Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm Still Here

Has it really been 2 weeks since I last updated! Sorry I have been MIA. It has definitely been a busy last couple of weeks. I have a lot of catching up to do! I am planning on picking back up with "Worshipful Wednesday" next week.

In my last post I mentioned I wouldn't be able to blog because John was on a break from school, which was true, but one of the other reasons was because I was planning a surprise birthday dinner party along with another friend for my cousin Sarah (the weekend of the 15th). We decorated my sun room with white lights, flowers, and tons of candles. I think it looked really beautiful and she was totally surprised.

On Sunday after church John and I went to the air show at Andrew's Air Force Base along with one of my friends. It gets me every time they pass super close to each other, like in this video I took.

After the air show we went and ate Korean Chinese food, we had Jajangmyeon. So good! I wish I had taken some pictures (like my friend Joia does).

On Monday, I went to dinner with my cousin on her actual birthday.

After that John and I did some catching up. We really needed it. During this break I realized how hard this past year has been on our relationship. I have had to accept that he is not available to spend time together as much as I would like, but after point you almost get use to it. So during this break, we really had to re-integrate. It made me think about what it will be like when John gets deployed (not that what I am experiencing even compares to deployment). What many people don't realize is that the re-integration period after the deployment is over can be almost as hard as the deployment itself.

On Wednesday we went and saw the movie Robin Hood. It was okay, I would say don't waste your money seeing it in the theater, wait for it on video. Also, as a word of warning, there are some fairly cruel remarks made by the king (who is the "bad guy") about his "barren" wife.

I had my first official training run with Team in Training this past Saturday - 3 miles on the track so that we could get an idea of our pace. I am really slow right now, just under 12 minutes per mile, which is to be expected I suppose considering how sporadic I have been about exercising over this past year. I am hoping to improve to be able to run at about 11 minutes per mile for the 13.1 miles. My goal is really just to finish without walking. I have to admit I have been pretty sore since starting this. Since I signed up pretty late in the process, I wasn't able to do many pre-training runs so I am easing myself into it right now. However, I made the mistake of doing my first two runs (prior to Saturday) in old shoes so unfortunately I have been dealing with a bit of plantar fasciatis already. I had to do the elliptical in place of running for two of my workouts. I got new shoes before the run on Saturday, which seemed to help a lot. I am still doing lot of massages (with golf ball believe it or not), stretches, and ice. I am really hoping I will not end up with an injury that keeps me from running the race.

The of this past weekend was a pretty lazy one, especially since it was cloudy and rainy. Went to church, took naps, and I finally watched the movie, The Kite Runner, which I would highly recommend.

John is back in school and already has a test this Friday and another one next Friday. Only one more year to go.

I finally have some adoption news to update about. Even though we were approved 2 months ago today, we hadn't received a copy of our home study until today. Our social worker is a social work intern in addition to working as a program coordinator at our adoption agency. So between her regular work, the work she is doing as an intern, and some family problems she experienced, I think she has been completely overloaded. So it took her 2 months to finish writing up our home study. I was actually okay with it, but I could tell she felt really bad. She sent us a draft today for us to make any necessary corrections. She also said that after consulting with her supervisor she felt that we would best be served by transferring us to a full time social worker. I am a little disappointed because I really liked her. And to be truthful it makes me a little nervous. I have irrational fears about our new social worker looking at our file, and saying "Are you crazy, you approved THESE people!" I know this probably won't happen, but I think these types of feelings are fairly common in the adoption process.

Anyway, that's all for now. I am looking forward to spending some time catching up with all of my blogging friends this weekend. These last couple of weeks have brought some great joy and some great sorrow. So I am both rejoicing and mourning (Rom 12:15).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"We should pray and not lose heart"

Just a quick update. We had a good time in Richmond - stayed at a very nice hotel, had a wonderful dinner, saw a very funny play (based on a Mark Twain story), and toured the capitol and a few sites in downtown Richmond. However, I will have to say that we will do a little more research in the future about the city we are visiting next time. I don't won't to offend anyone by saying this, but parts of Richmond are scary. It's nice, and then a block over kinda scary. It definitely added some tension to the trip :(

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. I know there were several of my blogging friends who were celebrating their very first Mother's Day and I hope you all had wonderful days.

The fact that Sunday would have been my first Mother's Day was a thought I had been trying to avoid. But it came crashing in on me after reading another blog of someone who also would have been celebrating their first. I had a good cry, but I refused to allow myself to dwell in that place for long, thinking about what could have been. It isn't going to change anything.

John is on a short break from school, so I probably won't be posting much over this next week. We only have a week and a half until he starts his summer term.

I want to leave you with a quote about prayer from an article in my Perspectives class (my last class was last week). The article is "Prayer: Rebelling Against the Status Quo" by David Wells. This quote has stuck with me since I first read it and it has really encouraged me to pray. While I believe God works infertility for good as He has promised (Rom 8:28), I don't believe it is "normal" or as God originally established things.

"What is the nature of petitionary prayer? It is, in essence, rebellion —rebellion against the world in its fallenness, the absolute and undying refusal to accept as normal what is pervasively abnormal. It is, in this its negative aspect, the refusal of every agenda, every scheme, every interpretation that is at odds with the norm as originally established by God."

So I hope you will be encouraged to "pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1) about infertility or whatever issue you are struggling with right now.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Waiting Time" not "Wasted Time"

Since getting the unexpected news that we will be waiting longer to adopt from Korea than we originally expected, I have been thinking a lot about how I want to use this time. I knew almost immediately after getting the news that I had to use this time in a positive way. I could choose to sit around and wallow in my sorrows or I could do some things I have always wanted to do. I don't want this "waiting time" to be "wasted time." I have to live the life I have, not put my life on hold until I have the life I want. And so I began to think about some things I would like to do.

The first thing on my list is to take an official and very long overdue honeymoon with my husband. He was in school when we got married, taking one of the prerequisites for his nursing degree, so we only got to have a long weekend away. After he was done with nursing school, he joined the Air Force, and then we were geographically separated for 15 months, and then infertility. We have had lots of weekends away by ourselves and other trips to visit family, but we have never gone on a week long trip with just the two of us. I feel like this is our last shot to take a real honeymoon. I should have enough leave saved up by December so the plan is take a trip over John's Christmas break. Location to be decided. I am definitely open for suggestions.

The second thing on my list is visiting my friend Wendi in Turkey. Her husband is a physician in the clinic where John was a nurse when we were stationed at Eglin. We initially bonded over our shared struggle with infertility, but she quickly became one of my closest friends. She has been such an amazing friend to me, always giving support and encouragement just when I need it. She and her husband, along with their two little miracles, are being assigned to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey this summer. Even before getting the news about the adoption delay, we had talked about having a "kill the time until the little one comes party" in Turkey. But I was wondering how it would work out time wise because "the call" to travel to Korea could have come when I was there. Now that won't be an issue. I am planning on leaving my job 2-3 months before we move to our next assignment, which will be next spring. So the plan is to go at that time. I can't wait! I have actually never traveled outside of the U.S.

The next thing on my list (and I promise this is the last travel related one!) is to go on a short term mission trip. I am praying for God's leading on this one. My heart has been touched by God for East Asia, but I am open to whatever opportunity He presents.

I mentioned that I had an information meeting last night in my previous post. It was for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training. I am going to be training to run a half marathon! And of course also raising funds and supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I have never said a lot about this before on my blog, but in early 2008, my family received the devastating news that my sister had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I called her last night to tell her about this before telling anyone else. I could tell she was really excited about it and it meant a lot to her. She is now over 18 months cancer free, praise God! Training for a marathon has been something I have wanted to do for a very long time. So after last week, I said why not now. And why not do it and at the same time raise money for a disease that has touched my family and so many others. I am starting with a half marathon and hopefully I can work up to a marathon and a triathlon later. I am going the run the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach half marathon (13.1 miles) on September 5th. The kick off event is next Saturday morning and then training starts after that. I am going to try and start pre-training this week. Believe me, I need it. I have been so sporadic in my exercising since starting back to work.

Other things on my list are to go horseback riding, which I haven't done since I was a child and take advantage of all Washington, DC has to offer as far as museums and shows. I really want to go see a show or concert at Wolftrap.

Tomorrow John and I are heading to Richmond for an overnight trip. This is partly to give us a chance to reconnect after his very difficult school semester and partly to celebrate our "family of two" (love this Stacey) instead of dwelling on what we don't have. We try to plan something fun to do together on Mother's Day because it is such a difficult time of year for me.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I am praying for you my friends. For those of you celebrating your first Mother's Day as a mom, I hope it is a joyous celebration for you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

An Update in Eight

1) I can't believe I haven't updated in a week! It was that time of the month, so I was feeling pretty tired this past week. It is still hard. Every month. It starts and I think I guess there is not going to be a miracle this month. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I didn't believe in miracles.

2) Our visit with our house guests went well despite the unexpected news. They ended up staying until Thursday (last Thursday, not today). I found out they hadn't told anybody about their pregnancy so it wasn't just us. Not sure why. Hopefully, I didn't out their pregnancy on my blog. A friend who knows them didn't know who I was talking about so hopefully no one else knew either. However, it will be pretty difficult to hide it if that is their intention since the baby bump is getting pretty obvious.

3) I am doing better as far as the other unexpected news we received. Even though it is not much longer (about 6 months longer than we were expecting), it feels like it is so far off now. John actually told me he was sorry he said it was okay for us to be excited :( I think he is having as hard a time with it as I am. He said he almost threw away my Adoptive Families magazine away when it arrived. He copes by getting angry, I get sad. I am trying to adjust my attitude and embrace this waiting time. I have several things I am thinking about doing over this next year. I will post about them very soon. I am going to an information meeting about one of them tonight so I want to wait until I get more information before putting it "out there."

4) I do have to brag on my husband. John just finished his first year of school to become a family nurse practitioner. One more year to go! He finished this first year with a 4.0 GPA!!! The Friday before last, he was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International - The Honor Society of Nursing. And just yesterday, he found out that he was selected as the most outstanding 1st year FNP student. I am so proud of him. He has worked so hard over this past year and it is wonderful to see his hard work recognized. Here are a couple pics from the induction ceremony.

5) My position at work is being converted from a contract position to a government position, which means more pay and much better benefits, especially in regards to vacation and sick days. Previously, I had no sick days at all and only 10 vacation days. This didn't sound too bad until I had to take a week of unpaid leave when the federal government shut down this past winter because of the blizzard. I am excited to be able to save more money towards our adoption and also be able to continue to pay my in-laws back for the money they loaned us for infertility treatment. I think I would be a little bitter about all the money we spent, but because we were part of the shared risk program, we got almost $16,000 back which was the start of our adoption fund.

6) On Saturday, I was able to attend a Prayer Rally for North Korea. It is exciting to see how God is uniting together many ministries and churches (especially Korean churches) together for His purposes for North Korea. At the beginning of the day we had a time of prayer for repentance and healing (how can we ask God to work out something in North Korea when we have a log in our own eye). An invitation to come up and be prayed for was given and initially I didn't think I would go. But then they mentioned how it is difficult to love others when you are doubting God's love for you. Infertility has taken its toll on me in many ways. Sometimes I really struggle to believe God is at work in my situation. I was sitting there feeling overwhelmed by so many emotions - doubting God's love, doubting His plan, hurting, and wanting so much to have more faith to believe. So I decided to go up to receive prayer. A pastor (though I didn't know he was a pastor at the time) and another gentleman laid hands on me and prayed. It was truly amazing. I didn't say anything to them and yet they prayed for everything I had been thinking. The first gentleman prayed for God to show His glory (actually he said this many times), for God to show His love to me in a tangible way, for more faith, and for healing from the pain. Then I was totally blown away when the pastor prayed for me. He said he saw me as a little girl who the heavenly Father was delighting in. Though I stumble and fall at times, He smiles at me, even laughs, He is so happy with me, and He knows I am trying. How I wish I could capture everything he said because he gave me the most beautiful picture of my heavenly Father, one that was much needed. I had a view of God as critical and judging of all my faults and I have not found it easy to shake this idea even though intellectually I know it is untrue. This picture of God as a loving Father who is cheering me on and delighting in me even when I fall down is radically different. It reminded me of a loving father who is watching his little one learn to walk. He doesn't get angry when the child falls down. He smiles, he encourages, he laughs, he delights. I never was able to wrap my mind around this picture of God before. I believe this pastor gave me a beautiful gift. When I have failed this past week, my mind has returned to this picture of God - still loving me, still delighting in me.

Then the first gentleman prayed again and said he had a clear vision of me riding a horse in a green pasture. I am not sure what to make of this one. What comes to mind is being carefree and at peace. Interesting considering that is what I have been seeking. I want to be free of this pain of infertility and pregnancy loss. I want and desperately need Christ's peace and healing. At the end they both said that they felt like that day was the beginning of a new day in my life. I am still pondering their words.

7) To be truthful, it was difficult to focus my prayers on North Korea. My mind kept returning to God's plan for us as far as children. This was partly not my fault because for some reason the subject of adoption came up repeatedly throughout this meeting, either in the context of our spiritual adoption or in regards to the orphans in North Korea and Northeast China (also North Korean children). In fact someone even specifically prayed for an opening up of adoption for the children in Northeast China. To be honest I was thinking it would never happen, but then I read that in fact a bill had already been introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback to allow for these adoptions. Definitely felt my heart stirring on this one.

8) I was feeling bad for having so much trouble focusing my prayers, but then Sunday at church my pastor said that when a particular thing keeps coming to our mind when we are praying, it is because that is what we need to be praying about!

I am behind on my blog commenting, but you girls are definitely in my prayers. Lisa and "A" I am praying specifically for your cycles. I am so hopeful for you both!