Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saying goodbye and moving day!

Well, it's official. We have moved back to Greenville.

Leaving Birmingham was bittersweet. We made some wonderful friends and sweet memories. But it is also nice to be back home and so close to family.

Monday I got to say good bye to "my little kids" again. I wanted to give them some going away gifts, take pictures, and final hugs and kisses. And as one of the little boys says - kisses for on the road, kisses for the middle of the day, kisses for the middle of the cute! :)

Ju-Ju got her own baby-doll diaper bag. Now that's she's a big sister, she likes to help change diapers on her baby-dolls. It's too cute. 

These are Eny, Meny, Miny, and Mo. Four kids ages 5-1 - and more than a handful, but sweet kids. They certainly challenged me, but they also made me laugh. The little boy in the green shirt is the one who loves to give extra kisses. :) 

Saying good bye to my apartment. It was a great place to live for a year!

Before the movers came, Paul and I had arranged everything strategically for efficiency.

All of the big furniture was in the living room.
Dressers, bookcases, tables, etc. on one wall.

The couches were stacked, the rug rolled up, and the mattresses standing up with the bed frames in between the mattress and the box-spring on another wall.

And the washer, dryer, recliner, and rocking chairs on the other wall.

ALL the boxes, tubs, and baskets were in the guest room, stacked and arranged like a puzzle.

Of course, the efficiency would have been so much better if the movers had showed up on time and not 2 hours late. But, some things are just out of your control.

At the end of the day, after moving every thing down three flights of stairs in over 100 degree weather, we were packed up and loaded on the truck, and able to drive away by 3:30. Not bad for a day's work!

One last picture outside our apartment before driving off.

My dad was a blessing! He drove over to help, and helped me move all the boxes downstairs since the movers were late. If we hadn't moved the boxes ourselves, I doubt the movers would have finished in the three hours we had them for. Plus, he drove the 26 foot box truck to Greenville! Thank you Dad!

This morning Mr. and Mrs. Reid helped us move everything from the truck to the storage units. We were worried about having enough room in the two 10x10 units we reserved. But, like all good puzzles, we figured it out, and got every thing to fit. Thank you for getting up early and helping!

Next week we are heading to Charleston for a vacation! No internet, no cable, no problem! Bring on the books, sleeping by the pool, and evening walks around the neighborhood.

God Bless

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My little girl

This sweet little girl has been apart of my life for the past year. She was 14 months when I started watching her, and she just turned 2 last month. It has been such a pleasure to take care of her and to watch her grow and develop. It's amazing how much little kids change over the course of a year - from obvious physical growth, to talking, interacting, and learning. It's been fun to help teach her colors, songs, counting, words, and being a little lady. Needlesstosay, I will miss her greatly and will never forget her.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My first hero

Happy Father's Dad!

I have an amazing Father.

He is an example of a man who believes in and lives his life for Christ, and it is reflected in how he lives as a husband, father, worker, and servant.

Some of my greatest memories are from times when my father spent time with me and my sisters. Whether it was dressing up and going to Girl Scout Father-Daughter dances, dying Easter eggs at the kitchen table, being lifting up at Christmas to put the angel on the tree, building a playhouse and a tree house, rough-housing on the family room floor, or saying bed times prayers before being tucked in and getting 6 kisses - all systematically placed on the face. :)

My dad has always been there for me.

He was the first man I ever loved, and always will be. I was honored to have him walk me down the isle at my wedding.

He is an even more amazing Papa. I love watching him with Henry, and can't wait for my own kids to know him and love him.

And now he is following his dream and passion for wood work. He custom makes rocking chairs, kitchen islands, bathroom vanities, and lamps. I was fortunate to spend some time with him in his workshop, and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. It is incredible what he does.

I love you, Daddy. 
Happy Fathers Day

God Bless

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I choose to believe

This is probably the hardest post that I will ever write.

It will be reflective of who I am right now, what we've been going through, and the vulnerability that I am feeling.

But it's also something that I truly believe in and want to share.

Many of you may or may not know anything about all of this, but here's a little background. Paul and I moved to Birmingham right at a year ago. Paul had just graduated from MUSC after four long years of studying to become a dentist, and was starting a one year general practice residency at UAB. I had decided to take a leave from teaching after four challenging, tough years of teaching in Title 1 schools, and would just nanny for a couple of families. This year was going to be a year for new beginnings, fresh starts, and adventures all along the way. While we have enjoyed our time in Birmingham, making some incredible, life-long friendships, living in a great city, and learning a lot about ourselves, we have also gone through some very difficult, unexpected trials.

Almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with "unexplained infertility". After four failed rounds of infertility treatments (aka, nightly hormone injections), plus a failed IUI, we made the decision to stop treatment so my body could essentially recover from the injections and the failed IUI. This was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Hands down. Ever since I was a little girl, all  I have ever wanted to be was a wife and a mommy. My first dream came true on June 14 when I married my best friend. However, the journey to motherhood has been more difficult. Each month started with a sense of renewed hope, and ended with an "I'm sorry, we have to stop". Each month, hearing the doctors tell me we had to stop treatment because I was at risk of hyper-stimulating was heart breaking.  When we finally found the right combination of medication to proceed with an IUI, I was hopefully that I might actually get pregnant after so many failed months (with and without medication). When I found out it had failed...I can't express the sense of loss and hurt. There are no words. I was angry and sad and frustrated and questioned "why?". "why me?", "why us?". Had I done something to cause this? I didn't understand. And at times, I still don't.

And now, we are getting ready to move in less than three weeks. Paul has been looking for a job as a dentist in upstate SC, but due to the economy and older dentists not wanting to retire and leave practicing, he has been unable to find a job. And with the economy still being down, and schools having to cut budgets more and more each year, I have been unable to find a teaching job. We had been really hoping for this one opportunity in Clemson to work out, a dream situation for the both of us; but, yet again, the dentist decided he just didn't want to give up the practice. And it felt like a six foot steel door had been slammed in our faces. Another shut door. Another dead end. Another "no". Another dream come crashing to the floor.

I was angry. And I cried a lot. And I didn't know if  I could take anymore heartbreaking no's.

And I got mad at God. I justified it by saying "even David got mad at God and cried out to Him in the Psalms". So I decided to open my Bible and find those Psalms and read those cries and empathize with David's frustration. And this is some of what I found:

"Save me, Oh God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. ... Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink... do not let the flood waters engulf me, or the depths swallow my up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, oh Lord, out of the goodness of your love. In your great mercy, turn to me." ~Ps. 69: 1-3, 14-16

"Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Why so distraught within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God" ~Ps. 42:11

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" ~Ps. 46:1

"But as for me, I trust in You" ~Ps. 52:23

"Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption" ~Ps. 130:5

I realized that it was ok to be upset, but I had to let it go. My hope is not in this world. My hope is not in a job, or a baby, or the dream life I have always wanted. My hope is in the LORD. He is my hope, my strength, my refuge, my comfort, my Savior, and my King. And while there have been so many doors closed for us this year, there is a reason.

" "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future"." 
~Jeremiah 29:11

I have a bracelet with this verse reference inscribed on it- it was my life verse for much of high school and college, but one I had forgotten this year. The Lord has a plan for us. We may not be able to understand what that plan is now, and that's hard. Extremely hard. But He does have a plan. A perfect plan. And I will continue to trust in that and wait.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory" ~Ephesians 3:20-21

This year, I could have been really angry for a lot of reasons. I have had more disappointments, let downs, and struggles than ever before.

But I refuse live my life being angry and mad.

I choose to believe and have faith and have hope. I choose to believe in a God who loves me more than I will ever know. I choose to have faith in Him, and in that He knows and understands what we are going through. I choose to put my hope in the One who laid down His life for me, who died for me, so that I might live.

I choose to live for Him.

God Bless.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Visiting Greenville

This weekend we drove up to Greenville to visit family, interview for a potential job, looks at houses, and celebrate a couple of birthdays. It was a busy but fun weekend!

Here's a look at some of what we did. We took a lot of pictures on Mrs. Reid's camera, so unfortunately, I do not have all of the pictures we took.

We visited Paul's parents new lake lot! They have sold their house in Greenville, bought the lot on Lake Hartwell, and will be moving at the end of August to a rental place while their house is being built. YAH! The lot is SO gorgeous and has an incredible view. I can foresee many many night and weekends spent on the lake with them in the future.

We found a baby bird. It must have fallen from a tree nearby. It was so sad looking. Anytime we touched it, it would stick it's head in the air and open it's mouth waiting for something to eat. I wanted to save it - you know like you see in the movies where they make a nest in a shoebox and nurse the baby bird back to health. Unfortunately, I'm not about to go all Alicia Silverstone for this little bird, so I just picked it up and moved it out of harms way (ie the cat and other animals that might have eaten it) so hopefully it can die in peace.

Paul especially loved the time with his Dad and brother. Home is where he can let his guard down, loosen up, rough-house, and just play around. He loves hitting golf balls over into the lake, throwing the football, and messing around with this Dad and brother. And it's so much fun to watch! I hope we have little boys some day. :)

Vance always has a good time visiting Grammy and Grampy! He loves being able to run around in the backyard as long as someone is out there with him. Every once in a while he'll get the sniff of something, and go into his hunting-pointing pose. It's fun to see! Before we rescued him he was certainly trained for hunting. 

And then he'll roll around in the grass. 

These two were meant for each other. 

So were these two! Holly asked me to be a bridesmaid in their wedding. I am so honored to be able to stand up there with them as they devote their lives to each other. They are such a sweet couple, and a true example of people who live by their faith in the Lord. Can't wait for May 18, 2012!

Nothing beats going home. Paul and I so blessed to have such wonderful families. We are both looking forward to moving back to the upstate - wherever that may be. 

God Bless

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's a habit

Ever notice how bad habits are hard to break, but how easy it is to pick one up?

I don't know what really made me think about this, or ponder it, or decide to openly admit that I have these habits on my blog, but its something that has been on my mind recently. Maybe because I'm being internally convicted to give them up...

I have some serious bad habits - some are worse than others, some are kinda funny, but, obviously, none of them are "good".

1. I live by lists - grocery list, to do list (what I call my daily TDL), email list, workout exercise list, etc. If it's not in a list, most likely I won't remember do it. Not that lists are bad in and of themselves, but living and breathing by lists, and having to have everything planned out is not so good. God already knows how my day is supposed to turn out, and what I'm supposed to do or not do, and His plans are more important than what is on my list. I think it comes down to control. I have to learn to surrender to Him and His large picture (one that I cannot see) and not get so focused on the details that I think are more important, i.e. daily tasks.

2. I don't take my make-up off at night before I go to bed. It's one of the easiest things to do in my nightly list routine, but for some reason, I just don't. And ask anyone, any dermatologist, any beauty queen, any woman out there practically, and she will say the best thing you can do for your face and your complexion is to take your make up off at night. I have the make up remover and the cotton balls waiting for me. Yet I'm too lazy and tired. This should be any easy habit to fix.

3. I love peanut butter. I mentioned in a post a while ago how much I love peanut butter. Peanut butter in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Like every thing out there, in moderation, and the right kind (freshly ground, natural, etc) it's not bad. However, when it's a comfort food, and you eat it by the spoonful straight out of the jar, then it's a problem habit. A spoonful here and a spoonful there add up, especially when it's not freshly ground all natural. But oh so good....

4. I leave my shoes wherever I take them off - which happens to be anywhere in the apartment but in the closet where they belong. Under the table. By the door. Next to the bed. On the couch.

5. I don't communicate well. I'm not a verbal person - never have been, probably won't ever be. I'm a listener, not a talker. An introvert, not an extrovert. I consider this a bad habit because I use it as an excuse sometimes to not talk when I probably should talk. I need to grow up, learn how, and practice my communication skills. 'Nuff said

6. I wear my pajama pants Paul's old scrubs on days that I stay at home or as soon as I get home from work. However, it may not be the best thing for me, or actually my husband. My friend posted this link on her blog, and it's something that I heard before but had pushed out of my mind because I "just wanted to be comfortable". It's something to consider and a habit that probably needs to be broken. It's on a guy's blog, but was guest written by a woman - should wives be hot?

7. I don't stay in contact with my friends well enough when I move away. In high school I was fortunate enough to have a really close group of friends. Now, I keep in contact with one, maybe two, of them, and not nearly enough. In college, same story. I talk with only two of the girls. While in Charleston, we had our first "couple friends". Paul probably keeps in contact with the guys more than I keep in contact with the girls. How is it possible that with all of the technology out there, and instant communication links that are now available, I still fail at staying in touch with girls that were once my closest friends? It's sad when I think about it. And I need to do a better job reconnecting and staying connected with them. If you are an old friend and reading this - my apologies. Let's talk!

8. I pick at my cuticles. Always have. It's not even something I think about doing any more - it just happens. It's one of my top worst habits. And it's also one of the hardest to break. I've tried. I pick when I'm stressed, when I'm anxious or nervous, when I'm upset. My poor fingers take the pain for me. Band-aids - lots of band-aids.

9. My worst habit? I hold grudges. It's awful, and it's selfish, and it's mean, and it's wrong. But I will admit that I hold grudges. I don't know why - maybe its a defense mechanism somehow, but I do. I have really been praying that when something happens that would make me grudge, God would change my mind, grant me grace so I may grant grace, and help me to move on. It's not worth it. It's a waste of time. Grudges are just bad.

They say it takes about six weeks to break a habit. Some of these I've been trying to break for years. Some are newer, so hopefully I can break them sooner. But habits aren't productive and positive. And as we start to get ready for a new chapter in our lives, I think it will be good for me to start working on breaking these habits - a completely new fresh start.

What are some of your habits that you think you should break? Because whether you want to admit it or not, you've got some. Just like me.

God Bless