Saturday, November 24, 2012

i am...

thankful for my family.

snuggled up in a blanket on the couch at the beach.

learning some interesting family history from about 8 generations back.

waiting for sweet hubby to wake up.

checking out sewing machine deals online.

drooling over silhouette cutters.

considering working on the awful puzzle we started at memorial day weekend and haven't been able to finish all summer and fall (at the beach, so not always available).

wishing I had the pictures from last night's walk on the beach at sunset to share.

excited about the boat parade we're planning to watch tonight.

avoiding doing work for the class I'm taking.

filling up on pumpkin pie.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

God's promises

So as the whole world knows by now, I'm in a rocky place where my faith is concerned. I want to have great hope and put all of my trust in the Lord, but over and over so far my greatest desire seems out of reach.

In my quest for some sort of balance, I've begun to write my prayers down, instead of simply praying them in my head. (This is in addition to talking to good friends, my godmother, my counselor, my sweet hubby, running on a semi-regular basis, etc.)

It has been good for me, so far, because it is forcing me to take the time to slow down and focus and to really be intentional about trying to be thankful, even when I don't really feel thankful. It is forcing me to recognize feelings and questions that I have about this whole infertility experience that before I hadn't been able to fully form or fully recognize.

It is also forcing me to be more open to hearing God's response -- this taking time to really pay attention also gives me a time and place where I am quiet and trying to listen.

And so one day last weekend I prayed for a sign. My prayer went something like, "God, just let me know which way my life is supposed to go -- let me know whether I should be hopeful without fear of having my faith, little though it may be, ripped out from under me if we find out that we really just can't have our own children."

I don't normally pray for signs. I don't know if I really even believe in signs, most of the time.

The one other time I have actively prayed for a sign was actually the beginning of my romantic relationship with sweet hubby. I prayed for a long time before sweet hubby and I were a couple, because I thought he had a girlfriend but I really really liked him and we were starting to spend more time together. I was determined not to come between him and a girlfriend, not to do anything to mess up his relationship, and I was determined not to be the one to initiate anything physical. I prayed to God that this boy would kiss me by a certain date, and if he didn't, that I would let go of my feelings for him. And funnily enough, after I started praying so specifically about needing this particular sign before a specific date, we had hardly any time alone. I started to get worried, and then I kept reminding myself that I wasn't supposed to be in charge. I wasn't supposed to be orchestrating or trying to make sure that we had an opportunity or anything -- I was supposed to wait and see and be open to both possibilities (that we would get together, or that we wouldn't).

And wouldn't you know, even on the very last day, we still didn't have any time together alone? We lived in a sort of boarding house, and I had accidentally left my water bottle downstairs. When I went back downstairs late that night to retrieve it, there was sweet hubby, all alone, and his eyes lit up to see me. He initiated the kiss that I had been so impatiently waiting for. And the rest is history.

Was it a sign? I'm not entirely sure, but clearly I'd like to believe that it was. It sure felt a lot like a sign and an answered prayer when it happened.

I *want* very much to believe in signs now, because the one I think I received over the weekend could be so incredibly encouraging to me right now. I have been praying for God to let us know definitively whether we will have our own babies or need to explore other family-growing options.

So there I was, sandwiched between my mama and daddy at church on Sunday morning, and we began to sing the hymn "Come Ye Thankful People Come". The third line caught me off guard and put a smile on my face -- "God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied". The hymn isn't really about whether I can have babies or not, though, but it felt like God might be whispering to me.

Just a little bit later, we began to responsively read Psalm 113. And here, my heart just about jumped into my throat. Could this really be what I just read? Look at verse 9 of this Psalm -- "He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord." Really, God? Is this a coincidence, or is this for real? I made a decision that I was going to have to look the Psalm up again later, just to see if I had made it up and it was all in my head.

When the sermon began, I didn't know whether I would listen or not. I like my pastor just fine, but sometimes I totally tune him out when he talks about topics that are upsetting to me -- like when he tells lots of stories about how important it is to be a parent, which seems totally out of reach to me right now. I started off listening. He told the story of someone who recognized all of the many, many small things that led to big things, with the understanding that she couldn't control any of the small things and couldn't control the big thing, but that she recognized the way that all of these small things came together in exactly the right way for the big things to happen. I know that sounds vague, but I've forgotten the exact story, even though I recall it was about an author.

And so I've been left thinking about the small things. Small things that I'm hoping, very much, are adding up to a big thing in my life -- small things that I'm hoping will turn out exactly as God has planned, and exactly as my heart desires, all at the same time.

I've been thinking about how I developed a good relationship with the counselors that I used to work for, so that when I needed to reach out for professional help coping with the emotional journey that infertility brings, I was comfortable enough to actually do so. I've been thinking about how my godmother struggled with infertility, but I never knew it until I confided in her a few weeks ago, and she can fully understand where my heart and mind are in this process of really wanting to have children and questioning and doubting and being on an emotional roller coaster almost all the time and the effect of the extra hormones from treatment and all of it. I've been thinking about how letting our social/travel calendar revolve around "good times to be apart" and "times that we should be together" has grown my relationship with sweet hubby and encouraged him to verbalize to me the importance to him of growing our family and has allowed him to demonstrate to me that he is willing and able to put our family ahead of his immediate desires to travel or spend time with friends. I've been thinking about how two of my good friends from college, while they have no problem getting pregnant themselves, both have an older sister struggling with infertility. I've been thinking about how my mom decided several years ago that she wasn't going to ask us prying questions about when we were planning to have kids, and how when we are at parties and such and people ask me in her presence, she'll automatically defend our childless-ness with the statement "I don't even ask them about that -- it's not my business". And this from my mama, who loves me, but with whom I do not discuss anything truly personal -- this from my mama, without me ever telling her that we're trying to have babies and that it hasn't been an easy road.

The little things, I'm discovering, are pretty amazing. And I have great hope (this week, at least) that these little things will add up to something amazing. I'm hesitant to claim Psalm 113:9 as a personal promise from God to me, but on Sunday morning, standing there, reading it aloud, it sure felt like a sign. It felt like a promise, from God to me, that he does, actually, have a plan for me, and that the pieces of this plan will come together the way God wants them to, and that God's plan includes my desire of having children of my own.

I'm a little bit afraid to claim this promise, in case it turns out that we really can't have children of our own, and rocks my faith in a way that I can't recover. But mostly I want to claim God's promise, and to use it to shore up my hope and have a positive attitude and not worry so so so much all the time about where and when and how and whether I am doing enough.

Please pray for me.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

some things

1. I finished my 8k race this morning in 56 minutes. I was surprised to be able to run the whole thing, even if I went super slow. This also means that I only have one more race to go in order to meet my 2012 New Year's Resolution Goal of running a race every month. I'm pretty excited to be 11/12 of the way there!

Thanks to sweet hubby for taking this little picture after I got home.

2. I had an HSG on Thursday, which was surprisingly painful but apparently had a good result -- no blockages or anything. So it's back to waiting and not knowing why I haven't been able to get pregnant yet.

3. There are two school days before Thanksgiving, and I am probably more excited about the break than my students are.

4. I'm making the pioneer woman's cinnamon rolls for our UMW bakesale at church tomorrow. It's always tempting to eat them all and not save any for the bakesale.

5. Wait Wait Don't Tell Me is hilarious.

6. I just finished reading the book Fireflies in December, and while it was really good, I wasn't anticipating the content when I started reading it. Maybe I should have read the back of the book first? It gives a very good glance into small town southern life with the Klan. Parts of it were hard to read for a wimp like me.

7. We saw my godsister sing in her high school production of Little Shop of Horrors last night. The songs are so catchy. Some of the singing could have been a little bit better, but overall, it's hard to go wrong with such an entertaining show. Who doesn't love Audrey 2 and Seymour?

8. Sweet hubby is selling seats at the last home football game of the year. I think he will be glad when this game is over and the seats are put away for another season. He'll be tired when he gets home, but he agreed to help me clean out the attic this weekend.

9. In addition to cleaning out the attic, we'll be putting up some of our Christmas decorations -- yay! I'm ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and ready to get cheerful!

10. I really, really, really would like you to pray for me -- that I'll be content with whatever path God has for me. I really, really, really would like to have sweet hubby's babies, and I'm doing all the different things medically that might help with that....But there is still a possibility that I won't ever be able to have babies. Please pray that whether I have babies of my own or not, that the experience help me to grow in my faith, rather than turn away from it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Monday

And only 6 more school days until the first of the breaks -- Thanksgiving break!

One of my absolute FAVORITES!!!

I'm so excited to spend time with my family.

We'll have dinner with about 35 other aunts/uncles/cousins and then take a long walk in the country. We'll eat dinner in the afternoon and snack all day and then have supper before we leave, too.

We'll play games and talk and laugh and chase the little ones around and Uncle Richard will fall asleep in front of the TV. Or in the middle of a conversation. (He has narcolepsy, which we didn't know until a few years ago -- it was a great revelation. Now he takes medicine before all family gatherings, which helps him stay awake for all of the fun!).

I'm trying to think positive and get excited about the family time coming up -- it's helping me get through the trying days at school....mondays. And all the other days, too!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I am...

definitely going to vote today.

looking forward to hanging out with my godmama for a little bit today, and letting her give me insight about what I should do with infertility treatment and faith.

listening to mumford & sons.

and the cat purring.

up early on a day with no school, but that's ok.

glad that sweet hubby still has to work today, since we just took a big financial hit.

trying really hard to give up my worries to God and trust that he will provide (financially and family wise).

annoyed by my messy house.

glad I went for a run yesterday, when it was 20 degrees warmer and so much less grey outside.

ready to register sweet hubby for a full load of classes this spring, after his part time student status this fall.

hopeful that one day he will actually graduate and get a job he loves.

full of chai tea from the dutch store in the mountains -- yum.

deciding which apple dessert to make with the many apples we still have from picking apples a few weeks ago.

going to put the sleeping bags back in the attic.

planning to put up some little shelves in my closet and rearrange a few things around the house.

fixing to cry my eyes out when I meet with my godmama since I'm such a wimp.

trying to focus on how loved I am and how big of a blessing it is that I have people I can turn to (even if it is hard and awkward for me) when I have big questions about what following God should really look like.

hoping you'll pray for me today (and tomorrow, and the next day, too, probably).

ready to get started.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

adult decisions

(No, not x-rated, you're looking in the wrong place.)

I was supposed to go on a college church retreat this weekend. And I didn't. I was very "unresponsible" and made the best decision for me -- not to go. I would have loved spending time in the mountains. I would have loved getting to know some of the students a little bit better. I would have loved spending time taking in God's majesty while watching the sun rise or set over the lake, singing songs of praise, hiking, walking the labyrinth, or sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch.

Except that this weekend, I wouldn't have loved any of those things. They would have been a burden to me.

And a church retreat? I'm fairly certain that it is not supposed to feel like a burden, but more like a blessing.

When sweet hubby's good friend called me and texted me to see if he could ride with me, I said no. I couldn't handle the idea of talking to this man for three hours in the car after the week I'd had. So I made the choice to say no.

When the same friend texted me about 1/2 hour before I was supposed to leave, to see if (even though I don't have a key to the building) I could pick up the food they had accidentally left behind, I was super annoyed. I told him I didn't know if I would be leaving that day after all. He told me that sweet hubby and roommate both have keys to the building. (Roommate doesn't live here anymore, sweet hubby had an opera to perform.) I told him I still didn't have a key.

About 15 minutes later, roommate called me and asked why I wanted to get into the church.

I told her I didn't, that the friend wanted me to, and that I thought I might just not go on the trip after all, and I started to cry.

You see, I had a horrible week.

Stressful, stressful, stressful, and no one to talk to about it during the week, since sweet hubby was at opera rehearsal every night until way past my bedtime.

Roommate convinced me that I was making the right choice by saying no to the trip. She came by the house, let me cry and vent a little, then told me she was breaking up with the girl she had been seeing. She was worried it would take a long time, so we made a plan -- I'd open the bottle of wine I had been thinking about all week; she'd buy chinese food and break up with the girl, and then she'd come back to my house and we'd watch funny movies together.

It was just what I needed. I got to have a little cry, I got to have a little relaxation, I got to have some good laughs. Runaway Bride is funnier than I remembered. Mean Girls will probably always be my favorite. And friends like roommate? They aren't found often.

The irony? The exact man who was driving me to my decision to stay home called the girl who convinced me it was the best decision. And he thought he was calling her to get me to do him a favor.

So instead of spending this weekend in the mountains, I've spent it at home. At school, grading papers and papers and papers. 4 hours worth of papers. 4 hours worth of papers that had me stressed out because of how long it was going to take me to get caught up with another week of meetings after school every day and during planning time and no free time to focus on school. And eating lunch with my family, since I wasn't actually in the mountains after all. And watching the opera that sweet hubby has been rehearsing for months now. And drinking wine and watching movies and laughing and crying and talking to my best friend. And napping for three hours, since I was tired.

These things, too, are gifts from God. These things too, help me to see his Majesty. His grandeur. His amazing love for me. He orchestrated this weekend for me to stay home, to truly appreciate not packing and unpacking and sleeping in a sleeping bag and talking to 19 year olds and crazy Brazilians all weekend.

After the week I had, this weekend at home has truly felt like a gift from God. I'm all about the adult decisions right now. As in, I'm an adult. Even though I said I would go on this trip, it is not the best choice for me right now, so I'm not going.

It is a powerful feeling, this making adult decisions that are the best choice for me, regardless of whether they show my commitment to the things I've said "yes" to doing. Perhaps I need to start practicing how to say "no" more often, again.

And on a side note....Just a quick list of the things that made this week so very horrible in the first place:
1. full moon=crazy kids
2. Halloween=crazy kids
3. poor parenting=crazy kids
4. late night opera rehearsals=poor sleep
5. dr.'s appt. Monday=sad, stressed Eli trying to decide how much infertility treatment to seek
6. late night opera rehearsals=not talking to sweet hubby about infertility treatment decisions that need to be made, and preferably this year before we start our insurance deductible again
7. new tires and struts for my car=bank account woes
8. RISC visits at school=extra goal setting and the implication that I'm not doing enough at school
9. immersion leadership meeting=listening to teachers from other schools whine about things that don't really matter for 2 hours instead of being productive
10. Halloween=unproductive afternoon
11. girls on the run=no time after school for planning on the one night sweet hubby didn't have rehearsals or performances
12. phone calls from a parent who thinks her child is struggling in school but the child is really not
13. parent conference after school on a friday
14. planning/packing for a church retreat the same weekend sweet hubby is in the opera
15. medication changes for my most aggressive student
16. report cards
17. PMS. On top of all of the rest of it.

It was all just toooooooo much. But it is over now....And next week will not be much better. But I, personally, am better, because I spent part of my weekend catching up on school stuff and relaxing and not driving 3 hours to the mountains and 3 hours back.