Wednesday, March 30, 2011

i have a long way to go

parenting is by far THE hardest thing i have ever done in my life.  harder than grad school, harder than running a marathon, harder than my job as a therapist.  don't get me wrong, i love isaac so so so much and am grateful to be a parent. i see a lot of joy, daily, as a mom.  i am blessed and am growing and learning a ton from this full time job/experience.  but it's hard.  i am writing this after an especially hard day.  and sometimes i think it must, it has to, get easier.  but i don't think that's going to be the case.  i keep thinking "maybe just b/c isaac has only known us for 3 months, we're still getting used to each other, and that's what is hard about it".....maybe. isaac woke up this morning at about 4:20am, right after i was bragging to some friends last night about how he sleeps a solid 12hrs straight through the night.  i mean, i went in to check on him, and he's wide awake.  he's so cute and excited that i'm there to get him out of his crib, unfortunately my motive was to get him back to sleep as quick as possible so i too could resume my slumber.  20 minutes later, i called in reinforcements, yup, woke up Nathan to see if he could do what i was failing at.  just before 5am, isaac was back asleep.  bless his heart. 
i woke up at 8, isaac was still asleep, awesome.  when he finally woke up, i went in to get him ready.  so excited at this point b/c i got some sleep and b/c i get to spend all day with my favorite little buddy.  we really did have a good day.  i love my days off with him.  most of the time.  except for the hour or so he spent whining, crying, and eventually screaming.  it wasn't exactly consistent, and 30 minutes of that was during what should have been his first nap.  i mean, there are just these moments where he wants something, usually i can tell what he wants, but sometimes he is signing 'please' over and over and i have no clue what it is he's please-ing about, so he gets upset, i mean like pushing me away upset.  and just trying to figure out what is best for his nap schedule, and did he get enough protein today, and why is he screaming and upset now, and oh my gosh i think i'm going deaf from his ear-piercing screams, and those huge tears are breaking my heart....yeah, that's what makes parenting hard on days like today.
but today was also a great day!  although cold and kind of damp outside, we made the most of it. he likes to get up on the bed and i will roll across the bed, and he thinks it is the most hilarious thing in the world. another fun game we play is he will go into our bathroom and shut the door, then he will slowly open it as i pop my head inside and say HELLO, he squeals and jumps a little then closes the door and i say BYE-BYE, and we do that over and over, he thinks it's just as funny the 20th time as the first!  it's especially sweet when he opens the door, laughs and then comes and hugs me!  love it.  today he got up on the bed and stood up on the shelf that is also our head board, he was really proud of himself and started to kind of bounce up and down while smiling ever so slyly, then i said DANCE ISAAC and he did his trademark dance, he just points his little index fingers and moves his arms up and down, while bouncing up and down.  he was so proud!  he has also been going up to the windows and smushing his little nose and mouth against it and laughing really loudly.  it's great.
it's also fun because he's not quite 16 months old, he is saying some words, but lately he has been babbling SO MUCH more, he's always been a talker, from the moment we met him, but now it's that much more and i will say something and he tries to say it back to me.  i can see his little mind working.  it's really amazing to watch him.
he went to bed at 7, i cleaned up the house, wrote some letters, and now blogging.  Thank you God for another good day.  please continue to extend your grace to me, i have so far to go! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

pet peeves

I hate to complain....but I like to think of this as my journal of sorts so I guess it's okay.  After this, I'll try to be more positive.  Note: i have been reading a lot of verses lately on joy, and praying to have more and more of it daily, true JOY that comes from above!  yet, i still have a few pet peeves. 
1. cigarette smoke!  it's gross, it's smoky, and it's horrible b/c i know what it's doing to that person's lungs and blood pressure and their wallet!  many people that i see at my work smoke.  which is sad b/c most of them do not have an income.  nicotine is a horrible drug, it's horribly addictive and one of the leading causes of death!  why is this drug allowed legally?  politics? i think yes.
2. mean people. there are just some people out there that are hateful!  not sure why they are entitled to be so, but it's both sad and annoying.  sad b/c i'm sure there are some deep rooted issues they have with their own self-worth that they feel the need to bring others down and annoying b/c well, meanness is just annoying.
ok, that's all i can think of right now, it's a start. and maybe it's good that i don't have too many, these are just the few i had today while at work.  ah, inspirations from the work place.
what are your pet peeves?

Friday, March 18, 2011

soon and very soon

first of all, i just want to mention how much i LOVE my days off. i'm working four 10hr days currently, and it's going really well.  i enjoy my time at work, it's good to be productive in that aspect and to do what i love to do, but it's GREAT to come home each day to a bright eyed little boy that does this excitement dance whenever he sees me.  this week my mom was here monday-wednesday so Isaac got to stay home with her those days, today, Friday is my day off with him.  and i'm loving it.  i love going to wake him up in the mornings (though typically that's Nathan's pleasure, but since he's in Honduras, i get the joy of seeing his bright little face peeking over the crib railings in the mornings), i love breakfast time as he sits there and makes all kinds of cute little faces and noises...i'm telling you, one year old is a great age!  i'm soaking it up, stealing all the kisses i can, laughing with him as much as possible, i love it!  i'll be home tomorrow and sunday with him as well obviously, and then monday, Nathan's mom comes for the week and i'm so looking forward to that as well.   
Nathan has been in Honduras since last week, he left Thursday night and he gets home late Saturday night.  (for anyone reading this that wants to come and break in, think twice, my brother is staying with me now, and i have mace). this week has been SO LONG having Nathan gone though.  i had no idea i would miss him this much (that sounds bad doesn't it? like it surprises me that i miss him at all), but something is different now that we have this kid.  i've realized a couple things while he's been gone.  1. i totally respect any and all single moms!  don't know how you do this 24/7 while maintaining your sanity, esp if you have multiple children, 1 is a handful in and of itself.   2. the waiting and the anticipating of Nathan's return is good.  we lack much anticipating in our culture.  we want what we want when we want it.  and it's just good to have to wait, to slow down, to live in the moment.  i don't want to just count down the days until he gets home.  and i've thought about this a lot lately as spring is quickly approaching.  (also praising God so much for the color green since we lack that October-March here in OK, and don't get me wrong, yellowish brown and gray are nice....but not for that long, give me green and yellow and purple!)  there is so much anticipation as things start to bloom and bud, as the tulips display all their brilliant colors and the trees blossom into flowers and soon into bright green leaves.  there is something good in the progression between the seasons, it's not immediate.  we watch it slowly happening, and it's beautiful, and we are filled with hope.
i have been anticipating Easter more this year for some reason. I gave up something for Lent, and it's not even a big deal, but i am daily reminded of it, such a small small "sacrifice" if i can even call it that.  but i daily am reminded of what Jesus endured.  and even though his death was horrific, i know the ending, and so i anticipate that day that we celebrate his resurrection!  can you imagine the anticipation?  as Jesus laid in the tomb? as the disciples held their breaths and wondered what was next?  what joy was to come!  what brilliance.   what HOPE!  and that is what we build our lives on, HOPE!
speaking of hope, i sure wish i knew how to help people find it.  i wish i was better at sharing my faith and my hope with others.  i think i'll pray about that.  pray for boldness, pray that i can help instill hope to others. 
in the meantime, short-term, i wait for Nathan to get home!   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


it seems as though some people like to stay stuck.  isn't that strange?  i work at a community mental health agency and the population we work with are something like 200% below the poverty level, they either have no income and therefore meet financial criteria to receive free behavioral health services, or they have medicaid/soonercare.  granted, i meet individuals that really are at the bottom of a pit in their lives and they are so grateful for help, for support, for someone to give them a glimmer of hope.  however, lately (and it seems to come in spurts), many clients have seemed rather...what's the best word...entitled, ungrateful, unmotivated.  if i ever go back and get my doctorate, i will do a paper on motivation, because it fascinates me.  but today, i was doing a treatment plan with an individual that has been receiving services for some time.  they told me that they have Bipolar Disorder and so they will never get better. i looked in their chart, and well, they don't have Bipolar Disorder (at least not that we have diagnosed), they have Major Depressive Disorder...which in my book, not as bad. i tell this individual, hey, good news, looks like you in fact DON"T meet criteria for Bipolar Disorder. which wasn't good news to her, b/c she did have it, as she corrected me several times after that.
other people, this individual included, tell me as i am reviewing the treatment they have had the past 6 months, and progress made, tell me straight up "I am always going to come here, I'm never getting better."  really?  really?
i have seen 20 somethings in my office that tell me that they are here (at my agency) because they want to get disability, they can't work b/c they don't get along with other people, or because they have mood swings (which they assume means you automatically have bipolar disorder, not true)...20 something years old, wanting to not work, hoping to get a mental health diagnosis to ensure they receive a check each month.  i simply tell them, in a very therapeutic fashion, that our hope at my agency is to be able to provide clients with the tools and resources necessary to lead a self-sufficient and productive life, we believe most people can meet their definition of "normal", which is different for everyone.  that we exist to help people gain coping skills, to encourage, to empower.
these are the things that get me down at work.  people who don't want to get better.  who think they have no hope.  i enjoy asking people what they have hope in..."what gets you up in the morning and keeps you going throughout your day?"  often times it's their kids, it's their friend, their parents, their spouse, a niece or's relational. 
   i also ask about spiritual beliefs, religious preferences, as part of the assessment i do when clts first come in for services.  SO many times people have been burned by "the church", or they don't feel good enough to go, they feel judged...yet they believe in God, they read their Bibles (not everyone, but some of course), they have some sort of faith.  so where are we as Christians failing our fellow man? 
another thing that is striking, and i realize i am all over the place with this post, is how many people i have seen in the 5 1/2 years i have worked there, so many people, such a huge part of my town's population, and yet, when I am with my church family on sundays, man, our body just doesn't reflect that part of the population.  somewhere we have missed the boat.  somewhere i have become disconnected and missed the boat.  and that's all for now.  time to work out.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

i think i can do this

so, i think maybe God laughs at me when i worry, pretty sure he does.  he probably laughs at me often.  i have decided that i seriously need to read Matthew 5 every morning.  worry gets me no where but worked up and fretful, and that's just not a good way to spend my day.  i was worried about going back to work, i prayed, God was faithfully faithful as always. i like to think that i'm a laid-back kind of gal, but i live in a world called reality so i have to be honest with myself, i'm not all that laid-back. i like to have a plan. i like the predictable.  i know this about myself, and with it comes worry when something seems out of my control.  but isn't that just the best place to be?  because i know who IS in control.  i worried about how Isaac would react to me going back to work, i had to let it go, and in doing so God made it such a smooth transition.  so, although i hate discomfort, it's good.  it's a reminder that i'm not here to be comfortable.  i'm here to live for God and rely only only only only on him....."come what may"

so yesterday was a great Saturday!  i went to the Just Between Friends 50% off day in Tulsa at the Expo Center.  it was rad, i got some great summer clothes for Isaac SUPER cheap, and only "lightly" used.  i also took a pit stop at Whole Foods, where i think i could work full time if i was a 20 something year old single girl, yeah, that would be sweet, esp if they gave discounts, b/c they are rather pricey.  do you think "organic" will ever be less expensive? dunno.  but i love their samples too.  good morning in Tulsa.  then our friends, the Hootens came to visit!  it was so great, so great to see them and to catch up.  what great people! together we all went to a famous Muskogee tourist attraction, Arrowhead Mall where there is an aquarium.  did you know Muskogee had their very own aquarium?  it's true!  full of "local" after Isaac looked at all the brown, ugly fish, we went to the little play area for kids, on the outskirts of the food court.  there were lots of kids, most of whom didn't seem to have any parental figures around. but regardless, Isaac had fun sliding down the alligator tongue that is the slide.  not sure it's a good idea to teach kids to climb in and out of an alligator's mouth. 

kids are fun, esp at Isaac's age b/c everything is new and novel and SO INTERESTING!  if i need to buy myself a few minutes while i'm trying to get dinner ready for example, and he's crying b/c he can't be in on the cooking action, i simply pull out a spoon or ladle or some other (safe) kitchen item, and he's good for at least 30 seconds, till he realized that he still didn't get what he wants.

kevin's lesson was good today. i think my goal for this week is to do more thinking before i speak.  i tend to just talk, and say whatever comes to mind.  i have a lot of growing up to do still. but it's good, more opportunity to rely on my Lord, who gives me the strength, and has given me the Spirit to bear good fruit...if only i allow him to do so. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Taught Isaac how to give a fist bump today, he hasn't quite learned how to "blow it up" at the end though, hopefully he can learn that soon so he can be even cooler! man he's a funny kid!  he's our alarm clock usually in the mornings, it's typically between 7-7:30 that he's up cooing and talking to his stuffed animals in his crib.  Nathan goes to get him, they have some sweet time together getting ready in the mornings.  Nathan changes Isaac's typically disgusting diaper, applies some skin and hair moisturizer, reads books to Isaac, and reads at least 1 story from a little children's bible some good friends gave us.  This gives me time to get up and get breakfast ready.  My favorite sound is Isaac's little feet as they come through the living room to find me (and his breakfast) in the kitchen.  It's usually a pretty fast little walk, with arms outstretched, usually he's babbling something and pointing to his mouth...I get it.  He's fun at breakfast time, making all kinds of faces as we feed him.  Today he started this laugh that was just hilarious!  One is a fun age!  Too bad he won't remember it....that's why we take lots of pictures and videos! ;)
It was a good morning with the church at MCC.  Isaac likes the singing and will sometimes clap along, this kid has some rhythm. We had connection group after class. Isaac took a good afternoon nap once we got home. After a little snack we head outside where Nathan is working on our garden.  Isaac has discovered dirt, and it's a whole new world for him!  he loves to be outside, and it was such a pleasant day, warm and windy. 
Today I have been thinking alot about Ethiopia.  thinking about people we met there, wondering what they are doing, thinking about those that we saw living on the streets, desolate, un-wanted, hopeless.  Thought about hope today, and what a treasure it is indeed. To have hope. I went for a jog during Isaac's nap and listened to a Rob Bell sermon he did around Advent.  He talked about the discipline of anticipation, that we have to learn to slow and to anticipate something. Too often we have been burned, left empty, unsatisfied when we hope.  That is why we love to give gifts to children, we love to watch their anticipation as they open that present!  It was a good thought...anticipation as a discipline.  I am hasty, I need to slow down, to be still....
I go back to work starting Tuesday, March 1st.  it's been a quick 8-9 weeks...however long it is that I have taken off work.  I'm ready, and I trust that Isaac will handle it well.  We'll all adjust. Just might take a few days.
In other news, Nathan and I have decided to adopt again. This is really big news actually.  Huge.  This means so many things for our family!  We are starting the process over again, this time with Holt International rather than Children's Hope.  We liked our experience with CHI, but it's just a matter of timing, Holt doesn't require that you wait 9-12 months before starting again w/ the process, CHI does.  Not everyone understands this decision.  Why would two young people that love each other choose not to procreate?  You don't choose adoption, it chooses you if you can't have "your own" children, right?  Not at all.  I can't get the numbers out of my head.  The millions of children that have no one to tell them they are loved, no one who is making sure they are getting an education, no one.  Orphans.  And I know that we can't change the numbers but we can make a difference in one little one's life.  And in return, we are the ones that are changed.  It has happened already.  but 143 MILLION ORPHANS!  that is haunting. 
So, we have applied, have already had our home study update, next step is working on our dossier again. 
I realize this means I will have to forgo having a child grow in my uterus, and will not see myself in a little kid's face, and I'm completely okay with this.  my mom always said "God will give you the desires of your heart, or He will change your desires." God is blessing us with the gift of children, children He created and He loves more than we could ever imagine, and this is the way He has put on our hearts to do it. 

So Lord we pray for wisdom, we pray for open doors, we pray for your children tonight! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

3 month post placement report

Today, Ms. Earlene Logan with Oklahoma Home Study came to our house for our 3 month post placement report.  Isaac was asleep most of the time which was okay as it gave the three of us (Nathan, Earlene, and myself) time to talk and her to ask questions for this report.  We have to do a report at 3, 6, and 12 months...$300 each time, plus $50 in gas for Earlene as she drives from "the city" (oklahoma city that is).  It was a good visit.  She started out by asking "so, has your life changed very much?", an interesting way to begin.  Just completely changed!  So she asked us about his sleeping and eating habits, what he likes to do, how we each adjusted, things like that.  It was a nice visit, Earlene is a nice lady.  It was strange however in one way b/c I was reminded that he is adopted.  I know that sounds strange b/c obviously he is adopted, our lives have been full of adoption the past 2 years now. But Isaac is very much my son, it only makes sense that he is in our family, I don't see him as adopted most days...of course I think about it daily, but we're just a "normal" family in so many ways. It was good today to review all that we've been through so far.  All the paperwork, the waiting, the praying, court, embassy, waiting and praying more!  After she left we all ate some lunch and then went to Harmony House to see Mariah and Beth Stacey as neither of them have met him yet.  We ordered coffee, Isaac squirmed in his high chair (he does not like to be restrained, he has too much exploring to do, too many people he needs to go meet, this boy needs to be on the move at all times...except when reading a book, he will sit still for that, and he LOVES being read to I might add).  I had warned Isaac before I got him out of the car that Harmony House is usually very full of estrogen, just a head's up.  But he's charming and friendly, so smiling, cooing women bring out the best in him! It was great to catch up w/ our friend Alen Stacey who was there to see his wife Beth, just a great and supportive couple! There was one table of women who commented on how cute he was, and asked if he is our son. Again, a totally appropriate question to ask, but it started me at first b/c of course he's my son....but of course, it's a fitting question since we are a bit different in skin color.  I wonder if I'll ever get used to it.  It's good to talk about his adoption to others, I guess it's kind of like talking about the birth of your child to a stranger, maybe, kind of. 
But it's been a great day, a good restful Saturday! Grateful we are home, good to reflect today on our journey up until this point.  Good to have this boy with us in our family!