Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Goodbye February (I will not miss you!)

I'm not usually one for wishing away days or even months. If I'm alive and breathing, then I believe in being thankful and making the most of things. And most of the time I try.  But I gotta tell you, Mike echoed my heart last night when he said something like "I'm ready for March to get here. February has just been a rough month."  I do believe I texted my sister almost the exact same thing earlier in the day.  It.has.just.been.a.really.really.tough.month.

(Yes, this is my little pity-party - it's cheaper than therapy - feel free to skip this paragraph though!) Let me just give you a quick overview -- our cancelled cruise after driving 750 miles to get to it. Plan B not working out. Choosing plan C and driving all the way back home. Disappointment over Sarah's 10th birthday not being all I had envisioned for her.  Lice. (ewww!) Ear Infection (which meant spending my birthday at urgent care instead of swimming with dolphins). Car breaking down. My super handy husband not being able to fix it - so spending two days in shop to pay someone else to fix it. Sigh.  3 snow days, which I do believe now means we have to go back to school for one day after Memorial Day. Stink!  My depression overwhelming me of late. My 'dreams' seem to be dwindling (although disappointed, I'm not in despair - I do believe God is guiding me to better ones!). I've been trying some new meds. Side effects were terrible, and didn't help.  Now trying a new meds. I hate taking meds.  Had my annual checkup from my biospy last year to make sure my thyroid is still ok (will get results next week) - I hate the unknown, although I'm certainly no where near as worried about it as I was last year.  Worked very little this month, which isn't life or death, but with extra medical, travel and car expenses, it would have been nice. My new bible study being delayed. Watched first snowman the girls have been able to build in two years be smashed by bullies at dinner last night. 2.28.13 update: I woke up to a crashed computer (that is only 2 months old - going back to the factory!)

And while we have tried to see the silver linings, because there have been some sweet ones, and we've tried to capture the moments we really want to remember on film and in words, we are weary.

So I'm thankful for a new month. A chance to refocus again. To hope.  And we've got some good things ahead - Mike's big 4-0 birthday coming up, my parents coming to visit, our cruise take-two, watching our daughter at a math competition  Hopefully sunnier, longer days to get outside more. I need fresh air. And warmth.

But before we say a final farewell to February, here are a few of pictures from our snow-day yesterday (which because of my amazing neighbor, the girls got to stay home and enjoy while I went to my 3 dr. appts and shuttled Mike to/from work). I'm glad they got to make these memories.

Sarah has been enjoying her 'friends' visiting the new bird feeder
she got for her birthday, and is in her bedroom window.
I also like the sledding tracks I see in this picture! Great hill!

Snow Much Fun! Snow day with friends.

See missing arms? See guilty dog? She has traded her old habit
of chasing kids on sleds and stealing their hats with
this new one of stealing snowman arms! Love her! 
And even if it's been rough lately, I still love my life and the beautiful people I get to share it with!

One more cute thing: Morgan just came home and quoted me this "3.1415926535897932384626" - she's been on a kick to memorize the digits of pi lately - she's up to 23! And she does it consistently! #impressive - me, I'm sticking with 3.14! Oh and her favorite day of the year (after her birthday) is March 14th. ;) 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Inspiration (for God-Sized Dreamers)

It's Tuesday! Time to link up with others over at Holley Gerth's Site for a little God-Sized Dreaming. I'm excited about today's linkup that was to Find a God-sized dream story that inspires you and share it. I can't wait to read all these beautiful stories today!

I remembered hearing this story on the news, Homeless to Harvard. I hope you take 2 minutes to watch it.  To dream of attending an ivy league school and overcoming incredible odds to make it a reality! I hope she's loving the reality of her dream right now! She inspires me. 

Psst - if you're dreaming a God-Sized Dream, check out Holley's new book that is releasing in just a few days! I got an advanced copy and let me tell you, it's like eating a decadent dessert you don't really want to finish 'cuz it's soo good (I'm thinking cheesecake factory here!).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stop Delaying

It's Tuesday...time to join my other dreamin' friends over at Holley Gerth's site for today's linkup. Today's topic: What I'm gonna stop delaying and start doing so I can be ready for what is ahead for me.

Even as I sit down now to write this, I'm not really sure what I'm going to say. I've been contemplating this all week long and nothing in particular has jumped out at me! Hmmm.

The thing I've been focusing on this month is becoming healthier - physically, emotionally, relationally  I think if I can stop delaying my 'health', then I will be in a better place to pursue my dreams and be ready for what is ahead.

Physically, I've been trying to add some exercise back into my life. In particular, some extra stretches for my arms and shoulders which have been causing me quite a bit of pain from stress and tension. Being at the computer adds to the tension. The tension leads to quite a bit of headaches.  I'm noticing improvement with daily stretching and exercising, so I'm trying to be faithful in this area.

Emotionally, I struggle with depression. I hate this. I look at my life and think, "there is nothing that should depress me." seriously. And yet, I've struggled off and on with it for years. So I finally broke down (okay, literally crying in the doctors office! geez.) and talked with the doctor about it. We are exploring options. I know my depressive state often keeps me from having the motivation to pursue my dreams. So I'm being brave and doing my best to figure out a way to 'deal with' and 'heal' from whatever is causing this.

Relationally, I don't want to pursue these dreams in isolation.  I've discussed it before in depth on my blog, but deep, in real life, friendship have been hard to develop since our move 4.5 years ago.  But I've decided I'm not giving up. I'm actually joining a bible study this week with some other amazing gals. I've never met them, but I'm hopeful that we will connect 'deeply' and develop some life-giving, life-sustaining friendships.  Several of my closest friends today are gals I met in similar settings. (just wish they didn't live hours away!)

Well after just helping my daughter for the past 3 hours finish up her timeline project on China's Dynasties, my brain is mush. (And what began with her throwing her pencil across the room, ended with a hug and apology - so perhaps I did something right tonight.)  I'm not even sure all this makes sense, but I'm calling it a wrap!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Silver Linings

They say behind every cloud is a silver lining.  And that's what I'm focusing on this morning from our 62 hour adventure to TX and back again.

The best part of our cancelled cruise...was seeing these beautiful people we call family...

Jarrod, Brittney, Chloe, Andrew, Aunt Jean, Uncle Danny, Tessie

The top picture is my Uncle Danny, Aunt Jean, and the Ring Boy and Flower Girl at our wedding in 1994.  I saw my uncle and Tessie in 2005 but I haven't seen my aunt nor Jarrod since this photo in 1994. Texas is a long way from Michigan.  And even pretty far from Missouri. And let me tell you...18.5 and 8.5 years is too long!!

Well, it just so happened my uncle had a hotel suite for work that had plenty of beds for us to hang out at for a couple of days while we reorganized and worked on plan B then plan C. How awesome was that?!

And then on Sarah's birthday, his whole family drove down to have dinner at the aquarium with us! (Bottom photo) What a special treat it was...the food, but mostly the company! It is a memory I will cherish in my heart for a long time! 

My uncle Danny always leaves me with great memories and spending time with him just makes me happy!

So our PLAN C?! (Quick History: Plan B was to head to San Antonio for the week to stay at the Hyatt with fabulous pools, Party it up at Sea world - swim with sea lions, take in the river walk -- well, pools were closed for repairs, sea world is only open weekends right now).  So Plan C - was to give Sarah the most memorable 10th birthday we could - then drive back home the next day - with a rebooked cruise for Spring Break in March! So how did we celebrate her day in Galveston?

It was cold, blustery, drizzly, windy day in the low 50s! BUT, she wanted to see the ocean.  So we went to the ocean and she took off her shoes and wandered along the shore - collecting seashells alongside her sister. We climbed rocks and tried not to get splashed by huge waves.

Then we went to take a dolphin tour boat ride -- we only saw one dolphin, and I told Sarah I was sorry about that, to which Sarah responded, "That's okay, at least I got to see my first real dolphin on my 10th birthday AND I get to still swim with them next month!" Love her positive outlook! But the tour guide gave us 2 great tips - dolphins like to swim in front of boats and the ferry is free.  So after a pizza lunch, we hoped on board the ferry (20 min ride ea way) and guess what - we saw several dolphins - a couple in front of ships - and a whole bunch were swimming near the dock as they unloaded and reloaded the ferry.

We finished the evening with her birthday dinner at the aquarium and her special dolphin cake (thanks, Darian!) at 10pm at night!  I think she felt cherished and will remember this as a special day - so I'd say, so far, Plan C, is a success - and we're thankful we have the cruise to still look forward to in just a few weeks! Here are a few pictures to remember our day...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Smartphone and Me

Posting a day late, due to travel...oh well. It's another Tuesday to link up with Holley Gerth as we pursue God-sized Dreams! Today's topic - what do I need to say 'no' to in order to say 'yes' to my dreams?

This morning, I should be waking up somewhere in the middle of the ocean. I had been planning to be squeezing in all the fun my girls want to try and tackle! And eating more ice cream than any one person should in a day! But instead I'm driving 700 miles back home.  And you know one thing I was really looking forward to on that cruise? That my phone wouldn't work way out there on the ocean.  And that makes me step back and wonder.

Smartphones are an amazing invention. Truly. The world at my fingertips - along with my music, phone, calendar, camera, pictures, endless entertainment apps - it truly is amazing. But sometimes it's hard to put down. To walk away from. The truth is, it steals a lot of my joy.  A lot of my time.  (And, yes, this is hard to commit to words right now.)   So when Holley asked, "what do you need to give up or say 'no' to, so that you have more time for you God-sized dream?" - I knew instantly, even as I didn't want to admit it, that I need to say 'no' to being on my phone so often and 'yes' to so many other things in my life.  This has been out of balance and I need to change it.  I was hoping a week away from my phone would jumpstart my endeavors to change this bad habit I've fallen into, but I guess I'll just have to use my own willpower!  After all, I really want to say yes to so many other things!!

Here's two articles I've recently read that spoke on this same thing: "Is technology stealing our human moments?" and "How to Miss a Childhood".

Monday, February 11, 2013

Jumping Up to Double Digits: Celebrating Sarah!

Before our children were ever born, Mike and I decided that when they made the leap in birthdays from single digits to the double digits - we were going to celebrate big!  I mean, most likely, they won't live to be 100, so it's the only time in their lives that they will jump up a digit on their 10th birthday!

So, this means, they get to pick our family vacation! When Morgan turned 10, it meant a trip to the Grand Canyon. For Sarah, her choices were a bit more limited with a winter birthday, but the following options were considered...Disney World, Ski Vacation, Mall of America, a beach house and her ultimate decision...a cruise, so she could swim with dolphins!

So today, on her 10th birthday, we SHOULD be boarding our first ever cruise ship out of Galveston, TX that SHOULD stop in Progresso and Cozumel where we WOULD swim with dolphins on Valentine's Day (aka, my 39th birthday!).  Needless to say, we WERE so very excited!! BUT we can't control everything. And yesterday there was a fire on our cruise ship. And the trip has been cancelled by the cruise line. We are still trying to figure out the best way to make this sweet girl's dreams come true and trying to make the best of her birthday today! (And praying for 4,000 people stranded at sea until tug boat can pull them back to a Mexico port on Wed - 4 days, yikes! - then they all have to be flown back to USA still. Oh my! Thankful that is NOT us!)

She is flexible, easy going, and still smiling.  We love that about her! Today we celebrate Sarah and the joy she is in our lives! She reminds me to live in the moment and go with the flow. She's carefree and never uptight nor worried!  What a blessing she is to us!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Two Small Words

I saw this on a friends facebook page several weeks ago and I have been reflecting on it.  You see the truth is, I have more fears than I wish I had. Some of my fears I know where they come from. Others, I simply can not figure out.  And if I'm honest, I feel guilty for having a lot of these fears.  I mean where is my faith?! If I really had faith, I wouldn't have these fears, right?! Sigh.

I love the thought behind this 'BUT GOD'.  Here's how I've been trying to refocus my thoughts...
  • I'm not sure my dreams will ever become reality...BUT GOD dreams bigger dreams for me than I even dream for myself. He has plans to give me a hope and a future. Jer 29:11
  • I may fail...BUT GOD uses me still. 
  • I see the present moment...BUT GOD sees every day yet to come. 
  • I worry about the future...BUT GOD says, "Trust me, my Child, I got you." 
  • I sometimes let fear overwhelm me...BUT GOD loves me still. 
"Be still..." #scripture #wordstoliveby
And then there's these two words.  BE STILL.  I whisper these two words to my heart often.  Be still. Remember who is in control.  Be Still.  Remember who loves you immensely.  Be Still. Remember who loves your family even more than you do.  Be Still. Remember who holds the future in His hands. Be still.  

So you see, these are the words I've come to claim over my fears.  Be Still. and But God.  Because my reality is often filled with fear, but I can chose to live and believe in a truth that is even greater than these fears. And as I continue to claim these truths against my fears, it is my hopes that they will continue to diminish over time.  

And yes it's Tuesday again, and I'm linking up with other God-sized Dreamers over at Holley Gerth's site...and there you can find other encouragement from others who are facing their fears!