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.