Monthly Archives: September 2011

Passion…the life we all want to live.

Don’t we all want to live life with fervor? Putting everything we have into each day, each conversation, each activity? 

I know that’s what I want. It’s not easy when you have lots of ‘plates spinning’ to give everything everything you’ve got. BUT, it’s what we’re supposed to do. When we work, we are supposed to work hard. 

Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men”

When we play, we are supposed to play hard. When we rest, we are supposed to focus all our attention on resting. This is so hard when our phones do everything and we never shut them off. Have you recently had an hour of relaxation without looking at your phone, your computer, or your TV? Do you ever let your mind rest when you are awake? Have you ever tried sitting still to meditate on a Scripture passage, in stillness and quiet? Eyes closed, but mind and heart attentive? (It’s lovely, you should try it.)

After a lovely little breakdown last night that another week was starting tomorrow and I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, I realized that it’s OKAY that I’m at a fork in the wood. (robert frost anyone?) 

 

Kevin challenged me to go to a coffee shop, camp out, do some writing, get in the Bible, and just think and write about what I could be passionate about doing for the next 30 years. (Pretending we just weren’t allowed to have kids at all, what could I find enjoyment in?) This is why I love him so much. He is wonderful.

The last couple weeks, I have just been seeking a part-time job just to “get by” until we get another phone call telling us someone wants us to adopt their baby, or we miraculously pop out a baby of our own.

I have been sitting (well sleeping) by my phone at 5:30am each day hoping in vain that the Moline School District will call me to substitute teach. Has only happened once this whole school year. I love subbing, but it doesn’t do me much good when they don’t call. And I probably wouldn’t want to do this for the next 30 years. It doesn’t ignite a fire in my bones to follow lesson plans designed by someone else. 

SO, here I am. Sitting at Dunn Bros. on my second cup of coffee thinking about other options. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

A) I could hold the construction signs. I’m sure you get paid a lot because you are at a high risk of being hit by a car and dying. I might meet lots of interesting people, but the dirty looks from frustrated drivers would probably outweigh any possible benefit. I also don’t think Kev would be a big fan of me working Construction

.

B) I could teach more QC Holy Yoga Classes. I teach three per week right now, (cut back from 7 a few months ago). This is hard though for a couple reasons.

           1) Rarely do classes have more than 3 people these days. Why it went from 20 to 3? I do not know. 

           2) Spiritually it’s giving out a lot. I don’t want to be drained or overextended in this way.

           3) Physically it’s strenuous. It’s hard for me to teach classes without participating in at least SOME                     of the yoga.

C) I could babysit. The flexibility is great, but my main issue with this is that I’m hopefully going to be a mom for 25-30 years by the time all of our kids go off to college.  It’s just hard for me to watch other people’s kids all the time. I want to be a mommy to my own kids. I also like interacting with people who you can have rational conversation with. I want to enjoy this kid-less while I have it. 

D) I could go back to school. When I suggested this, My financial rep husband said “no” to more debt. It really is a silly option when I have no idea what I would even want to study. I probably will go back to get my Holy Yoga Masters in January 2012, but that’s not full-time school. 

E) I could work at a coffee shop. This is exciting to me, even if I would go home smelling like espresso beans everyday. I think I’d love it and thrive. Now it’s just a matter of finding a coffee shop that won’t make me work on Thanksgiving and Christmas (bye, bye Starbux), and will hire me to work only before 4pm each day. I’m pursuing this option. 

F) I could sell more Pampered Chef goodies. I’ve been a consultant for a year, but I like to keep Pampered Chef fun and occasional. It’s a great way to meet people and make a little bit of money, but it’s mostly nights and weekends for the parties. Not something I want to do every week.

G) I could get back into working on my book. 

This is the one I get jittery-excited about. I want to write (sorta have already started on) a book called “Phenomenal” (Formerly Known As: I don’t have fake boobies) for young women and girls…it’s a fun, saucy book about how to love yourself head-to-toe (or “bust to butt”) the way God created you. I would study other books like this. I would host “girls nights” and talk to the junior high, high school, and even college aged girls to get their thoughts, feelings and opinions and document them. I would interview girls and give them surveys. I would spend time studying God’s truths in the word. I want to speak to groups of girls about the SERIOUSNESS of this issue, but in a funny way. I want to challenge them and help them change the way they see themselves before it’s too late. This is what I want to do. This is what I honestly think I could do and feel fulfilled, even if we never did get a baby. (OR if we did).

I know Internet quotes are sketchy, but I found this one and liked it:

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. -Gail Devers

I definitely let the dream of my book being written and published go at some point in the last two heartbreaking years. I think it’s time to pick it back up and move forward. What do you think? What is your dream? Are you going for it? 

 

 

10 things I love about pedi’s

If you have never had a pedicure before, you are MISSING OUT. This is why you should go get one:

1. You get to sit in massag-y chairs. Even though they vibrate your whole body and you look kinda weird, it feels amazing and you’re getting a 2-for-1 deal. Massages are expensive.

2. You can seriously zone out and just chill, especially because the nail tech’s are having convos with their friends in another lanugage. Maybe they’re talking about my hairy legs, maybe not. I don’t know, and I don’t care. No mess, no mistakes, just chill and let someone else do the work. 

3. I found a place that does “free” nail art. (It’s included with the price, is what I mean by free.) It’s pretty sweet, cuz I can paint my nails at home, but the little artistic and sparkely flower just takes my toes to the next level.



4. They clip your cuticles. This is something that I’ve tried before, and never care to try again. I feel clean and good knowing that my cuticles are cut. It seems like good hygiene. 

5. As a runner, well…as a human, I guess, I get these protective growths that are commonly referred to as calluses. Protection schma-tection. They’re hard and (similar to cuticles) gross to take off yourself. Pedi people scrub them off with pumice stones and sometimes a crazy tool that tickles but gets your calluses off. I like having soft feet. It feels feminine.

6. You can BYOB, bring your own beverages. In the past, I have brought my coffee, my diet Dr. Pepper, and my Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Ok jk about the last one. That’s not my style, but I’m sure they wouldn’t care. These people CLEAN, MASSAGE, and DECORATE your feet. They don’t care what you’re drinking.

7. They have trashy magazines for you to flip through and catch up on stuff and people you don’t really know why you care about. If that’s not your style, you can read a delicious book. (mmm, Love reading books.) Rarely do you get to sit and have people massage you while you enjoy a novel. This is one of those rare times and places where it can happen.

8. This skit is hilarious and I think of it every time I get my pedi.

9. You can catch up with a good friend while simultaneously accomplishing something beautiful, without exerting an ounce of effort. I think yes. 

10. Feet are gross. Nevertheless, the nice people massage your feet and legs for an hour. Pedicures nothing short of blissful.


Worth 30 dollars? Absolutely. If you have never gotten one before, do it. I don’t care that it’s flats and boots season. It’s like wearing cute undies. You know about it, and it makes you feel girly and good. I don’t care if you don’t like people touching your feet. You will thank me later. 

Boys, pedis rock for you too.

Kevin manned up and went with me when we were in Florida last May. He would be lying if he said he didn’t love every second of it. (But don’t get a clear coat….I’m not sure why they do this, but they will probably ask, and you should say no.)

 

Crying in the shower

Hey, so I’m not gonna lie. This week has been really hard for me. I think it’s the week our ex-“birth mom” is going to be induced into labor. I’m not saying she definitely is because we don’t get updates anymore, but I was expecting to become a mommy this week. Instead I’m just a stay-at-home-wife/holy yoga instructor/pampered chef consultant/frustrated writer. I thought this season of juggling 5 part time jobs was done. But is not, and there must be a reason. So, I am applying at coffee shops today. It’s time for me to get something to occupy my time besides folding laundry and garage-“sale-ing” for baby stuff.

I wish I could say that I’m doing great. That I’ve accepted this as my lot and just moved forward joyfully, but I just don’t feel like putting up a fight with life today. I feel defeated and I don’t feel like wrestling with God about this. I usually feel like either a)Distracting myself with food or coffee dates with friends b) sleeping or c) crying and saying, “Where are you? Are you faithful? DO YOU HEAR ME?”

Today it was C. I had a super long, hot shower with my brand new jasmine body wash and was simply overwhelmed by everything. Even my delicious smelling new body wash couldn’t scrub away my sadness and my longing and my questions. So I just cried and the water washed my tears off. And I cried some more. I guess it was good for me. I don’t say this for you to feel sorry for me at all. I have the strength of the Lord to pick me up in my weakest, darkest hour. So don’t worry about giving me words. Prayers, definitely welcome. But I want to share my weakness so you can glorify God when he lifts me up. I also just want to be real. I’m desperately borrowing hope, in fact, from all of you who are graciously giving yours to us right now.

I came across this Lamentations 3 just now as I was going through some different passages for devo time. Talk about timely:

20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends![b]
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.

I am so excited to share this and meditate 0n this scripture at Holy Yoga class tonight.

I will wait, only because I know you are faithful, God.

B meeting. Nasty.

When you and your husband both work only 100% commission jobs, it’s probably smart to adhere to some sort of budget.

Just the word makes me shudder. B-U-D-G-E-T? Gross. I am a free spirit. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. Keeping money in tight little boxes and ORGANIZING them monthly is one of those things that I couldn’t do well even if someone paid me daily in Whitey’s butterscotch milkshakes. My Type A, attorney parents would be ashamed of my budgeting skills. They had me strictly budgeting my allowance in a ledger at age 6.

My older sister, Jill, had SO MUCH MONEY in her college, car, and personal savings account. Since we were required to save for a car and college, mine were existent but small. And a personal savings account? Never. Toys R’ Us, Limited Too, and Peese’s (our local candy store) were my best friends. (Therefore making the dentist my new enemy.) And that “spender syndrome” has been haunting me ever since.

So for some reason, I go on and marry a financial planner who is on 100% commission. God knew I needed some help in this area 🙂 Kevin and I have sat down a few times in our 3 year marriage and made a “budget” plan. What seems to screw with our “budget,” in my opionion, is the lack of continuity in how much money he makes (and probably our love of eating out and having fun. lol) But our bank account will NEVER look uniform if Kev says at Northwestern Mutual. That’s completely fine with me, becuase Kev is SERIOUSLY AMAZING at what he does! His “commission” set-up has really worked in our favor over the last couple years. We have been faithfully saving, chipping away at our fattie student loans in chunks, and of course giving our best and first fruits to God. 

However, when we decided to adopt a baby…amongst other things that go along with adopting a baby and then Kev had a “lower production” month, it created a budget bust. We realized how “loose” our budget had become. We needed to tighten our financial belts. Dang. More than anything, we needed to know where all of our money was going. Yikes, talk about scary.

(Don’t worry, our adoption fund is completely UNTOUCHABLE until we get our baby. Your generous donations to our adoption are sitting peacefully in a separate account, hopefully singing like the Sirens, lulling our baby to us. =)

All this to say, we had a balls-to-the-walls budget meeting last night. The first in many months. My “homework” for the meeting was to go through our bank account for the last month and section out where we spent all our money. Let’s just say WHOA. (Disclaimer: I did probably spend a few hundred dollars on baby stuff, thinking that any day our baby would be here.) We must have been swimming in the olympics for how much we spent on groceries. BAH!! It’s so crazy to look at those numbers. HUGE reality check. You know what they say, “The first step to change is admiting you have a problem.” lol. I have a budget problem.

Awareness: it’s a good place to start.

SO, with the help of my awesome friend Emily, I am reading a book called “Shopping for Free: Shopping Secrets for Smart Women who know how to get Something for Nothing.”   I have to say first, this author is NUTS. CRAZY. INSANE and absolutely BRILLIANT! I know I will never be as die hard as her, because organizational skills just weren’t given to me anywhere in my geneti codes. BUT, I think I can do better than I did last month. And then repeat that.

So…I’ll try to keep you updated. For now, I need to get back to carpet cleaning! (Did you know that you can rent a carpet cleaning machine for $18?! That’s what I’m talking about.)

Community. And our story.

Don’t underestimate the power of community. That is what I have learned with great pleasure over the last 14 months.

During one of the the most painful seasons of our lives, Kevin and I have experienced Christ-like love from a community of flawed people. It has been so beautiful, and I have to document and share and say thanks. It has come from one of the most unexpected places. (No, we didn’t convert to Mormonism or become Jehovah’s witnesses…However, I do think they know how to do “community” rather well.) We have found ourselves at a church just down the street from us; probably the closest thing the Quad Cities has to a “mega-church.” We found Harvest Bible Chapel. Coming from a charismatic background, we had heard from multiple people that this church was ‘legalistic’ and ‘dry.’ How wrong they were. (there have been a few legalistic moments, but not from the church itself. . .) 

Rewind two years:

Kevin and I were starved for community. We were starving for authentic friendships and relationships. We needed to understand Biblically how suffering (most specifically in our case, miscarriage) fit into God’s plan. I was lonely. I felt that the Biblical accountability and community I had experienced at Wheaton college was so far in the past I would never find it in the “real world.”

Around that time, a devastating church split occurred and we were caught in the middle with friends on both “sides.” Long story short, we felt called to leave with the pastor who married us and who had been a tremendous spiritual mentor in both of our lives. This pastor, Justin, who we had committed to planting a church with, was (again, long story short) called by God to move to Omaha, NE for an estimated 12-18 months to undergo a rigorous pastoral residency with the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. Though we were excited about planting a church with him when he got back to the Quad Cities, we were in a desert. We  tried to sustain a ‘home church’ with those who had committed to the church plant called “Sacred City,” but many friends had moved to Omaha and the ones who were in town didn’t seem committed. We were in a broken place, and the video podcast-watching home church dwindled quickly.

I believe this was God’s plan the whole time. In our spiritually ravenous state, we stumbled into what I can only describe as an oasis.

14 Months ago:

Kevin and I walked through the doors of Harvest for the first time, “church shopping,” if you will. We recognized a few people from around town, but mostly just really enjoyed the worship and the sincerity of the preaching. It was Biblical. It was water to our parched souls. “We liked it a lot” (in a British accent). We met someone who directed us to the “small group” kiosk. We knew no one in our small group, but a few yard volleyball games and meetings later, friendships were established. We began to process and wrestle through some of our deep hurt. Healing began…

Last Thursday:

We got that unexpected, dreaded “little phone call” that again took a child we thought God had chosen for us away. I posted about it on this blog and facebook, mostly so we wouldn’t have to tell everyone the bad news in person, over and over again. 

Immediately, our community surrounded us with love and prayer. We were brought meals, flowers, and one friend even brought me a bright pink “Doodlicious” book for me to fill with my colorful feelings and, well, doodles :). We stayed up until midnight with sweet friends talking…wrestling…processing (probably lots of rambling on our part) through our feelings and beliefs (and unbeliefs) as they relate to God and his word.  I received email after email from friends who grieve with us and sent their love through these letters. SO many of you offered any help we needed, and offered your sincere prayers. We cannot describe how it feels to receive an outpouring, yet again. 

Part of me feels terrible for our friends who have stood with us and by us in this repeatedly crappy journey. I have my moments and days where I feel like we are SO unworthy of their love, grace, and friendship. My pride doesn’t want me to be on the receiving end. I would so much rather be on the “giving” end. 

But the part of me that is so broken and desperately unable to get off the couch to make a birthday dinner for my husband says, “THANK. YOU. SO. MUCH. I am strengthened by your outpouring. You are so gracious to love us and befriend us in our darkest hours. Without you, our joy wouldn’t have been complete when we were joyful, and our grief would be        so         lonely.” 

We have felt Romans 12:15 come alive. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” You, friends, have done such an amazing job of that. I only hope that I can be such a friend back to you all. 

You could say that it was “chance” that we stumbled into this Church community, holy yoga community, and our friendships. You could say that any community would suffice in this desperation. But I believe it is a divine gift, for “A Man’s steps are directed by the Lord…” (Prov 20:24a).

I am so thankful that we are not alone as we continue to lament and cry out and be weak so He can be strong.

2 Cor 12:9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” To that I say amen, cuz dang do I feel weak.

I think it’s time to go eat some of your tortilla soup, Katy. Thanks girl ;o)

One little phone call

Some of us know all too well how quickly things can change with a little phone call.

 


10am…phone rings. It’s Nancy, our social worker. I can hear it in her voice.

“Hi, Olivia. How are you?”

“Good, how are you Nancy?”

“Um, well I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to say it. Itzel changed her mind. She wants her parents to adopt the baby now.” 

“Okay.”

“Well, it’s not okay and I know that this is really hard to hear, but she does have that right as a birthmom. We can still meet at 11 if you want to talk about it.”

Choking back tears, “That’s okay, I think we’ll just not come in for the meeting today.”

I think there was a little more conversation, but I’m not sure how exactly it went. Something about she is working with a few birthmom’s right now, and things are busy at the adoption agency so there’s still hope for an adoption happening in the next few months. She said something about it being a big compliment that our profile was only viewed once and it was chosen. 

I guess that was nice to hear, but I am still angry. It’s hard to understand why the birth mom decided to tell her parents at the last minute about her adoption plan. She knew they weren’t supportive, so she was planning on not telling them about her adoption decision. I am sure that would be really difficult to hide from your parents, when we are created to be in community and receive love and support from the people we are closest to. It just seemed like she wasn’t close to them at all. We knew from the start that it was a yellow flag that she had a name picked out for the baby, and also that neither her parents nor the birth dad’s parents were on board with the adoption.

It’s difficult, though, not to get excited when we met with the birth mom multiple times and she seemed completely gung-ho. She said she felt like she had known us forever. She said she knows we can give her baby a better life than she could. She wanted me in the delivery room. She wanted limited contact with the baby after the birth. And she told us right in front of our case worker that she was very confident in all of her decisions.

It was also impossible not to be excited when we thought we were going to have a baby in our arms in 8 days. We prepared. We prayed ceaselessly for this baby. For this birth. For this momma and her decision. 

I heard in a sermon yesterday, “God answers our prayers with what we would have prayed for if we could see the big picture.” I must believe this truth.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13-14

This scripture was posted on my facebook wall today one hour before I got the dreaded phone call. This very scripture has been nothing but a constant comfort and encouragement to me over these last two heartbreaking years. 

Do you like roller coasters? Well, you should try my life. It is one. But the ONE constant thing I continue to hold fast to:

“For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever.” -Daniel 6:26

 

Genesis 9:12-16. He makes promises. He keeps promises. Thank GOD we have a hope and a future. 

Adoption Update!

So for those of you who were following our adoption blog and haven't received 
an update since the blog was blocked, here it is! 

Our birth momma is due on September 23rd. She may be enduced on September 
16th (11 days) because of a small blood complication that the docs would want to monitor. 



Another big update is that "birthmom" is back with her boyfriend, and we 
will get to meet him this Thursday! He is in support of the adoption plan, 
and they are going to counseling together.(for the past abuse problems.) 
They are both living at his parents' house. His parents are not in support of 
the adoption plan, but we are praying that they will somehow change their minds. 
At this point, she will have a Private Hospital room where only a few of us can visit! 
(72 hours at the hospital until they would release parental rights to us.) 


I've been working (nesting) hard on our newly made guest room as well as the baby room.
 Amanda Dean is coming this Wednesday to paint an AMAZING tree/monkey/bird mural on the wall.
 It's gonna be adorab. 


Close friends are throwing us a shower this weekend, and we feel so blessed. 
Praying for favor. Praying that this adoption goes through. God is good, and he knows what baby he has for us! We are just praying it's this
 little boy :) 


PS. On the note of prayer, heard an AMAZING SERMON by JD Greear on prayer 
this morning on my run. It rocked me.