Tuesday, February 26, 2008

intensity and infertility

Well, today I have nothing silly to say. No pictures of my puppy. No paint samples to share. Today is a day that has been filled with tears. Yesterday was worse. If I had a theme song for this post, it would be "lost" by Michael Buble. But let me back up and start at the beginning....

We had mid-year evaluations at my job this week. Mine was Monday. I met with my principal and assistant principal and without going into all the details, it was not a happy meeting. The powers that be are not happy with my performance. They spelled out some things that were really hard to hear.

It was an intense conversation. I sat there and the tears started pushing at my eyes. I was trying so hard to remain controlled and to listen, but the water leaked down my face. It was such an unprofessional response, but I could not even get a handle on it. He had to hand me a tissue. I walked out of there feeling so low. I have never had a job like this one. I struggle and work hard, but it is not enough. And I thought I was having a good year. Guess not.

So I had to go on with my day. I had to pull it together and go back and teach my kindergarten class. I had to paste on a smile. I said a prayer and tried to get through it. I don't know how I managed to read my story and get books checked out to that class. It had to be God...I can hardly remember it.

That afternoon as I was cleaning up, my phone rang. It was my OB/GYN calling to say that my blood tests indicate that I did not ovulate again this month. Bad news. I almost starting crying a-gain. They would need to triple my dose of the Clomid to try again. Like I need those hormones raging through me while I am trying to save my job. Whew-hooo. Can I even handle all this mixed together?

Well, I went home at the day's end and sobbed on the couch with my husband. He held my hand and listened to me ramble about feeling worthless. I can't do my job and I can't get pregnant. Can I do anything right? Let's talk about low self esteem!

But through all of this, I have had several reminders that God still sees me. A co-worker told me to think about it like "what is God challenging you with in this?" And my husband reminded me that even with all the opposition David faced, he met the giant with all he had: a slingshot. It was what David had in his hand, and God made him victorious. He also reminded me that we prayed for this job, and this is where God led me. Maybe God is using this challenge to prepare me for what's next, whatever that is. One last counsel I found today was the blog My Messy, Thrilling Life. The writer over there is an amazing woman working through her own issues, but she is woman with great perspective. If you get a chance, read her Monday Moment from this week.

I pray that God will continue to reveal Himself in these situations. That I will learn through this and succeed in the job arena. That I can accept what is happening in the fertility area, and know His will. Lord, take me and mold me and make me the vessel that is going to shine. Give me the grace to handle these situations of pressure. Allow me to handle the stress with the grace that You will flow through me. I am Your child. Let me bask in Your love.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

here's to you, Miss Sniz!

One of the comments on my last post was from a new blogger friend, Miss Sniz. She commented that she wasn't brave enough to use red paint because it was going to stretch into another room. I had that dilemma too, and this is how I solved it. See photo!
When we did our kitchen we decided to knock out a wall. The kitchen was really dark and small and was not open to anything else. By taking the wall out, it brought a lot more light into the room, gave us additional cabinet and counter space, and opened up the kitchen into the den. I do not like to feel alone when I cook, so having people hanging out in the den while I am in the kitchen is great. But the problem of having one paint color was an issue. It was also weird how the new molding in the kitchen was going to meet up with the old crown molding in the den. So I picked out a plinth block and that it what divides the two rooms. I taped off the red from the terra cotta colored paint in the other room and that is the result. A fancy decorator person might tell you that it is against the rules, but I didn't want red everywhere. Again, it is my house and I have to live there, right?

Below are two shots that I took with my new camera. The hubby and I shopped for something a little more powerful than the camera we had. I was still using my 35mm SLR camera and it was time to get into the digital age, I guess. We took the camera out today to test it and see if I like the way it shoot. We walked around in our local Battleground Park and took our dog Lucy with us. This shot is one of a little brook that runs through the park. Again, I love trees.

Let me introduce you to the side of Lucy's face. Isn't she sweet? This picture looks like she has no eyes, but she would not turn and look at me. She was being stubborn. She really is a cute dog as witnessed by the puppy picture below.

Don't you just love that face? When we first brought her home she drove me NUTS. Oh, I wanted to give her back. She wimpered all the time and peed on my brand new Pottery Barn duvet cover! I was so mad. But then I figured God was just getting me ready for babies. I am sure they will do worse.
Well, thanks to everyone who came to my kitchen and sent your compliments. I thought you would enjoy my reasoning process when it came to picking out certain things and I am blessed that you did not think I was crazy for choosing some of the things. If you get a chance, check out Miss Sniz and some of the others on my sidebar. I think they make for entertaining reading.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

a tour of my kitchen...

Ok, readers, you asked for it. I may have gone a little overboard here to give you a little peak into my kitchen. But once I start taking pictures I cannot stop. My overwhelming fear is that people out there wil look at the room I painstakingly pieced together and hate it. I guess I must get over it. I love it, and that is what matters, right? I have to live here.
This is the main view. If you can imagine another peninsula coming out where the dishwasher is, that is how the kitchen was arranged before. I have a furniture piece in the middle right now. We have a reclaimed butcher block piece to set on top of that. My paint samples for what color we are going to refinish this piece are stuck on those cabinets on the upper right. I haven't decided yet.
This is my HUGE fridge that barely fit in the space. I had so much fun picking out a fridge. I like side-by-side since I am 5'10'' and hate to bend over to get into my fridge. Love it. To the right is my pantry. The cabinets were hard to pick out. What shade wood? What kind of molding? Modern, antique looking, or somewhere in between? These are maple spice and are not the fanciest cabinets, nor are they the lowest quality ones that you have to assemble yourselves. That would have put my husband over the edge. He is not the handiest of men, so putting together 28 cabinets would not have been good if we wanted them to have right angles and stay together!
Also, some people don't put things on their fridge. I like to display my memories. I have my wedding invitation, several wedding pictures, card that came with flowers that my husband sent, and magnets from all the places I have traveled. It is a collage of my life on display. It gives friends something to look at while I am cooking, and it gives some conversation starters to people I entertain for the church where my husband works.

The sink view with my pot rack above the window. Again, because I am tall, I don't like to dig for things I use a lot. Also, I don't like to sit my pans in each other. The teflon gets scratched. But my pans aren't extremely high quality and someday I wish to have fancy pans to hang up there.
It took me FOREVER to pick out a sink. I grew up with a cast iron one and liked the look of that. I am not a big fan of stainless steel, for some reason or other. This one is actually cast acrylic. It has the look of cast iron, but is more durable and less expensive. I love how big the right sink is and it is sooo deep. The faucet also took a long time to pick out. I wanted something that looked antique, but I don't like to have a separate hot and cold handles. This one we actually found at Sam's for a great price.
A little corner with a cool recipe book and ceramic holder for my recipe cards. The blue "harmony" holder was a gift from Emily at my bridal shower. The cookbook was another wedding gift and has great recipes from a set of twins that grew up in High Point and now have a catering business in California. A few little trinkets that I have hanging on the red, red, wall. I chose the color because it is red, but it is broken up by the cabinets and isn't too overwhelming. I figured that paint is easy to change and when I got tired of it, I could change it. I expect I will only like red while I am younger and will want something tamer on down the road. I decided to go for it now, and be more normal later.
Here is a close-up of my granite pattern. It is called "New Venetian Gold" and has these sparkly sections in it. The speckles hide all sorts of crumbs, which is good and bad, depending on how you look at it. I had the best time picking out the granite. The granite place you go to when you have to pick out your slab is AMAZING. So cool. They have rows and rows of these huge granite slabs and you have to pick the one or two you want and put your name on it. So fun. Did you know there is granite that is mined at the bottom of the ocean and costs $600 per square foot? I didn't. Mine is from Italy, I think.
Here are the knobs. They are acrylic reproductions of antique glass knobs and I found these at Target. There were some ones I loved at Restoration Hardware, but they were $10 a knob and we needed 27. These are pretty close and were $4 per knob.
It was a long process and it was hard to make some of the decisions. I designed most of it with me in mind, knowing that my husband doesn't do as much cooking. The height thing certainly was an issue that I attempted to counterbalance. My pantry has roll-out shelves because I am not going to crawl on my stomach to see what is on the bottom. I take my toe and roll it out!
Hope you enjoyed a little peak into our house. I will give anyone thinking about remodeling their kitchen this advice. It takes longer than you think. It will cost more than you think. How will you eat while your kitchen is torn apart? My fridge was in my family room for a month, and we only had a microwave and my crockpot. Thankfully, this was during the summer so we grilled several nights a week.
Happy decorating! All of you that wanted to see more better comment on all this loveliness. Um, only tell me what you like. Yeah, only the good stuff please. I can't handle the truth if you think it is ugly. I completely understand if it is not your style, though. To each her own!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a little lime green goes a long way!

Do you like this picture? Does the pattern grab you? Does it say "take me home and make me your very own?" Do you like lime green and mustard yellow? I don't. This is a photo of the wallpaper that used to be on my kitchen walls. When we first bought our house, the kitchen was a 60s nightmare. I have blogged about this before. It was hideous. Oh my. I lose my appetite just thinking about it. So ugly. This paper covered the kitchen and breakfast nook walls. Well, where the walls weren't covered by brownish red fake wood paneling. You're laughing right now, aren't you? You can see it. You can imagine the barn red cabinets with this wallpaper, and the white stove with the brown oven, with the yellow dishwasher and our black refrigerator. You can almost touch the sticky cabinet handles and grimy linoleum. Groovy, baby.

Well, we only lived here 2 weeks before we tore it all out. And I mean OUT. Down to the studs. Gone. In a dumpster. Buh-bye. I sold my soul to HomeDepot and we have a new kitchen. It is shiny and clean (most of the time) and the walls are red and my cabinets are maple. What a lovely change. The construction guys saved me this (s)crap of wallpaper. Such a momento.

But as I think about it more, there must have been a time when that wallpaper was the thing. To the previous woman of the house, it must have been trendy, the must-have, the way to go. I am sure it was carefully and lovingly glued to the walls. The linoluem was picked out to match. The cabinets painted to contrast. A woman who might have sold her soul to the hardware store for the cool pantry shelves she had. A cook who enjoyed making meals for her family on that white stovetop.

Trends change. What's hot one day, will be a "not" the next day. That wallpaper was probably so cool in the 60s, but I tore it down and painted my walls. What seemed useful a year ago is at the Goodwill now (and Emily just might buy it). What I find tomorrow might be obselete next year. It all changes.

God doesn't.

He's here. He's always been here. He will always be trendy and fashionable and won't even need to be updated. He walks alongside me and I can always call on Him. Don't you think that is fabulous? Does He grab you? Does He say "take me home and make me your very own?" Yes. Hallelujah. He's always current. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

a day with my camera

Today I have been sucked into a marathon of America's Next Top Model. I admit that I am a huge fan of this show. A closet fan maybe, but now I am out in the open. I love seeing the way they shoot pictures and then seeing the result. I aspire to that greatness with my camera, and as the only person around here to shoot is me, I thought I would show you my various stages throughout the day.

Here I am this morning in my favorite cuddly, black sweater. This is before my shower. My hair usually has a mind of it's own in the morning. In this shot you can also see how green my eyes are. That usually gets hidden behind my glasses. I think this picture also shows that my head hurts. At least, I can see that in the puffiness under my eyes!
Here I am getting out of the shower. Wet hair, pale face, etc. I love a good shower. A good shower can wash away the craziness and pressure of the day. I may look a little intense, but I really did feel a lot better after my shower.

Ok, so I put on some makeup and let my hair dry. Got dressed in a lovely red sweater. I know that I am not a Top Model or anything, but I think the final product is pretty good. I usually feel different once I put my glasses on. Like I have a layer between me and the world. Maybe that is a barrier I put up myself, and I just pretend that my glasses cause it. I feel like my eyes tell alot about who I am and then I have to put this frame over them that keeps people at a distance. People don't really notice my eyes until I take off the glasses. And I hardly ever do that during a normal day.

I know that all women deal with some level of insecurity. I do too. You'll notice that you don't see much of my body, and there are reasons for that. I am comfortable exposing my face to the world, but not my cellulite. But I have come to realize that beauty is not the reason I am loved by my Lord. He sees deeper. He sees past the puffiness, past the glasses, past the barrier I put up for the world and looks at who I really am. He sees that I am striving for something better than where I started. Doesn't that bring you some level of comfort? That God doesn't care about your lipliner or designer clothes? If it comes from Goodwill or Macy's. What He cares about is where I am in my spiritual journey. Where I am coming from when I worship. Who I will be tomorrow, instead of who I was yesterday.

Lord, thank you that there is beauty in this world. Thank you that I can see it in myself and in others. I pray that you will continue to build me up and build up others through this post. Take away my insecurities and replace them with the strength only You can give.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

she is skilled in homemaking...

In my quest to live like the Proverbs 31 woman, I have been tackling the section line by line and including it in my prayer life and in my daily tasks. Here is proof that I am actually working on making my house a little more organized and orderly. I want to be skilled in homemaking, um, whatever that is. I think it has to do with making your house comfortable, clean, organized and welcoming.

This is my hall closet that is under our stairs to the attic. We have pretty much just shoved stuff in there. You can see we keep medicines and my husband stashed some CDs in there after he uploaded them all to our iTunes account. We really have no need for the CDs anymore, except maybe in the car. But is that where they are? No. They are in this closet.

Well, I worked on it for about 45 minutes. I put a trash can in the hall and threw out a whole bunch of stuff. It turned out that we had a whole stack of books in the back and some went right to the Goodwill box I had next to the trash can. I also found a great basket for all the medicines in another closet and put all that stuff together.

Much better, right? Who knows how long it will actually stay that way! I think it will, as the medicines are what we mostly go in there for. I can't put too much in there that we need on a daily basis because the sliding door is SOOOOO hard to open and close that I get frustrated trying to get anything in there.

I can count one closet as an accomplishment and know I have two more closets and a room to finish. I took some "before" pictures of those as well, so when I have results, I will show them too. It could be awhile, folks, so don't hold your breath.

You might be thinking that God isn't really looking at my closet and thinking how disappointed He is in my life. I don't think that either. But I believe that God expects me to be respectful with the blessings He has given me. He has given me this house, this life, this man, this job and that stack of CDs. I think that is what Proverbs is saying. I can take pride in a job well done; a closet cleaned. Or I can live in the mess and be frustrated when I can't find anything. I can pass on things that I am finished with and bless others. I can bless my husband, because now he can find the FirstAid kit next time I break more glass. I choose to aspire towards what God has made me. I will continue to strive to be the woman the Hymn is written about: a good wife.

***in case you are wondering, I am reading The Message Remix version of Proverbs. Plain language makes perfection easier to aspire to.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

ahhh, time to breathe

Well, this is what the world looks like out my window this morning! We got an unexpected and unforcasted 3 or 4 inches of snow. I love snow in North Carolina. What I mean to say is, I love the reaction to snow in North Carolina. Everything gets shut down. Schools, churches, businesses all close their doors on a day like today. Which is why I am home writing this post...SNOW DAY!!! I got the call early this morning and went back to bed. An extra couple hours of sleep and a day off are just what the doctored ordered. Bliss. A world of white; so clean and untouched. I love the world when it looks like this.

For any of you Yankees that are laughing right now, please know that I am not a snow chicken. My husband and I still go out in weather like this and we enjoy ourselves. I lived in Alaska for 8 years as a child and we went to school in 3 feet of snow....much less 3 inches. We took our sleds with us! But here in NC, we just don't get that much, and it is nice to have a day off to enjoy it. I think God gives us these snow days when we just can't handle much more. It is a collective blessing that He bestows on our town.

This is my backyard. Do you see my little birdbath? Well, birds never use it anymore after my dog caught one and ate it! She stood there with little bird feet in her mouth and had a snack. Trip to the vet was that lucky hunter's reward.

Thought I would include with this post a shot of me and my mother-in-law with the new twins. I am on the left, with the curly hair and Judy is on the right. I am holding Payden, who was sleeping so nicely the entire time. Judy has Cheyenne, who was being a little more fussy.

Katie was really out of it when we went to visit. They still had her on several drips and she was still in some pain from the C section. Charlie does not hold new born babies, so there aren't any pics of the hubby with the twins. He says that their heads wobble and he will hold them when they are his own children. I guess that is something to be thankful for.

Well, today is Valentine's Day, so I am relaxing and then my sweetie is taking me out for the night. I hope everyone enjoys their day, whether it is romantic or not. My day started out perfectly, with a blanket of white. My wish for you all is that today will bring you the same sense of satisfaction that I was brought with 3 inches of snow. Find a good book (I made some suggestions yesterday) a good movie, or a good friend and let today be about filling our hearts with joy, wherever it may come from.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

sink your teeth into...

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. I have talked about this book before and many of you might think I am crazy for recommending a vampire story, but this writer is amazing. Twilight is Meyer's first book and it is a complex, touching, romantic and clearly told story. The story centers on Bella Swan, who moves to tiny Forks, Washington from Phoenix, Arizona. On her first day at the new high school she locks eyes with a boy across the cafeteria and the story begins in earnest. Edward Cullen (where the Cullen came from in the babynamegame) is a boy with a secret. He has these entrancing eyes and a seductive voice and Bella is caught up in the mystery.

I know, I know, a vampire story. But the author makes them so interesting and the rules they live by are intriguing and different than legend would have us believe. Everyone I give this book to gets sucked in by page 2. The sequel, New Moon, is almost as wonderful, and the third book, Eclipse, measures up to the first.

Even if you are not one for a vampire story, the romance in this book is so wonderfully written and Meyer describes scenes in almost photographic detail. You will not be disappointed. Okay, enough about books and back to real life. Oh wait, books are my real life most days. I live in a world of books (to quote Rory Gilmore) and the characters in them are almost as real as the people that are in my life. There are heros and heroines all over I wish I could meet and talk with for awhile.

A list of favorite books (in no order):

Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick
Bamboo and Lace by Lori Wick
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks (movie is ok)
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Disclosure by Michael Crichton (the movie is intense and steamy)
The Firm by John Grisham (the movie is NOT as good)
Runaway Jury by John Grisham (the movie is as good)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini (the movie is like the book on speed)
Harry Potter by JK Rowling (any of them, and I like the movies)
Fire by Night by Lynn Austin (all of Lynn Austin, really)
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

As you can see, I like many genres and read books intended for all ages. I like a good story more than anything and if someone is offering a tale woven together with something special, I will check it out. Usually, if I find a good author I can trust that I will like their other books.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Congratulations to....

Heather of Mindless Junque for her name "James Cullen"! Best use of a literary reference! (If you haven't read Twilight, you need to.) You will win a lovely mini set of drawers for your girls to store their jewelry in! I would post a picture, but the husband hasn't figured out how to upload the pics from the camera, yet. Send me an email with your address.

And to...

Alison, for that stunning list of HORRIBLE names that you submitted. Chico? Chablis? Did you just get a dictionary and throw in some names? Yuck. I feel sorry for anyone named Chastity. It really just isn't a word that you should give someone. Apple, sure, Chastity, um...no. Alison, send me your address as well, so I can send you your secret booby prize.

Thanks to all who played. The judging was very partial as I was the only judge and I picked what I liked and what I didn't. Honorable Mention to Ann of A Year with My Camera for the international names. No prize, just glory with that one.

Oh, and just so we know, I am not contractually obligated to use any of the names submitted. Just wanna make that clear. If you didn't get a chance to look at them all, just check that post and read the list. I got a laugh out of some of them.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

choir of one

Well, the last 24 hours have been busy and emotional. Yes, you might say, she is emotional A LOT. And you would be right. With the Clomid, it is like all my extreme emotions are right underneath my skin just bursting to get out. Like PMS all month long. My lucky husband!

Back to the events of the past day. I posted yesterday about the twins and we went up to the hospital to visit last night. They are precious. So delightful. I held Payden for awhile and he just slept in my arms. What a sweet baby. Cheyenne was being a little more cranky, but they gave her a pacifier and she settled right down. Charlie's mom was there as were Katie's parents, and again someone said to me, "Are you ready for three?" See they think it would be soooo funny if I had triplets since Christal had one and Katie had two. Everyone chuckled, but I was just frozen inside.

Church this morning was good and our sermon was written just for me. Pastor was talking about how everything we do is worship. How we were created for His pleasure. How I can choose to be thankful and praise Him for what I have instead of focusing on what struggles I am going through. What insight. I went down for prayer, as there are just so many emotions swimming around in my head. I do have so much to be thankful for...God has blessed me in so many ways and I just look right past those and see the thing He hasn't given me. Yet...He hasn't given it to me yet.

I pray that I might become a "choir of one." Someone who sings the Lord's praises all day. Those praises will help stitch up any wounds in my heart. I pray that peace will surround me and I can live my life without feeling victim to comments said around me. These people don't know where I am and what the problems are. They can't know how I ache inside.

Give me Your song, Lord. Let me sing for You.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Welcome babies!

Let's take a moment to welcome the newest members of the family! My sister-in-law Katie delivered twins yesterday! Her husband, Chad, is Charlie's brother.

Meet James Payden! He was 6lbs, 5oz and was actually born second, a minute behind his sister!He has such a sweet face...love those little lips. He will go by Payden, which is a name they got from an old tv show, but I cannot remember what it is.

Meet Cheyenne Leigh! She was 6lbs, 6oz and she was the reason for the C-section. She has been laying sideways for months and would not turn! She must have been pretty comfy. Cheyenne was hard to name...they couldn't think of what sounded good with Cheyenne, since it was so special.

To add a little more to the story for you...both of my sisters-in-law were pregnant this year. Charlie's parents got three grandchildren in the space of three months. Harrison James was born in December to Craig and Christal (Charlie's other brother and wife). Can you tell we like the name "James" in this family? And "C" names? So the family now has babies, which should be interesting as we have been a group of adults for a long time.

Hopefully, Charlie and I will be able to add to the group soon. It would be nice to have them all around the same age so that they can play together at Nana and Poppy's. Charlie's parents are all set up to babysit. They have a swing, a pack-n-play and a mini-van to tote them around!

Welcome to the family, kids!
***Check out the comment page for a fun little contest inspired by emily's comment and let's see who can be most creative...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

time travel

At times someone will make a comment and I am immediately taken back 10 years. I find myself reliving moments of pain and anguish and grief from a time that I really don't want to experience over again. There are flashbacks of faces and places and tears. I am right back in that room where I said goodbye. My eyes water and I want my mommy. Or rather, my dad.

This morning a coworker shared with my that her father had been diagnosed with cancer yesterday. She was holding it together, but the sadness was there. Right underneath, rubbing her raw. I have been there. I know that rawness. I lived in that place for two years while my dad suffered with luekemia. I have danced the dance of faith, grief, pain, sorrow, prayer and release. I went through boxes of tissues and wore out my knees in communication with my heavenly Father to let me keep my earthly one. He eventually went on to heaven and I was left here to continue on.

It all came rushing right back this morning as I stood on the sidewalk talking with my hurting friend. I shared a little about my experience and told her I would stand by her in this season. They I wiped my eyes and tried to shove the memories back into the trunk so I could get on with my day. I plastered on a smile and opened car doors for little kids. But through it all today I will be thinking of my dad. Thinking of how he was my sun, my center, my gravity. Remembering how special he was and how he rocked me in his recliner three weeks before he died. Transported back to the moment when we said goodbye. I can still hear his voice on the phone.

It has been a long 10 years. I have graduated college, bought a car, gotten married and bought two houses, all without my dad. It seems strange that he has not been around for those decisions and events. Getting married was hard...that walk down the aisle. I am envious of brides who have that. I am envious of anyone with a great dad.

Maybe he was so great that the Lord already needed him in heaven. I like to think that. Maybe I was ready to be without his guidance. I know that without it, I have learned more about faith. I have learned more about trusting God in the moments when life gets hard. I have learned how to be close to God while letting go of other desires.

Comfort me today, Lord. Push the clouds away and let me see Your sun. Your Son. Wipe away my tears and let me rejoice in the years I had my dad. Let the warmth of the memories be a gentle embrace. Let me rest in You.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

only 7 shopping days left...

Another confession: I love Valentine's Day now that I am married. I hated it when I was single. All my relationships prior to my husband, and there weren't many, never fell over February. Each year the day would pass. Each year I would get cards from my parents. From friends. From students. Our group of women would get together and celebrate our bitterness. We were left out and we did not like it. I enviously watched other girls recieve flowers and presents and were wisked away for a night on the town. I wanted to be one of those girls; someone cherished and adored and wisked away.

When I got engaged at the end of January and looked forward into the next month and spied the big Valentine's Day on the calendar...I was excited. My first holiday with a boyfriend, a fiance no less. I had the diamond and I was looking forward to all the things I had been missing before. This year was my year. My year to make up for all the other years that I had sat on the couch watching You've got Mail ( I love Tom Hanks).

You might think I am building all this up, and then nothing happened. That was not the case. My day was wonderful! My sweetie had things delivered to me all day...breakfast, a cd, some flowers, a book and then met me later for dinner. There was a card and poem with each gift and I was touched with how much work Charlie put in to it. It was an amazing day.

Valentine's Day isn't the same for everyone, I know. Some think it is cheesy, and maybe it is. Others might call it created by Hallmark, and it could be. All I know is that my husband knows me, and knows what my heart longs for...sap. I am so sappy and I am blessed that he gets it and goes along with it.

I look around sometimes and think I am a woman with nothing to contribute, nothing to offer. But I offered this man my heart and he takes good care of it. I think I need harps playing in the background here, huh?

I would be curious to know if anyone else feels strongly about the 14th. Anyone have any special traditions they would like to share (PG, of course)? Comment away, my friends. Even if you hate the day, I would like to hear that too.

the perfect light

Alrighty, so the husband got around to viewing the blog and wanted to help. I liked my other photo very much, but I loooove this one. It says more about how I feel when I write. Like the sun is coming up through the trees and nothing in life could ever make you feel bad or inconsequential.

I wish I had been in this forest at this moment. What a sight that must have been! Thank you, photographer, whoever you are for capturing it. Thank you, Lord, for giving us all treats like this!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

lost in the specifics

We all need to vent now and again, right? You've been there, haven't you? When something just gets under your skin and sticks you. Ugh! Sometimes life just gets the better of us and it is so frustrating to have a plan, a program, a routine that is messed up by other people. Other people that really aren't intending to do you harm. Other people who don't have bad intentions. Other people who just can't see why the system has to work the way it works. Anyone with me?

Do I have a point, you ask? Yes. In a library, you check out the books! You don't walk out with them. That is called stealing. Because my library is situated sharing a space with a computer lab, I cannot just close the door if I have to step out. I am also the gateway to the copy room, and teachers have to use it whether I am here or not. So I cannot close the door and when I eat lunch I am not here at my desk. Evidently, during this time, students have been walking in and just taking the books.

I wouldn't have even known about it, but one mom came forward and said her daughter had about 30 books at home that were all library books. She said her daughter would be bringing them back in stages. When she asked her sweet little fourth grade daughter if I had checked out the books to her, she replied "I think she knows I have them!" Uh, I am not a mind reader. I cannot tell you who has what book...that is what the computer is for. That is why the books are barcoded. That is why I scan everything that comes in and goes out. I will not even get into what would happen if you could just take what you wanted, when you wanted, no matter if you brought it back. Maybe libraries were like that ages ago, but I call that a bookstore. And you a criminal.

Ok, so where do I find the blessings in all this? Well, I should be glad the mom came forward, and I am. I am also blessed that she will be returning the books and they won't all come up missing in May when I do inventory. I should be thankful my students are taking books and not other things. At least they are reading, even if the acquisition method isn't quite right.

Maybe the Lord is teaching me to flex my boundaries. To allow for childish misinterpretations of the rules. To be specific in what I say to students.

In this case, I specifically told said fourth grader today, "If I am not here, you cannot take books." She laughed, but I hope she got the message.

Monday, February 4, 2008

the next 50 years

I am addicted to wedding shows. I make this admission easily. I can sit and watch any shows about weddings on Style and WE and sit there all day. Lace and flowers and centerpieces and invitations and cakes and photographers. All so fun to me. I know some brides look back and never want to do it again. I would plan my wedding over and over again. I had such a great time planning all the details. Not to mention that I was planning a prom at the same time, and I was immersed in those details too. I considered being a wedding planner at one time, but I really didn't want to be working weekends when my husband is off.

All this being said, there are some aspects of my wedding that I look back on and wish were different. I wish my dad had been there to walk me down the aisle. I wish my dad could have met my husband. I wish that I could remember more of walking down the aisle and seeing Charlie, but that moment is wrapped up with 400 other moments from that day.

Why ruminate on all this? We all love the romance and spectacle of a wedding, but it is the tougher stuff underneath that makes a wedding. It is the 50 years after it that make a wedding. Weddings are tarnished when the couple divorces a year later. Even if it was a gorgeous day, if the couple splits then the moments are forever tainted with that ugly parting. I used to think love was a fragile thing, but since being married I have realized that Godly parings are made of tougher stuff. Yes, it takes work. It takes so many conversations and moments when we are angry or scared or frustrated and at the end of our rope. But underneath it all is an iron rod that God has sautered together.

Even with all the turmoil that I am personally experiencing in my journey to make a baby, I can rejoice in the fact that God gave me a marriage that is built on a solid rock. My husband is a man with a deep faith and he is what I never knew I needed. While we may never know what will come in the future, I can feel secure that he will always be my home base.

Thank You Lord for all the blessings You have given. Thank you that I am partnered with a man that seeks Your heart. Help me to find rest in the comfort You can provide. Thank you for the security of what You have bestowed upon me.

Most of all, I thank You for the next 50 years.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

cracked glass and bandaids

I think I used to be a graceful person. In high school I was on our FlagCorps and we danced all the time. Eventually I became captain and choreographer and I'd like to think I was good at it. Not anymore. Any grace I once had is long gone. Oh, I admit sometimes I sashay myself around the living room when figure skating is on (more about that obsession another time), but then I usually stub my toe.

Let me tell you what I am thankful for today. I am thankful that God watches out for us even in the small things. Last night I was letting the dogs in the house and Pheobe, our lab/husky mix, was banging her paws on the glass part of the screen door. I went to pop the door with my hand to get her to back up and my hand went through the glass. I stood there staring at my hand and it seemed only scratched, but then it started bleeding in 4 places.

What am I thankful for in this, you might wonder. I am thankful that when I did this, my friend Kristen was here. She helped me bandage my hand and get the glass cleaned up outside so that the dogs would still be able to go outside. I am thankful that we have two backdoors, so that I don't have to open that door until it gets fixed. I am blessed that it was my hand that went through the door instead of my dog's feet and face going through the glass. I am thankful that I am the only one who was hurt, and that it is minor. I am blessed that we had plywood outside that I could lean against the door to block the dogs from going to that door.

How can I ever doubt that my Lord loves me? Why would I ever have questions? It seems that because I hurt over what I want most (a baby) that I forget how much He really is there providing my needs.

Help me to see You, Lord, as You are. As I pray that you will comfort me, I need to remember that You are more than what I see. You are available in ways I never thought to ask. Help me to continue to recognize Your blessings instead of focusing on what I don't have. Thank You for my cracked glass and for bandaids.

Friday, February 1, 2008

for the love of an old house

In one aspect I am a happy woman. I really like my house. It was built in 1961 and has that elusive charm that I was looking for this time around. I made a mistake in our first house...I loved the inside, but we were in a cookie-cutter neighborhood and the house across the street was the same as ours. When I finally convinced my husband to sell it, I found a gem of a house in an old neighborhood in Greensboro. It has a yard full of trees and is brick and has these cute little dormer windows in the attic.

I guess you could say I identify a lot with the house. It is in need of repair. It has wonderful bones and the previous owners did some work on the cosmetic things before they sold it. They refinished the floors, stripped some wallpaper and painted everything. The kitchen was the only thing that was horrible. It was green and yellow and had not been touched since the sixties. The stove burners shook when you used them and I never made anything in the oven because of this odd smell that eminated from it when I heated it up. Old fish and sweat socks. Anyway, after some major construction we now have brand new everything. Cabinets, counters, floor, and an open space where we took down a wall.

I think my attitude is like that sometimes. I feel bruised inside when I look around and see babies everywhere. Just moments ago in Target there was a lovely pregnant woman passing me as I went to pick up my Clomid and look at ovulation predictors. I am aching with envy. I am in need of repair.

My prayer this afternoon is that I can meet the morning with a joyous attitude. That I can embrace who I am and who God made me. This struggle is mine and I will claim it. I will admit that I am in the midst of a renovation. God is giving me new cabinets and countertops. He looks at me and sees the potential, much the way I looked at the house. He loves my charm. He will wipe away my tears and take down a wall. Some new paint and a light fixture and I can shine. Thank you Lord that you are the master of all carpenters.

an ode to Clomid

After one conclusive and expensive test at the doctor, I am now on the path to motherhood via Clomid. Evidently, I do not ovulate on a regular basis and so in order to get pregnant we have to try this method.

I guess the thing that stresses me most is the fact that I had a plan. I was not a girl going willy-nilly through life just accepting what happens to me. I was a girl with a plan. A timeline. A schedule. I like things regimented and on the clock. I will be early and stay late if that is what is needed. I get cranky when people mess with my timeline. Early in our marriage I had to learn that my husband's clock is not synchronized with mine. He flows on a slightly different schedule. While he does not like to be late either, his relationship with time is a little more pliable. I know it will take him longer to get ready than me, so why doesn't he go first? I learned to be a little more flexible and he learned to warn me if things weren't going to go like I planned in my head. But in this case, I don't think either of us were thinking about God's plan.

I have always wanted to have children when I was younger. Since I didn't get married until I was 27, I wanted to get started right away. Charlie was probably wiser and wanted us to be married a couple years first. It irritated me to wait. I had such plans. I like to think about baby names. I like to look at baby clothes. But when we arrived at the place where it was time to implement the plan, my body did not cooperate. I am the one who is broken, damaged, in need of fixing, a lemon of a uterus. That is my lot.

So I struggle and cry and pray. Lord, where is Your will in all of this? How can I stand in the middle of what You want? Where does medicine supercede faith? Does it ever? My children cannot rise up and call me blessed if there are no children. Give me the backbone to deal with the good intentions of those around me that really just hurt my heart. Allow me to smile and be gracious even as I am hurting. Most of all, allow me to stand in your grace and feel your delight.