Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jumping Rope

"When I call your birthday, please jump in! January, February, March, April..."

Anyone know what I'm talking about? Perhaps this post will date me...but I remember jumping rope with my friends at recess during grade school. Aside from "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear," we loved doing the birthday chant. As we all called out the months, I'd start getting the rhythm of the jump rope going round and round...waiting for that perfect moment to JUMP IN! Luckily, my birthday is in September so I had eight months to feel comfortable enough before I had to commit to the rhythmic swinging. When September came around, I'd wait for the jump rope to reach its perfect climax so I could jump in and not mess up those waiting for October through December.

Do you ever feel like this with life? Do you ever feel like you need time to get used to the rhythm of something, and then you find yourself just waiting for that perfect moment to jump in?! This has been our experience with life over the past year. There's been a rhythm building in our hearts and we're getting ready to jump. There's fear that the rope will stop swinging, and we'll break the rhythm, but God reminds us in Philippians 4:6 that we shouldn't be anxious about anything. With prayer, we can present our requests to Him and be sure that even if the rope stops, it can continue swinging with His help. God is creating a rhythm, friends. Will you pray that we move to His rhythm and not our own? Here's to jumping...very soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Isn't It Time For Another?

I suppose when you have a baby 2 months into your marriage and then have another baby 21 months later...this question isn't totally out in left field. But let me say that life's circumstances have made me extremely sensitive to these five words. "Isn't it time for another?" Not only do I cringe when I hear these words...but I definitely won't say these words to anyone. Not anymore. I've learned to be very humble about this perspective over the last 2 years.

Shortly after our brown-eyed boy (child #2) turned 1, we decided we would start trying to grow our family again. After almost a year of negative pregnancy tests, we decided that maybe something was wrong and we should consult a doctor. We worked with my doctor for a few months before we were referred to a fertility specialist. The fertility specialist seemed optimistic and we tried some things...then we tried some more things. And finally, after crying before the Lord as we drove to the hospital for a 12 day ultrasound...only to find out later that we weren't having "another"...we decided we were done. We were done trying. It wasn't time.

We hadn't tried like this fact, we hadn't really tried much at all with our first two. God has a wonderful way of humbling you in times like these. You see, when you make plans like "I want to be done having kids by the time I'm 30"...God will take those words and turn them into vapors...because they aren't His words...they're our own fleshy words. So here I sit...a FRESH 30 year old (as of yesterday) and what I really long for is another child. It almost makes me laugh. How silly to think that I can make these plans. I do appreciate a good sense of humor- one that humbles you and brings you to your knees in the most honest way.

Two years. In the scheme of waiting and trying, two years can mean so many different things. I have friends that have waited and tried longer. I have friends that didn't have to wait and try as long. Every story is different. But the longing isn't. The hurt isn't. The bitterness and anger aren't different. For two years, I've had to smile and say something stupid to that five-word question. I've fumbled so many times in the last two years. Some fumbles are prettier than others. Some fumbles are just plain ugly...full of hurt and anger...because the truth is...if it were up to us...we'd have another! Maybe even another, another! And to be honest, I have responded with those feelings as of late. I've responded poorly to people's lack of perspective. Funny that even though God extends me grace, I don't always extend it when I should. Talk about conviction. The reality of those words is that it isn't time for another. God is in charge of defining "another" and when he/she will come. Some days, God's answer to that question is easier to understand than others. But we trust and we wait. And pray for peace and understanding every single second in between. So my answer to that five-word question is, "It isn't time for another. Not yet."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Becoming an Aunt Grew My Heart

My older sister and I are 11 years apart while my youngest sister and I are 18 months apart. Was this purposeful? It depends on who you ask. If you asked my parents, they'd tell you no. They tried to grow their family for 11 years. But I'm guessing if you asked God...He'd say "Yes!" It was HIS purpose. We can see the purpose now, but His purpose isn't always understood as it's unfolding in front of you.

Despite the age range between us, I consider my older sister one of my best friends. Growing up, however, our relationship wasn't the case simply because there was such an age difference. I more than likely played the role of "annoying younger sister" at all sleepovers and hangouts. But as I became older, our relationship grew closer. I remember going off to college my freshman year and calling my oldest sister to talk about the hard adjustment I was having to college life. Luckily, I had followed in her footsteps and was attending Miami University just as she and her now husband had many years before. I had fond memories of Oxford and had vividly remembered visiting her in college for Lil Sibs Weekend. My youngest sister and I loved cramming into her dorm or apartment room to spend the night. I think these memories and visits to the quaint town really grew my desire to become a Miami graduate too. I was so thankful to have my sister to talk with and share my experiences. It allowed our relationship to grow.

Years after my oldest sister and her husband were married...they began the adoption journey to bringing home my nephew and niece. My nephew came home at 4 months old from Guatemala and my niece came home from China at 10 months old. What a blessing it was to be an AUNT for the first time. Now, at ages 12 and 11, I can't imagine our lives without them.

These experiences with my nephew and niece grew my heart for international adoption. At an age when marriage for me didn't seem in the very near future, I still remember thinking that I wanted to adopt some day. I probably didn't comprehend the true hardship, both emotionally or financially, but God sparked a little flame the day I became an aunt.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Our Story: As It's Been Written So Far

My husband, Eric, and I have known each other since I was in sixth grade. He was my best friend's cousin and my best friend and I did everything together.  I'd go with her to family gatherings for holidays and birthdays. Her family was like a second family to me...I knew them all very well.

When I was in eighth grade, I remember my best friend asking me if I wanted Eric's senior pictures. Yes, pictures plural. I took every single one. Can you say crush?! Now if you're thinking that I was in eighth grade and Eric was a senior in high're right. I can assure you a relationship did not start here. In fact, a relationship did not start for quite some time. Fast forward to my senior year in college...when Eric was working in the "real world" and I was finishing my final year as a future elementary teacher. We had reconnected during this time and decided to start dating towards the end of my time at Miami University (OH). By the time we started "officially" dating, we knew it was only a matter of time before we would get engaged and make our relationship "official, official." (That was a lot of "official" usage!)

Eric and I were married on December 27, 2008. I have so many fond memories of that day. We love to tell people the story about how I had a crush on Eric in eighth grade. We also love to share with people (that weren't at our wedding), that we literally experienced every type of weather known to man in the dead of winter. Snow emergences, extreme fog, sixty degree weather, and torrential downpours. Eric and I were excited to start our life as Mr. and Mrs. We were also excited to find out that we would learn the ropes of being a "Mommy" and "Daddy" towards the end of October. Not quite a honeymoon baby...but close!

Starting a family was something that was important and urgent for Eric and I. We did not want to wait to have kids...mostly because my mom and older sister had experienced struggles with infertility. We wanted to start a family right away and God was faithful in giving us a beautiful little girl on October 29, 2009. We celebrated our very first Christmas as husband and wife...and also as Mommy and Daddy.

Parenthood was more than we could have imagined. It was all those wonderful feelings wrapped up in one sweet and precious package. Our little package had rolls upon rolls and cheeks and chins for days...and we were in love. On Thanksgiving day the following year, we were overjoyed to find out that our little turkey (who had just turned one) would become a BIG sister! We would become a family of 4 near the end of July. On July 22, 2011, we welcomed a sweet little boy into our family. We were so thankful that God provided yet another opportunity for us to be parents. 

Eric and I loved being parents. It was such a gift and we were so thankful that God had chosen us to be a Mommy and Daddy to these two precious kiddos. As we began to talk about growing our family, we were so excited to think about the possibility of having three or four kiddos. We would follow His calling for whatever His plan was for our family. And if that meant five kiddos...we would welcome that too!