Saturday, January 25, 2014


I started this year trying to be really positive... lots of plans and ideas for what I want to do in 2014. Instead, I find my life is getting increasingly out of control. My house is a disaster (at least to me) and the holiday 5 pound weight gain has turned into New Year 10. My disgust with myself culminated on Thursday after Bible study when I found I had mindlessly eaten 5 doughnuts while watching a TV show. (It was my table's turn to bring treats and instead of baking something like I usually do I bought doughnuts, bringing home the leftovers.) Unbelievable!! I know better than this!

I'm sure it has to do with all the junk that happened in 2013. That was a horrible year from start to finish! John says he feels like the stress is coming off in layers. You relax a bit at a time and each time are shocked at how stressed you were before. That has to be true because nothing else can explain fistfuls of chocolate chips, obsessive baking, and bouts of laziness when what I really want is to be healthy and productive. Making me feel worse is that I constantly have that verse in my head where Paul says I do what I don't want to do and don't do what I do want to do. (Of course I can't remember the reference.) That's the problem with memorizing scripture, it's always right there in your brain for the Holy Spirit to convict you with. 

The hardest daily stuff is the loss of Daisy, Ichabod, and Cameron and the uncertainty of being able to adopt baby D. I can't even describe how much I miss those three. My first dog who was truly all mine, the cat who shared the first 11 years of our marriage, and our first child. I knew that we would eventually lose the animals. Every pet owner knows that before they choose to bring the pet home, it's just part of the deal. Yet we do it anyway because it is so worth it and we choose not to think about the inevitable loss. The anger and frustration with the state over Cameron's situation has lasted longer than I anticipated, if I ever actually thought about it. It comes and goes in waves. Sometimes I am shocked that he isn't here...toddling around, banging things, and waking up the baby. Knowing that he is safe and in a good home helps so much, but it doesn't make up for the fact that I want him here with us. I wonder if that will ever go away completely? What happened there has made me very cautious and skeptical of a successful outcome in this situation.

It's not all bad. My house is relatively clean and I keep up on the mold streaks in the toilet and vacuuming the dog hair off the floor. I have a salad everyday and a piece of fruit. I lead a table at our women's Bible study and sing in the Seattle Symphony Chorale. It all just seems so puny and half-hearted. Like going through the motions instead of actually living. Something is definitely missing, I just can't figure it out.

Maybe the real issue is learning to deal with how out of control we actually are. Life in this country, generally, gives us the illusion that our lives are our own to do with as we like. That is true to an extent and thank goodness for that freedom. However, being a Christian starts with giving up that idea, giving ourselves up to Christ's will for our life, and letting God shape us through experiences and events that we would never choose for ourselves. I think I just answered my own question...

So, in an effort to get out of this pit, I've rejoined FlyLady to help me get my house back in order and put myself back on Weight Watchers to get myself back under control. More importantly, I am reading a daily devotional by Charles Spurgeon and studying Isaiah with the ladies at my church.

Today my sink is shining.

Monday, January 6, 2014

What 2013 Took From Us

John and I both have said that 2013 was the worst year we have ever had. There were certainly seasons before that were difficult and almost broke us apart, but this season lasted the entire year. I'm somewhat amazed that we are still standing in one piece! Looking back at it, it seems quite certain that we were under attack on many fronts. I hope it grew our faith like battles are supposed to do, but we are still coming out of the muck of it all, so we will have to wait and see.

In October of 2012 we were told that our foster son, Cameron, would possibly be moved. We fought so hard to keep him with us, but on Valentine's Day his court hearing went against us. The judge was visibly upset by having to remove him, but obviously felt that she could make no other ruling. With John's grandmother very sick and time constraints for Cameron's (new) family we felt it best to move him sooner rather than later. He left us at the beginning of March. That was the worst week of the whole year. Our only consolation is that his aunt and uncle (now mom and dad) are amazing people and have let us FaceTime with him as often as we need. He is doing so well and has adjusted as we hoped he would. We still miss him everyday.

In April, John's grandmother, Rita, passed away. We were so glad to have had the opportunity to visit her in March in Sacramento. She was the last surviving grandparent that John knew as a child. It's strange how those events feel like a major jump in our own aging process.

Shortly after we returned from California, our cat, Ichabod, died suddenly. We have no idea what happened. He ate a normal dinner and was tearing around the house before bed as usual. When I went in to see him in the morning, he was gone. He was 11 years old. We got him the month after we got married and he went through everything with us. It is strange that he is gone and sometimes I think I see him in a dark shadow or when a black jacket is left in a heap somewhere.

We decided to try IVF in the late spring. It was a hard decision and one that we made uncertainly. We figured that since we were already emotionally drained, if it didn't work we couldn't be too upset. The process was rough, with lots of shots and invasive doctor visits. We did one round and it was determined that our chances of it ever working were low enough to not bother pursuing it again. That was actually easier to take than it sounds, since we had been trying for almost 10 years. It gave us the final permission to move on with adoption and put it all behind us for good.

In July we took a long vacation to Montana. I spent two weeks with my family in Billings and then John flew over to meet us all at Glacier Park. We had a nice, relaxing time reconnecting and making decisions about what to do next.

In August we were given two days' notice that we would be given a newborn boy. We brought him home at five days old. Four weeks later we were asked to take an 18 month old boy and decided to give it a try. We had the older one for three months when we finally realized (or admitted) that his medical care was just too much for us and we had to have him moved. That was another hard decision since he was legally free and we could have adopted him. It taught me to pay more attention to details, ask more questions, and stop making emotional decisions about live changing events. (Still working on that one...)

Then on November 17 I had to make the awful decision to have Daisy put down. She somehow injured her spine and over the course of two days went from limping slightly to complete loss of her back legs and bowels. Losing her was another one of those "end of an era" events. She and Ichabod were with us in the beginning of our marriage and for the first 10 years were our furry children. I hate that she is gone and I miss her all the time. However, I know she is in Heaven with Velvet, playing with bunnies and running like crazy over open grassy fields. I also know she is waiting for me.

In December John changed jobs. It was a difficult but necessary move and has turned out to be the right decision. Then we went to Republic to spend Christmas with his family. It was a great time of relaxing and being away from cell phones.

Our pastor sort of jokingly said that we ought to take a stress test but we thought it would only stress us out more to know how stressed we are. So we are glad to see the back of 2013 and good riddance! Here's hoping that 2014 is our Year of Jubilee!