Category Archives: lists

desparation then devastation

there is a time in my life where I need to realize some truths and accept them.  I am working on this – every day.  there is a long list and I don’t feel like this is the time to divulge that list in it’s entirety, but rather just glance at that list.

with the infertility journey and the adoption journey one of the truths that I have learned is that in the grand scheme of things I have no control.  I have no “real” say in my life.  yes I make decisions about what I am going to wear, what I am going to eat, what I am going to do, but this journey has opened my eyes that I can’t control everything, despite my best effort I just can’t.  I can make lists to control the happenings in my life (and the organization of my home), but in reality I don’t have control – just an illusion of control that I cling to with every breath.  if I had control I would have said “listen ovaries – you have one job – it is time to do it” and it would have worked.  if I had control I would have looked at my doctor and said “you have no option but to make this procedure succeed.”  but I don’t have control and I am learning – still – that there is nothing that I could have done differently or additionally to change the course of our journey.

this is where I feel like I should say “in reality we don’t have any control because God should be in control of our lives.”  whereas, yes I agree God should be the center of our lives and our decision making, this isn’t that type of post.

as stated in my last post we have been officially waiting for a year.  we have been passed over numerous times – for an entire year.  with that type of response or in this case lack there of,  I can’t help but think.  that thinking often leads me down a dark and narrow road full of doubt and sadness and longing.

a road that causes my imagination to run wild with “what ifs” and “what is.”

what if we are never placed?  what if I never get to be a mom and andy a dad?  what if I have robbed family of having the experience of us as parents?  what if andy will really one day regret not taking the “out” when he could?  what if he starts to resent me?  what if my life never feels complete?  what if that longing and desire never goes away?  what if I never get to experience all the things that fuel my fears?  what if I sink into misery and allow me not being a mother to destroy my soul?  what is so wrong with us that we haven’t been placed?  what is it that caused people to skip over our profiles?  what is the big picture and can I survive not having the control to understand right now?  what is the reason God gave me this desire to be a mother and paired that with bad ovaries?  what is the point – is there a point?  is this some sort of punishment from above?

that dark road is sometimes dotted with street lamps – glimpses of hope, answers, or things that get me back to the sunshine.  talking with other people that are waiting to be placed and hearing that they have the same fears – that I am truly not alone in some of those thoughts.  when andy tells me that he loves me and doesn’t resent me despite all the reasons that I have given him to feel the other way.  when I know someone looks at our profile and passes us by because they want a family that already has a child.  a beautiful sunset or sunrise over the mountains.  street lamps that brighten up my mind.

but sometimes the things on my road aren’t street lamps, but rather lanterns.  a little light that shines bright enough to tide me over.  not nearly as bright as the lamps, but still light enough to get me through.

these things usually show up right before I have a breakdown full of complete and total doubt and tears.  when I feel like I have come to the end of my road.  when i start to question why we are doing what we are doing.  when I am grasping at straws.  desperation for that normalcy and control.

desperation: a state of despair, typically one that results in rash or extreme behavior

synonyms: hopelessness, anguish, agony, distress

usually my desperation manifests in lists.  lots and lots of lists.  I clean things and organize things.  I constantly am trying to reorganize and make better.  trying to drown my thoughts with lists so that I can’t do anything but focus on what is in front of my face.  I write, take pictures, and create new projects around the house to occupy my mind.  it helps.  in the process of focusing on anything else, those doubts and sadness ebb away.  that longing is still there, but without the doubt it just turns back into “just waiting.”

once I realized that we had been waiting a year and that we had to update a bunch of our paperwork I started to feel overwhelmed and to be honest – sad and a little (ok a lot) mad.

**side “semi relevant” note**

there are times where I start to wonder if God is “doing” this to us because he thinks I would be a terrible mother.  or that other people think I would be a terrible mother so God is like “i agree.”  there was this time that I was with a group of people (and a young baby just a few months old) and everyone, except me, was being called away for just a moment.  the parents were trying to decide who would miss out and stay to give the baby the bottle.  I offered since I was not leaving and both of the parents looked at me like I was crazy.  like if God didn’t trust me with a baby, they weren’t going to either.  the parents exchanged looks and did let me feed their baby the bottle, but their looks and doubts just fueled that thought process.  it is possible that I was over sensitive to the situation and that I misread the looks and the hesitation, but in the moment those looks emphasized that God thought I would be a terrible mother and everyone agreed.

**end semi relevant side note**

so in my sad and a lot mad state I found myself thinking back to those events, of possibly not being trusted to give a baby a bottle, and to the thought process that God thinks  I would be a terrible mother.  my thoughts are fueled by fear of the unknown and once it takes root desperation sets in.  hopelessness overcomes rational thought and where my behavior isn’t always rash or extreme my thoughts tend to become that way.  I found myself on my dark narrow road, running.  running into the darkness looking for a street lamp to ease off the desperation.  I found a lantern.

at dinner saturday night dad told me that he was going back to the farm.  there was a calf down and he was going to have to bottle feed it.  I had been a hermit in my house working on various projects and told him I would be glad to go with him.  andy ended up getting home before we left to go to the farm and he joined in with us.  we loaded up our gear and headed into the muddy abyss.  the calf had gotten stuck in the mud and was weak but drank the bottle (and a little more).  dad made sure that it was in a nice bed of hay and warm and we left.

mudpie

sunday after church, dad, mom, and I gathered our gear and went back to check on the little calf.  as we drove up he was stretched out and his head was semi back  I leaned forward and said – “doesn’t look like good news,”  dad agreed.  as we got a tad closer he blinked.  I was ecstatic – he was alive.  we gave him another bottle and repositioned him to be more comfortable and in more warm hay.  dad decided that the little guy needed to be moved to the barn.  later sunday gene (live in farm hand/manager) was able to take the tractor and get the little calf to the barn; however, his mother was no longer interested in following her baby or the tractor to the barn.  it was left to us humans to nurse him back to health.  after youth on sunday andy and I headed to the farm to check on the little guy.  he was in the stall with his legs tucked under him and he was dry and warm in his bed of hay.  I sat on a bucket and fed him his bottle and he was my little “mud pie.”  cows normally moo but a little cow with pneumonia purrs like a little kitten.  he was given several shots to make him feel better.  I rubbed his fluffy little head and ears and told him that I loved him.  I put my hand under his chin and lifted his head up and made eye contact with him and told him to have a good night and that I would see him Monday.  dad sent me a message Monday morning that he drank his bottle and that he wanted to stand up but was still too weak.  he was still purring a little bit too.

I told andy that mud pie had to live.  he became my desperation.  I didn’t have a list this time, I had mud pie.  he had to live.  he was my way of proving to God and to the rest of the world that I can take care of a living thing.  that I could give a bottle and love.  that I could be passionate and that I could be the role of a mother.

Monday night after work I went to the farm and got there before my dad got back.  I went into the stall and mud pie was in a weird sling that dad and gene strung up to help insure that his legs were getting blood flow.  I grabbed my bucket and sat down in front of him and rubbed his head and said hello.  when I was rubbing his neck he leaned into my hand like a dog would do.  I told him about my day and he listened – he is after all a cow that couldn’t go anywhere even if he wanted to.  I noticed he wasn’t purring as much and was tap dancing with his front legs.  I informed him that he had to get better.  he had to at least try.  he mooed at me.  it was a moo filled with passion and anger and rebellion.  a moo that told me that he was a fighter.  after that I talked to him about my desperation and I rubbed his ears and he semi mooed in understanding.  dad showed up and we gave him his bottle and he drank most of it, but it was too early to let him out of the sling.  so we came back a few hours later and freed him and propped him up in his bed of hay.  I told him good night and we turned the light off bathing the stall in darkness.  my Tuesday morning update was about the same as the morning before.  Tuesday after work we went to check on him and dad said that he had been in his sling but was out for the night.  I walked into the stall and found little mud pie snuggled in his hay.  he tried to stand.  I tucked his feet under him and held his head up and talked to him while he drank his bottle.  we made eye contact and I told him how much I loved him and what a good and handsome boy he was.  we had to go to a meeting and I knew we wouldn’t be back Tuesday night so right before we left I went in and rubbed his head, told him good night and sweet dreams and walked away from my little mud pie.

mud2

Wednesday morning I got my morning update.  the subject of the e mail was mud pie.  I opened my e mail and read “I am sorry!  We tried.”

devastation: severe and overwhelming shock or grief

I sat facing my computer and silent tears escaped the rims of my eyes rolled down my face.  I reminded myself to breathe and stared at the words.  mud pie was gone.  my lantern burned out.  my desperation morphed into devastation.  I was devastated that he was gone and that my attempts failed.  I couldn’t even do right by a cow.  I couldn’t save him.  my thoughts quickly went down the road that maybe God is right, maybe I am not fit to be a mother.

Wednesday night, with those thoughts circling in my head, I curled up in bed and cried.  my eyes filled with tears that rolled down my face and puddled on my pillow, followed by choking sobs.  a soul drenching cry.

I woke up Thursday morning with a throbbing headache – remnant of my tears from the night before.  as we drove to work I watched the clouds play on the tops of the mountains and with no other rational thought – other than it made me smile, I had found my street lamp and was finding my way back to the main road.

it was during this time of desperation that I realized a few things.  one is that I have no control.  I can cling to the illusion as much as I want, but it will always just be an illusion I create for my peace of mind.  another is that this process, from start until present, is just a constant ride of ups and downs: the waiting, the emotions of being rejected, the unknown, the way a person will walk by with a stroller and my heart almost leaps out of my chest, the looks of pity from other people, the hope that we will be the family that we always envisioned.  something that is difficult to explain and difficult for people to understand is that sometimes there are no words to make me feel better about this stressful time of just waiting and of the unknown.  that sometimes even the most rational comments and insight will not sound rational to me.  this time, my little mud pie, taught me that in my times of desperation, stick to the lists.

weekend highlight: pow, wow, and holy cow

something we have done with different youth groups (usually in sunday school or back home group meetings at camp) is to list your pow (worst thing about the day/week), wow (best part of day/week), and holy cow (time that you felt closet to God…like holy cow that was amazing).  since this weekend was a long one with a lot of things going on i think that this is the best way to do this past weekend update.

friday.5/24/13:

wow: got to see 7 youth graduate from GHS (2 of them spoke at it) and the graduates got to throw their caps and spray each other with silly string!

pow: wanted to get to bed early so we could be on the road early – but still got in bed really late.

holy cow: the moon was amazing as we were leaving.  we saw it coming over the mountain and it was a simply beautiful reminder to me that God is good. 

grad 179 grad 180 grad 181 grad 182 grad 183 grad 184 grad 185 grad 186

saturday.5/25/13:

wow: we got to go back to charlotte and left on time (for us).

pow: it was a long drive because otis didn’t want to ride in the back and because he wouldn’t lay down on my lap.

holy cow: being surrounded by family and friends. 

sunday.5/26/13:

wow: got to hang out with everyone at the track and had a great breakfast. 

pow: didn’t win the race pool and made cj (our niece cry) – she was tired and ready to leave and i messed with her anyways.  😦

holy cow: two of the youth from monroe came to eat with us and see us and it was a great reminder of the time we spent with them and the faith journey we all went on together.  

monday.5/27/13:

wow: hung out with sandy and ginger, otis slept in the back of the car the entire way home, stopped at montreat and black mountain (got a new pair of sun glasses), no work which means a short work week! 

pow: traffic was bad and a ton of police were out and i was nervous (but thankfully we didn’t get pulled over or that would have been worse) and i helped andy make his to do list for the week and his pack list for his first summer trip and it made me sad (even though i love lists).  also on this trip there was little time to get together with other people. 

holy cow: going through the gates at montreat.

the rest of this week is going to be crazy.  there is so much to do with andy’s summer ramping up.  we had the pool party (end of year) with the youth and the rest of his nights are full of meetings.  we had a great weekend in charlotte and safe travels and great conversation and visits so even though my post isn’t full of fluff it was still wonderful. 

shopping, cleaning, and the vet

sorry for the lack of posts…(and sorry for the lack of pictures with this post – i will get better at taking pictures during the week).

shopping: friday we celebrated in the good old tradition of “black friday” shopping.  the first year that i made andy go with me we got up at 4am and started at walmart and drove all around town.  we saw how that was and realized that we were too tired at the end of the day to function so we slept in and left our house around 620.  (i will admit that when the alarms went off i almost begged to skip shopping and to go back to sleep).  but we went all around.  we started in matthews and ended up at concord mills came home for a break and then went to target and walmart in mint hill.  the hardest thing about this year was that we aren’t really sure what we are getting people.  we have some ideas but we hadn’t nailed down anything for anyone.  so a lot of our time was walking around stores (avoiding crazy people) and trying to remember who was on our lists and what could we get them.  it wasn’t as crazy as i thought it would be.  it could be because we got a later start.  i think most “black friday” shoppers are crazy for getting up so early (and standing in lines) and rushing into stores and standing in really long lines.  i think most of them would deny being crazy (i guess you could include me in that list because i’m not one of the crazy ones everyone else is).  anyways.  we got a TON of things and are a little closer to being done christmas shopping.

cleaning: while we had some time off work we decided to work on our “putting the house on the market” list.  we got the list off and started in the back of the house (our room) and started a deep (late) spring cleaning.  we got so much done.  but now our living room is a disaster with things that we are purging and things that we are going to pack up so that when we do put the house on the market certain areas won’t look as cluttered (linen closet mostly).  i scrubbed base boards straightened our closets, cleaned windows (they were so gross), went through files in the office.  we still have so much to do (and we will post pics of the rooms as we get them completely done) but we have gotten a lot of things off the list.  the funny thing is that even if we don’t move to AR it is still a list that needs to be completed.  we hit a few road blocks while cleaning.  i bought blinds to replace the ones in our room (from an otis attack a while ago) and i got the wrong size so we have to exchange them.  also we have glass windows on our bed and when i was cleaning them i pushed too hard on my side of the bed and it fell out.  i was lucky that i didn’t break it and that i didn’t cut my self.  (as we speak andy is in our room putting new thingys on the door to hold the glass in place – sorry don’t know the right name of them).  i normally get really excited about cleaning things up and going through things and purging and organizing.  (i think it is because i love to change the look of things – which is funny that i don’t like too much change as it is).  i got done with the base boards in the office and walked into our (disaster area) living room and almost had a panic attack.  i don’t know if it is because the mess was too much to handle because i was tired or if i realized that i could be packing things up for nothing.  i don’t want to pack things up if we aren’t going to move because that means that i will have to unpack it because i won’t live our of rubbermaids or boxes.  i hate that.  the other things is that we haven’t put out any christmas stuff and i think it makes me sad that we might not get anything out this year and i really do love christmas.  but we will see what happens this week.  still praying for God’s will and understanding and not just our own.

vet: while i was in the floor scrubbing those blasted base boards otis was running around our bedroom going crazy.  this wasn’t the pre seizure crazy this was like someone was poking him with a sharp stick and he was running from them (which make me think for a few seconds that maybe i woke up a ghost by stirring up so much dust moving the curtains around) but i got him to come to me and i saw blood down his back (it sounds really dramatic and i am intending it too – he is our dog and i can make it sound as bad i want but in reality he had a spot on his back that had blood oozing out of it and matting in his fur).  we think he was going crazy because the blood was matting in his fur and causing his skin to craw.  so andy got the dog and they took off toward the vet while i got on the phone to let them know that they were on the way (they are only open half a day on saturdays).  they said come on since they were on the way but that they might have to send him to another vet or something because they were so busy.  andy said that the vet said that it was a cyst that burst and was ok.  he is on antibiotic to make sure that it doesn’t get infected.  we can have the cyst removed for just 500 dollars or wait it out because it isn’t really bothering him.  (but that if we don’t get it removed sometimes if he hits it just right it could bleed again).  we are going to wait it out.  they shaved a little square around it (he looks so funny) and he seems to be better now that the fur is gone.  is stopped bleeding and oozing and has scabbed up.  i think it will be fine until the scab starts to itch and we have to do this again and again.  since otis had a hard day saturday i let him decide what we did this afternoon and he wanted to take a nap.  so we did!

i am not looking forward to getting up and going to work tomorrow.  i have enjoyed my time with andy and otis (and away from work).  but i am grateful i have a job to go back to.  i am grateful for the time this weekend to spend doing all sorts of things tradition (ordering chinese, watching david letterman, hanging out, shopping on friday) and not tradition (spring cleaning, eating dinner with my parents).  gotta love the season.

blank stare

saturday morning we both rolled out of bed and ambled down the hall for breakfast in the hotel.  i will say i perked up when i got close because i remembered that i could make waffles BUT when we got to the little breakfast area there were about 10 7 year olds and they were surrounding the waffle maker.  bummer.  oh well we ate and packed our things and checked out of the hotel.  we sat in the lobby and waiting on our ride.  pam came and took us to look at houses in the area so that we could see what the market looked like.  i will say i was surprised at how much house you can get and for the money.  we saw several houses, some we didn’t like, some we liked, one we wish we had the money to fix it up, and one we loved.  (in this case i am assuming that andy felt the same way that i did about the houses – normal i won’t speak for “we” unless i know that it is true, but today i didn’t make sure that he totally agreed with me).  after we drove around for a few hours we went to the youth building and had pizza lunch (it was really yummy) and had doug’s first pie that he has ever made and some great brownies made by maggie (a youth on the search committee).  we watched a slide show of the past year that ken put together and had a debriefing meeting.  i will be honest i felt like i had a blank stare on my face from the time i woke up until the time i went to bed that night.  it took me a little longer to process what people were saying around me because i was so tired.  i felt like we left there with a lot of questions answered and more asked and next steps talked about.  we said our goodbyes and monica (member of the search committee) and kyle (her son) took us to the airport.  we checked our bag and went through the searches and walked to the gate.  andy got us a drink and we waited.  we tried to talk a little bit but we were a little mentally overloaded.  we had no problems on the plane ride to atlanta.  when we got to atlanta we weren’t hungry enough to eat dinner so we split a cookie and had some coffee.  we waited at the gate and waited at the gate.  we learned that we were about to board a plane that was from honduras and so they had to do a sweep of the plane for extra security measures.  once they did that (45 minutes later) we got on.  it was the biggest plane we were on this trip.  andy sat on the outside aisle, i sat in the middle, and a soldier sat next to the window (which i was glad since we were on an emergency exit he could get the door open).  i talked to him a little bit.  he was from nappa valley, ca and has lived all over.  he currently resides a few miles from my parents home.  he is getting home from 7 months away (i believe he said he was done and home for good) and is leaving in 2 weeks to see his wife (hasn’t seen her in almost a year) because she is in training etc so they are meeting in vegas while she is on leave.  i over heard the solider sitting behind us telling someone that he is on leave to see his mother that has stage 4 liver cancer and he said he hoped that he would make it to her house before she passed away.  the lady he was telling said that her mom passed away the week before.  at this point i realized that i am listening to too many conversations so i try to sleep.  doesn’t work.  we had an uneventful flight about 30 minutes and landed.  got our bag, caught a shuttle, found the car (unharmed), and drove home.  we got home to an otis free house.  it sort of makes me sad when we walk in and he isn’t wagging his tail.  but we ate (im pretty sure) and we passed out in bed.  the next morning we over slept (who didn’t see that one coming) so we got up a little in a rush and we went to church. 

we have been doing a lot of reflecting on this past weekend and have been  going crazy with making our pro and con list.  regardless of what happens with this job and a potential move we got to see a really cool city and meet some truly wonderful people.  so while we wait on final answers we pray and we remember our whirlwind weekend in little rock.

calm like a duck in a pond

i love movies.  i don’t know why but one of my favorite movies is “the replacements” when andy was still in school and i would put a movie in to clean to on saturday mornings (having no cable leaves a lot to be desired for saturday morning tv), i would find myself putting this one in week after week.  there are some great moments and speeches throughout the movie.  (i love the one about fear and quick sand and the closing lines are great) but one that sticks out to me this morning is when the coach is talking to the replacement quarterback before the big game they talk about being calm and the coach makes reference to being as calm as a duck in a pond.  the quarterback looks puzzled and the coach explains.  on the top of the water the duck looks like it has everything under control and doesn’t have a care in the world just gliding over the pond but underneath the water his little legs are going at a frantic speed…

i love the imagery that this story creates in my mind especially on days like today…

we stayed up late last night checking and re checking our pack list and what we actually packed.  i went from head to toe trying to recall everything that i would possibly need in the days that we are gone.  we were selective in what we packed to wear, selective in what we packed in the carry on bag and almost shed a few tears because i can’t take my pillow and blanket (which deserves it own post later on).  we also were trying to get things ready for my parents to come over (which means just picking up and getting clean towels out and getting the plan for clean sheets and most importantly getting things ready for them to take otis to tn this weekend).  we got to bed and the moment that i woke up i was wondering what i am forgetting?  we are so excited about having someone drive us around on our visit (so we don’t get lost, but also so that we will have time in the car to look around at where we are going and see more of the city), but it is hard when you are at the mercy of other people.  it isn’t like if we are in the hotel tonight i can say drat i forgot (name something) and jump in a rental and go to walmart.  we are at the full mercy of our wonderful hosts.  i am nervous because i like to be in control and this is a new experience where i don’t have full control of things and because i will be alone with church members while andy is in meetings and doing some other things.  i like to think i am nice (most of the time anyways) and able to make conversation etc but sometimes it takes me a little bit to warm up to people i don’t know.  while i sit here and write this i am sure i look calm (and maybe like i am actually working – if im lucky) but my mind is going a million miles a minute while i panic about forgetting something, what these meetings will bring, if we can find a house while we are gone, what it will do to relationships that we have here, if people there will be ok with my sarcastic attitude, what their weather is like, will we be ok on the plane, will we have time to eat dinner in memphis when we switch planes, will we have a comfortable bed with a suitable pillow and blanket, will otis drive my parents ok, should i have gotten his pills refilled, and most of all at the end of the day will this still feel like God’s will for us?

all of those questions being on a million other questions about timing and what will happen when we put our house on the market and so many things i feel like my head is going to explode…but it still feels right, it still feels like where we need to be.

i will glide around this weekend hoping to cover any quiver in my voice, or hands quieting my brain so i can enjoy their company and hoping to appear as calm like  a duck in a pond.

weekend things…

well this past weekend was great.  in an earlier post i mentioned that this weekend would be “clean and get the house more ready to go on the market” well we did clean but we didn’t do more than just a normal cleaning.  BUT we did make a list of things that we need to do (we went room by room and made a master list).  i plan on starting the list as soon as we get back from our weekend visit to little rock.  we leave in 3 days and i am a little nervous but still really excited. 

i have been having really weird dreams.  i think because we have been talking about moving and packing i have been dreaming about moving and packing.  yesterday afternoon i took a nap after church and dreamt about living in the mountains and when i woke up it took forever for my ears to pop.  it was the strangest thing. 

i am loving this weather and this time of year.  it is cooler and the leaves changing are just beautiful.  we really enjoyed our weekend with the patio door open (otis loved sitting by the open door eating his treat – i hope to upload the short video soon) and a perfect date night on saturday night.  we went to a movie (tower heist) it was great.  we laughed a lot.  and dinner at firebirds.  that is one of the restaurants that we know little rock doesnt have so we used it as a date night before we depart.  it was so yummy but i had so much left over that i will eat it for lunch today and tomorrow. 

work will be a pain today i am sure because friday was veterans day (happy belated) and since the mail didn’t run i know i will be slammed in a matter of minutes.  so hopefully it will keep my mind off my growing to-do list before we head to the airport thursday.  speaking of airports and planes i would like to say i am very nervous.  our youth sunday school teacher was on a plane that lost an engine last week and it is the same airline we are flying with so tons of prayers for a safe flight and tons of praise for pilots who knew what they were doing and got chad and the rest of the passengers on the ground safely. 

This is what fall is all about

weekend plans…

i know that the following confession will shock those of you who know me…i am a list person.  i have always been a list person.  i makes lists (and sometimes put things on that list that i have already done so that i can cross them off).  this weekend we are going to do a walk through of the house and make a list of things/projects that we need to do before we put the house on the market.  we will find out next week if we need to put the house on the market so that we can get things started with the move to little rock.  (i will post more about that soon). 

we are going to make our list and start fixing things and getting things super organized so the process is smooth.  you know what i am dreading?  washing base boards.  i don’t know why i can’t stand doing that, but i can’t. 

other weekend plans…i hope to get a date night out of it too.  wish me luck.