Monday, December 19, 2011

I realized on my way home from work this week that I am going to have to learn what to do with free time for the next 3.5 weeks or so. Since I finished classes yesterday, I feel like I have all the time in the world to get things done. This is probably good considering I have time to get my house more in order for the upcoming arrival of Baby Girl. But if I'm being honest, I got home at about 6:50 tonight and feel like bedtime will never come. Don't get me wrong, I love bedtime, but seriously, I feel like I have so much more time on my hands. Anyway, I digress.

Before I move on to my parenting advice from clients today, I feel like I have yet to mention how much I love watching baby girl kick. Yes, it's great to feel her, but seeing my stomach move when she kicks me makes me laugh every time. I'm sure when she kicks me in my ribs in the future I won't be laughing, but for now, I will continue enjoying it.

Ok, parenting advice from the day:

1. Watch your cat or it could suffocate your baby by laying on its face because it wants to lick the milk off your baby's lips.
2. Give your child two pieces of food, one for each hand or else they will throw a fit.

Now, the reality of it is, this parenting advice, obviously, isn't the worst I have been given, but seriously, sometimes I wonder whether or not my clients realize that I work with parents and children for a LIVING. Yes, that is correct, I get paid to attempt to teach clients parenting skills. For one, I am not going to let my cat (if we end up keeping her) to jump on my baby's face. I don't let my cat jump on my face, let alone my baby's face. Actually, Dan and I lock her up at night, so I think I'm good to go on that. I will also be sure to wipe off my baby's mouth after feeding her, because apparently clients do not feel as though cleaning their children is of the utmost importance. Two, I'm not sure that giving my child a piece of food for each hand is going to stop all fits, but maybe I should suggest that the next time my client's child is throwing a fit. "Give them a piece of food for each hand and they will stop rolling around on the floor like a fish out of water and act like their age."

3. Do not leave your child unattended when they are at the crawling age on your bed or they might crawl off and land on their face if you turn your back for a minute.

Ok, so my client didn't really give me this advice, but I took their story from the weekend and made it into a piece of advice because I felt as though it was necessary. (Don't worry, baby is ok!)

The disclaimer I put on this parenting advice is that I am well aware I do not have everything figured out when it comes to parenting and I don't want to come across like I do; because, let's be honest, even though I have spent lots of time with kids, it's always different when you have your own. So while I have a lot to learn, it's still funny to me that my clients (key word; clients [remember i am teaching them parenting skills] ) are so apt to give me advice. And, I have to find joy in the little things within my job, and this just so happens to be one of the areas.

Feel free to blame my sense of humor on my father.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This has been a whirlwind of a weekend. Homework, rehearsal dinner, homework, homework, gift wrapping, wedding, homework, church, friends, laundry, and more homework. Add in some sleep in there and that pretty much sums up the weekend. But it is over, and I am sure this week is bound to go quickly as it is the week before Christmas. (Fingers crossed...)

The downfall of Christmas this year is that due to wanting to have a paid maternity leave I only have one vacation day to take...I am clinging to the fact that because Christmas and New Years are on Sundays that I get two three day weekends in a row regardless of my vacation day. Throw in MLK day, and that makes three three day weekends out of four. Not too shabby, I suppose. And let's face it, three months off work after the arrival of Baby Girl will be WELL worth going to work when I have despite saying nearly every Sunday, "I reallllllly don't want to go to work tomorrow". (It has only been said one time today; however, I have thought it several times.)

Moving on, this weekend as I was doing my homework the TV Radio was on, and I heard a song by Sixpence None the Richer entitled "The Last Christmas Without You". I have heard it several times, but I guess I didn't really ever listen to the lyrics too closely. It basically talks about the last Christmas a family has before the birth of their child; how fitting for the stage of life Dan and I are in right now. Here are the lyrics:

I feel your heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

That night in a stable
Our saviour was born
Yes, we have so much
To be thankful for

On the last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

They're choosing the colours
Preparing your room
For one day; Midsummer
The advent of you

Together we wait for
A heavenly gift
Is winter a wonder?
Enchanted that this is

The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

See the stars shining for above
Hear the singing
Praise to the Giver of Life and Love
Maker of Beautiful things..

I feel you heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

When darkness was shattered
The dawn of God's grace
And the journey'd begun
To the first Easter day

On the this Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The very last Christmas
The last Christmas (x 3)
Without you

Wow...Wow...Wow. Not only am I wow'ing because I can hardly believe my dream of becoming a mom is coming true, but I am also wow'ing because this is truly mine and Dan's last Christmas. Not only am I wow'ing because I can feel my little miracle kicking inside of me, but I am also wow'ing that God has entrusted me to carry her. But ultimately I am wow'ing because I truly am reminded of Mary and the humbleness that she portrayed as she gave birth to the Savior of the WORLD. As a young teenager she felt the same kicks that I am feeling, and for all I know she could have had morning sickness as well. But to know that my Lord and my God started out just like my baby girl is starting out is simply amazing to me. Really, it leaves me speechless.

I have so much to learn, and I have so many areas to grow in as I journey into motherhood, but I can already tell you that as difficult it may be at times, I know God has chosen me for this. And because I can say that with confidence, I can also say with confidence that He will give me the strength I need to become the mom he is calling me to become. Just like He gave Mary the strength to be the mother that He called her to become. And for that, I say, alleluia.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Not going to lie, I've been writing part of this post in my head for about 10 days now. However, it's my last week of classes this week which has pretty much meant non-stop homework for quite some time now. Only 3 more days to go! There's a lot of work to be done, but I will make it. And then I will thoroughly enjoy my almost month break from classes; perhaps I will even be able to remind myself in that time that I enjoy reading for pleasure since I have had no time for that lately.

Also, remember when I asked a few posts ago for any of you who would to be praying for a situation that I knew God was big enough to move in? Well, He completely answered that prayer unexpectedly. He is SO good. Now I am just praying for the next step with this opportunity. And because I know He is big enough to continue answering prayers, I would ask that you would lift up the orphanage in India that is so near and dear to my heart.

Baby Girl is continuing to grow! On a positive note, she is not making me as sick anymore. And soon after Christmas I think I will be able to announce her name. She kicks a lot, and it's neat that I am starting to learn her patterns of when she is awake during the day so far. You can even see my stomach move when she moves now too!

As promised, though, I have a couple more client stories regarding parenthood/pregnancy.

1. This week I had a client ask if I was wearing maternity clothes yet. Not that it is any of her business, but I told her that I was not. She then replied, "Well, you might as well enjoy wearing your regular clothes now because you are never going to fit in them again." I didn't have the guts to tell her that I might actually be active after having my baby because I haven't smoked cigarettes for the past 10 years so I am pretty capable of still exercising considering I can still breathe.
2. Last week another one of my clients was complaining about how horrible the Department of Child Services is and how they have no business getting involved in anyone's life. As I let her continue venting, because there was no point in trying to say anything, she then proceeded to say to me, "You know, I actually had a doctor tell me I did my daughter a favor when I smoked marijuana while I was pregnant with her because it helped develop her brain!" I probably had a really confused look on my face, but I still didn't say anything. Honestly, I just thought to myself that all the marijuana she has smoked over her lifetime killed too many of her brain cells to even realize what she was saying. Once again, though, I decided to not take her advice.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's a GIRL!!

Yes, that is right; a dream come true. We are due to have our little girl around April 23rd, and I am halfway through my pregnancy. Not too much has changed, though, yet. I'm just now starting to show and am not yet into maternity clothes, which I am not complaining about at all. I'm beyond excited to meet her, and once we have told all family what name we have picked out, I will post it.

I will say, she is quite the active little thing as her favorite pastime seems to be kicking mommy. Dan felt it for the first time before Thanksgiving and his response was, "That's weird; that is so weird. There is a BABY in there." I actually felt her move for the first time on November 16th at one of my client's houses. Three swift kicks right to the bladder; apparently she didn't like how I was sitting. (My bad, baby!) But regardless, it has to be one of the coolest feelings ever, and it such a privilege to know there is a little miracle living and growing inside of me.

The day of the ultrasound was quite possibly one of the longest days of my l.i.f.e. I had to work all day because the ultrasound was not until 4:45, and it just happened to be on the day of the first snowstorm Indiana saw this winter. The technician was running late and so was my mom, both just by a few minutes, so the lady did all sorts of measurements before she actually told us what we were having. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest while I was waiting; I also was convinced I was going to pee my pants because my bladder was so full. But once she finally told us, I was able to enjoy the rest of the ultrasound. Dan and I truly did not have a preference either way, but we both had a feeling all along that this one was going to be a girl.

Anyway, while I am sure there are many more updates that I have to share, I've been sticking to a pretty strict schedule as far as sleeping goes for me. So I need to head that way, but something that I decided would be fun to do throughout my pregnancy is to keep track of all the fabulous parenting advice I get from my clients; most of whom I am teaching parenting skills. Ironic? Perhaps, but funny none the less. I should preface this by saying only two of my 12 clients know that I am pregnant currently, so I am sure, in the months to come, I will have plenty to add.

1. One client says to me, "Whatever you do, DO NOT get an epidural." When I asked her why she thought that, her response was, "People who get epidurals have CRAZY kids, there is just something wrong with them. I didn't have epidurals for any of my kids." I didn't bother to tell her that my mom had an epidural with me, nor did I reminder her that her daughter was my client.
2. The same client said to me before I went to find out what I was having, "Well you know, all babies start out as females and then some turn into males." I thought about explaining to her that a baby's sex is actually determined at fertilization, but that you just cannot tell what you are having until the baby is farther along in development; however, I didn't want to get in an argument so I just dropped it.

Gotta find joy in the little things in my job...until next time!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life seems so unfair sometimes; to my clients, to members of my family, to my friends, to people in my community, and to people around the world. And I really dislike that I cannot fix things entirely for all those people. It is in situations like these that I must trust my God is big enough to handle it all...and trusting is not an easy task for me. Maybe one day it will be, but tonight it is not.

There are so many questions I have that will always remain unanswered, and I must believe, trust, and hold fast to they are all a part of God's bigger plan that I cannot see yet.

In other news: Baby Dyson is still making Momma pretty sick. Praise the Lord for Zofran. No crazy cravings or anything along those lines; actually it's a miracle in itself that I can make myself eat anything with the way I've been feeling. Hopefully one day soon, it will be done, but if not, at least I know in the end it will be worth it. Ultrasound is scheduled for November 29th...only 19 days until we know if the little miracle inside of me is a boy or girl. So excited. :)

That's all I've got for tonight. Until next time...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tonight, Dan and I ventured out of the house for dinner; this was a feat for me considering most Friday nights you can find me laying on the couch, covered up, and not wanting to move. However, I did not want to wait for him to cook dinner, and I decided I could stomach some breaksticks and pizza...healthy choice for a pregnant girl. (yeah, right...) Don't worry, I used a napkin to soak up the extra grease off the top of my pizza and have had limited heartburn and acid reflux thanks to taking two Tums immediately after finishing. Regardless, as we were sitting there, this little boy walked in wearing his Spiderman costume; Dan and I immediately commented on how cute he was which then lead us to discussing whether or not we would allow our children to wear costumes or dress up outfits out in public. For those of you who care, we will be those parents that allow their children to express their creativity by wearing costumes, dress up outfits, mismatched socks, and unmatched outfits in general. I told Dan I might draw the line at not letting our children get too crazy with what they wear to church, but to Wal-Mart, out to dinner, and to grandparents' houses their imaginations can soar. As Dan said, "You are only a kid once!"

Anyway, a few weeks have passed since I last posted, unfortunately the morning sickness/all day sickness has not subsided. Everyone continues telling me that it will get better and I will not be so sick, but I'm beginning to wonder if that day will ever arrive. It's been 10.5 weeks since I started being sick, and trust me, it's only intensified. I started on Unisom (yes, the sleeping medicine; it used to be marketed as an anti-nausea medicine, my medically minded husband asked the pharmacist), it worked for about a week. I added B6 to the Unisom, that worked for about another week, and I finally got a prescription written today for Zofran. My fingers are crossed that it provides some sort of relief.

Otherwise, all seems to be going well in the pregnancy; minus the fact the doctors are questioning whether I am as far along as what they originally thought I was. The doctor I met today told me that he thought I was two weeks behind; (this would mean I am only 13 weeks instead of 15) the more I thought about it, the more I realized that would mean that when I took my pregnancy test I would have only been pregnant for a day or two. This is nearly impossible considering the test would have shown up negative if that were the case. Of course I did not argue, but that does mean that I had to push back the ultrasound where we will find out what we are having to December 6th; that's only like 5.5 weeks away(ish) but, it was originally scheduled for November 22nd. So unfortunately, Baby Dyson's wardrobe will not benefit from any Black Friday shopping. Sad day. But on a happier note, Baby's heartbeat was in the 150s today!

In other news, my third MSW class finished, volleyball is over for Northfield, work is blah, my fourth MSW class started, i get to sleep in tomorrow for the first time in over a month or perhaps two, another one of my closest friends is pregnant, I miss India, one of my absolute best friends from college is coming to stay next Friday, and I love my small group girls.

Volleyball ended on a rather bittersweet note for us this year; we lost in the sectional championship to our county rivals whom we already beat once earlier in the season. The reality is, though, regardless of how it ended, our girls still had a tremendous season, and it's a privilege to coach girls who have good sportsmanship, positive morals, and good character. Next year will be just as exciting, and it will be here before I know it.

Work isn't even really worth writing about right now; it's so hard for me when things are not fair for my clients and I cannot make them fair. It renders me speechless really, and to make matters worse, our beloved secretary left this week. I'm hoping and praying that after a long weekend over Thanksgiving, my attitude will be different.

Speaking of praying, I have recently started praying for God to show up in a big way for a friend of mine. Because our God is a God who knows what this specific request is, for those of you who read this, would you take a minute and ask for God to show up as well? Maybe one day I will be able to share more details, but for now, I am trusting that He hears my prayers and has a perfect plan.

Anyway, that's all for now, it's only 9:30 and I'm already contemplating going to bed...I might as well take advantage of this while I can, before I know it, I will be very sleep deprived caring for an infant.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alright, alright; let's be honest, I've been an epic failure at keeping this blog updated. For those of you who care, I apologize. If I am being honest, part of it has been intentional and yet the other part has simply been because I have been so busy, sometimes dreadfully so. Regardless, down to business!

I started this blog the summer of my sophomore year of college, if I do the math correctly, that means I started it 4 1/2 years ago. That just seems CRAZY to me. I started this blog with the intention of not only journaling my life, but also to use it as a tool to grow in my relationship with Christ. And, I feel like He has taken me so many different places in these past 4 1/2 years...literally and emotionally.

Four and a half years ago, I had just lost my grandpa, was living at home for the summer, working on my dad's farm, and longing to be back at school living in community. Four and a half years ago, I was single, had never held down a full time job, and had only been to India one time. And now here I am; holding down a full time job, been married for over a year, have traveled to India three times since starting my blog, am in Graduate school, and have grown in ways I never fathomed. I can truly look back over my life and say God has been SO faithful.

And I plan to continue this blog as I start on a new journey...a journey that I have longed for, hoped for, anxiously awaited, and am so excited about. Being a mom. Being a mom has been my lifelong dream; I've always loved babies, I've always been drawn to young kids, and I was always "that" kid who was obsessed with playing house. While I know there are going to be many challenges that come along the way, I am looking forward to seeing how God reveals his faithfulness in this area of my life as well.

So, the whole reason that updating my blog has been so delayed is because the news did not become public until last week. But, I am back now, and I will continue recording the journey that I am on as God shapes me into the woman he has called me to be.

Anyway, besides being pregnant, life has continued flying by. I am almost done with my third MSW class, work continues being crazy, and volleyball has been simply fabulous. It has been such a privilege to help coach this group of girls this year; they have demonstrated true heart, have persevered through difficulties, and have been a joy to be around. I am excited to see how they finish out the season.

Work, eh...well, it's work. There's always a lot that is going on it seems, and right now it's just frustrating, but this too shall pass. And MSW, this class has been super informative, and I continue loving the online setting.

Being pregnant on top of work, volleyball, and school has made life infinitely more difficult. I've been sick for 8 weeks now; it started out that I was only sick in the evenings for about the first two weeks, and for about the last six weeks, I've been sick all day, e.v.e.r.y. day. I've been exhausted, and often find myself in bed by 10:00. I have to shower at night because in the mornings I usually can't stand long enough to shower without getting sick, and if I don't eat at least every three hours, there is a good possibility that if there is a couch, I will be laying on it. I'm still alive, though, and still very thankful to even have the opportunity to go through this. The end result will be so worth it. I'd be lying, though, if I didn't say that I am very ready for the second trimester; c'mon one more week!!

Also, I feel as though it is important to mention that the OB doctor I chose is from none other than INDIA. I've only actually met her one time, but I love her accent and how much it reminds me of my family halfway around the world. I am so excited for the staff and children at the orphanage to find out that I am expecting, and I am hoping and praying that sooner, rather than later, my family halfway around the world will be able to meet our little bundle of joy.

Anyway, I promise updates more regularly; if for nothing else, for me to document and remember my pregnancy because I have no doubt that it will fly by. And also because in 4 1/2 years from now, I will want to look back on this time in my life and to see how specifically God is showing up.

I am so blessed.

And did I mention how great of a husband I have? Because I really do have a great one...really, I do. He is the best, and he, too, is so excited for this new journey.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

today i am thankful.

1. i am thankful for the fact that i've already finished cleaning my house, and it's only 12:30 on saturday afternoon.
2. i am thankful that last week i was able to spend time with my sister and my sweet niece. it was good for my heart.
3. i am thankful, still, that it is volleyball season. i love the girls, i love the friendships i have developed with the coaches, and i love that it is a distraction from work.
4. i am thankful for friends who know me well enough to know when something is off, friends who understand the frustrations that come along with my job, and for friends who know when i just need someone to tell me they understand and that whatever i am going through will be ok.
5. i am thankful for an understanding, incredibly patient husband.
6. i am thankful for two weeks off of classes to relax and to not have to do homework.
7. i am thankful for my time spent in india over the years. i desperately miss it, but the memories live on.
8. i am thankful for the opportunities my job gives me to interact with people who are overlooked in society.
9. i am thankful for my family and my husband's family, and for the supports they are to us.
10. i am thankful for God's faithfulness and His infinite wisdom as He guides me through life's journey and shows me my next step.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

for the past two weeks my weekend goals have been; paint my toenails and blog. i was an epic failure until today. my toenails are freshly painted, and even though i should be finishing up my homework assignment, i am blogging instead.

i feel like life lately has been chaotic. work has not slowed down for about six weeks now. yes, that's right, six weeks. and this week i worked overtime for the first time in months. unfortunately, the full moon is not to blame for the whole time. i'm not sure what is really...but my days are always busy. being busy helps the hours go by more quickly at work, but that's about all it helps. one of my very dear friends asked me this week if i ever think about quitting my job; i told her at least 5 times a day. (ha.) i don't mean that, though, but i'm just ready for things to slow down. i continue to love what i do and love the opportunities i have to invest in some of the most overlooked people in society; i think that i will feel better after i have an opportunity to catch up on all my paperwork in the office. in all realily that doesn't seem to be in the plans for this week, but i will keep on and carry on.

outside of work i'm LOVING that it is volleyball season and all that it entails; it definitely is something that has helped keep me sane even though it adds to the craziness of my schedule. regardless, i love being able to go in the gym and play with the girls, have conversations with the girls, spend time with the coaches, help teach the girls what they can do different to improve their game, and so much more. i don't think the girls realize how important they are to me, but i'm beyond thankful that i have the opportunity to be part of their lives.

my MSW program is continuing on in the midst of work and volleyball as well. i have about a week and a half left until i am done with my first semester. at this point in time, i would definitely be willing to tell anyone that i am ready for a break. i'm loving that i am learning new things that i can apply to my work now, but i can already tell you that i am looking forward to two years from now when i have my degree.

so in the midst of all of this, God has continued being faithful as per usual. i've seen Him give me strength to make it through a seemingly never-ending week of work, i've seen Him show up in my friends' lives, i've seen Him be in the midst of some of the relationships i have with girls my age and girls younger than me, i've seen Him use those same people in my life, i've seen Him teach me to remember that He is in control at all times over all circumstances, and i've seen Him rekindle my passion for global missions.

i wish more than anything i had the flexibility and ability to go see my children in india; quite frankly my heart aches to hold them in my arms again, laugh with them, tickle them, take their pictures, and love them well. i've been reminded, though, that my God, our God is big enough to work without me being there; and i've learned to trust that He knows what He is doing by having me complete my MSW now prior to searching for ways to serve internationally. it's hard a lot of times, and it makes me want to cry a lot of times to have to wait, but i know God has big things in store for me right now too. and i must be obedient in the here and the now.

so for now, i will continue trusting that God has me right where He wants me, and He is perfectly ordaining my steps with every intricate detail of my life.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 31, 2010

it's anniversary weekend. where did the time go?! it's so hard for me to believe that i married the man i had been praying for basically my entire life a year ago. the year has FLOWN by and i wouldn't trade a second of it for anything. we've learned about one another and grown closer to each other and each other's families more than i ever thought possible. i am so incredibly blessed. and i can honestly say i am more in love now than i was last year...i only hope that we continue to fall more and more in love each day.

one thing i especially love about my fabulous husband is his patience with me. my a&p final was on friday, and let's just say i was stressed beyond words. i was freaking out and cranky, and yet he often would just smile at me or attempt to offer a comforting word about how he knew i could do it. well, the good news is, i passed my final and the class, and he did not kill me in the midst of stressing out. he did tell me, though, that if i am ever that stressed again he is just going to go ahead and murder me to save us both the trouble. thankfully, though, he also told me he was kidding.

we're a bunch of jokesters around here.

now that a&p is done, i only have 3.5 weeks of my MSW class until i have a 2 week break from ALL classes. and for that, i am thankful. it isn't that i am not enjoying my classes, because i definitely am, but i think a break will do me some good. it's hard to believe that i've almost completed my first semester. only 6 to go!

and Monday officially starts one of my favorite times of the year. volleyball season! most people think i am absolutely crazy dedicating my time somewhere else, but i don't care what most people think. helping with volleyball gives me opportunities to not only build relationships with high school girls but it also helps take my mind off all the craziness i experience at my job and allows me to hang out with some pretty fabulous adults too. as much as the girls are dreading three-a-days and the conditioning, i can hardly wait to get into the gym on Monday morning. probably because i do not do the work outs with them; yes, that's right, though, i took Monday off work to go help.

as far as the work place is concerned, not much has changed. since the full moon week, i have continued to have some pretty crappy weeks. but like i told one of my dear friends, things always get better, and that is something i am trusting in.

for now, though, i must go get ready for my date night with my handsome husband. i am grateful and thankful for the blessing God has placed in my life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

i survived another week at work during a full moon. i had no idea that it was even a full moon until i was complaining to my husband about how busy and eventful my week had been...i believe the conversation went a little like this:

"the moon was SO huge this morning when i left; it was like shining a light in my back window and i didn't know what it was at first!" -daniel

"really? that's so cool; i wish i could have seen it." -me

"yeah, it was really pretty." -daniel

" mean to tell me that it's full moon?? NO WONDER MY WEEK HAS BEEN NUTS!" -me

and i believe he probably laughed and shook his head at me being dramatic and probably called me ridiculous, because that's just what we do.

but anyway, the real purpose of this post is not just to talk about my crazy week but to talk about how good of a God i serve.

truly, i do. and i am amazed at how He meets my needs even before i ask. you see, obviously, earlier this week i was frustrated and drained with work, and then today, one of my clients handed me a letter thanking me for helping her through this difficult time in her life and telling me how much my support has meant to her over these past five months. talk about humbling. my job is a pretty "thankless" job; clients very rarely say thank you and because there is often a lack of progress made by the people i work with it often seems like my efforts are in vain; so i was completely unprepared for this letter. but God knew i needed it.

and then, just tonight as i was laying on the couch doing homework feeling frustrated, my cell phone rings and it was one of my dear friends telling me that she was thinking of me and wanted to call and to let me know. she had no idea that i was frustrated with school work nor did she know that i had been feeling lonely tonight and my mind was full of worry, but God did.

and as i hung up with her, i felt like God was saying to me, "when are you going to trust Me with the big things? I meet your needs before you even realize they are needs, and yet you perpetually worry about what tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year have in store for you."

W. O. A. H.

i think that lesson is something that i always have known, but hearing it, feeling it, whatever you want to consider it really puts things into perspective. so this is my feeble attempt at holding myself more accountable at trusting. at having faith. and knowing that HE is in complete control.

forgive my short comings, my faults, and my selfishness. help me see You in every situation; allow me to know that worry does nothing to draw me closer to You. i desire You and Your plans for my life that You have given to me. help me honor You through the way i live my life. show me my next steps according to Your Will and help my unbelief.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

tonight, my heart is heavy. there are days where i come home from work exhausted not only from running from appointment to appointment but emotionally exhausted. and usually i can distract myself with homework since i have had so much of it to do lately, but tonight, i could barely concentrate as i studied the muscles of the human body. (seriously, i really do not think i need anatomy and physiology for my MSW, but i only have 3 weeks left; perseverance is key.)

regardless, today was one of those days where i could not get ahead. i had scheduled all four of my appointments back to back. 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 2:00. Well, i knew it was going to be a hectic day when i left my first appointment at 11:15, arrived at my second appointment at 11:40, made it to my third appointment at 12:35, and made it to my last appointment at 2:15 where i stayed until 4:45. thankfully, the appointments i was drastically late to were gracious to me...

regardless, sometimes as i reflect on my time spent with clients, i have absolutely, positively no idea how the conversations happen as they do. how does one rationalize to a 5 year old that even though for the past 18 months he has seen his parents once a week that he is now going to have to wait 6 months until he seems them again? this is made infinitely harder when a 5 year old really does not have a good concept of time. and how does one even begin to unpack the statement that he said he felt like he didn't belong because he has lived in so many homes? keep in mind, he is 5. i say it again 5, not even started kindergarten yet, and these are the kind of statements he's asking and things he thinking. and how does one emphasize to a teenage girl who has lost her mom and has now been removed from her father's care that people really do care about her? that there is hope for her? that her situation is going to get better?

really? i stop and say, really? these are real people i am dealing with. real, live human beings who are fragile. life has been unfair to them. and even though i have been trained as a social worker, i have not been given a magic wand to wave all of these feelings, emotions, or problems away from the people that i come in contact with each and every day. and these are only two of the four people i met with today...

it doesn't make sense to me, and it breaks my heart. it breaks my heart that as i sit here and type this, i know there are so many more people who are not my clients that are having similar feelings, thoughts, and emotions that those i work with do who are not getting help, who are alone and afraid. even moreso than the ones i walk closely beside are. and i, again, say, really?

today was one of those days i questioned why i am pursuing my masters...why do i do this to myself day in and day out? and i know the answer, but sometimes i say, "why me, Lord? why have you placed me in this field to see the things that i see, to hear the things that i hear, to know the things that i know?" and i think He just has to smile at me, while He gently nudges me along, holding my hand and guiding me in the right direction.

life does not make sense. it is unfair. things are unjust. it is discouraging at times. and yet it makes me realize how much we need His Kingdom to come and His Will to be done. and if this is how He chooses to use me to make that happen, then i say, your servant is willing, Abba. use me, mold me, teach me, shape me, grow me, and allow me to be your hands and feet.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

meet my newest niece: Kaelyn Leanne Christian. Born June 15, 2011 at 3:44 a.m. weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. can we say hello, adorable?! i am completely and totally IN. LOVE.

my sister was such a trooper through labor; i told her she set a wonderful example for me. and i am so thankful that little Kaelyn was healthy; truly a miracle and an answer to prayer after the scare we had during Rachel's pregnancy. needless to say, mom, dad, and baby are doing wonderful. what a precious addition to the family. i can't wait until the next time i can snuggle her.

in other news...well, there isn't much other news. my life consists of work and homework. i told my husband that i have never been one to wish summer away, but i absolutely cannot wait until i am done with anatomy and physiology. i haven't quite figured out why i need a&p to get my MSW, but, i do, so i am persevering and moving forward. 2 weeks down, 6 to go. the other good news is that i only have 1 week to go until i am done with my first official MSW class.

work has been going ok in the most recent past; i finally realized that working so much overtime was becoming detrimental to my well-being. so i've rearranged my schedule, ended with some clients, and feel so much more at ease. once i get caught up on everything i need to do in the office, i am sure i will be bored and the mass chaos will begin again.

i am getting ready to end halfway with a family that i have been working with for a year and a half; unfortunately, it is not the "happiest" ending as the parents have signed their rights over on their children, but the future is promising for the three kiddos whom i have come to adore. the case should have never come to this, but it did. and i know that i did all that i could. the stories that i have from this case are some that i will probably never forget; some make me laugh, some make me cringe, and some make me mad but it is all a part of the job. the most important thing, though, that has come from this case is my friendship with the dcs caseworker. we have spent countless hours together working together on this case, but those countless hours have given us time to get to know one another. i vividly remember talking to her two days before i got married about the marriage advice she had to give me, talking to her about adjusting to life after marriage, laughing with her, and discussing with her my desire to have children. i do not know where i would be without her friendship, and i am beyond blessed to have her a part of my life. i will be quite sad when we finish supervising visits for this case together, but i know without a shadow of a doubt that our friendship will continue. i guess God had a blessing in disguise for me through this case.

anyway, i think that is all for now. as stressed out as i have been with school, God has still be faithful, and He has reminded me countless times of the small blessings her has given me as well as the large blessings he has given to me. i am abundantly blessed...and beyond thankful

Sunday, June 5, 2011

God sure does have a sense of humor and perfect timing. this morning our pastor talked about impacting our community, and it truly was just what i needed to hear.

in the line of work i do, i know i have probably alluded to the fact that it is draining, tiring, and frustrating. what i haven't talked as much about, though, is the loneliness that comes along with it. unfortunately, it's the truth. as i work with people in their homes and in the community, i get to know them on a deep level. a deeper level than some of them have every been known in their life because i take the time to care. however, because of confidentiality in my line of work, i cannot share much about the people with any of my friends or family. my husband tells me that often my clients are not "real" to him because he doesn't know their names or what they look like. and i can't blame him for saying that. it has to be hard for him to follow more stories when i say, "hey do you remember the one client i have that has 4 kids by 3 different guys?" well, a lot of my clients have 4 kids by 3 different of course he does not know who i am talking about. so the people i am investing in are a HUGE part of my life, but they are not as big of a part of anyone else's life.

secondly, another reality is that as i am working with my clients i am dealing with a great deal of trauma. i am working with kids who have been abused, parents who have abused their children, kids who often go hungry, parents who have a difficult time showing or receiving love, and families who are under a great deal of stress. it's heavy stuff...and heavy stuff that very few people can even comprehend. this also causes loneliness because once again, their trauma is very real to me but not real to those i have in my life outside of work.

but anyway, back to the sermon, what our pastor talked about today was what roles we can play in people's lives, not just who are living in darkness, but those who are serving those living in the darkness. and what he challenged people to do is to encourage. encourage those who are already serving in the community. wow. i'm not sure i have ever thought of that...

but i can tell you right now that the level of loneliness i feel would be greatly decreased if people in the church would encourage me in what i was doing. now, i am not saying this to get all kinds of encouragement or feedback from people because they feel bad they haven't done it in the past or they feel like this is a desperate cry for encouragement, because it is not. but what i do want you to think about it who else in your life is serving in the community that could use a little encouragement? and what kind of difference do you think could be made if you would take the time to encourage them on a consistent basis?

the sermon challenged me to think about how i can handle myself in my work place because i know many of my coworkers struggle with the same feelings of loneliness that i do, but i cannot touch the client's lives that they are touching. but i can encourage them to not give up, and that could have more of an impact than i may ever realize. so perhaps this will encourage someone to step out of their comfort zone and encourage someone else.

but anyway, i will get off of my soapbox about that.

what i do want to talk about is another opportunity that God has given me. i made mention of something along those lines about a month ago, but it had not become official. let's back track a bit.

since i graduated college i had been praying for an opportunity to lead a small group of girls. now, this prayer had come and gone in spurts as i had plugged myself in various avenues to invest in young girls' lives, but it had always been something i desired to do. so let's fast forward to this past volleyball season; i've talked some about a volleyball girl that i got to know fairly well, bayli, who reminds me quite a bit of myself at that age. (sometimes so much so i feel bad for her...) but anyway, after volleyball season our relationship continued and i've been blessed to get to know her on a deeper level.

throughout several of our conversations, bay has talked about her small group of girls from church. to make a long story short, bay and her fellow group members' leader is moving. it has been heart wrenching for the girls, but through a series of events, i ended up talking with their leader and have decided that i will continue leading the group as she and her family transition to their new job out of state. i am not taking over with the intention of replacing their previous leader because that just isn't possible; she has journeyed with these four girls through this last year and has seen them through some pretty difficult times. she has helped mold them and shape them into amazing Christian women after God's heart and set examples for them as she has loved them selflessly. and quite honestly, she is amazing. if i had only met her sooner, i would have loved to gotten to know her heart more so than i have been able to.

but anyway, with this small group comes four amazing young girls; bayli, bekah, claire, and paige. four girls that i am anxious to journey alongside of; four girls that i am so looking forward to getting to know their hearts; four girls that i am more excited than words can express to encourage in their faith; and four girls who i know will forever change my life as well.

my heart breaks for them as they have to go through this transition, but i feel like God has placed them in my life for a specific reason. and i don't know what that reason is quite yet, but i am sure, God will reveal that to me in His perfect timing as well.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

it's been a crazy ride this last week or so. i feel like between balancing work and school there just hasn't been much time to update. but that is ok.

anyway, this weekend dan and i had the privilege of going down and celebrating our brother-in-law. he just recently graduated from medical school and has landed a job at a pediatric hospital near his home. we are so excited for their family. but going down and celebrating meant niece and nephew time and family time as well, which was fabulous. i am so blessed to have married into a family where i love my in-laws.

during our time down there, though, dan and i talked with his mom for a little bit about grad school for me and about me freaking out because i got a 26/30 on an assignment. (my poor husband has never been with me when i have been in school...) we talked about me wanting to be "perfect" in school and his mom simply said, "to be perfect means you have to give up every other area of your life and that's just not realistic or fun." those were some wise words right there. now, obviously, it's going to take me reminding myself that several times before i actually believe it, but i do not want to become so consumed with grad school that i neglect other important areas of my life. in the long run it is not going to matter if i graduate with a 4.0 or a 3.0; life will go on, and grades are not eternal. but oh what a difficult lesson this is for me to learn...

anyway, i digress.

work. oh work. work has not slowed down even in the least bit. i think i worked nearly six hours of overtime two weeks in a row. now, to some that might not seem like much, but with the work that i do i was completely beat. and, obviously, there are some weeks that are like that, but it was just a lot with work and school and family and friends. but this week, even in the short week at work, has not been the easiest. i'm preparing to end with one of my best clients i have ever had, and i am watching two of the worst clients i have ever had make one of these most difficult decisions of their lives. i am slowly watching yet another spiral quickly downhill as her time is running out to get her child back, and i am witnessing another family fall to pieces. and keep in mind this is less than half of my caseload. how do these things happen? it's so frustrating, so disheartening, so ridiculous, so heartbreaking, so sad...yet i know i must keep on. i cannot give up, i will not give up. i have hope, and because of my relationship with Christ, that can never be taken from me.

the other happenings of this week consist of me being quite sad in knowing that for the past three years this has been the week that i have flown to india to spend either the summer or a couple week with the people i have fallen in love with. i cannot tell any of you how sad i am about the fact that i am not going to india this week. (some of you may understand...) but i long to hold my children in my arms...i long to see the mountains, hear the windmills, bargain at the shops, listen to them chatter in a language unknown to me, be called sister, see the lizards on the wall, and so much more. i worry that nanthini, sathiya, soundaria, vani, rajukamari, abirami, sejola, sheron, vijila, jeyabala, rathika, shalini and so many others are going to feel like their american sister has forgotten about them. now, i know that is not truth, because i know God is holding them closer to him than i ever could to me. but i hate not being able to see them, touch them, and love them well in person. i trust that one day i will go back, but the unknown of that is scary. perhaps it will be sooner than i least that will be my prayer.

but in the midst of the unknown, i know my God is faithful and that He will show up. i wouldn't be who i am today without Him, and i am thankful He has never and will never give up on me. may i bring glory to His name in even the littlest things i do.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1. sleep in: check (now that i am adult, apparently 8:45 is sleeping in)
2. stalk facebook: check (nothing too interesting)
3. watch video for class: check (interesting video)
4. venture outside to see the flowers my husband planted: check (he is so good to me)
5. stalk facebook again: (still nothing interesting)
6. write responses for class: check (i am not a concise writer)
7. read other peoples responses for class and response: check (boring)
8. watch dvr'd shows, law & order svu (suspenseful) and 16 and pregnant (slightly dramatic and trashy): check
9. ponder how i am going to write my paper for class: check (no progress made, though...)
10. clean my house: check (swept, dusted, disinfected, organized, and laundry room mopped)
11. continue to ponder how i am going to write my paper for class: check (still no progress)
12. watch the cat try to attack the dog through the screen: check (cat 1. dog 0.)
13. ask my husband to make bread: check (and he's doing it; seriously, he's so good to me)
14. blog: check (in progress)

i love my saturdays.

and i love my saturdays even more after a crazy week. and let me tell you, it was full moon so it was a crazy week. not so much the first part of the week, but the last part of the week. namely friday. and i hate having crazy fridays. i even thought on thursday that friday was going to be a GREAT day because i had a visit cancel and that meant i only had 4 visits instead of 5. well, unfortunately, one thing lead to another and 4 visits turned back into 5 visits and getting off at 5:30 turned out to mean getting off at 6:45. needless to say, i went to bed early last night.

cockroaches, emergency meetings, ineffective communication, anxiety attacks, suspensions from school, are just among a few of the crazy things that made up my friday. that is why i am thankful for saturday.

but, before my last visit last night i prayed that it would not be in vain and that my purpose would be seen for not just canceling it. and God totally showed up. of course. my client wanted to get ice cream and i did not argue because it was 5:15 and i hadn't eaten since 11. so we went.

as soon as we got in my car our conversation goes as follows:
client: "so my teacher said the world is going to end tomorrow."
me: "yes, i have heard that, but i am not convinced it is going to happen."
c: "well, why not? it's in the Bible. in Revelation or something."
m: "yes, it is in Revelation and the Bible that the world is going to in and Jesus is going to come back. but, it is also in the Bible that no one, not even Jesus, knows the day or time when He will return to the earth. and not only that, but every tribe, tongue, and nation has not yet heard the Good News of Christ."
c: "what? what does that mean?"
m: "it means that not everyone in the world has heard about God or Jesus, and they do not know they have an opportunity to receive eternal life. there are people who live in different parts of the world that do not have access to technology to know these things, people who speak an unknown language, and other situations where they simply do not know they can have a personal relationship with Christ."
c: "oh. so what does it mean when Jesus comes back, when the rapture happens?"
m: "well, some of it is unknown, but what i believe is that Jesus is going to come back and take His believers with Him to heaven where they will live with Him."
c: "what is heaven even like?"
m: "i think what heaven is like is unknown to us; the Bible is somewhat descriptive by telling us that the colors are more brilliant and beautiful and that there are streets of gold, but beyond that, i do not have a good answer. i like to think of it at far greater than anything i can imagine here on the earth."
c: "what does that mean?"
m: "well, it is kind of like i described to a 5 year old one time when he asked me this question; i told him to imagine his favorite place and his favorite thing to do. and he asked me if Jesus would play basketball with him. i told him, i thought, of course, Jesus would play basketball with him."
c: "aww. that's so cute. you really think it will be like that?"
m: "yes, i do. it will be greater than anything we can imagine, but you have to remember what we talked about last week. and that is you do not go to Heaven unless you have a personal relationship with God. you cannot get into Heaven by just being good."
c: "yeah, i remember. and i know."

with that, we arrived at our destination to eat ice cream. totally did not expect that conversation to happen, but i completely trust that God had that conversation planned prior to me meeting with her and that is why i did not just cancel our appointment for the evening. it is because of that conversation that i am completely ok with working until 6:45 rather than 5:30. and it is because of conversations just like that, that i love what i do.

it, of course, is not always easy, but worth it when i can share the Message of Christ like that. i am so thankful to be chosen for the work that i do. and even though i may never see the impact i make during my time on earth, i will continue trusting that i am making an impact for the Kingdom each and every day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

these past two mornings on my way to work my heart has been heavy. not because i'm dreading going to work, but because of the injustices that are continuing to reveal themselves to me.

i've been thinking about my clients, my client's kids, friends who have been struggling, and other things going on in the news both locally and globally.

it is so frustrating that i can't "fix" things. obviously i'm not suppose to, but i so want to. so i had a little talk with God about that this morning. of course, it didn't go as i necessarily wanted, but it went as needed. (thanks, God).

me: "God....why? why are these things happening? how are these things happening? i'm so angry and i hurt for these people"
God: "it breaks My heart too..."
me: "but why are they continuing?"
God: "because the world you live in is broken and sinful."
me: "i hate it..."
God: "i hate it too; i hate seeing My children hurt. i hate seeing My children in pain."
me: "i know You do, but it just doesn't make sense."
God: "it isn't suppose to make sense...You are suppose to trust."
me: "trust how?"
God: "trust that I will somehow use all of these messes of a situation for My Kingdom and My Glory. it may not be immediate, but I know what I am doing. I can see 20 years from now and 100 years from now. you cannot."
me: "i know...i know. but i hurt for these people, Lord."
God: "I know you do, and I have designed you in that way. I always know what I am doing."
me: "i know You do...thank You for the reminder. i do trust You, but i need You to help me to trust you more."
God: "I can do that, and I will do that."
me: "thank You; please go with me through my day."
God: "I am always with you. always."

all of that to say; my heart still hurts. but if my heart still hurts like this, i can only imagine how His heart hurts. life is quite unfair, but i remain thankful that i serve the Ultimate Judge. and i pray His Kingdom would come to this earth.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

it's official. i survived my few days back at work after vacation. i'm even willing to go as far to say that i succeeded in maintaining a positive attitude during those days too. God is good. it is also worth noting that my homework for the week has been completed as well. (assignments are given every wednesday and must be completed by the following wednesday.) God is so good.

i won't bore you with the details of my class currently, but i will say that i have, to some degree, missed being in school. of course, doing schooling online is completely new to me. but my thoughts are being challenged, and i am actually finding the reading interesting. it feels good to be learning in this manner again.

moving on...i had an interesting conversation with one of my clients this week. as we were sitting and talking she began to in a way question me about heaven and hell. she told me she believed in God but she didn't believe in heaven and hell. however, as she continued talking she said that if there was a heaven and hell she would go to heaven because she was "good". i told her i had to disagree with her statement. she looked at me puzzled and simply asked if i believed in heaven and hell. i answered with one word, "absolutely." of course, she didn't just stop there...she asked where i would go since i so firmly believed. i told her that i would be going to heaven. as our conversation ensued, i simply told her what i believed--you don't go to heaven without asking Christ into your life and having a personal relationship with him. you don't go to heaven just because you are "good", and you don't go to hell just because you are "bad". you ask God to forgive your sins, and He does.

and that's when she said, so you're a God freak.

hm. not what i was expecting from this person. at first, i wasn't sure how to respond. i wasn't sure if i was going to be angry or if i was going to laugh. i chose not to be angry and i didn't laugh. i simply looked back at her, straight faced and told her that some people probably considered me a God freak because i believed differently than them. and i was ok with that. i told her she could consider me a God freak if she wanted.

she didn't know how to respond. and then i told her that i didn't consider her a freak for not thinking like i do or making choices that i would never make in my life. i told her honestly that i did not agree with them, but that i was not in charge of her life. and then i looked her in the eyes and told her, though, that no matter what, i would still care for her just the same.

it's conversations like that that keep me going. the work that i do is not about me; it never has been. it never will be. but no matter where i find myself, my hope and prayer is that i will always point people back to the One i know who has called me His own.

Monday, May 9, 2011

vacation will officially be over in approximately 15 hours. i'm savoring the last few hours that i can...

while it will be nice to be back in my house, i kind of have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing that i will be going back to work. not because i hate work, because most days, i don't hate it; but i think the sick feeling is simply because i know i am going to have to balance work and school. it's been so great this week to take my time and do my school work, but let's face it, when i go back to work i'm not going to have time every night to work as diligently. but i suppose i will learn, because it is just going to be a new normal. i can do it; i know i can do it. and it will totally be worth it. but forgive me in advance if there are several posts in the months to come processing through how to balance life.

anyway, before i close this, i just need to take a minute and say how blessed i am. i married one of the most amazing men on the planet, and simply the most amazing man for me. i know without a doubt he would do anything for me, and i would do the same for him. but over the course of these last few days, what really stood out to me was his willingness to be intentional with my parents. he was comfortable, and he was himself. i think he has always been this way with my parents, but being with my parents for 5 full days really opened my eyes to how blessed i am to have a husband who understands how important my parents are to me and has made them important to him. and not only that, but i also realized that if we were to go on vacation with his parents, i would feel the same way about them. not many people can say that, and i wouldn't have it any other way.

i am a lucky girl.

regardless, i could go on and on about the specific things i realized i was thankful for over the course of these past few days. but i shall save that for another day and another post.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

i love sunshine, laying out, and even being a little sunkissed. (i like to refer to being burnt as sunkissed. it makes it sound a little more pleasant that way.) really, though, i've loved this vacation. not because we've done anything extravagant. actually, it's been the complete opposite of that; but i've loved it because i've been able to rest and be refreshed.

i'm not the kind of girl that likes to feel defeated in anything, and normally, i don't let myself admit defeat or failure, but on this vacation i've come to grips with the reality that i failed miserably when it came to taking care of myself. you would think since i work in the mental health field, that i would know the importance of taking care of my own mental health, but apparently, i mistakenly thought i was above that. just call me crazy. hopefully, though, i learned my lesson.

in hindsight, i over ran myself. i lived by my schedule which ultimately became too tightly packed as i feared disappointing someone, feared something not getting done as it should be done, feared letting someone down, feared...well, you get the picture. and the worst part, i'm not a fearful young woman. and by fearful i mean, i'm not afraid of snakes, spiders, lizards, bugs, dirt, and the like. i can handle all of those things quite well; sometimes even better than my husband. but throw in the possibility of letting someone down or the possibility of someone thinking less of me because i don't meet their expectations--quite frankly, i'm scared to death. i think it would be easier to be scared of snakes or spiders though, but in my case, that's just not reality.

but the truth is, i cannot meet everyone's expectations all the time. i cannot save people; i cannot be in 2, 3, or 5 places at once; i cannot survive on only 6 hours of sleep a night for an extended period of time. i am human. (and for my own sake, i need to repeat that once more) i am human. (ok, maybe once more) i am not superwoman; simply put, i am human.

i am a young woman who has chosen a profession that by nature is busy, hectic, and chaotic. and boy does God sure have a sense of humor, because i'm not a big fact of hecticness (is that even a word?) nor am i a big fan of chaos. i like order. i like to have control. i like things to be neat, and i thrive on a schedule. believe me, i get made fun of for being OCD plenty, but i think the large piece of the puzzle i missed is that Satan took what i think i thrive in and used it to almost completely and almost destroy me.

and it's so lame that he can do that. i'll say it again, LAME. LAME. LAME.

but, what is beautiful is redemption...and this vacation has helped open my eyes to the need for me to be redeemed. to be reminded of the simple, yet so often forgot truths, i am not made to handle life on my own. i cannot survive by my own strength, and i am not suppose to have all the answers. His power is made perfect in my weaknesses, but i have to be willing to let Him work. sometimes i think i squelch the work He wants to do in and through me because i think i have things figured out so well that i don't even think twice about how much i need Him daily, hourly, or even how much i need Him every minute.

and to think that i almost didn't come on vacation; like i said just call me crazy.

but why, you ask, did i almost not come on vacation? or maybe you don't ask, but i'm going to tell you anyway. because i didn't think it would make a difference. i didn't think i really needed it, i didn't think that i was so beat down or tired. pretty much, i was thinking straight because i didn't want it to be a reality. it was a hard pill for me to swallow, because again, that meant i had to admit defeat.

anyway, now i face the reality that i have one full day left to bask in the sun, to not think about work, to not worry about what will need done when i get home, to not fret about what i need to change to be a better wife, daughter, or friend--and i love it. going home, i will jump back into my crazy, busy life.

but i love my crazy, busy life. and it was when i lost sight of the fact that i love everything i do (including my job) that things felt like they were falling apart for me.

and it was when i got so caught up in my fear of disappointing people or letting people down that i couldn't take it anymore. i'm not sure that i will ever "cure" myself of this, but i think after this vacation i realize how detrimental it can be to my well being letting other people define the way they think my life should look. and being aware is the first step to making a change.

so, no matter what things get added to my plate or taken off my plate, i will do my best to not live within the expectations i feel are set for me by others. but instead, i will strive to live within the expectations my Heavenly Father has of me; and i believe that simply is for me to let Him love me well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

vacation has ARRIVED. and i truly cannot explain how thankful i am for that.

never again should i go 9 months without a vacation; well at least not working in the job i do now. it's not good for my well being, or my husband's, or my family's, or my friend's, or my co-worker's or my client's. it simply just cannot happen again.

on a positive note, for the next 5 days i will be relaxing, being refreshed, and resting. away from home, away from work. glorious. simply glorious.

my MSW classes started today and i will be needing to do homework while on vacation, but i think being on vacation will help me transition into balancing classes and work as i get back into the swing of being in school.

in other news, there is potential that God is opening an exciting door for me that i'm praying about. if i continue to feel His leading i will be updating more in detail about that, but for now, i must finish packing. rough, i know.

Friday, April 29, 2011

today is one of those days that my insides are bursting with anger at the injustices i am surrounded by everyday. legitimately. i tried to let it go on my way home from work, but it just wasn't happening today. over the past two years i've had to learn how to let things go or i wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

i guess it was just one of those weeks that i realized how fragile people are. how broken some people are. how unfair some peoples lives are or have been. how unrealistic some people's expectations are. how lazy some people are. how disadvantaged some people are. and the list could go on and on.

and i hate that i cannot do anything about it. other than be there now. of course, of course i recognize that being there now is doing SOMETHING but i can't change the past for any of these people i work with. and it breaks my heart that i can't. it breaks my heart that when i asked a young girl if she could say anything to someone who has hurt her very badly, her response was, "why did they have to ruin my life?" that there was so much truth to that.

it makes me angry when i talk with some parents about their children they just expect them to turn out well behaved, and they refuse to take any responsibility for the fact that they need to provide consistency, love, support, and boundaries. and then when their children start showing negative behaviors it is always someone else's fault or they need to be medicated, and when it is all said and done they refuse to put forth the effort to give positive or negative consequences and change the environment they have created for their children.

sometimes i just have to say to my friends who work in the same field, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" just because i can't take the ridiciulousness any longer. seriously, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

unfortunately, though, i'm not kidding and the situations i deal with daily are not jokes. far from jokes actually.

and on nights tonight where i feel angry, frustrated, disheartened, annoyed, and dumbfounded i think about the story in the Bible where Jesus was angry that the people had turned His temple, His house of prayer into a den of thieves. His anger was righteous, and He over turned tables. and the situation He was dealing with was definitely no joke, but i wonder to myself, did He ever think, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

i suppose that will be one of the questions i ask Him when i meet Him face to face. but i can't help but feel like my anger is righteous, so i guess until then i will just have to pray He helps me handle it in that manner...and that He gives me the strength to endure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

t-minus 7 days until v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n. halleujah. seriously, i don't know when i was this excited to go on vacation. but I. CANNOT. WAIT.

i realized last night that for the past two weeks i haven't been home before 9:00 p.m. now, in my college days, that was probably a pretty normal time for me to get back to my room but now-a-days it is very abnormal for it to happen for it that length of time. and i couldn't handle it anymore. so i did something i don't normally do and made it so that i could be home after work. such a good decision and one that i probably need to make more often, but i suppose i will cross that bridge when i get there.

regardless, can i please just tell you how thankful i am for the people God places in our lives?? i know in my last post i talked about my husband and my sister, but i have so many other amazing people in my life. and last night, i had dinner with one of them. she may only be sixteen, but she is by far the wisest and most mature sixteen year old i have ever met in my life. she processes life as if she was my age and even though we are in completely different stages of life, she listens and speaks truth and challenges me in ways she can't even comprehend. and it is uncanny how many similarities we have. seriously, it's crazy. but beyond that, one thing i love about her is her hunger to learn more about the Lord and grow in her relationship with Him. such a blessing to be watching her grow. and even more of a privilege to watch her grow through some of the most difficult obstacles that have been placed in her life. but i walked away from dinner last night, not only thankful for the refreshment it was to have a conversation with her, but i walked away from dinner last night humbled that God allows me to be a part of people's lives and places them in my life at exactly the right time. i like to think God knew i needed her just as much as she may have needed me. He is so faithful.

on another note, my fabulous mom gave my husband and me an Easter basket this year. she is fabulous for more reasons than that she still gives me an Easter basket, but it had a CD in it called "Freedom" where the proceeds of it went to the International Justice Mission. i have been obsessed with it. specifically one song by Sara Groves titled "When the Saints". i'm pretty sure i listened to the song non-stop from the time i left marion until the time i pulled in my driveway on monday night. i went to bed with the song in my head last night and woke up this morning with it in my head. look it up, listen to it, it's amazing. pinky promise.

but anyway, this song, has reminded me of my passion for overseas work and my longing to be there. sometimes i feel like that's more needed that i realize. but, regardless, it excited me, and it excites me to think of the future. not in the way that i am rushing into it, but in the way that i am looking forward to how God can use my passion to expand His Kingdom in an even different way than He is now.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

life is busy. my husband likes to say i've been busy my whole life and i don't know how to NOT be busy. unfortunately, he's right. i hate when he's right. but he is 110% right about this. now, i probably won't tell him that to his face, but at least i've admitted it! and after this weekend, i feel like i'm just begging life to slow down.

but i'm trying to learn in the midst of the busy-ness that Jesus is still present. and on this resurrection sunday, it serves as a good reminder that HE IS ALIVE. what a privilege it is to serve a God who is alive and moving and One who chooses to live among His people. it is so different for me to think of the people i encountered in India who serve gods of the darkness. and it is so sad for me to think of the people i work with daily who do not know what a Mighty God there is who is just drawing them near to Him and loves them infinitely.

anyway, it's been awhile since i posted pictures, and in my desire for life to slow down, i decided that i need to slow myself down. so here i am, taking time to write about two of the most important people in my life. first....

my adoring husband. never in my life did i fathom falling so deeply in love with someone. these past 8 1/2 months have been so wonderful. of course, though, there have been frustrating times; times where i needed alone time and in adjusting to sharing a house with a man it was difficult to find. times where i hated having to utter a word in the morning but being married to a morning person forced me to; times where i have felt like a failure as a wife and times where our communication was not effective. but, the frustrating times have definitely been outweighed by the enjoyable times. times where we have laughed so hard we've cried over something ridiculous; times when we have both compromised and watched tv shows we normally would never imagine watching. times where we have talked and have shared our deepest dreams and desires; times where we have had to communicate effectively and have grown from it. times that we have worshipped the Lord together. times with our families and friends, times spent hosting people in our house, and times where we are just able to be together with no agenda. i love him, and i love that we are journeying through this life together with intentions of bringing the most glory to His Kingdom.

and second, my sister. this weekend we had her baby shower and it was such a blessing to be able to celebrate her and my soon-to-be niece. like all siblings, my sister and i didn't get along the greatest growing up. let's face it; the reality of it was, being the younger one i wanted nothing more to be exactly like my older sister. well, having someone trying to tag along at all times couldn't have been much fun. but, now that we're older and age doesn't seem to matter, i am so thankful that our fun memories out number the fighting memories. we might be polar opposites on so many levels, but my sister knows me better than most people and i wouldn't trade her for anything. i am so excited for her to begin her newest journey as a mother, and i am thankful she is going through it first so that she can teach me all the tricks of the trade that she learns. but, truthfully, i can't wait until we are walking through it together. i can't wait for our kids to be friends and for them to grow up knowing how much their moms love each other. and i am more thankful than words can express of how the Lord is moving and working in her life.

anyway, as i wrap this up, i am reminded of how blessed i am. and as i am thinking about going to work tomorrow, i am hopeful that i can take this thankful attitude with me through each day. chances are, i am going to need it. but i know He will give me the strength to endure.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

i've been meaning to post the past two days now and it's never happened. and after over a 13 hour day at work, i decided that i just needed a sentence of two to bring me back to reality and the important things in life.

i am so thankful i serve a God who answers prayers when we least expect them. prayers that seem to go unanswered for many years, and then BAM.

yes, He is just THAT good. i'm humbled, i'm rejoicing and i am so thankful.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

i feel like i was missing out on something for nearly 22 years. coffee. as i just made a cup for myself this afternoon i was reminded of when i started actually liking coffee; the summer of 2008, my first summer in india. the two girls i traveled with had gotten sick of chai tea and were dying for coffee. since i couldn't refuse the coffee that was given to me and our thattha typically stayed in our apartment with us as we drank our coffee or tea and ate our cookies and cashews, i had to choke it down. but eventually, i ended up liking it. mmmm, it's sweet goodness. well it's only sweet because of the creamer, but still, it's sweet goodness.
anyway, happenings of the week:
1. i got to hold a precious week and a half old baby who weighs less than 5 pounds at work this week; talk about being in HEAVEN. and lucky me, i get to go see her three times a week now! i love babies.
2. one of my favorite work friends said to me this week as we were headed to transport kids for a visit, "how are you? you don't seem stressed." i think that might have been one of the biggest compliments i received this week. and one of the most glorious parts of it; i didn't feel stressed this week.
3. i had a meeting wednesday night for the missions committee at our church and my last client that day called and cancelled his visit with his kids, so i was done earlier than expected. well, with gas being $3.99 a gallon, i decided i would just kill some time at the mall instead of driving all the way home and then back in to church. poor choice; i should have just spent the extra gas money instead of the money i spent at the mall. i did get some great deals though. love that.
4. i got to talk with one of my most beloved friends on the phone on my way home from work last night. i love her, and i love how refreshing our conversations are. even when they aren't about anything serious, just laughing with her brings me joy.
5. my books for grad school came in the mail today; i am excited about this new adventure. i might have to remind myself of that several times in the next two and a half years, though.
6. my sister's baby shower is next weekend, and i truly cannot wait to celebrate her and my sweet niece who will be here before we know it!
all in all, it was a great week, and i am blessed beyond all measure for His faithfulness in my life. i am looking forward to what He has in store for me next week, but before next week starts, i will continue finding joy in the simple things.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

one of my favorite things is hearing the sounds of a train going down the tracks on a still night blowing it's horn. something about that is refreshing to me. perhaps it is because i have been able to hear them like that nearly my entire life from my parent's house. another one of my favorite sounds is the second hand ticking on a clock. when i was a little girl, i remember spending MANY nights at my beloved grandma's house. and when i would curl up on the couch to go to sleep i fell asleep to the ticking of the second hand on the clock. i am thankful for the vivid memories i have.
but why i am writing this post is because i feel like to some degree i've been slightly "complainy" in my last few posts about work. the reality is they have been truthful, but i think it's worth noting when something good happens at work as well. today i was suppose to have an ending visit with a client who has been very successful with me, but i could never really tell if she enjoyed meeting with me. she was always very open and honest (hard to come by) and incredibly willing and eager to learn (even harder to come by). meeting with her was definitely a break in my day. if you've ever seen the movie Life as We Know It, and you remember the part where the social worker talks about grabbing a coffee on her way to meet with her clients and talks about meeting with them being like a mini vacation because they are good clients; well this is a similar situation for me.
regardless, when i talked with her about it potentially being the last visit i heard her say, "i don't really like that." i kind of brushed it off and reminded her of all the progress she has made and encouraged her to keep it up. and to make a long story short, we had another meeting where we were together tonight, and i found out that i would actually be continuing on the case for a period of time. to which she said, "oh good, i love working with elizabeth."
my heart was warmed. spirits lifted. and i thanked my God for the fact that He allows me to be a part of people's lives such as hers. what a privilege; i truly will never know the impact i have on this side of Heaven, and because i trust Him to guide and direct my steps and to give me strength to endure along the way, i am more than ok with that. but i will give Him the praise that is due for little reminders like i was given today.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

i love weekends; thoroughly love weekends. i especially love weekends when the weather is lovely. i usually am a fan of winter; well, not necessarily a big fan, but i usually don't mind it. but this year, i just need to say; i. was. SOOO. over. winter. dreary days, unsafe roads, freezing temperatures, wet boots--over it all.
and then this weekend happened. sunshine abounded, temperatures soared, and i was refreshed. simply marvelous. and i'm going to go ahead and choose to not acknowledge the fact right now that it's not going to be as warm this week and that rain is coming. but, now that i've had a taste of the goodness of summer again, i'm anxiously anticipating its arrival more than ever.
beyond the weather, though, this week continued to challenge me in ways i never could have imagined; i also think i was reminded of a couple important lessons.
the first being: i am eternally grateful for the parents i was given, and i am blessed to be so close with them to this day. my parents taught me a lot of things, instilled a lot of great morals in me, encouraged me to be whatever i wanted to be, but what my parents helped develop in me that stood out to me this week was my work ethic. from a very young age i can remember helping my dad in the grain set up, riding in the tractor with him, and going to help out in the veal barn. i remember sunday afternoons were the days that my sister and i were required to pick up our bedroom no matter how much we hated it, and as i look back helping out around the farm and having to do chores around the house truly taught me motivation and responsibility. now that i am 24 years old and have a full time job, those small lessons my parents took the time to teach me, have made the w.o.r.l.d of difference in the way i do my job now. and i am so thankful for that. working hard at my job is legitimately draining, but i know it's worth it.
and i know it's worth it because of the second lesson that i was reminded of this week. that being, i work for God and not for man. that truth can be so easily forgotten and probably has been forgotten by me for a number of weeks.
the reality is, i don't work by my own strength. the other reality is, He is the one who has given me the gifts to do what i do. people often say to me, "there is no way i could do what you do," or "it takes a special person to do your job," or "i just don't know how you do it." truth be told, i couldn't do it without Jesus walking with me side by side every day, i'm no more special than anyone else who He has created, and i don't know how i do what i do besides He works through my weaknesses.
so, despite the frustrating (extremely frustrating) week i had (again), God still was faithful in the lessons He taught me and the encouragement He gave me. i'm hopeful that this week won't be as frustrating, but i know even in the midst of the frustrating moments my God is still moving and helping to shape me into the woman He desires. so i'm here to say: whatever it takes, Lord, to make me fully Yours. thank You for Your faithfulness now and for the fact that i know You will be faithful in the years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds to come.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

today was one of those days at work where i was reminded of why i do what i do. april is prevent child abuse awareness month; for a social worker who works with families and children this month especially weighs heavily on my heart.
a lot of the time, the reality is, i don't see any progress made by any families that i work with. that is frustrating and draining. but, today there was a lunch held in Grant County that talked about the state of Grant County's children. the unfortunate truth is that indiana is ranked 8th in the nation when it comes to child abuse and the frequency of how often children are having to be removed from their parents care.
to me, that is sad. the privilege i have is that i work with some of these parents and children who are often just considered just another statistic. like i said, sometimes there is no progress made by parents when it comes to regaining custody of their children but i have to some how find hope in those situations. and i tend to think of that hope in the light of the children and the new futures they can be given by finding lasting families. there aren't always happy endings, very rarely are there happy endings actually, but i firmly believe that if i am able to better one person's life, my efforts are not in vain.
i need to be reminded of that every now and again.
i know that as stressed out as i often am with my job, as tired as i often am with my job, as annoyed as i often am with my job that one day i will look back and see how doing what i do has shaped me into a better person. and to be quite honest, i am sure that when i am no longer doing exactly what i am doing i will miss it.
so for now, i will relish in the hugs that i receive from the children, the few thank yous i hear from the parents, and the simple truth that sometimes all someone needs is someone to believe in them.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

wow, where did march go? i cannot believe that it is already april; however, i welcome april with open arms longing for warmer days and anxiously anticipating summer so that i can spend my weekends soaking up the sun in my parent's pool. but until then, i will enjoy each day i am given.
i mentioned in my last post that a new book had come in the mail for me; even though i am only two chapters into it, it definitely has forced me to start thinking even more about the way i am living my life. the book is called Having a Mary Spirit; Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out. it just so happens that it is the sequel to the book i read with my accountability partner in college Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. and i love it.
in a lot of ways i feel like i can relate to the author, Joann Weaver, on quite a few levels. desiring to be perfect, being goal driven, longing to serve others, forgetting about taking care of oneself, and wanting an intimate relationship with Christ are just some of the ways that i feel like i can relate to her in just the first few chapters. i found a couple sentences towards the end of the first chapter that explain what the entire book is about, "Having a Mary spirit is about our attitude toward what God wants to do in our lives. The spirit behind the response makes all the difference."
now, i don't know about you, but i'm pretty good at being ok with the reality that God has a plan for my life and that sometimes my plans don't line up with His. but, when those times happen, i must admit, my resposes and my attitude aren't always the best. but i long for a Mary spirit, and i long to be like Mary who was willing to sit at Jesus' feet as her sister Martha busily rushed around trying to accommodate Him. but both of those things require an often thought of ugly six letter word; C H A N G E. Joann sums it up well why it's worth changing, though, "I can't imagine anything more terrible than getting to the end of my life only to discover that God had so much more in mind for me--more freedom, more joy, more peace, more true effectiveness. And I had missed it all, simply because i refused to change."
so, while sometimes asking the Lord to change us can be scary, i will be completely vulnerable and say i am doing just that. i'm not going to miraculously have a Mary spirit or miraculously be more like Mary than Martha, so i know i have to change. is there potential for it to be painful? absolutely, but i know with all of my heart, changing will be help me in all areas of my life and most importantly it will allow me to have more intimacy with my Heavenly Father.