Wednesday, September 30, 2009

what's the right thing?

The other morning I was getting ready to turn right at a stoplight when a funeral procession crossed in front of me. When my light turned green, the people in the procession stopped, and I was pretty sure they were supposed to keep going, even through a red light. My problem was, the procession was going down a four lane road, completely taking up one lane, but leaving the other empty.

I turned.

But it felt really weird driving next to the people with their flashing lights the policeman up front. Oncoming traffic was stopping, even though their was a middle lane. The police car did stop at several red lights, and it seemed to be following me for miles. I almost wanted to roll my window down when I was stopped next to the cop to ask what I was supposed to do. I do not remember from driver's ed what the rules are, and I don't come across them very often.

I think I should have let the whole procession go and stayed at the light, from what I can gather from the internet. Each state has different laws and talks about what people IN the procession should do: proceed through lights until the police car stops. Nothing told me what I should have done.

One person said that it is the last way we can pay respect to the dead and their families, and I get that. I do. And in the moment I was thinking about getting to where I was going. It did feel weird to pass the hearse, but there was a car behind me that was going really fast and I didn't want to stop in front of them. I feel bad about it, but wondered if anyone really knew the rules, or if there were laws governing it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

spiderman, spiderman

I came outside the other day and stretched between a tree and our ivy plants was this huge spider web, floating in the air. It was about 12 inches across and a foot and a half long. Today when it was raining, all the little droplets were stuck to it and it was really pretty.

It was hard to get a picture, because the camera wants to focus on the background and I wasn't sure how close I wanted to get to the web. I did not see the spider, and since I didn't know his whereabouts, I didn't want to get get close. I took three pictures and then went back inside.

Just thought I would show what has been the prettiest part of the last two weeks. It has been completely rainy here, and the one day that was sunny was soooo hot we'd all rather have the rain. But then today it rained and the temperature dropped. Not so great.

I suppose I could be philosophical about how hard the spider worked or how intricate the web was, or something, but I am not in that place. I could write about how dedicated the spider was, but really, he's just trying to catch some food and as soon as it stops raining, I am going to take a stick and knock it down. I have no love for spiders and my husband is scared of them, so it becomes my job to kill him. In fact, he hasn't really gotten that close to the web.

I am grumpy, can you tell? Things aren't happening that I want to happen, and other things that aren't that great ARE happening, and I wish they wouldn't. Life is confusing and I am tired of being in the rain.

Sunshine is much better for my psyche.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm not a camping kind of girl

Well, this has been a busy day, and on those kinds of busy days I like to stare out the windows and look at nature. I may be the Queen of Indoors, but I love to look at nature. Look, and take pictures of nature. I mean, we know I like trees and leaves and flowers and such, but I find it very calming. If I was that kind of hiker girl or camping person, I might actually go spend time in the wild. I used to do that kind of stuff when I was a kid, all the time. My dad liked to go and climb mountains and such, and we kids always got dragged along.

I find such beauty in the small moments where the sun shines through the trees and leaves and glows. I love the way leaves can look like stained glass windows when the light is just right. The late evening light in the summer combined with dripping trees creates nature's version of jewelry...sparkly.

It's how I know everything comes together for those that love Him. The seasons show us that every year. Plants are born, they flourish, they retreat for a season to bloom again in the sun. He created that. He showed us that everything and everyone takes a turn. I may never have fortune or fame of change the world in some indelible way, but I can sparkle for him, even when dripping wet with tears.

I may be waiting, I may be wondering, I may be wishing and hoping and praying, but I don't doubt that my turn will come. My time for rejoicing will come, in time. In His time. I have to trust that this waiting season is for a purpose. I may not always like it, but it's the reality of my life.

I can sparkle for him, even when dripping wet with tears. Because He shines.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

good things

My husband loves candles during the fall/winter. He doesn't like them any other time, really, but about this time every year he starts smelling candles in every store we visit. Yesterday, we were in TJ Maxx and Target and he was sniffing his way down the aisle of candles, trying to find one for fall. He likes the house to smell like pumpkin pie and baked goods, and around Christmas I like the cranberry ones or pine scented ones.

Let me also admit that finding a candle is a challenge for us, because I am extremely sensitive to scents. Anything really strongly floral or fake smelling (like beach scented candles?) give me a headache. It's one of the major reasons I don't wear perfume. Usually, citrus scented things are okay, but those aren't the scents for fall. We normally compromise a little and don't burn them for too long, but just enough to get the smell.

I was trying out my new camera lens (sigma 18-200 OS, in case you care) and took this photo of some sticks in a vase. I love the way the warm wall color makes me think of fall, and trees losing their leaves. If you've read my blog for any length of time, or even think really about the title, you know that I love trees, in any state, except chopped down. Each season with trees is interesting for me, from the sprouting to blooming to lush green summer fullness to the warm colors they display in fall. I love trees. Seriously.

I love pumpkin pie and chai lattes, mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, carving pumpkins, decorating my Christmas tree and shopping for presents. Fall is full of fun and cooler weather, my birthday (and the New Moon movie), and shopping. Did I mention the shopping?

Oh, and the most amazing thing happened the other day. After reading the Nester's guest post from a blogger who was having her house foreclosed upon, I wished there was something I could do. There really wasn't, of course, since I don't know this person in real life and my little contribution wouldn't have helped them keep their house. BUT, when I went to the grocery store a couple of hours later, the Urban Ministries program was collecting food for their food bank and listing the kinds of people they helped. People who had lost their housing was one of the groups they mentioned! So I shopped around the store and included several extra cans of things I was buying for the Urban Ministries. And after I bought my groceries, I took my bag back to the little man who was manning the table and he was so cute! Old and crinkled, but talking to people about donating to the Urban Ministries. I felt so good about helping, even though it wasn't helping the Nester's Guest Blogger, but it would help someone in my community. And it's so easy when stores put out collection baskets, because you can shop and hand the stuff off right then. Such a great idea!

Maybe that wasn't the most amazing story you've ever heard, but it made me feel good to help out a little. It didn't cost me much and I felt so good about contributing. You can too, you know! Buy a can of soup for someone in need, if you can, of course. There was a time in my life when I was on the other end and the church was bringing our family groceries. It all cycles around. Do what you can, when you can.

That's a good motto: do what you can, when you can.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

little leaves, almost unnoticed

These little leaves were on the side of a tree, sticking out all by themselves. They weren't on a branch high up in the sky, but at about my eyeline, asking for a little bit of sunshine and attention. I thought it was a unique sight on a 60 feet tree. Two little leaves. Unnoticed by anyone but me.

Do you ever feel like that? Unnoticed? Trying your hardest for a little sunshine and attention, but the branches of the tree are so large and so high up that you can't even find the tiniest sliver of light? I throw myself a pity party every once in awhile, whining about "why me?" and "Isn't my life hard enough already?" It's not healthy, but we all end up there every once in awhile. Wanting to know why things aren't going our way, when most of the time we're just victims of circumstance, not some evil plot to make us hurt.

If you have been a reader for any length of time, you know that we are going through the adoption process. You might know I have interstitial cystitis, a bladder disorder that is completely miserable at times. You might know that I have had a hard time with my job a year ago, and struggled through improving myself. You may know we were matched with a birthmother who changed her mind about placing the baby for adoption after the baby was born.

All these things add up to pain and suffering. I have every right to want to sit in my home and cry. But I don't. I choose to get up everyday and live my life and try to be the best wife, daughter and employee I can be. Somedays that's harder than others.

My God is bigger than all of this misery. I believe that He sees me and knows my troubles and wants to reach out His hand to help me. I believe that His plan is to bring me joy, not sorrow. I want to live my life under His grace, trusting in Him. I believe in His salvation.

He notices me. He sees me trying to find the light, not in the way that means I'm dead, but in a way that means I am trying to find His glory. He knows my name, as the song goes. He knows my every thought. He sees each tear that falls and hears me when I call. It's true.

Monday, September 14, 2009

meet MeiMei

Let me let you in on something wonderful, for some lovely bloggy friends of mine. Mommy Womble, the kind lady that designed my blog, was raising money to adoption a baby from China. I have been following her story for a year and a half now, and today, after almost a week in China, they met their daughter for the first time. The pictures are enough to make you cry, and I did. I'm a big sap and I know it. I can admit it.

Click here to be taken to the Womble Times to meet MeiMei. She is adorable. The picture show takes a minute to load, but let it take the time. The longer it loads, the more pictures you see, and trust me, there are some to in there to warm your heart.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

proposal stories and the reality of marriage

I want to say that I loved all the proposal stories you shared. Most of you had such wonderful stories of how you were asked to marry the man of your dreams, and many of you at least dropped hints to your man about what you wanted. I found that comforting. And I wasn't the only one who actually went with her man and pointed to the one she wanted.

Here's my man. Ain't he dreamy?

No, he isn't always fancy or cleanshaven, but he's my man and he loves me. Who knows why he loves me, but he does and today he took me to buy curtain rods for our dining room. Sweet, huh?

Today he and I talked about the fact that I'm still grieving over the failed placement of the baby in May. And it's not that I'm sad all day, everyday, but it's that I'm sad sometimes. We were ready to be a family and that didn't happen. My summer of rest gave me time, but today my husband reminded me that it's time to move on. Get ready for the next baby who will come our way. It's time to pick up the pieces and put myself back together.

This post isn't really about adoption, but about marriage. It's hard to have those conversations sometimes about the hard things. Or embarrassing things. Or family related things. Or financial things. When Charlie and I went to our first premarital counseling session, our pastor told us about the three things that most couples fight about: sex, money and family. And he was right. Sex is complicated at times, money isn't easy, even if you have a whole bunch of it, and family gets in the way sometimes. It all comes out of love, but it all tangles together and creates a mess if left unchecked.

We do a pretty good job talking about most things and we struggle to talk about the more serious issues. Tempers get high and feelings get hurt. But it's important to get the thoughts out and talk about them. It's the only way to improve our relationship, though, to talk it through. I wish that I could say it always solves things, but it at least let's us know that we care.

And that was Charlie's point. He cares about me and wanted to let me know that he sees my pain and grief, but wants to help me heal. I am thankful that even though it isn't easy, he can be brave and bring up the hard things. It was important to him, and he wanted to know what was important to me.

In your life, what is important to you? I had these items on my list:

Family and pets (can't forget the furry babies)
My home and house.
My job and the students I teach.
My creative outlets: writing, photography, cooking, blogging

Things that are not on my radar:

Yard work.
Automotive repair.

These are just a few that come to mind. Charlie also pointed out that I like a lot of alone time, and it was something I never really realized about myself. I do. I like alone time. I like the peace and quiet of a house to myself when I can do whatever I want, like read or watch Project Runway or blog, without feeling like I should be doing something else. I can spend hours alone. I can spend days without leaving my house and still feel content. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I want to get out and wander around and get things done, but this summer I spent much time at home with the quiet.

It's interesting how much we've grown since we got married. We really have learned a lot about each other and I know we will continue to learn even more about each other as we travel this life together. I know my thoughts here aren't perfected or written out in a manner that makes a whole bunch of sense, but it's on my mind.

What's on your mind?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

meeting challenges head-on

This week I have spent most of my time in bed with a really bad cold and fever. No, not the swine flu. Settle down. But even in the midst of the sickness, work challenges have presented themselves.

My first thought was to whine. My second thought was to cry. My third thought was to look at it as an opportunity to change things. Look at it as a way to improve and try something new. Not change my job, but change how I do my job. Can I be better? Yes.

It's all about growth. And so, I'll be growing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

new throw pillows are like earrings

Let me tell you the story of two throw pillows. Once, long ago, I bought a pillow on clearance at some store. It was a lovely sage green colored silk, with a square of sequins in the middle. It was beautiful, it caught the light and sparkled. I loved that pillow and used it as the center throw pillow on our red guest bed. I loved it.

Then, tragedy. Charlie was sick one week and slept in the guest room. And for some unknown reason, he slept, not on the four fluffy pillows on the bed, but on the throw pillow. He used my silk throw pillow with sequins as his pillow. And he slept on the sequin side, pressing his skin onto the rough sequins. Know how I know he slept on that side? Cause he drooled on it.

Yup, he drooled on my perfect silk throw pillow. It left a stain. A big, drooley stain. It completely ruined the pillow.

When I asked him why he slept on that pillow, he had no answer. He had no explanation for why he chose to sleep on that pillow. He had no idea. If I had slept on his precious Mac keyboard, he would have looked at me with the same look I gave him.

Meet the new pillow. It took me three and a half years, and I finally found a replacement. I was shopping at Marshall's the other day and stumbled upon this beige silk-like Nicole Miller pillow for $5.99. Yup, $5.99 with clear, iridescent sequins sewed on the front.

I love it. This is not the place it will end up, as being on the couch is a prime place for dog slobber and husband accidents. I think it will find a home on my bed, and it will be safer there. But I wanted to show it to you and tell the story, because it was quite the quest to find a new one.

Throw pillows are like the little accent pieces that really make the room, like earrings pull an outfit together. And when you find that special pair that make you feel sparkly and special, don't let your husband drool on them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

something I'm curious about

As we returned to school this year, the staff took a few moments to share some moments from the summer. It turns out that several of the teachers got engaged and had sparkly new engagement rings to show off. I don't know why, but I always want to know, "Did he pick it out himself, or did you go together?"

This is my engagement ring. Yes, I know it looks like an anniversary band. Yes, I went with him and picked it out.

Here's the story. Charlie and I dated for exactly three weeks before we talked about getting married. We just knew. It was right. The romantic proposal came later, because we had practical things to work out...when would we get married? When was my lease up? Where would we live? Lots of questions that needed to be answered, before he actually proposed. We had this talk in November, and he came home with me at Christmas to talk with my mom, since my father had already passed away. He proposed in January, officially, with ring in hand, limo at the ready, champagne toast with friends and dinner later. It was special and perfect. It was a surprise.

The ring was not a surprise. When my father died, my inheritance was a diamond from his wedding ring. My brothers wanted me to have it, and wanted my future fiancee to get it from my mom. My mom was so happy to give it to him for me, and I was thrilled to have a piece of my dad as part of my marriage. It was a painful thing for me to get married without him there, but the fact that I have his diamond is really special to me.

And I was specific. I am not one who likes a solitaire on a band. It just isn't the look I like, no offense to anyone else. And because I inherited the round diamond from my dad, I wanted part of it to be from Charlie, so we designed the ring to add pear shaped diamonds on each side. We went together and designed it. I love it.

Here's what I am curious about: how many of you just let your man decide? Did you give him hints or send him in a direction, saying, "I like platinum and square diamonds" and let it go from there? Or did you point to a ring and say, "that one, please." Did you shop together a little bit, and then let him go back and pick it out? Was the proposal a total surprise, or did you know it was coming? I am totally curious to know if anyone was completely knocked off their feet by a proposal they had no earthly idea was coming.

I'm not sure what it says about me that I went with him. Does it say I am too controlling, or that I don't trust him to know what I would like? Charlie said he'd rather I come, so I would get what I wanted, than have to fake enthusiasm for a ring I really didn't like. He wanted me to love it, and to be happy that my father's diamond was part of it. Some things I might not be so choosy about, but the ring is on my finger everyday.

Oh, and each person I asked said they let their husband pick it out, after giving a couple of hints. One of my unmarried friends said she wouldn't care if her engagement ring was purple and blinked, as long as she had one. I think she'll change her mind about that eventually, but it's good to know that people are flexible. This was one thing I just didn't want to leave up to him. Charlie's taste is completely different from mine. Completely. So we did it together, and I had so much fun with him in that jewelry store. It was one of the most fun shopping trips, ever.

So, tell me your story. Share your proposal and your ring story. Share the love, ladies.

Oh, and taking this photo was pretty interesting. I did it in low light, and to get more light I lit a tea light candle and slid it pretty close, using the macro setting. The rocks are from some vase in the living room, and this is on a TV tray we use as a little end table sometimes. I meant to take it earlier, when I had some natural light, but it didn't happen. It's pro photography people!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

we're just waiting

Now that we are back at school, many people are asking me about the baby. Have I heard any news about any potential babies or birthmoms? The answer is no. All summer...there hasn't been any news. I have rested, healed, cried, wrote, cried some more and tried to get past the failed adoption that encompassed my spring.

But the shoes are ready.

The diaper bag is packed and ready to go.

Fleecy is waiting for a new friend. She is sitting in the music box Charlie gave me when we found out about the first baby. The music box is still waiting.

Going back to school has been emotionally draining for me. I'm surrounded by children all day. Normally it doesn't get me down, but I think about how my daughter might have started kindergarten in five years and it makes my blue. All the possibilities are still out there. Nothing feels resolved, nothing feels settled. It's the same. We're waiting.

I don't know how to change what I'm feeling when I'm stuck in the same place. The circumstances aren't changing, and I want to feel more optimistic. In fact, I fake the optimism when talking to people about it, but I can be real with you. Right?

Let me say, for the record, that pregnant people don't bother me, make me sad or make me angry. What it makes me is jealous. I just want to be included, but it isn't unlike the feeling I had when I was single and wanted a boyfriend. And while jealousy isn't the most flattering emotion, and isn't gracious at all, it's the truth. It's what's there. I just want to be getting ready for something too. I want a due date!

Adoption is a lonely place, sometimes. All the world knows what it's like to be pregnant, but very few people can understand what it means to adopt. To put yourself out there and be rejected. It gets wrapped up in my self-confidence. Think about this: someone has to choose us. A birthmom has to say "I want these people to raise my baby." And then she has to actually do it. She has to look at that baby and say goodbye. Our birthmother couldn't do it. It broke my heart, but I can understand it, but that doesn't mean I don't feel like the rug got pulled out from underneath me.

I'm thankful that there are several people at my church and at my school that have gone through adoption. There's even one woman who experienced a failed adoption. She understands and is getting me through it.

Keep praying for us, please. Pray that I can remain steady through the time that stretches out in front of us, with no end in sight. I want to be able to focus on what I do have and enjoy it. It would be good for Charlie and I to enjoy each other while we can. Right?

(trust me, I know I babble on about adoption way too much. Waaaaaaayyy too much. I'm sorry about that, but it's what's on my heart.)