Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 216

I survived the holiday. A few days off from work, time with close friends, and the world's cutest turkey cookies (made by mua) have me back to walking the upside of this valley.

We sang a David Crowder song in worship, today, that I love. The title is Everything Glorious and my favorite lines read:

My eyes are small but they have seen
the beauty of enormous things
Which leads me to believe
there's light enough to see that

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
And I am Yours
What does that make me?

My heart may play in the depths of the shadows, but that does not mean I have not seen the enormity of what God is doing in and through Ben and me. Simplicity will never be found in the definition of adoption...but then again, neither will insignificance. I have seen the beauty of enormous things because our God is an enormous God! [don't you love that word?] Enormous: exceeding the norm, outrageous, huge, monstrous.

Our baby's legacy will be all of these things. This process exceeds the norm in every way and I believe the life of our child will too. As I sang the chorus "You make everything glorious..." my Spirit man shouted, "Yes, Lord! You do make everything glorious! Thank you for redeeming my situation and giving me hope. Thank you for taking a miserable motherless existence and bringing it glory." I worship him [even from the depths of emptiness] because I love him and trust him. Someday, in his timing, my heart's cry will be answered. Until then, I'll do my best to keep pushing through. I am so thankful that in my faithlessness, he remains faithful...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 212

I'm taking a break from being thankful [smile]. Today's post is supposed to be "friends" and tomorrow's "Ben"....but it's hard to write inspiring words with a heavy heart. I thought I would be able to sneak through the holidays in one piece. It's so busy and fun and wonderful. I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes with it. I was so sure I would breeze through upbeat and cheerful and was mostly concerned about what I would feel like on January 1st. But I didn't escape. It's the day before Thanksgiving and my heart is so sad, my arms so empty, it's hard to be thrilled about doing any of my favorite things....I just want a baby. Lord, is that too much to ask? Lord????

It's really difficult to watch everyone else move on. Blog friends, real friends, strangers in the grocery store. Everyone else is making Christmas memories, starting traditions, continuing old ones. Me and Ben? Sitting at the same dinner table, eating the same dinners, having the same conversations. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband more than life. I love our friendship and camaraderie. I love all the time we've been able to spend melding our hearts and laughing. I love that we can take four hour naps on the weekends without having to think about anyone else but each other. But none of those things fill the empty hole in my heart...the arms that are always holding someone else's baby.

Are we doing the right thing? Did we pick the right agency? Should we forgo the dream of a newborn and adopt a toddler first? Do we need to be more open? Should we have less restrictions? Do I need to change our profile pictures? Do I need to change our profile? These questions run through my head every single day. I know the waiting anxiety is normal and my questions are not the first to be asked, but again that doesn't help me make it through the day. Call it foolish or naive, but I was so sure we would get chosen right away. I never imagined getting to the end of the year without a baby and now the faster it comes the harder I cry. Can I really make it through a 5th January, hoping the next year will be the year?

I completely understand why grief-stricken women steal babies from hospitals. The pain is simply too unbearable.

[Note: I'm signing off to make cookies...not to participate in illegal activities]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 211

I am so thankful today, for our families. They have molded and shaped us into the people Ben and I are. The older we get the more similarities we see. They have been the truest role models of our lives and we hope to reflect the same likeness to our little one, someday.

Our roots, our hearts, our families

My family...

...and Ben's

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 210

Check out this video: My King, Do You Know Him?

Today, I'm thankful for my King. He is my life, my Savior, my hope, my God, my love. Yesterday, in worship, his grace hit me like a flood. No matter where I've been or what I've done he remains faithful. His power is explosive, his love consuming. I know this video clip is a little long (almost 4 minutes) but I love it. That's my King! Do you know him?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 207

Have you ever been so anxious that you thought your heart would literally explode from your chest? This is only my second time. Once, when we first married I rushed to the doctor's for fear I was having a heart attack. Turns out it was all stress-related [I don't even remember the cause]. And once today.

I woke up this morning with lungs so pierced I thought I was getting sick. My heart started racing as soon as I sat down at work and I knew. I was so anxious I could hardly breathe. I didn't want to feel that way, but I couldn't help it.

There are so many things going on in my life right now I don't even know how to summarize the anxiety. For once, it has nothing to do with the baby and everything to do with reeling responsibilities that I just can't get a hold of. Anxiety has me gripped, but after a timeout with Ben my nerves calmed and we found solace in an old friend...SCRABBLE.

And since we are highlighting things I am thankful for this month, I am thankful for such a simple wooden game that brings me such contentment...especially when I win [In case you're keeping score, tonight was the 3rd win in a row!]

It was a great way to spend a cold, snowy night with my Ben...Now if I can just bet a hold on the racing heart, I'll be all set!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 204

Today, I'm thankful for bloggy world. For months I felt so isolated and alone. Nobody knew the depths of my heartache (not even Ben). It wasn't until I stumbled upon blog world - around April of this year - that my infertility healing process was able to ignite. I had no idea there was a community of women (and men...Dave...) out there just like me. It has done wonders to my heart to read my story within the lines of all of yours. There are way too many of you to name individually....but know that you hold such a special place in my heart. I wouldn't be where I am today without you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 203

At long last some shower pictures! Today, I'm thankful for all of the friends and family that showered us with love a couple weeks ago. Rachael and Laura and Meeghan put so much work into it, everything was beautiful! Those that came will never know how much their support meant. It's so hard to feel like an expecting mom when there are no physical signs. My body's not preparing and my mind can't comprehend it. Nothing about this process seems real. To have so many people there lavishing their love on a baby that may or may not even be in the works, overwhelmed my heart. The gifts...and hugs...and tears took me right to expectant and for the first time I truly felt like a mom-to-be.

So many took our nursery theme to heart and coordinated their gifts accordingly! I LOVE opening beautiful gifts. Presentation is almost as good as what's inside! I love all the black, white, and lime - it's truly neutral done well!

I have the best husband. Really. He never questioned coming to the shower, even though most hubbys stay home or show up at the end. We are in this together; he is the only person in the world that knows where my heart has been. When it comes to all things baby; I'll never stand alone. (How thankful I am for this life lesson!)

The presents just kept coming!!

And two cow cakes!! How cute are they???

One of my spiritual moms, Kim, and Jen's little Austin. I finally got to see him in person!!

My littlest sister Gabrielle and her BFF, Jenna...

Carly, Linds, and Kristen (the best game night pals you could ever ask for!!)

My Besties!

Phyl, Teri, and Becky (How cool is it that one of my bloggy friends-Becky-just showed up? She wins major points on the blog friend scoreboard!!)

Aren't the favors adorable??? Laura made the sweet little bags (there were blue ones too!) that had the most precious homemade lifesaver pacifiers in them! Somehow they escaped a picture, but they were too cute! My mom and sister, Rachael, made the posh baby cookies!

Mi Familia. Gabrielle (youngest), Me (oldest), Rachael, Mom (even though she looks like an older sister!), and Andrew (the only man amidst the estrogen)!

Diaper cakes were the table centerpieces!

My mama! Not only did she give me her stunning good looks [smile] but she inspires me everyday. You will never meet someone more independent, confident, driven or motivated.

Ben and I are so blessed! My heart overflows with thankfulness.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 202

Today, I am thankful for my house. Our humble abode is sweet and simple. Perfect for us. It's not flashy or extravagant or monstrous, but homey and bright and warm.

I love my house in the summer, when the grass is green and the flowers are bloomed...

I love my house in the fall, when the earth is alive with produce and the smell of bonfire is in the air. The nights are crisp, the leaves are falling, and our house is cozy by candlelight...

I really love my house at Christmas time...but no pictures yet! To Ben's chagrin the holidays will arrive next weekend! I'll post pictures then...

I love my bedroom, fiery and red. The walls, the curtains, the bed...their simple states of being make me happy.

I love our living room/dining room. It's small but cozy - green but inviting!

I love my bathroom! The walls shimmer metallic and the lantern makes me feel eclectic. The shower curtains are royal and the art is rustic.

I really love our basement's family room! A perfect cove for watching movies on the big screen and intimate talks with friends. From the pillows to the candles to the rug, I love this room.

(I have to show you from this angle too, because it showcases my best Craigslist find, yet. Check out how cool that pine table is!)

And last, but not least, I love -love - LOVE the baby's room! Just wait until you see it with the curtains (pictures coming soon!)

I do believe that home is where the heart is. Although I have modified the statement to say, "home is where the Ben is." It's not a place or a's love and warmth and friendship. I find home in my Abba Father...and Ben...and family...and friends. All that being said, I love our home. It houses all my married memories and all my favorite things. I am so thankful for the warmth it brings and the shelter it provides. I'm thankful for it's steady presence in my life and it's enveloping arms after a long day. Whatever happens, it always waits. It's always where I want to be. It's home.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 200

Today, I am thankful for my job. In a rocky economy, I praise God that I not only have a job, but one that I like!

I am blessed to work on a Christian college campus everyday! I manage the Academic Services Office (as of now) and will hopefully be teaching in coming days...

I work with amazing people and am given opportunities to step out of the boat and serve God in very real ways...

The atmosphere is FUN and always bustling with activity...

I get to worship with other students and employees by attending Chapel each day...

...and the BEST part is that I have the privilege of speaking Truth into the lives of students. It's amazing what God will do when you ask him to use you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 199

So...there are 15 days until Thanksgiving...and because I've been consumed with the one area in my life that is NOT going my way, I've decided to spend the next 15 days remembering all the things that are...

Today, I'm jumping out of my undies with excitement...okay not literally jumping, but close! I had a mandatory health benefits meeting, today, at work (boring) (even more boring because our benefits are through Ben's work) and I won a drawing for a FREE 6 month membership to Lifetime Fitness!How sweet is that???? I am super pumped up about it! Watching Ben race over the weekend inspired me to start training for an Iceman mini, called the "Slush Cup," same intensity as Ben's race, but only 8 miles, opposed to the 27! I think I might even try to find some races in the summer that I could do to get my feet wet. All that to say, winter is upon us and I was unsure about my training methods....until today!

I can't wait! My membership begins on December 1st...uh-oh, that doesn't leave much time to buy super-cute athletic outfits!

No belly, saggy boobs, stretch marks OR labor - and now the opportunity for a fit, toned physique? God is too good! He continues to keep my heart distracted with pieces of fun along the way.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 194

Today, was Ben's big day!! We are in Traverse City, recovering from the big race. Ben (and several friends) participated in the Annual Iceman Challenge ( a 27 mile point-to-point mountain bike race).

Ben fought nerves as he (and 2500 other bikers) got their bikes ready for take-off.

Mr. superhero!

My contribution? Pinning the number on!

Pre-race jitters overcome by toughness!

Me, being a very good wifey, and taking LOTS of pictures (328 to be exact)!

What would an adventure be without our best friends?

Meeghan and I win Wife-of-the-Year awards. 7 Hours outside taking pictures in 40 degree weather in rain and hail! We traipsed through the woods to cheer our men on!

I've seriously never been prouder of my Ben. His finishing time was 2:54:15! I wanted to sing my love from the mountaintops; I was so proud! He was so diligent all year in his training and beat out all but one of his friends!

He was all glory and glamor across the finish line...but this is how I found him immediately after:

Chris, Ben, Corey, Kevin, and Jesse celebrating their finish!

They deserve SERIOUS kudos.

As my heart swelled with pride, my eyes filled with tears. How did I get so lucky? I had the best day watching Ben in his element--so determined...and motivated. If I had to choose between Ben and baby, I would choose Ben every time. He is my Ben. My life. My hero.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 188

My girlfriends threw me the most amazing baby shower, yesterday! It was rather large and I didn't take any pictures...but hopefully someone who did will get them to me so I can post some of the highlights! I was overwhelmed beyond belief. Ben and I have been in such a funk over the last couple of weeks. We've been experiencing some non-baby related stress that has made the baby wait even more difficult. The days leading up to the shower I was getting major cold feet. Had I made the right decision to go ahead with a shower, without a match? Were people judging our decision? Did they think I was just looking for an excuse for free gifts?

No matter how many times my friends encouraged me that everyone understood, I wasn't so sure. However, yesterday, I found myself standing in front of all the people I love most, sharing tears and hugs. I have never felt so loved, so surrounded. Every detail of the shower was perfect and thoughtful, from the centerpieces to the cake to the guests. I knew I had opened a lot of gifts, but it wasn't until I got home that I felt the full impact. My living room was covered in gifts! I was so overwhelmed with the love poured out, I could only sit and stare. (Not much putting away happened last night!)

I had piles of the most beautiful books I've read and almost every item from my registry. I am so glad I bucked the agency's recommendation and went ahead with decorating a nursery and having a shower. Most moms get 9 months to nest and plan and dream...why should it be any different for an adopting mom? I know there's risk. I know there's emotion...but a baby is coming.

I loved my nursery before, but now? I can't leave. Really. It's beautiful; it's full. I cry every time I look at the bookshelf. Over the next few weeks I plan on reading every book on the shelf, while cuddled up in my rocker. I know every woman is different and has ranges of tolerances. For some, walking by an empty nursery brings heartache. For me, it brings healing and hope. I love that I've had time to prepare and plan and dream. As I bathe the room and our baby and our birth mom in prayer, I dream about the day when I no longer have to dream.

Here's some updated pictures of the nursery! (There's only two additions that aren't pictured - 1) I have the most gorgeous charcoal gray long taffeta curtains to hang and 2) I have 4 large frames for baby pictures)

Just wait until you see the curtains! (Isn't the pillow adorable?)

No bed is complete without a rock star blanket! :)

My curtains look just like that gray pillow--they'll be beautiful when I finish sewing them!

This candlestick is one of my favorite pieces of the nursery. It immediately took it from baby to glamorous!

I got three beautiful homemade scrapbooks!

A picture of my growing niece, Nya--for extra cuteness!

I'll post shower pictures when I get them!