Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Summer of ...

This summer has been overflowing with learning, driving, loving, and crying- really, a little bit of everything.

My desire to write a new blog post has been burning for some weeks. The pace of school work and life has just not slowed enough to give me the opportunity to wax philosophical just for fun... But, now that there is a brief lull in my activities, I want to take the time to update, to think, and to get such thoughts out of my head and into the blog-o-sphere.

First, I'll begin with the practicalities of it all. I have completed my second semester in sonography school, and, boy, was it intense. The subject material was crammed into such a short time. My head is still spinning. I spent three days a week at a new clinical site in a different city. At first, I was full of dread and angst at the thought of having to drive the hour to my new place, then the hour home everyday. But, God quickly gave me a chance to seek blessing and praise in the car. I pulled out some of my favorite worship music and got my praise on! The past eleven weeks have been some of the richest in my time with Him. I have genuinely felt Him watching over me and filling me up with joy every single day - through the tears of anger over school issues and through the tears of sadness over missing my daughter and my other family members. That may sound super cheesy or even unreal, but it is totally true. Even in my darkest moments of wanting to give up on this new journey, God has been there every step of the way. He has blessed me in indescribable ways and His mercies are new every morning.

Second, I AM A GRANDMOTHER FOR THE SECOND TIME! But, let me begin this story by telling you that, for the last five months, my husband and I have been in sweet communication with our daughter. When she first became pregnant with our new granddaughter, she quit talking with us. We don't know all of the motivations behind that decision, but we have embraced the renewed communication with joy. Through the five months that she has been speaking with us, we have learned a lot about her and her new life. A lot of the conversations have been simple, but some have been serious. I wouldn't trade my talks and texts with her for the world. They've all been meaningful in ways too wonderful to describe here. These past five months were also the last half of her pregnancy with our beautiful and precious new granddaughter. We knew that she was due to be born by c-section next week and we had planned our summer home visit to make sure we could be there for the birth. We were so excited that our daughter wanted us to be there. Unfortunately, she had to deliver early. On Thursday, just three days prior to writing this post, her doctor decided that it would be best to go ahead and take the baby now. So, that night, we became grandparents for a second time. Our granddaughter is tiny, but so perfect! We've received texted pictures, videos, and even spoken a few times with our daughter. We will be with them in person in just a few days. I can't wait!

Third, this summer has been one of learning about myself, about sonography, and about healthy living. I've learned a lot about myself as I've journeyed through these weeks of driving. I know that my personality is one that can be amazing or terrible, depending on the day or the moment. I want to be in the "balcony" of my personality traits, not the "basement". Honestly, I confess that I do a lot of basement living. I am striving to seek better expressions of my desires, emotions, and needs. I've also learned more about sonography and the anatomy I'll be scanning for the rest of my career. The head-knowledge comes easily to me, but I still struggle with the act of actually scanning patients. I'm learning to not be so hard on myself and to keep striving for improvement. The other major thing I've learned this summer is that good eating and exercise can actually help me look and feel better. These last several months have been the healthiest of my adult life. I've been more consistent with exercise. I have found a love of bike riding and enjoy going on bike rides with my husband. I've also learned that I can live without half-and-half, caramel, and chocolate syrups in my coffee. That may not be a big deal to some of my two readers, but it's a big deal to me. I am happy to report that I am well on my way to meeting my birthday weight-loss goal.

It's safe to say that I'm in a pretty happy place in my life journey right now. My husband and I both are learning and growing in a way that is exciting and surprising. I pray that God will continue to work in both of our school pursuits and in our striving to be healthier for our grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. I know that He is in control and knows what the future holds, whether I ever understand it or not.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Springing into Summer

Today, I took my last final for this semester. I've just completed my first semester as a diagnostic medical sonography student. If you are unfamiliar with that subject, you might know it better as ultrasound. One semester down, three to go. For the last few weeks I have been consumed with studying for my first registry exam. The hope was that I could take the exam before the summer session of school begins. It is a major step in continuing in this process. If I don't pass it, I'll have to take an additional class this summer to review for it, and then I will only get one more chance. It costs money to take it each time. Money I really don't have. If I don't pass it by the end of the summer (I'll have to wait 60 days before I can retest), I will be removed from the program. That is scary.

Scary because I absolutely love what I'm doing, and I don't want to get kicked out.

Admittedly, the actual act of scanning a patient does not come easily to me. I have a pretty good grasp on the lecture and textbook material, but scanning is a challenge. That's a good thing. It means that I have to work to improve. As a student, I've never really been challenged. This is pushing me to rely on God and to focus on what he is calling me to do. I want to get better. My patients' lives depend on my ability to perform an ultrasound study with accuracy and completeness.

This first hurdle of the registry exam is looming large. I want to get it over with so that I can enjoy a little bit of a break before classes start again in two weeks. Unfortunately, the logistics involved don't seem to be working out for the timing I'd like. But, I'm not going to panic. Well, I'm going to try not to panic. I trust that God will work it out.

This has been a great Spring. I have learned so much and I am so thankful that God has called me to this new path. I'm not sure what exactly will happen when I'm finished, but I'm enjoying the ride so far.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Writing, Walking, and Waiting

Writing has always been a passion of mine. As a child, I wrote a soap-opera, if you can believe that! I have a decent collection of poetry from my teenage years that fills a nice folder. One of my poems was actually published in a poetry collection in high school. It was a joy to enter and win different writing contests when I was in school. My main emotional outlet was writing in journals- short stories, poems, etc. The point of this is not to brag, rather, it is to sort of share some angst over what has become of my writing as of late. This blog is an effort to place in written form some of the thoughts that I explore on a regular basis. Honestly, if no one else ever reads it, at least I will have cleared my own mind, and hopefully, will have shed some light on what God is doing in my life.

What is it about putting something down on paper, or on a computer screen? The opportunity to see in black-and-white, perhaps... the chance to see if one really is as crazy as she might feel... the opportunity to make a record of a life that others may one day find interesting... seems like a lot to ponder. Whatever the point, the result is often cathartic and clarifying. Writing this blog has definitely become a renewed outlet for me as I walk through a new season in my life. Perhaps writing and walking go hand in hand.

Walking is what we all do. It's the common exercise we each undertake as we progress forward in our journeys here on earth. Consider the fact that we must take the proverbial next step in everything we do. We must constantly move forward or backward from where we are in the present. When we stay in one spot too long, we can't grow. Sometimes the step is hard and strenuous; other times it just comes naturally. Hopefully, the next steps are always in the forward direction. God has me walking forward and it feels great. He is blessing me in this season. It can often feel foreign to take unimpeded steps in my life. That definitely doesn't always happen, but right now, God is leading me through a rich and fulfilling part of my life's journey. It is a beautiful example of His leading me beside still waters and renewing my soul. Certainly there are things I'd like to change in my life right now, but I can gladly say that I am content and blessed as He guides me. As I've written in recent posts, God is using this time to lead me into a new ministry and a new career. He is also using this time to strengthen me for the rest of my journey. The walk is a pleasant one and has come after much waiting.

Waiting is something I absolutely hate to do. Patience, unfortunately, is not my best attribute. Waiting in traffic, in the drive-thru line, for a grade to be posted, for anything really, is just almost more than I can handle. I struggle with waiting to see what God is going to do in my life. I know in my heart that it's in the times of waiting that He does his best work. One thing for which I've been waiting is a renewed relationship with my daughter. God has answered my prayers and has recently given me several opportunities to communicate with her. We even spoke on the phone for four hours one day. There is no way we can make up for the time we've lost by being apart, but these last few weeks of conversation have been a sweet nourishment to my soul. God has blessed the waiting. He's blessing me in my waiting. I want to wait on Him.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!

Psalm 27:14

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Three In a Row

Three weekends, that is. For the past three weekends, I have had the blessing of speaking with my daughter on the phone after a terribly long silence between us. Although we are separated by miles and life choices, I love her and miss her so much. It's hard not to get caught up in the emotion of communicating again. I often feel like we've been forgotten as parents. Our time as her parents has been so short in the grand scheme. Knowing that we've been replaced by people in her current life is sometimes hard to deal with, but I will gladly take any opportunity she provides me to listen and to speak with her. I know that God has a purpose in all of this. The emotions that I feel each day can sometimes be overwhelming. And, if I'm being totally honest, I can feel pretty jealous of the people that are pretending to be her parents. God is not surprised by any of this. He called us to become her parents- her forever parents. I long to see her in person, just to hug her and kiss her forehead. I desperately want her to know that she is loved and that she has value. God knit her together in her birth mother's womb. He knew her before she came into this world. She is here for a purpose. Life has made many twists and turns. I find myself sort of free-floating in a cloud of several emotions, and that's okay. I am so thankful to God for the opportunity I've had to be her mom. And, I'm thankful to Him for the plans he has for us, either together or apart. I know that when I do get the opportunity to wrap my arms around her again, it will be a moment truly made for worshiping and praising the One who made it possible.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Brief Update...

Seriously, I have been wanting to blog for so long now. Life gets in the way. Here we are- two months of 2017 in the rear-view. My husband and I are both in school, and things are getting real! I have started school to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (quite a leap from band director)! And my husband is working on a degree in counseling. We have also started a ministry at our church that recruits and serves foster families! I'll write a better post about that, eventually. Our grandson just turned two, and we have been so fortunate to visit him several times since he moved away. He is doing so well! Our daughter is still estranged from us at the moment, but we did get to speak to her this weekend. She finally answered our call. It has been fifteen months since I saw her in person, or hugged her. Before this call, I had not received a text from her in three months, and had not heard her voice in seven months. I miss her dearly. The call was an answer to prayer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On my heart...

I am writing this short post to apologize for the previous post. I've removed it. Although I believe strongly that I needed to post that, I realize it is not a post that reflects moments made for worshiping. We all experience times in our lives that are worth celebrating, and those that are require lamenting. The last twelve months have brought some very major changes into my life. The sad fact is that our daughter has chosen to return to her birth family. Thanks to research on the internet, I have found evidence that this kind of action by adopted children is not at all unusual. In fact, it is very common for children adopted as teenagers to return to their families of origin. This news doesn't make it less sad, just a little less personal feeling. I'm not the only adoptive mom that has endured the heartbreak of a child leaving.

God has shown his love to me this year in ways that are too numerous to explain in this short post. My grandson is growing up and I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of his life, even if primarily on FaceTime. My husband and I both have embarked on new educational adventures that are pointing us in totally new career paths. And we LOVE what we are learning. God has also given us a heart to lead a new ministry at our church that will focus on foster care ministry. No, I am not going to be a foster parent at this time. But, God has called us to bring our experiences into the lives of others as we join His Church in meeting the needs of foster children.

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Little Girl, Lost

Have you ever kept something to yourself for so long that it finally just bursts out? You know, the beach ball you've been holding under the surface of the water only until it comes bounding through the water with such strength you can no longer control it? I'm there. My beach ball is coming forth with unstoppable force. I think it wants to see the light of the sun shining above the watery grave in which I've been holding it. My favorite comedian Chonda Pierce recently stated that "Everything that you drag out of the dark into light has no more power over you." So, for better or worse, I'm going to pull this particular story out of the dark and into the light. It will be just the beginning, and many details will be kept to myself, but this process must commence.

My daughter. My beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, daughter. My scarred, damaged, torn, lost daughter. I love you more than I could ever say. I love you more than a blog post could ever describe. You are my daughter. You are a frightened little girl inside. You are hiding behind the mask of adulthood and independent living.

You are my little girl, lost.

How could anyone expect you to not be hiding? You grew up too fast. You were the victim of poor choices. You experienced a life that no one should experience. You were lost in a vast black hole of abuse and horror that no one can imagine. All Dad and I have wanted to do is to show you that you are loved, to protect you, and to give you a better life...

How long will you stay lost? It's your choice now.

To be continued...