled. We talked on the roof top and did a whole lot of nothing. Saturday we work up and dressed for the Lingerie Shower, sipped mimosas, and smiled for pictures. We left, changed out of our dresses, and went to Murrell’s Inlet for lunch on the water, in the midst of bike week, then came back to the condo to rest and get dressed for a painting lesson and heading out on the town. We started off the evening at a place called Pallete to Palate where we sipped wine and champagne and painted a Mahi-mahi step by step. We went to Myabi’s, a shnazzy Japanese steakhouse where the flirty chef felt really bad about splashing me with soy sauce. :/ We ended the night with trip to my favorite hole in the wall- a restaurant and bar tucked into the woods, where live oaks wrapped in white lights draped in Spanish moss, surround a little deck with a little stage. And I let my hair down. There was an abundance of shots (as is the case anytime there’s a girl in a bride to be sash) and so we had a night we will always remember. The ride home the next day was interesting, considering a wreck on that old back road sent me on a wild goose chase through the middle of no where, and my head still pounded a little and my car still smelled a little like the Bride’s tossed supper. I couldn’t help but smile.

In between this and the actual wedding was EOG testing, the epitome of stressful in the teaching world. My kids did great (I guess- how am I really supposed to know since I can’t really know what’s on the test) and I made it through the week. A last minute trip to the nail salon, quick packing, and a few blinks later, we were on the way, the three of us, plus my parents following behind. The wedding week was a blur- bridal luncheon on the river (more mimosas and smiles for the camera by the river), rehearsal lead by a pair of sassy church ladies, a gorgeous rehearsal dinner complete with perlo and low country boil and many great toasts, and then a late night trip to the Roost again where we all flirted, laughed, and joked for hours. The next morning, wedding day was full of hair appointments, dressing times, photo times, and then finally the ceremony itself. It was such a great wedding. At the reception, we sipped a signature drink- the Slingshot- a  yummy berry/coconut concoction that matched our dresses and was named after a Myrtle beach attraction where the bride and groom went on their first date. I got to catch up with so many friends from over the years, and I was glad my parents got to see me and my Georgetown friends together and why I love them so much. I danced with groomsmen (including this ridiculously flirty WestPoint boy from NC, ha, bless his heart), Trey (graduating law school), Kaith (a Teaching Fellow like myself, now breaking hearts as a high school history teacher), Brandon (a doctor, just completing his PhD, and obviously, I spun around in the arms of Jake, who danced with Whit’s mom and anyone else who was willing to twirl. We Harlem shook, Zach (the bride’s brother) booty danced Grandma, and I pulled him around by his suspenders. It was so. much. fun. There was bumping and grinding, swinging and twirling, low dancing, and of course, the Cotton-Eyed Joe. Thank goodness for that WestPoint boy because I just can’t hang with Jake when it come to the Cotton-Eyed Joe, he’s just too good. :) We covered the car in graffiti and filled it with balloons. Whit covered my face in icing, deciding she wasn’t done yet, after she attacked her groom. Makinzy had the freedom to play with the other kids her age and dance too, but she got so disobedient, mean, and grumpy (we still can’t quite put our finger on why she came so undone), that we problem-solved and put her to bed on a pallet in a dark back room and she was out like a light in no time and we danced until the last song. We would have went to the Roost, but we took Mak back to the hotel (still asleep) and we conked out. Sunday was spent tanning, sleeping, and playing ball on the beach before we drove back that night.

Clearly we were tired when we got back and planned our day off on Memorial Day for unpacking and catching up after the crazy week that was.

The end of the school year is always a wild ride- a fast paced haze of events, and you’re so busy it’s hard to know of you’re coming or going. Add to that the craziness of a 4 hour drive each weekend, you can say I’ve been in a daze. But I’m so glad I’ve had this whirlwind. It’s pulled me out of my slump, helped me make great memories full of laughs, and I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Summer is just around the corner. :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I know.

I got a Focus on the Family email today with the subject line something to the effect of “Do you know God’s will for your life?” and it kind of struck me.

I’m not really the “why am I here?” kind of person. But I answered the questions immediately yes. Yes, I know:

  • It’s His will that I love, cherish, respect, and partner with Jake.
  • It’s His will I guide Makinzy as her mother.
  • It’s His will that I am currently a teacher, and His will I landed at MICS, a school where my students keep me refreshed and inspired. Where parents and coworkers show support and concern. He’s also the reason I know I won’t be a teacher forever, because I know it’s His will that I do something else, and I will wait patiently for that door to open, listening for His direction. But, until then, I know it’s His will that I bloom where I’m planted and make each day worthwhile, right here, right now.  Accepting His will in this has left me feeling complacent, in the best way.
  • It’s His will that I learn to trust Him, that I lean on Him, and find peace in His promises. He’s allowed heartache to draw me nearer. I can’t say it was His will that we have lost three babies, but I do think it’s His will that I develop an unshakeable sense of trust in Him. If this is what the world’s thrown at me, I know He can use it for His glory.

I know. I do. I sang this morning- I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind, the God of angel armies, is always by my side.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

This week has been tough for me. Insomnia is raging, a problem I'm not use to having. Despite a tiresome day, I've been laying in bed staring at the ceiling til 4 AM, reading to keep my mind from going  into those dark places grief tries to beckon you down. Then, once I do finally fall into sleep, I find myself  shaken by Jake or jolted awake by the alarm. It's been wearing me down. 

Yesterday, in the midst of finalizing Mother's Day plans, grumpy from my lack of sleep, frustrated by the idea of the holiday, this idea of celebrating the woman who birthed you, a job I continuously fail at, I mourned finally. I screamed. I cried. I thought of the missed moments, both with my three in heaven and with Mak, missed first words, missed poopy diapers. I seeth every time I read posts complaining of swollen ankles and stretch marks of pregnancy, late night feedings of newborns, or the terrible twos, because, let's be honest, I am so incredibly jealous. Those missing milestones nag at me leaving me feeling inferior as a woman and a mother, not to mention failing at carrying a child. Not good enough for the title, the role, the burden and blessing of the name Mom. I watch pregnant friends whizz through 9 months and suddenly land the mom-crown, quick and painlessly, fully respected, proudly showing the title. But me? I look sideways through narrowed eyes wondering deep down if everyone thinks I'm not really a mother, just a woman nice enough to raise this kid that's not mine. I'm just a "good person" who is doing the right thing. The idea that I somehow don't deserve the chance to experience the whole deal. It is a ridiculous fear, a stupid internal battle to fight, but it plagues me nonetheless. But somehow, today's sermon spoke right through this animosity in me.

Bro. Chip, our pastor is known to be a teacher-preacher. His sermons are not topical but rather chronological, as we dive into scripture. Just because of a holiday, he rarely goes off on tangents or out of the plan to suit the day. We've been in the middle of Isaiah, so today we happened to be on Isaiah 55. He discussed the troubled times in which the prophet lived, the danger and uncertainty, the prevalence of sin and corruption. The similiarites to today are striking. He then discussed mothers' role in shaping children's moral fiber, fighting the culture war so evident today. it is true. We are in the midst of war, a clash of core values where secularism seeks to stomp out the faith in more than just music and movies. Mothers are not just about wiping stinky bottoms and framing ultasound pictures. And it is foolish to think you define a mother by her baby wearing and nursery decorating skills. Planting God's word in the heart of your child is your ultimate job, and in doing so, you will train her up to be confident yet humble, respectful of all people, and equip her to go out into the world ready to make a difference. It's the seed time and then the harvest as it says in Isaiah 55:10 and 11.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

What hope this brings! I've been so blessed to have a godly mother who taught me right from wrong, self respect and humility, courage, and love. She never once failed to let me know that everything she did was to mold and shape me unto a Christ-like woman, strong and capable of whatever life would bring. My mother in law has done these things for my husband, and now embraced me as well, ever ready to listen with an open heart, quick to share wisdom and love to help guide us and point us in the way. Likewise, my aunts, grandmothers, and other family friends have also worked hard to set the example for me, embodying the description of a woman described on Proverbs 31. Their success as women has not been defined by the things mothers do, but by the example they've set for me in who they are as Christains and showing me the kind of person I was made to be. It's planting these seeds. My role is Makinzy's mother isn't defined by her baby scrapbook, missing of course, nor the hours of nonexistent labor, but the time we've spent praying together, writing the words of God on her heart. Praise Him for this chance to change the world.  

Mother's Day was great. Saturday night, we went out to eat with my mom and we did facials and baked cookies before bed. My sweet mama has a way of soothing my spirit, and spending time together was priceless. My mother in law came over after church. We had pie, and the kids did dishes while she and I talked books over coffee. Then, Mak and I spent the evening cuddling and pinning ideas for future bedrooms (mermaid theme), sleepovers, and crafts. I've been so blessed to fight the war. Motherhood is war, and victory is sweet.

                         








Thursday, May 09, 2013

Next chapter.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I haven't been able to cry or even sleep. I just stare. I don't know if it's because this is the third time, or if maybe I just expected it the whole time, but for whatever reason I don't sleep, or cry... I just get lost in my books.
This time did not turn out like I expected, of course. Nothing does. We had planned surgery for Monday but I guess my plans have a tendency not to come to fruition because Sunday night it started. Makinzy was already asleep so my sister in law came to stay with her. Mama came and we went straight to the ER.
The ER was initially a bit traumatizing. I didn't have to wait and went straight to triage, and then back to a room and immediately met the doctor who was very different than what I wanted, though he was in the end exactly what I needed . He had olive skin and seem to have that demeanor that reminded me of House, smug. Strange sense of humor. He made me lie down. Like, he patted the pillow repeatedly until my head hit it. They could couldn't decide what to do with me at first, and I could tell he was a little frustrated because he didn't have my records. He wanted to do a pelvic exam and ultrasound, which I thought was completely pointless. Fortunately, he was able to call my doctors and get the story and my history. So then he was talking about admitting me. He went ahead and did the pelvic exam (awkward to say the least) but then afterwards seem to really show concern about why I was miscarrying again and again. He reminded me of House, still, how he wanted to figure out the cause, brainstorming aloud. He was factual and practical. Then, he shared stories of his own family, about his and his wife's miscarriage and even stayed with us to talk long after he was off the clock. His words? This sucks. By the time I was wheeled to the big room where I was to spend the night, being monitored until the preset surgery time, I didn't want him to go, because his sympathy was legit without being suffocating , and he did seem to have true desire to figure out the reason why this is happening to me. 
The surgery went well later on Monday and I was able to stay longer in the room and recover. I was not in the day of surgery unit where I am usually booted out of soon as I can stand up on my own. They are notoriously sweet there, but they move you quick. No rush was nice. I guess that helped the healing time. 
Since I've gotten home I have had a real of aversion to sympathy. I don't like the hugs and awkward looks like "I'm So Sorry" and such. What's the most meaningful to me, what has helped most gas been the quiet acts of kindness, a hug, a simple I'm thinking of you, a joke, telling me something unrelated to death or grief, simply normal conversation and company, living life to move forward. I don't want to hear anything about sympathy or sadness or bad things. I just want to go forward, which is one major reason I'm going to go back to work tomorrow, Friday. I think seeing my students and returning to normal life will help me get out of that rut. Earlier today I received a delivery at my door, one of those edible arrangements, from a group of parents, a few women just saying we look forward to seeing you back at school. It wasn't an "I'm sorry for your loss, thinking of or praying for you" ...it was just we want you to come back, welcoming me back to normal, and it meant the world to me. Does any of this make sense?

I guess when your heart has been broken so many times it eventually gets a little rubbery. Maybe it gets a little flexible, instead of breaking it just gets stretched. Or maybe this is just the elephant in the room that I'm avoiding. It could be maybe somewhere when I least expect it, when I least have planned for it, I'm gonna collapse and break in about a million llittle pieces of grief, all because I've chosen not to do it. 
I guess we will have to wait and see.
I'd like to think my heart is too stubborn for that.

As for me and God, well I guess we're okay. We're not really talking that much. It is not that I'm angry with God, I mean I guess I am a little... I know it's completely irrational to blame God for this, if anything I should be running to His arms and not away from Him... but I'm just kind of standing still. It's like that quiet time after you've had a fight with someone you love. You're sorry, they're sorry, and you know they care and you love one another. But it's just too fresh, too recent, too hard to talk about. Because words are not enough. You simply hold hands, stare out the window, and keep on going, knowing it will be okay eventually. There's been no gigantic rift in my relationship with God, so I am just kind of on hold, pressing a pause button. I haven't ran away and never will.  I'm a child of His. Just a kid needing to sulk. 

I wish life was more like a fantasy novel. A book of fiction where you can always turn the page, you can always read a summary, you know there's always a resolution to the conflict. I think those of us who like to plan and see the end before we get there always love to disappear into a book. Literature seems to be the only place where things make sense, where the denouncement always happens after the falling action. 


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

2013… the better view

I just looked back on my last 10 or so blog posts and realize dhow much I use my blog to leach out the sadness of miscarriage, the pains of adoption, the frustration of the teaching profession. The ICK of life. But where’s the good times? The smiles? The joy? So in true self-therapy style, I’m pulling out photos of happier times, dwelling on blessings.

Fun times with great friends.
My daughter’s excellent school musical. She nailed her solo… :)
Beach days, even when it’s chilly. There’s something about Pawleys Island…

My students are remarkable. They made bracelets and cards for kids at Levine Children’s Hospital, delivered them, and skyped with a patient, too. They wrote and preformed Shakespeare puppet shows for the little ones, and I was so proud of them.
Our church family continuously provides us with love and laughter.

Fancy dates (even to work functions) never fail to make me giddy and excited.
Homemade Red Velvet Birthday Cake.  Enough said.


Snow days and family fun.
Gorgeous mornings in the south.
Mother-daughter pajama parties.Saturdays with these two.

2011, 2012, and 2013 have been so hard. But I can’t forget, they’ve been really, really good too.

Crushed.

I knew from the moment I looked at that positive test, we could be here again, and no matter how hard I tried to fight the urge, I still fell in love with Sweet Pea. Worse, I let Mak fall head over heals.

When we were setting outside of the Ultrasound room, my heart pounded so hard, I could hear it. And I’m not being metaphorical. My foot twitched and I gasped for air, nauseated. I scrolled through texts and Facebook posts, letting myself feel the prayers surround me. Jake’s hand stilled mine. An eternity later, my feet were in the air and I closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes, I saw  something like this on the screen:

NOTE: This is NOT my ultrasound pic, but a Google image that most closely resembled what I saw… I didn’t get one.

Anyways, the tech clicked and measured and typed SAC and clicked the dimensions. I kept waiting for her to press the magic zoom button and see my baby’s silhouette. But no matter how much she clicked, zoomed, and wiggled, I never saw it. I looked panicked at Jake and said to the ceiling, looking away from the screen, “It’s not there, is it?”
The tech said no sympathetically and explained she just couldn’t see anything but an empty sac, that the doctor would tell me more.

Here we were. Again. A third time. I stared blankly at Jake as I got dressed and said so flatly, what will be do?

They gave us a private room to wait in for Dr. Peach while he finished with another patient, instead of sitting in the waiting room. The table was unfortunately directly in front of a mirror and I could see my face, the sadness, and it made the tears come. I couldn’t call my mom… I can’t hide my pain from her, so I knew the sound of her voice would make me loose it. So Jake sent our moms texts. I know, a sucky way to hear, but for us, the best.

Soon we were in Dr. Peach’s office, who confirmed what we already knew and outlined the plan we already thought through. Confirmation blood work and ultrasound at the end of the week and D&C at the beginning of next week. I thought of calling Glenn, my boss, but decided to wait. He & his wife have been through this a few times. I immediately started sub plans in my head. I want(ed) this over before End Of Grade Testing and before my best friend’s wedding. I felt anger and frustration at the thought of the lost week with my kids, the week in bed, in a post-anesthesia fog mentally fighting to stop myself from going down the dark road. I don’t want that fight again.

When I lay in bed or on the couch post-miscarriage, I can’t grade papers. I can’t read. I don’t even scroll Facebook or troll mindless websites. I stare. I look at the ceiling, and spend hours telling myself all reasons I can’t and won’t go into the darkness. I remind myself I can’t withdraw, I can’t hide, I can’t stop living. Metaphorically or otherwise. I name names of family and friends who have reached out, and tell myself not to let them down. Mostly, I sleep and dream of nothing. It’s better than letting my mind wander.

I am so broken. I am so tired of this fight. I don’t know if I can beat the darkness this time. I want to be angry and manic and kick and scream and stop living. But I know better, so yet again, I’m going to suit up, put on my boxing gloves and fight the desire to give up and get lost in the despair.

I believe in the power of prayer. I don’t know why our prayers for a healthy baby were unanswered. I don’t get it. I can’t. I know that God’s timing is perfect, but it seems like He’s skipping out on me. I know that’s not it, my faith is stronger than that, but my heart is just sooo crushed. My head can’t wrap itself around it, so I’m just going to have to trust Him. It’s  all I can do.

“I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say, Amen and it's still raining.
As the thunder rolls,
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, "I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls, I raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm…”

Monday, April 15, 2013

Life goes on!

I was thinking the other day about ending my blog. I know. Sad. It’s just that life is so different now. When I was a college kid, I was stressed and busy, yes, but I had pockets of free time here and there that I relished, and those long, free summers gave me lots of time for fun recipes, crafts, and thoughtful essays… fast-forward, now, and teaching and being a mama means that my few spare moments are on the couch with my eyes closed, not writing. BUT, no fear. I still want to keep my blog around, because even though my posts are rare nowadays, it’s wonderful to have a forum to collect my thoughts when the mood hits to purge.  I’ve always loved writing, and I always will. And this blog has turned more into a journal of the online variety, free and open for anyone interested in my musings, and I’m okay with that.

Obviously, I ‘m writing because I have a lot of thoughts to share. EXCITING thoughts! In case you missed the Facebook announcement, WE’RE PREGNANT AGAIN! We debated on sharing the news, as we kept it secret last time (Nov. 2012) but when that pregnancy ended (Jan. 2013), going through the grief alone was just as hard as having to break the news to everyone the first time around. So, with the hope that our friends and family would cover us in prayer, we shared the news on Easter, the very same day I got my positive HPT, we shared it with all we knew. I went to the doctor yesterday, finally. I couldn’t go over Spring Break because Mak and I went to the beach while Jake was in Honduras. He spent Monday-Monday over the break on a mission trip with our church to complete a water project on la Montana de Flor, for a group of Tulepon indians, an unreached Honduran people group living in very poor conditions in seclusion outside San Ignacio, where missionaries from our church have planted a church doing amazing things! Since I was pregnant last time when the trip was planned, I didn’t go. So, a beach trip with Whitney was exactly what was needed to get my mind off missing Jake. Gosh, it was so hard being apart and not getting to talk! I have a renewed since of empathy for single parents. It’s soo hard. But, he had a great time and got to do some amazing things for those people, so I’m grateful he went. They couldn’t get me in on Monday or Tuesday before we left, or Friday when we got back, then I had a field trip, so I ended up going last Tuesday. Great report so far! Approx. due date is my mom’s birthday, Dec. 1st! So excited! My favorite part is Mak’s love of talking to the “Tiny (Sweet) Pea” growing in my belly! Thank you for praying for us. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, but no matter what, WE TRUST HIM!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not helpful…

What not to say to someone who has either a.) miscarried or is b.) adopting…
Unfortunately, I tend to hear comments in both these categories. Let’s start with category A… miscarriage.
Never say:

  • It’s God’s will. – Okay, I know that this may or may not be true, but it just isn’t helpful. God is loving and does not put His children through this just because. He may allow it for a greater purpose, because He sees what lies ahead, but I certainly don’t think He wills a pregnancy and consequently ends it. Just like a parent wouldn’t put a kid in a tree house or on a bike without training wheels and push them off just so they can learn the lesson from breaking an arm. You may allow the natural consequences, but you don’t force the pain.
  • You can always have another. – Duh. This is by far one of the dumbest things. I know that. Let me go hit your dog with my car and tell you that. From the moment knowledge of that little life is growing, there’s a bond. There’s love. There’s attachment. There’s visions of curls and eyelashes and little toe nails. And demeaning that loss is grossly stupid of a supposed well wisher.
  • You can always adopt.- Like those who go through infertility (read: me), those of us who lose a child (read:me) ache the loss of the ability to control our own bodies- to use our reproductive systems the way they are “supposed” to work. We hurt from the fact that something isn’t working how it is supposed to. Plus, it’s not always about the baby. It’s grieving the process. The pregnancy experience. Labor and delivery. The whole thing. Not  to mention, for those of us who adopt (read: me), that comment takes a whole new level of offense. Adoption is not a lesser choice. This makes it sound like the “next best thing”- like picking Gain on the laundry aisle when you really wanted Tide. So hurtful. Adoption is different. Not the next best thing.
  • At least it was early.- I don’t care how far along you are, losing a child hurts. Period.

I know that’s just scratching the surface of it, but those are the main ones that get to me, the ones that make me force a smile and walk away before I show a side I shouldn’t. Now… Category B. Adoption.

  • Where’s her real mom? – You’re looking at her, Chump. I know, I know. You mean biological. But what real insinuates is that I’m fake, you know, pretend. And it doesn’t roll like that. Be factual. Biological, natural, first- those are all perfectly factual ways to describe birthparents. Use correct terms, because your words are more loaded than you can understand, and though it might just seem like I’m being sensitive, it goes so much deeper than your curious conversation.
  • How much did she cost? – It’s one thing to inquire into the financial burden of adopting if you feel like it might be something you are called to do. But implying that an adopted child was purchased like you buy shoes is down right ignorant and really mean.
  • She looks like she could be your own! – She IS MY OWN! See the first bullet point, please. She’s mine, I’m hers. And yes, she does ironically favor me and her father. It’s totally okay to point out the fact, in fact, we all agree- it’s cool!- but choose your words carefully.

There are many other lists like this out there, but I just needed to vent my personal peeves as conversations in my life tend to keep drudging these up. And being someone who deals with infertility AND recurrent miscarriages AND adoption… I just seem to get it all around when it comes to tread-carefully-when-discussing subjects. But, if by chance you do use one of these frustrating comments, I won’t be angry for long. Because so many people don’t get it- it’s not malice, it’s ignorance. If you’re reading this and you got married, had a baby, and life went on as typical, know that there is a very real part of me that envies that. That ability to bluntly put it, marry, conceive when you’re ready, and build a family. It is emotionally exhausting to work and work to get pregnant and have so many negative tests, so much money spent, so much anxiety on that rollercoaster, and miscarriage is like a freefall. Adoption is a similarly scary journey- like a road trip in a car with no brakes. And here we are going through ALL of it. Simultaneously.  I don’t mean to be sensitive. I’m strong enough to “grow a pair” and deal with ignorant comments like the ones I listed. It just adds to the wear and tear, though, and it helps to have more build-ups than break-downs while you’re on these paths. I know it’s all going to be worth it in the end, and I know that we are supported, no matter how many times I hear those comments that make me cringe. We are still blessed. In fact, the more I type the more I feel kinda lucky that our faith and our marriage is strong enough to battle these foes, to hold on to hope, and to stay fearless. He has not brought us to something we can’t handle. He gives us fortitude to press forward, annoying & ignorant comments or not.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Why I won’t teach forever.

When I’m off of school (either for a holiday or for personal leave such as recently), I rarely get that “oh, I’m ready to go back” feeling of missing it that some describe. Often, I wonder about teaching, wondering if I could ever find that I-missed-this feeling. For long, I thought that was simply because I  was at a “rough” school, where I didn’t always feel safe or supported. I thought in the right environment, of course, I’d finally feel that feeling. Nah. Even at what I’d argue is one of the best schools to work in, I don’t feel that. And it dawned on me why. It’s not the climate that I don’t like- it’s the job itself. Teaching is not the same thing it used to be. One spin down the headlines of the local news, one scroll down Twitter or Facebook, and it slaps you in the face. teaching is not safe. Period. It’s now in that same category as police officers and firefighters and other people who risk life and limb for penny wages.  As a teacher, you are CONSTANTLY judged. Is your teaching style justified by research? Are you meeting the diverse needs of your students? Are you implementing Common Core? Are you following the criterion for 21st century learning?  Now, all of that wouldn’t be so bad if left into that context, however, teaching goes so much deeper. I don’t mind the stress of grading papers, staying abreast of current research, differentiating my instruction… any of that. I am organized, efficient, and I do a dang good job. I love my kids and work hard. But what bothers me is that my every movement is judged. What stores you frequent and what you purchase. Your character is always one accusation away from irreparable harm. One ticked off kid, one infuriated parent away from total annihilation. Even when I get to work at 6:45 and leave at 5:00 or 6:00 most days, not returning that ever so important email or following up on that most pressing issue is ammo for an attack against me as a professional. Who cares that I have a husband and a child and a family, a church, a hobby, a LIFE? I must eat-sleep-and-breathe each child’s problems, intellectually, physically, any issue at home, you name it.Then, in the midst of this, you are expected to be a counselor, a therapist, at any moment’s notice. If a student is bullied, or even suspected of it, we are responsible for action. If a student is having dangerous thoughts, it is up to us, not the parent, to investigate. Say nothing? We are responsible. Say the wrong thing? We are responsible. And then, when the unthinkable happens, we are expected to talk down shooters, jump in front of gunmen. Heck, it were even headlines debating the need to have armed teachers wielding weapons to protect the children they teach. What is this?! You are constantly on the defense. Every single action you take is judged. And sometimes you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You can follow every step, every action, each protocol, and things still blow up, and it’s your fault. And if you get support to back you up that you acted as professional and followed said protocol, you’re pretty dang lucky, THAT day. I wanted to teach. Not be a police officer, therapist, or politician. I wanted to teach. And teaching is the last thing a teacher is allowed to focus on in this new reality. I am not superwoman. I don’t have a 6th sense to the emotional needs of each of the near 100 kids I interact with daily, though I try. I can’t fix scheduling problems, change administrative decisions, provide resources that aren’t available, and I can’t make a student who is unwilling to learn succeed. I can’t make a turnip bleed. I can’t be a I do try though. Again, I love the school where I work now, and for now, I will continue to go to school each day and do my very best to help my students learn and grow. For now, I will work and work hard at educating and loving the students in my room, My school is a great place to be, But I do find peace in knowing that I won’t teach forever, that one day I’ll turn in my key and back up my books and I’ll dust my hands off and leave the name tag behind, And it’s not because I’ve changed my mind. I didn’t change. My profession changed. I will always be a teacher in my heart. Sadly, though, teachers are not what we are allowed to be.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I have been in bed.

For three days. Only one night did the tears fall. I’m just too…. I don’t know… to cry now. It seems silly to cry. It seems better to sleep. Makinzy hasn’t handled this well, and it’s made me want to hide under the sheets even more. She seems mad and sad (at me) and particular resentful that I am not up to doing the normal things. So it’s been just easier to rest. But today is the last day I’m home to do just that, so I’ve lugged myself out of bed and demanding that I join the land of the living. Last time, I tried cupcakes, and it was worthless. I am sure they won’t help me grieve. They won’t cheer me up. But it’s practice for moving forward. Having been in this dark place before, I know how easy it is to get lost in the dark, and to let darkness become the new normal. so if anything, I am working hard to keep moving. To keep living in light. To cling to hope and faith when I don’t want to. So. Cupcakes.