Coming back to life

My daughter returned to school last Thursday. Not so coincidentally, I suddenly started coming back to life. Full time parenting drains me; I really have no idea how parents of littles can handle it. Having almost six and a half hours to myself every weekday is such a blessing and so very needed.

My motivation and energy levels are still minimal. But I feel like I’m coming back up for air. The difference is startling and makes me painfully aware that I have some emotional work to do. I shouldn’t (there’s that word my therapist doesn’t like – shouldn’t) lose all emotional energy and drive when my daughter is on school holidays. I put everything into parenting her and leave nothing for myself. To have that time during school hours to recharge, to spend time doing things outside of parenting, is vital to my well-being. Hopefully someday I can figure out how to survive both during school and during holidays.

Last week I started working through the backlog of my email. I finished on Sunday. I’m happy that I was able to unsubscribe from a few more newsletters, respond to personal email, and delete everything that I really didn’t need. My inbox is now at zero emails and I’m hoping to stay on top of it.

I also finally scanned all of the photos my daughter brought home with her from Taiwan. She has photos of age four or so through the end of her time at the orphanage. My goal is to create and print a photo album for her, merging together her time in Taiwan and her time with our family. I would love to give it to her for Christmas, but I also know how unlikely that is. I would love to be able to complete it that quickly, but it’s hard to predict how much effort I can make from day to day.

I’m also putting a priority on decluttering a couple key areas of the house. Over the summer, the dining room table turned into a complete disaster. That surface has almost been reclaimed. Maybe tomorrow? My clothes closet has also gotten extremely messy and it’s difficult to find things in there. Getting some of these things done will hopefully reduce the anxiety caused by clutter, which will in turn allow me to focus on some of my healing.

I want to find healing. I am slowly gaining determination to find healing. I still struggle with anxiety and sometimes with depression. I still have PTSD. I am discovering some buried and some not-so-buried religious trauma due to negative religious foundations. I really, really want to find some confidence and self-worth. I want to let go of my need for control and my perfectionism fixation.

Life can be more than survival. I need it to be more than survival. One small step at a time, right?

Happy, happy day!!

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband!! He is 37 years old today. This year has been life-changing and I am so proud of how much he’s grown this year.

Happy anniversary!! Today marks 10 years of marriage. It’s been a beautiful 10 years and I hope for many, many more!

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Grandpa and Grandma and I

I am back from the funeral and slowly recovering from the travel and stress of the past three weeks. While in Wyoming, I really enjoyed sitting at Grandma’s kitchen table with our family, going through photo albums and reminiscing. I brought home a few old photos and wanted to share two of my favorites.

This is one of the last photos taken of my brother, grandmother, grandfather and I together.

This, as far as I know, is the very first photo taken of my grandparents and I.

I’m so glad that I still have my grandmother in my life but I will surely miss my grandfather. I can’t wait to see him in heaven someday.

Even in the face of death, God never fails.

“For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust”
Psalm 103:14.

On Friday evening, April 25, my MIL called and said, “The doctors say Dad isn’t going to make it. Can you come?” Four hours later I was on a red-eye flight to Michigan and arrived at the hospital on Sabbath morning. Less than an hour later, they turned off life support. Two hours later, he was gone.

I’m glad I was able to say goodbye. He was in a coma, but the nurses said he could hear us. I told him that I would miss him and that I would tell his granddaughters what a wonderful grandpa they had. I’m only sad that we were not able to share that we had just signed our adoption agreement two days prior to his death.

That evening, Pastor Dwight came over and talked to us about the hope that we can have in God, even in the face of death. He shared more of Psalm 103.

“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments”
Psalm 103:17-18.

I hold tight to that promise. My father-in-law was a wonderful man, a righteous man. God’s love will be faithful to his children’s children.

I knew I’d cry too much if I tried to speak at the memorial service, but I did read Psalm 103. I broke down when I reached this verse…

“As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him”
Psalm 103:13

More than anyone else in my life, my father-in-law accepted me, flaws and all. He welcomed me into his family with open arms. He patiently answered all of my questions about childrearing, the Bible, literature. We shared recipes back and forth through email and talked on the phone almost every Sabbath. His death leaves a gaping hole in my life.

However, I know we will meet again. I have faith that God will bring us all together again as a family.

“who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,”
Psalm 103:4.

God promised! I believe it. Dad, I miss you and can’t wait to see you again.

Thanksgiving in Wyoming

I have returned from my trip to Wyoming. Overall, it was a good trip. I’m so glad I got to see my grandparents. My grandfather is 84 and isn’t doing very well. We have plans to see him next July for a family reunion but thought it might be wise to make this trip Just In Case.

Buffalo
Snow!
Grandma playing Angry Birds on my tablet
Josh trying to get Grandpa to try a temporary tattoo
Three generations of boys
Grandpa, Josh, and I
Josh and I with the grandparents

In addition to visiting with my grandparents, I was also able to see an old friend of mine. I hadn’t seen her since my wedding six years ago. It was nice to be able to chat face to face! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the two of us.

Hopefully we’ll all be together again next July. If not, at least we were all able to spend some time together this Thanksgiving. For that, I am thankful.

Quick update

It’s amazing how fast time flies. This week, we’ve been diving back into our normal routine, my husband concentrating on his work and me trying to shift back into the housework. Once you get out of routine, it’s hard to get back into it!

On Sunday, hubby and I started the P90X fitness program. It’s intense! Workouts are around 60 minutes, 6 days a week. Today was day 6 so we get tomorrow off. On top of that, we’re trying to stay current with our running schedule. We had two 1 mile runs and one 2 mile run this week. The running is scaled back but we’re trying to keep our legs aware of what running is.

On the homemaking front, I’ve been struggling with my emotions a bit this week. I know I’ve been spending way too much time on things that don’t really matter and not enough time on the things that do matter. It’s too easy to spend 30-60 minutes wrapped up in a good book. I have a couple of really addicting games on my tablet. While I do not think these activities are inherently bad, I do feel that there has to be balance. Without it, nothing gets done.

There isn’t much time left before sundown today, for which I am grateful. I’m looking forward to the Sabbath and going to church tomorrow. My homemaking ponderings will have to wait until Sunday. I am planning on sitting down with a cup of tea and my computer and making lists of what I do everyday versus what should be done. I need to get back to a good schedule.

Last Sabbath, I chatted with my grandma in Wyoming. It turns out my grandpa isn’t doing very well and Grandma isn’t sure how much longer he’s going to be with us. My brother, my dad, and myself were planning on taking a trip to Wyoming late next spring but we moved the dates up. Now we’re going to Wyoming for Thanksgiving. This was completely unexpected and has definitely thrown me for a loop. I like knowing WAY in advance when I’m going to travel and I’m not quite prepared to be away from home again, especially when my husband can’t go with me. I’m flying up to Denver, which is where my brother is also flying to, and we’re both getting picked up by my dad, who is driving from Texas. Then we’ll be driving up to Casper for three days. While I’m not prepared to travel again, I am looking forward to seeing my grandparents.

On a much lighter note, I still haven’t made a good pumpkin pie! The one last Friday was bland. I made another this week but something was off with the consistency. It was like eating pudding. I have two more recipes to try but something has to work out! Making pumpkin pie should not be this hard.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I’ll try to get back to regular posting next week, detailing how things are going with my priority lists and schedules.

Gone again

It was very last minute. Yesterday I traveled to Tucson with my husband and spent time with my sister in law while my husband worked at a client’s office. While we were visiting, my sister in law invited me to accompany herself, her sister, and my nephew for a three day jaunt to San Diego. Sure!

We are headed off early this morning. My husband is dropping me off in Casa Grande at 6:30, where my sister in law will meet me at 7. Hubby returns home and we proceed to San Diego. I am so blessed to have a husband who encourages me to spend time with my family! I am also blessed to be able to afford these short trips.

In October, my brother, his wife, and their son will be moving back east for his military assignment. This will be the first time they’ve lived in a different state, other than my brother’s assignments in Iraq. I will miss them terribly! I have been excited to spend so much time with them lately, a chance to get to know both my nephew and my sister in law better before we live over 1,000 miles from each other.

I’ve been gone a lot and I look forward to life returning to normal next week. My blog posts have been intermittent as I haven’t been home much in the past two weeks. I miss my hubby. We are normally inseparable. But I am thankful for the time spent with family, for being close to them now. When they have moved and I don’t see them for a year at a time, I will be very grateful to have these recent memories.

Procrastination – Don’t do it!

I am learning once again the evils of procrastination. You’d think I would have learned this specific lesson by now, as I’ve been struggling with it my entire life.

In 13 days, my brother, his wife, their son, and their daughter will be arriving for their 6 day stay at our house. In 15 days, my mom and her fiancé are getting married.

Has my bridesmaid dress been hemmed yet? It’s in progress.

I planned a quilt for my 4 month old nephew; have I started that yet? Actually I did but I discovered today that I have to redo all of the work I’ve done so far (one full day’s worth).

Is my house clean for their impending visit? It’s not bad but I still have some work to do.

Have I started planning the family party that’s scheduled for the day after the wedding? Hmmm… nope!

Do I have any time this weekend to get started on any of the above list? Not exactly! Tomorrow is the Sabbath. On Sunday morning, I’m racing in a 5k just north of Phoenix. In the afternoon, I’m driving with my mom and her fiancé to pick up my niece and deliver her to my brother, who will be meeting us an hour south of here.

Am I complaining? Not really. Just lamenting the fact that I can’t seem to learn the simple lesson of planning ahead and being prepared. Some of my earliest school memories involve staying up really late and getting up super early to finish a project that was assigned a month earlier. Oops! That was 20 years ago and I’m still doing the same thing.

I’m claiming this promise:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Psalm 121

I’m not claiming it because I’m hoping God will help me get everything done in time. I’m claiming this promise because God cares about the deeper matter – my sin of procrastination. The Lord is my keeper and I know this is a habit He wants me to overcome. With His help and guidance, I can do it!

My new nephew

Last night, I met my nephew for the very first time. He’s three months old and so adorable!

I only got to see him for a couple hours but we’ll see him and his mother again on Monday for a bit. Then nephew, his mom, and his dad (my brother) will be staying with us for almost a week in June. I am so excited!