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The Wait

31 Oct

I feel like my life is on hold.

I feel like time is moving too fast and standing still, all at the same time.

I feel like I have never been busier in my life and yet it seems like I am doing nothing of value in that busyness.

We drive to preschool, to dance, to work, to the grocery store and home again. The feeling is always there. It never leaves my mind, my heart, my soul.

Beach Bums

I have thrown myself into projects connected to my friends and the beautiful country so far away and still so close to my heart. These things bring me great joy and we are excited for the opportunities ahead, but this does not silence the aching.

I exercise. I eat. I have a glass of wine. I play with my girls. I pray. I talk to others about my feelings. I go out and live my life.

Color Me Rad 2013

Nothing helps.

I continue to research, preparing myself for what might be.

A Little Light Reading

I set new goals and work towards them, but honestly, only halfheartedly a this point.

I did it.....

My heart longs to return to Africa. I long to meet this precious child. To hold her in my arms. To tell her how much I love her. To call her my own.

I could barely type that sentence because it is painful and terrifying to admit to these feelings and to have them live outside of my body.

When we set out on this adoption journey Cupcake was only 5 months old. We knew that we wanted more children and The Lord had spoken to us very clearly about adoption. We also knew that this process was not going to lead us to a child over night. We had heard stories of people waiting for years to see an adoption completed. We were aware of what might lay ahead of us.

But I lied to myself. “We will be different. Ours won’t take as long. We are special”. I may not have voiced those feelings, but I am an eternal optimist and desperately wanted to believe that God would work this miracle according to my schedule. I honestly believed at the beginning of this year that 2013 would be the year of the baby! I was sure that by now we would be home with our three girls, planning for a holiday season full of new joy and love. But this no longer seems possible. Of course God does not bend to the will of humanity and I know this, but the waiting…..

It is hard. It feels like it will never end.

But, the sun comes up everyday and sets every night. I get up and make it through each day. I find joy in the little things and rejoice in the miracles found in other people’s lives. And I wait.

I wait for a breakthrough. I wait for a phone call, an email, anything. I wait for a miracle.

At this point, I covet your prayers. Please pray with us for this miracle. I don’t know what else to do except to pray.

Many well meaning people ask us if there is any news and this question breaks my heart. I wish that there were news. I wish that we could shout it from the rooftops. I wish that we were boarding a plane tomorrow to meet our precious babe. But there is not and we are not. We continue to wait.

As much as this post was necessary for me to write to update you on our story and to vent my emotions, it is a bit of a downer, yes? I know that there is hope. I know that there is a promise for our family. I know that there is an end to the waiting. This will happen and The Lord knows when. Until then, I wait.

Life has a way....

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Day Five

28 May

Forgive me for not posting last night. We had the wonderful fortune of spending the evening with some lovely friends and did not make it back to our lodging until late. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. We had a fantastic evening!

Because most of our intense adoption meetings are behind us, J-Sauce and I get to just be tourists and extra pairs of hands where ever we are needed. So Tuesday was Safari Day!! Yay animals in Africa. We went to The Lion and Cheetah Park…. where they have no Cheetahs.

Taking a look.

Taking a look.

Om nom nom, cow butt.

Om nom nom, cow butt.

Going for a little walk.

Going for a little walk.

Really big birds with attitude.....

Really big birds with attitude…..

Hello, I'm an Eland.

Hello, I’m an Eland.

Big kitties, big turtles.

Big kitties, big turtles.

Friends and Turtles, that's pretty cool.

Friends and Turtles, that’s pretty cool.

Ya know, just petting a lion, no big deal.

Ya know, just petting a lion, no big deal.

Nice kitty, kitty.....

Nice kitty, kitty…..

Someone is waaaay more brave than I.

Someone is waaaay more brave than I.

Just taking a little snooze.

Just taking a little snooze.

Literally only five feet away!!

Literally only five feet away!!

After our adventure in the wild, we went for coffee at the least African place possible, just to change things up 😉

Its like we were meant to be here.

Its like we were meant to be here.

Then was dinner and a lot of laughs. It was so nice to have a day to relax and truly enjoy our surroundings and new friends. And tomorrow is another day with more adventure waiting for us! Thanks again for checking in 🙂

Day One

24 May

We made it! We are on the ground in Africa.

Before another 19 hours of air travel.... I refuse to post an after picture.

Before another 19 hours of air travel…. I refuse to post an after picture.

We arrived last night and had a fabulous sleep. So today was our first full day to truly experience a new culture. And experience it we did.

The smells in the air.

The chaos in the city streets.

The red dirt on the side of the road.

The hue of pink and orange in the sunset.

The chorus of birds and their beautiful songs; simply mesmerizing.

We took the time to drink it all in.

Also, we had our first meeting regarding the process of our adoption. It did not go as well as we had hoped. We walked away slightly disheartened…. But quickly decided to focus on the positives we could take away. It definitely feels like there is a lot of red tape for us to still endure through. But on the other side, there are open doors! There are so many people here that support the idea of international adoption, but we have yet to have a meeting with them where they are able to truly help us.

We have many other meetings to take part in next week and hopefully some of those will begin to get things moving. Our greatest prayer is that we are able to accomplish everything necessary before we leave at the end of next week.

So while today was a great mix of emotions, there is much that we have to look forward to in the coming days. Many more people to meet, orphan care projects to visit, church to attend. We will continue to keep you updated and greatly appreciate your continued prayers and support.

An Oasis in the City

 

With much love from Africa! xoxoxox

Goals and How to Achieve Them

3 May

So as I may have mentioned before, there are a lot of things that I want to do and experience and accomplish with my time here on Earth. And as many motivational boards on Pinterest will tell us, these will not just magically happen because I want them to; I must go after them, pursuing them with all of my will, determination and effort. And lately, that’s exactly what I have been doing!

As many of you are aware, it took me a really, really, really long time to finish my undergraduate degree. Eight and a half years worth of three course semesters. Apparently, recovering from car accidents and having babies are not conducive to being able to complete a four year degree in four years… But I did it! In December 2012 I handed in my last papers and wrote my final exams. Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with an extended minor in Visual Arts, complete. (Insert jokes regarding the usefulness of such disciplines here. Ouch, that still stings). But I did it. It was not easy and I fought hard to earned that piece of paper which I will receive when I cross the stage in June.

I anticipated the end of my time as a student with visions of free time and reading for fun and spending more time with the girls. And those were wonderful visions that got me through the last stretch. However, I knew that my time outside of higher education would look much different. I began to feel an absurd amount of anxiety regarding what I was actually going to do with my free time. Oh, did you think I was actually going to pursue a career or something after all of that? Ha ha, that’s cute. While I still awake in a cold sweat some nights with the dread of even trying to research Graduate school, that dream is far off on the horizon for me. I needed things to accomplish that were a little less daunting and a lot more financially viable. So I began to make lists of things I would begin to pursue once January rolled around.

1. Return to Piano Lessons

2. Make time to blog more

3. Lose 30 lbs by my 30th birthday

4. Try Hot Yoga

5. Watch less television

6. Read more

7. Walk a marathon

8. Go on more dates (with J-Sauce of course!)

9. Use my Crock Pot more to….

10. Free up extra time for me to spend with the girls.

A crazy list, I know. And that’s not even all of it. But I’ve actually been more successful at attempting these tasks than I ever would have thought myself capable.

I decided to make a concentrated effort to actually make some of these things happen. Because I had been so focused on school for so long, my health and activity level had taken a back seat. I still dance once a week but that is about all the exercise I was doing for a very long time. I was unhappy with my body because I was not making the time to take care of it. My eating habits are not horrible but we all can always do better. More vegetables, less sugar. More water, less wine….. Well sometimes that’s easier said than done. So now that school is out of the way, I really wanted to focus on make myself into a healthier, more active version of an already pretty awesome me.

Found two different Groupons for Hot Yoga. Done! (I kind of love it and hate it all at the same time.)

Started eating better. Dropped 12lbs in the first months!

Joined a walking group at the suggestion of one of the beautiful and accomplished ladies I dance with. Walked a marathon.

Yes. You read that correctly. I walked a marathon. A freaking marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. That is 42 km for those of us following the metric system.

Finished!! 7:29:27

Finished!! 7:29:27

Starting in January I trained with a group of wonderful people with the goal of participating in the Wenatchee Marathon in Washington State. Every week, regardless of weather, we met to walk. (We only got soaked to the bone once, but it was horrible. I do not wish to repeat that experience.) It was wonderful and difficult and challenging and so rewarding each and every week. We walked around some of the most beautiful parts of the Lower Mainland and Greater Vancouver area. We started with 5 km on January 1st and gradually increased our distance each week until we ended with a full marathon on April 20th. The feeling of working so hard towards a goal and then to see it through to completion is unlike anything else. However, there were several factors that help me along the way and ultimately led to my success.

1. Doing the training 

When I first decided to join the group I thought, “Sure, I love to walk. I’ll join a group and walk a marathon. See some nice neighbourhoods. Get a little fresh air. Piece of cake!” Man was I quickly set straight. This was oh so far from a stroll in the park. This was literally training to do a marathon. Towards the end, we were walking our first 10 km in less than 90 minutes. For those mathematicians out there, you know that means a kilometer every 9 minutes. NINE MINUTES!! That is ridiculously fast. Had I not participated in the full training season there is no way I would have completed my first marathon in 7:29:27, way ahead of my goal of 8 hours. I have awesome callouses on my feet and brutal tendinitis in my ankle, but it is all totally worth it. I put the effort in and was amazed by my results.

2. Talking about my Goal 

People thought I was nuts.

“So what did you do this weekend?”

“Watched some hockey, did some laundry, walked 29 km, went to church. You?”

“29 km?!?! Why? Are you crazy?” (Probably, yes).

I’ll admit, knowing that I was out doing something that most people would never attempt inspired me to keep going. But it became more than that. All of my friends and family were excited to here about my training and constantly asked me how it was going. They kept me accountable to my goal. They knew that I was working towards something and they hoped along with me that I would accomplish that goal. Which leads me to the last factor of my success….

3. Having an AMAZING support team 

First, props go out to J-Sauce for all of his encouragement and sacrifice that allowed me to pursue this goal. He was the one who stayed home with the girls while I was out walking every Saturday morning. He was the one rubbing my sore feet and fetching me tea when I was recovering after each walk. He was the one who drove with me to Wenatchee and slept in a separate hotel room and hung out with people he had never met all so I could do the marathon. (The hotel thing is a story for another day. I’m pretty sure he enjoyed having a king size bed to himself though.) I would not have been able to do this without him. Thanks again for all your help! I love you babe.

Second, I had an amazing team of woman who helped me through the process. Given that I was a complete marathon noob, and they are skilled veterans, they were able to motivate me. Beyond pushing me to get to the finish line each week (except for PoCo Trail, I am lame and quit with 7 km to go) they helped me with hydration, nutrition and gear advice. From poles and fuel belts, to GU and Sports Beans, they had me ready come event day. They also shared their stories with me. Hearing about their previous accomplishments enabled me to truly envision myself completing the marathon. If we could do it together, I could actually do this. And they became my friends. Getting to know such lovely and joyful people each week helped me roll out of bed (sometimes at 5 am!!) to get to the start line each week. A special mention goes out to Ms. Calla. She was the one who inspired me to join, encouraged me along the way and has become a dear friend. Without you this would not have happened. Thank you for all your help and I’m so proud of you for completing Marathon #3 and in record time!!

Yeah Us!

And lastly, the encouragement of all my friends and family. Although I didn’t see them until after the event, my phone and facebook were flooded with messages of encouragement and cheer. I was blown away by how many people were so proud of me for seeing this through. That was the icing on the cake (of which I totally earned!)

I was high on endorphins and a sense of accomplishments for days. My body hurt and my feet were a mess, but I was so proud of myself for accomplishing such a huge task.

J-Sauce insisted on taking this photo. I'm sure I'll be glad to have it years from now....

J-Sauce insisted on taking this photo. I’m sure I’ll be glad to have it years from now….

In light of what this blog has been focused on the last few months, completing the marathon has allowed me to view our adoption process in a new light. This has not been easy and much effort has been spent with the goal of bringing our new baby home. But we are not done yet. And mentally that is still tough. I don’t know if we are still only on mile 16 with 10 left to go or if we are nearing the homestretch with the finish line almost in sight. Regardless of this fact, I know that we can see this goal through to completion because of the same three factors that helped me finish my marathon. We have put in the training, we are sharing our story with everyone we meet and we have the worlds best support team. Because of these things, I know that our adoption goal can and will become a reality.

Now I’m hooked on this feeling of accomplishment. I love it!! So now I’m off to complete other goals. I have a piano theory exam next week that I really should study for and I should probably put in a little more practice before I see my teacher tomorrow. My Pinterest is full of delicious Crock Pot recipes and there are two little girls with some library books to read. Possibly research a Masters degree…. My palms sweat just typing that!

What have you accomplished lately? What road blocks are standing in your way, keeping you from achieving your goals? Have you added any new goals to your list recently? I would love to hear about all of it!! I would love to be a part of your support team and help you check stuff off your list.

Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can do it! And you are amazing. You can absolutely do it 😉

Bono and TED ~ Becoming a Factivist

14 Mar

I wanted to present this without comment, because clearly we all already know how I feel about Bono and his efforts to change the world…. But it is just so hard not to say something!

8 million more people receiving anti retrovirals.

7256 less child deaths a day…. A DAY!!

The Pride of Lions, 10 countries in Sub Saharan Africa who have halved their rates of extreme poverty.

Political transparency? How novel an idea.

Elimination of extreme poverty? Optimistic, romantic and grandiose for sure. Possible? Probably not. But travelling closer towards this reality, absolutely!

He may be a BS rock star, but he is a BS rock star who gets sh*t done. Advocacy at its best. It is ideas like this that keep me pumped to strive to be better everyday. If just one of us cares what can be accomplished? If a whole group of us care, nothing can stop us!

So seek out the facts and make sure that they are heard. That’s how we start the momentum.

Mmmmm Bono, still so sexy. Making the world a better place; being the change.