New Year…

So, here I stand, on the precipice of a new year.  I’ve thought (and probably said) before how hard it is for me to write “Christmas” letters and address a new year.  I always seem to say something along the lines of “We have no idea what the new year will bring…” and well, we don’t!
I feel like all to often we rush ahead, we charge forward, bulldoze our way into what we set our plans as.  Either that or we are a leaf on the river of life blithely going wherever we go, with no real dreams or goals of our own.  There is a problem with both scenarios.

If we push our way into whatever we want, just push on no matter what, odds are high that we are missing what God truly has planned for us – and usually there are consciences to this.  If we shove and bully our way toward our goals without stopping to look around, to make sure that our goals line up with God’s goals, sooner or latter He is going to catch us and say – “I wanted you to go that way, and I wanted you to do it a while ago, so now that you’ve built this highway in the wrong direction I’m going to bring you back”.  This results in our lives “crumbling around us” because we built those lives, and did it with little regard to the life God was trying to build.

On the other hand, if we simply float along with life, how do you accomplish anything?  My friends are all doing X, so I will too… My family expects Y, so I guess that sounds good.  My job wants to promote/move/”redistribute”/fire/give me a raise OK that works.  I’m sorry but that seems a listless way to go through life.  God has great plans for you, but odds are He isn’t going to just gently lead you around to accomplish His goals.  Nope, He’s going to wait for you to show up and say “OK God, what’s next?”

So, I’ll set some goals for myself, Chris and I will set some for our lives, for our family, for our jobs.  We will look at 2015 with guarded optimism, and then we will start to walk slowly in the direction of our dreams.  We will pray, we will listen, and when we get those feelings of “maybe we should think about this instead” we will stop and pray harder.  Trust me when I say we have BIG plans for 2015, and those plans are going to mean a LOT of change in our family.  Also believe me when I say those plans look NOTHING like what they looked like a year ago – or even six months ago.  So honestly, if I stand at the edge of 2016 and life looks totally different from what I have in my head right now, I will not be at all surprised.  I can tell you what we hope and want it to look like, I can even tell you our plans to make it look the way we want it to.  What I can’t tell you is what God has in mind for the coming year, how that will be different from my plans, from our goals.  So I haven’t a clue what may actually happen.

I’ve gotten to a point where it’s even kind of hard to share openly what OUR plans are, because well, inevitably that’s not what happens, because our view is short and limited, and Gods view is vast and eternal.  It’s hard to look at the goals we had a year ago, to finish the house and make it salable, to move and realize the dream of a mini-farm for our family.  Now that dream is back to being a dream, a want for me to leave this house and settle somewhere else.  God knows my heart, He knows what I want, but He also knows more than that.  So, we aren’t moving to the country, we may not be moving at all, but that’s because God is shifting us to another path, honestly it’s a road I thought was closed – but maybe not.

So, I’m off to make the most of what is left of 2014, as I wonder what in the world it is that God has in store for the coming year.

Holding Pattern

Have you ever been on an airplane, flying off toward your destination, thinking about whatever you are traveling for, possibly getting excited over being so close to seeing loved family and/or friends, or maybe a much anticipated vacation, when suddenly you realize you’ve circled over the same scenery twice?  Maybe the pilot comes over the speaker to say there is a delay in landing and air traffic control has placed you in a holding pattern.  This hasn’t actually happened to me, but I know people who it has.  I can only imagine how inner tensions start to get the better of you.  Is there a problem with the plane?  Did something happen at the airport?  Will you be diverted to another airport?  What if you can’t land?  How will this change your plans?

 

What’s going to happen next?

 

That’s how I feel right now.  I feel like God has me, has my family, in a holding pattern.  I wonder often if there is something I’m supposed to be learning, something we/I should be doing differently, is there a problem I don’t know about yet, why does it feel like we’ve been here before?

 

What’s going to happen next?

 

Where is God taking us now?

 

Are we in the eye of a hurricane, or have we really come out the other side of the storm – for now?  Is there more to come, or can we start rebuilding?

 

 

The weather is cooler here now, so I try and soak it up while I can.  I’ve been spending lots more time outside especially in the mornings and the evenings.  I’ve been letting the hens out to roam the yard scratching away for bugs and happily clucking away in the evenings.  Mornings are spent listening to the world wake up and the day get started with a big mug of hot tea while the dogs burn off some energy chasing each other.

It’s time spent like this that my heart is full of longing for a quieter life, fewer/no neighbors, more space, and a bit more simplicity.  A rural home surrounded on all sides with land not neighbors, less traffic, more garden.

 

I’ve had a familiar pang in my heart recently, a desire for more kids, for Inara to have siblings to play with, for a baby to snuggle, even sometimes for more noise and a bit more chaos.

I start to look online at foster, adopting, even surrogacy.  I ask questions, I research, I dream, I wonder.

 

I know that God knows the desires of my heart.  I know that He has a plan for me, for us.  I just wonder what it is.  Are these desires from Him or are they all mine.  Will a day come when these dreams are reality, or will they always stay a dream?  If these are things He wants for us, and He has planted these seeds, how much longer before movement is made toward those things?  When will He provide a clear way for us to achieve these things?

If these aren’t the things He wants for us, then what does He want?  Where is He taking us next?

 

Either way, I’m ready for the plane to land, or turn around and find another airport.

Who I am…

When I was in High School, Jessica Andrew’s recorded and released a song called “Who I Am”.  At the time, I liked it – it was catchy and I liked her voice – for some reason (maybe you can illuminate me) my mom really didn’t – can’t remember why.

This post has nothing to do with that song or the video – lol, it’s just what I think of every time I think of the phrase “who I am”.

A month ago, Chris and I gave our testimony in our ABF (Sunday School), shortly there after, I was listening to the radio and Mandy (one of the DJs in the morning) was talking about how her son had been given an assignment in school to write an autobiography – using the prompt “In order to know me, you must know this:__________”.  In a week and I half I will be standing in front of a room of 50-60 moms (all AMAZING women) and again giving my testimony at our annual MOPS Tea and Testimony.  All of this has had me thinking – “who am I”?

Let me start with – I don’t like the word “testimony” I think it sounds to “christiany”, which I suppose is not a bad thing, but it’s not my groove.  Instead I prefer the term “story” because honestly – thats what your testimony is, it’s the story of God in your life, which is a story I LOVE no matter what you life has been like.  Also, let me say, it’s taken them at least two (I think three?) years to convince me to get up in front of these women to share my story.  I’m really intimidated by it honestly – much more so than I was in our ABF.  I think it’s because my story is a hard one, the path God has lead me on has been full of a lot of downs in the last years – but that’s not how I want people to hear my story.  I want my story to be filled with joy and hope and love – because thats how I feel.  Could I hate life and hate God and be filled with miserable sadness and darkness – sure and I think some people would not begrudge me that, it’s been a crappy life.  But, I’m not because I have the confidant hope of the Holy Spirit within me.  That is the message I want heard when I talk – and I want it to be totally divinely inspired.  No pressure or anything lol.

So, let me just also say, I haven’t prepared AT ALL for my talk next week.  I have not a single note written down specifically for this.  I’ve been mentally writing for months, and I have the notes from mine and Chris’ talk, but nothing for this one.  I don’t know what my block is, but I just can’t seem to put anything down – maybe because I’m still not feeling the leading of WHAT I’m supposed to say, or even what my focus should be (other than the obvious)… It’ll happen…

The best thing though has been the prompt, “In order to know me, you must know this:__________” It’s had me thinking a lot, what do you need to know about me to really know me?

I love the color purple

 

I was born in Michigan

 

When I was in 2nd grade my dad moved to Ohio to live with his ill mother

 

When I was in 7th grade my mom and I moved to Ohio as well

 

I have one brother – he’s 9 years older than me and honestly that age gap has always prevented me from feeling close to him, but I do love him dearly and missed him A LOT when he went off first to college and then joined the navy when I was younger.  I’ve always been proud to call him my brother, and I’ve never been more proud then when he was in the Navy – it felt really good (and I’m still really proud of him, and my dad, and all the rest of my family) to say that he has served our country.  He is a roll model for me.

 

I’ve never told him any of this.

 

I resented my dad A LOT for years after we moved to Ohio, by high school it turned into downright anger.

 

Soon after I started college, my parents home was forclosed upon – we had to move again.  It made me “hate” my dad.

 

It took me YEARS to overcome that anger, resentment, and hatred and be able to love my dad again, but I do.

 

I met my husband online.

 

We dated long distance.

 

Sometimes, despite knowing our relationship is God ordained, I still wonder if I rushed into it or if it was the right choice – I might have, but it so was no matter what.

 

I have an obsession (some may call it embarrassing) with Harry Potter, and I find the world in those books and many of the words spoken to be truly magical and inspirational.  I went to more than one midnight release, both for the books and the movies.

 

I’m a closet nerd (maybe not so closeted as I think) I love Star Wars, Chris has gotten me into Star Trek, then there is the aforementioned Harry Potter thing, and many others.

 

I have rather liberal views politically – especially considering I am an evangelically Christian.

 

Politics and Parenting are two topics I RARELY EVER talk about with people whom I’m not VERY close to.  Mostly because my views are totally opposite of pretty much everyone else I know – I’m a hippy living in a conservative state, it’s rather suffocating some times.

 

I am a FIRM believer in doing whatever works for you – no matter what any one else says.  If it works for you and your family, and it isn’t harming anyone – do it!

 

I also think that we are far too judgmental of ourselves because we put others on pedestals we (nor they) could actually live up to. – ESPECIALLY as women.

 

In some parts of the world (even some states in the country depending on how you interpret the laws) I would be convicted of murder because I have had two still-births and one miscarriage.

 

I’ve never felt like more of a failure than I did when I lost our first baby.  I know that I didn’t do anything wrong, that I couldn’t have prevented it, but it still made me feel incapable of being a good mother or wife if I couldn’t even protect my son in the womb.

 

I harbor many other irrational thoughts like that which I have to fight back periodically.

 

I was born with unilateral renal agenesis – meaning I have an “absent” kidney.

 

I have a strong dislike of medical terminology. (absent, yeah, my right kidney just had a cold and called in sick the day it was supposed to be installed lol)

 

Unilateral renal agenesis affects approximately 1 in 500 live births

 

I love statistics

 

And quotes

 

And music

 

And the written language (particularly stories)

 

34,000 women in the US nearly die each year due to complications during child birth – that was me in 2010.

 

I should be dead – it is only by God’s mercy and grace that I am here, seriously, there is no other reason medically or anything – I’m a miracle lol.

 

I often write and speak in a “flow of consciousness” style – which is why I suffer from “word vomiting” often (meaning stuff just spills out of my mouth unchecked), and why, often I don’t make a lot of sense chronologically or almost any other “logical” order.

 

because of my missing kidney, I also had either a bicornuate or septate uterus – reproductive abnormalities are also common in females born with unilateral renal agenesis.

 

Because of my mal-formed uterus, it was extremely difficult to carry a pregnancy to term.

 

1 in 4 women will experience some sort of pregnancy loss, either miscarriage, still birth, or ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

 

1 of my 4 pregnancies ended in a “spontaneous abortion” (another crappy medical term for miscarriage)

 

2 of my 4 ended in a still birth – 1 of which required funerary services and a death certificate.

 

I have a death certificate in my file of important paperwork, right in front of my daughters birth certificate, and behind my sons autopsy report.

 

I had a partial hystorectly before the age of 30

 

My uterus burst internally it literally exploded inside my abdomin, and no one noticed for up to three days.

 

Did I mention I should be dead?

 

After surgery, my husband told me I’d been hit by a bus.  I don’t remember this.

 

I had a dream that I was George O’Mally in the season five finally of Grey’s Anatomy when he gets hit by a bus.  I didn’t understand it then… then Chris told me about how when I was coming out of anesthesia he told me I’d been hit by a bus… amazing how the mind processes stuff right?

 

I have an amazing, beautiful, spirited, spunky, incredibly smart, sassy, active, daughter and I worry every day that something will happen and she too will be taken from me.

 

So – do you feel like you “know me” know?

 

Do you see why I don’t have a clue what I’m going to say in a week and a half…

 

I sew – sewing and crafting are theropy to me

I like to cook

I hate to clean – ESPECIALLY dishes

I love animals

I raise chickens

I also have cats and dogs

In the past we’ve had hedgehogs, snakes, a guinea pig, and a one eye’d gerbil named Captn one eye.

I’m really an introvert

I have a fixation with my crock-pots (yes, plural)

I LOVE tea

unsweet

hot or cold

no lemon

rarely with a splash of milk and a small pinch of sugar – only if it’s hot tea and it depends on the kind.

I can’t stand coffee – except for it’s aroma, love the smell HATE the taste

I love to serve people – behind the scenes

especially through food.

I like legos

I spend too much time online

I’m picky

and stuborn

I don’t shave my legs

but I do my armpits

I clean my face with oil – if I clean it at all

I ramble

I’m flawed (aren’t we all?)

I choose Joy

I don’t get the Duggers, seriously enough is enough?!  I’m also a little jealous…

My daughter just peed on the floor in the bathroom.  I find this supremely annoying!

I’m sure there’s more?

Our story began…

We thought it was so cute and funny to play “This is the End of The World (as you know it)” as we walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs.  We had no idea when we said ” To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ‘till death do us part.” that there would be more worse than better, more poorer than richer and a lot more sickness than health.  But there is more love than ever, and certainly a cherished adventure unlike any we could have imagined (and certainly different than we would have chosen ourselves), but that’s where the romance comes from.  “fate” “destiny” “love at first sight” have nothing to do with romance.  The cute 80 and 90 year old couples you see still holding hands didn’t place the eggs all in the “happily ever after” basket, no, they took life as it came, and they grew together through the struggles and unexpected.  They stayed when they wanted to leave, and the loved when they wanted to hate.  Should God bless us with another 50+ years of life together, I know that at 85, you will still be my valentine.

 

Take Two

The reality of a thight budget means that sometimes after shopping (or while shopping) you are forced to redo the menu plan.  This happens because the store may be out of items you needed or because the cost of items was higher than anticipated, or simply because you needed more than you could actually get.  For us this two weeks, all of the above happened to be true so after shopping last night I came home and revampled the menu plan – here’s how it looks now. 🙂

The extra bonus in this, was that I remember next Friday is Chris and my first date night of the year – so I got to plan for that instead of planning and extra meal lol. 😀

 

 

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Thanks to everyone for helping me to have such a blessed year.  Hope you all come back to continue the fun in 2012!

color

Today, through a variety of link clicks, I stumbled upon an interesting blog – but more specifically, an INCREDIBLY interesting blog post 1,200 Names for Yellow on Aunt Peaches.

 

Esentially the entire post is about an amazing piece of art created by the blogger which is entitled (amazingly enough) 1,200 Names for Yellow:

The peice is made up for swatches of color that all fall within the spectrum of yellow, but are differant from each other – and the creative names given to them.  It’s amazing and it really makes me wish I could hang it on my wall because I could spend HOURS looking at it.

 

However, the part that really got me thinking was what we call colors.  Something I’ve thought about a lot in my life – especially since I have a husband who, bless him anyway, can’t see more than about 8 colors in the entire color spectrum – so everything is blue, no matter if it’s cornflower, navy, or cadet.  For me – who can see very minute differances in shades, tones, and colors it can be very frustrating to ask someone who is lucky to recognize the color as something other than white, grey or black, which shade of yellow he’d like me to pain the living room between three color swatches.  The blogger/artist brings about the point about how we teach our kids the basics: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, black, brown, white, grey and pink.  But what about the other 85 colors in their crayola box of 96 – or even the others in a box of 16?  Because there is a big differant between green yellow and yellow green – and I’m sorry but Violet and Purple are not the same color – also, blue and purple both have a colors that could be named royal as well as colors that share the name of periwinkle.

 

So – when do you teach your kids the differance between green and lime, or pink and fuchsia, or yellow and buttercup?  Because the shirt I have on isn’t blue, or green, or turqouise or aqua even, it’s most definatly Tiffany Blue.