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Here We Go Again!

It was just another ordinary, beautiful Wednesday.  I wanted to be lazy.  But after arguing with myself for about an hour or so, I got my lazy butt off the couch and got myself and the two littlest ones ready to go to the gym.  I made myself go on my easy 3 mile run.  It’s funny how a three mile run is now considered an easy run for me now!

After that, I picked up the girls from the childcare, and just as I was heading out of the gym, I noticed there was a new issue of the free Peekaboo magazine sitting on the rack.  I stood there for a minute, trying to decide if I should pick one up.  I enjoy skimming through it and finding local stores, ads, and stories of interest.  I am after all, trying to get more familiar with the area!

But do I really need one more magazine to take up counter space in my kitchen?  Again, I was arguing with myself in my head.  Oh, just take one!  And I did.  I tossed the magazine in the diaper bag and headed for the car.  I buckled in both girls and then grabbed the magazine for a quick glimpse.  That’s when I came across an adoption story.  I sat there with the car running, reading away as the girls waited patiently for me to drive them home.  I flipped through the pages, thinking of our own adoption story, when I came across another one.  I started to read it, then stopped as the baby started fussing.  I have to get these girls home!

I quickly flipped through the booklet again as I consoled the baby.  “Okay, America.  We’re going, we’re going!”

But I was still flipping through the pages.  It appears that this month’s issue is dedicated to adoption.  And just as I was about to put the booklet down (for real this time!) so I could start driving, there was Chuck smiling straight at me.  Chuck is a 13 year old boy looking for a forever home.  He sat there on that page, as if he were waiting for me to give him the okay to move on in.

That’s when I remembered my dream from a few weeks ago where Scott and I adopted two older children…both boys who were either young teens or preteens.  I suddenly felt the strongest urge to pray for Chuck…and maybe consider opening my home to another child.  “Okay,” I thought.  “This is just insane.”  I started the drive home.  But the insanity didn’t stop as the thoughts spinned through my head for the entire 7 minute ride in the car.  I got home and as soon as I could, I pulled up my laptop and typed in the website with Chuck’s information on it.  There, along with his picture and little tidbits of information on him, were about 10 other children’s stories.  Some had pictures, some didn’t.

I read them and teared up.  I want them all!  But of course, that isn’t possible.  Regardless, I just felt like God wanted me to do something.

I ended up calling one of my best friends and told her about Chuck and what I thought God was saying to me.  Then as I was talking to her, Scott called.  He wasn’t feeling well and was coming home.

“God, are you wanting me to talk to him?”  I prayed.  “I couldn’t possibly approach my husband about…adopting! Again!  We have SIX kids!”

That’s when the butterflies, which were already there, began to flutter even harder.  Okay…I’ll just wait until he gets home then.

About 20 minutes later Scott was home.  I made him some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.  As he sat at the table and ate, I showed him Chuck.  “I really feel like the Lord wants us to be praying for him.”  I told him.  Then I said, “When I read his interview, he just reminded me of you as a kid…and of Patrick.”

I watched him as a half smile slipped upward while I showed him the little interview they did on Chuck.  Then I grabbed my laptop and read him some other stories.  “Here’s Christian.  He’s nine.  He says if he has three wishes, he wants to be rich, to be an animal cop, and fun to be around.   His favorite holiday’s are Christmas, because he can worship Jesus, Halloween because he can scare people, and trick or treat, and Easter–celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.”

We laughed at some of the cute things these kids said.  “You knoooooooow,” I started, “I know of a great Christmas present that would make our kids happy and one of these kids happy too…”

And to my surprise, my wonderful, God-loving husband said, “Well, go ahead and give them a call.”

Really?  Oh.  Okay.  I wasn’t expecting that.  What I was expecting was for this man to reason with me.  I was expecting a logical explanation, a reason why we couldn’t do this.

But I did.  I called up the lady listed as the point of contact in the magazine, and left her a message.  Then I got online and emailed her.

Then I took the girls upstairs and got them down for a nap.  Only I accidentally fell asleep myself.  I woke up snuggled up with the girls and snuck out of bed.  My first thoughts went straight back to these kids.  “What was I thinking?  Am I crazy?  Adopt more kids???  No, I must have had a temporary moment of insanity.  This isn’t happening.”

I went downstairs and checked on my husband, who was sleeping on the couch.  He woke up a little bit later and said, “You know, this feels right.  I prayed about it some while you were upstairs, and I really feel like this is what we are supposed to be doing.”

I am convinced that if Scott had not come home when he did, I would have convinced myself that this was not meant to be – that I’d just had one of those crazy moments!  I would have fallen asleep, woken up and had those same thoughts, and then not said a word to my husband.

So maybe this temporary moment of insanity was meant to be.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough!  Two days ago I made the initial call.  I ended up being referred to another social worker.  I talked to her yesterday and she told me that she was holding an Inquiry meeting at 6 p.m.  “I know it’s short notice, but if you can make it, you can start the process from there.”

So I went…and ended up going home with a manilla folder full of forms and questions that I am once again filling out.  We may start this process and find out that for some reason or another we don’t qualify to adopt at this point, but I will be very surprised if that happens!

Oh boy…here we go again!   Now the big question is…how to tell the kids?

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The Path

Sometimes I just stand in awe of how quickly life can change.  I don’t really know what to say at this point.  After my last post, when I felt that God was reaching out to me, letting me know that He was there and He was going to provide all of my needs, I was genuinely surprised by the outpouring of events that continued to let me know that He is in the middle of everything.  It’s very humbling, to say the least, when you sit there and whine and complain about your circumstances, and God just waits patiently for you to finish, then speaks to your heart…then moves.

And move He did.  I wish I would have written this post earlier while things were still fresh, but  I’ll try to share just a little bit of what God is doing in my life.  The Saturday after my last post, Scott and I planned on joining our small group to attend a day of ministry at the Ray’s house.  If you are living in the Fayetteville area, you are probably aware that this amazing family lost their daughter/sister in a tragic accident on a day that was supposed to be filled with fun and excitement.  This family is a missionary family and love, love, LOVE the Lord with all their hearts.

I wasn’t able to make it to the house until about an hour and a half before everything was supposed to end, but when I got there I was just so humbled and blessed at what I saw.  Our group was working together, beautifying the Ray’s front and back yard.  They trimmed shrubs, cut down limbs, raked leaves, planted trees…you name it.  And even though there wasn’t a whole lot for me to do while I was there, I learned it was a pleasure and a privilege to serve this family who serves the Lord.  They were so down to earth, they were honest about their pain and loss, but the transparency didn’t stop there.  This family loves the Lord with all their heart.

While the grieved the loss of their daughter on earth, they also knew and rejoiced that she is with her Heavenly father.  At the same time, I watched in amazement as Patrick, my 13 year old son, let me know that he wanted to be there, to serve.  And he joyfully worked along with the others.  At the end of the day he said, “Mom, I don’t know why, but doing that just felt good.  It’s not the same when we do it at our house, but working at the Ray’s house felt good.  I want to do this again.”

It really convicted me.  Here I am complaining about my circumstances and this family is going through their own personal hell on earth, grieving the loss of their daughter, and still loving their God in the midst of it all.  It’s not to say that I haven’t loved God in the middle of all of this, but I did allow myself to get distracted and honestly, angry at God, when I should have kept my head in the game!  Then here is my son, learning and desiring to serve others.  He has such a compassionate heart.  That’s when I realized that I am not looking at this life on earth, or the people around me, through the eyes of God.  Like Patrick, I should desire and look for ways to serve others, to share God’s love, to try to comfort and be there for those who are hurting.

Sunday evening our small group met at our house and we discussed our experience from the day before.  Our meeting lasted longer than it has since we started our group and we really just opened up about our lesson topics, concerns, struggles, etc.  At the end of the meeting, one of the women approached me and asked, “Hey, do you want to get together and get lunch some time?”

“Yeah!”  I said.

That’s when she told me that she’s really been wanting to get to know me better.  Me?  Really?  Funny.  Didn’t I just complain about wanting someone to reach out to me?

Then another couple, whom Scott and I have talked about wanting to get together with, approached us that same night and asked, “Hey, would you two be interested in catching lunch together one Sunday?  We’d like to get to know you a little more.”

Then, two days later, another couple in our group sent me an email.  “I know this is short notice, but we have two extra tickets to this banquet on Thursday.  Do you and Scott want to join us?”

Okay, God…now you are just showing off!

So here I am in the middle of all of this learning, and being humbled and corrected, and at the same time, God is just blessing me with the desires of my heart.  It truly is amazing.  Once I was willing to shut up and listen, to let Him redirect me on the path He wants me to take, I was able to see that He loves me and really does want to give me the desires of my heart…the desires that line up with His desires.  I know He wants us to have Christian friends we can go to, talk to, grow with.  I know that He doesn’t want me to feel lonely.  But he also used that loneliness to get my attention.  After all, when there is no one else around you to talk to, it makes it a whole lot easier to realize that there is still someone there, just waiting for you to notice Him.

So God is doing a work in me, and I am so filled with joy right now.  He is such a patient and amazing God.  And as of yesterday, He has thrown another loop on our path that I am a little nervous about.  But that, my friends, is something I will have to share another time!  Until then, I pray this prayer for myself, and for you:

“Make me (us) walk along the path of Your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.”  Psalms 119:35

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks.  I guess the reality of the move has settled in finally!  I do this.  I go through the emotions of saying goodbye to friends I had and having to start over again.  I feel lonely, I whine and complain, and cry.  I struggle to keep a good attitude, even though I am blessed beyond comprehension.

So the last week or so it has hit hard.  I told my husband that I feel drained dry.  I feel like I have to put so much effort and energy into developing relationships and then once I finally start to get them established, I have to say goodbye.  I often feel like I am the one who has to reach out over and over again, and I’m just tired of it.  “For once,” I told him, “I just want someone to reach out to me.”

And I think part of that feeling has hit me so hard because my husband has so many connections and he does have people reaching out to him.  I have another friend who moved here recently and I’m seeing her thriving and going out with the girls…and when you are in a situation like mine, you can’t help but wonder so many things, like why the invites aren’t coming your way.

So I finally just let it out during some prayer time this last week.  I let God know how I feel – lonely, rejected, sad, tired, weak, neglected.  I whined about the sacrifices I’ve made.  I complained about following my husband around with every move and not feeling like I’m getting much out of it.  “I give and give and give,” I whined.  “And I get nothing in return!”  (Not exactly true, I know!)

And I’m certain God was listening patiently.  He let me have my rant.  And then when I was done, this stupid, stupid, STUUUUUUUUUPID song started playing in my head:

Come on, get your, get your head in the game
We gotta get our, get our, get our, get our head in the game
You gotta get your, get your head in the game
We gotta get our, get our, get our, get our head in the game

Stupid High School Musical. I’ve watched that movie once…ONE TIME. How in the world is it that this song started up in my head?

Then I felt God speak to my heart.  He told me that I need to remember what this is all about. While I am looking at all these moves as supporting my husband, following him around so he can get promoted, etc., I’ve forgotten that God’s hand is entirely in every single move and promotion and relationship I develop.  I’m not following my husband around, I’m going where God has told us to go, each and every time.  Every time He opens the door for us to move, He has a purpose to it, and His purpose has an eternal result in mind.

The sacrifices I’m making should not be for my husband, children, or even myself, but for God.  The promotions and blessings we receive through all these moves and actions we take are blessings from God, not the reason why we move.  Where much is given, much is required.  And the truth is, God has called me to live a life that I would never have picked for myself.  I lived the first 20 years of my life in one small military town.  I always assumed I’d grow up, get married, and live in one place forever.   My personality is not one geared for this kind of lifestyle, but how often does God call those who are prepared and strong to walk in the things He calls us to walk in?  He often chooses the weak, the inadequate, sometimes even the unwilling to go and do His work, so that His glory can be shown through it.

The things I miss, the loneliness I feel, is temporary.  I have an eternity of fellowship waiting for me at the end of this road.

So, once again convicted and thankful for God’s love and patience, I’m back in the game.  It’s not to say I still won’t hurt or be sad as I face the loneliness – I am after all, human!  But God is in control and if I rely on Him and wait patiently, I know He will bring the kind of friends my heart desires.  Women who will reach out to me in return.  Those I can rely on in a time of need.

In fact, it’s already starting to happen.  It was kind of funny.  Just after having that conversation with my husband, and God, I texted a newly met friend to let her know I wasn’t going to make the women’s Bible study we both joined because Madison was sick.  She texted me back, “I’m sorry to hear that.  Missed ya, do you need anything that I could pick up for you?”

I was touched.  Her thoughtfulness and willingness to do that for me meant more than she will know.  And I’m sure God was smiling on me as I read her message.  Sometimes I forget He really hears my prayers, and then I’m amazed at how quickly He responds, especially when I get my head in the game!

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Dear God,

All these moves are getting old. I’m tired of it. Please fix it before I beat my husband over the head with a frying pan the next time he mentions, “the next move.”

Sincerely,
Melissa from Real Life In Oklahoma   Washington  Arizona  Texas   Virginia  South Carolina  Ohio   Arkansas

Scott headed out for Arkansas earlier this week, and one thing I’m sure of, I am SO thankful for that man.  I honestly do not know how single moms do it! 

Tuesday night I was dealing with Dwight and boy, does he know how to push my buttons sometimes!  We’ve had to keep the house in tip-top shape because we could have showings at any time, so when he let the dogs out and didn’t take his shoes off before tracking mud onto the kitchen floor, I was ticked.  Mostly because I’d just asked him twice if he’d made sure he didn’t let the dogs track mud in the house, and he even went back and checked and told me everything looked good. 

So needless to say, when I went back and found the floor soiled, not just with dog paw prints, but his big fat tennis shoe prints, I was pissed.   And of course, Dwight being Dwight, what does he do?  He starts smiling. 

“Dwight, it’s not funny!  Why are you laughing!  Stop laughing!  This is so irritating for me to have to go over this with YOU, the SIXTEEN YEAR OLD!  This floor needs to be cleaned now!  Why are you still smiling?”

And since he kept smiling, I gave up and sent him to bed.  He tried to stop and explain, but I was in no mood.  “Just go, Dwight.”  I ordered as I cleaned the mess up myself.  That boy, we are just so different, I don’t get him sometimes!

So the next morning, when I saw the sticky note on the table (a sight that always fills me with dread because you never know what the boy is going to write), I prepared myself for his explanation. 

But oh.  Let me tell you…the entire note was of no importance, because what I read in the first sentence was enough…

Dear Mom,

I’m sorry for laughing at you… 

At me?  AT me?  Oh no…he was laughing at me?

Nice.  Apparently I was the funny one. 

Not that the little mud on the floor event ruined my week, but I did find it amusing.  My teenage son thinks I’m funny, only not when I’m trying to be.  No, it has to be at the most inappropriate times that I am funny!

Tonight however, was a bit rough.  I thought we were doing good.  Kids were in bed, America was asleep too, and just as I was about to put her in her swing (because right now we have no crib to put her in and the swing keeps her buckled in safe and sound and asleep!), Joshua comes out of his room crying. 

“Moooom,”  He called as America started to stir.

“Whaaaaat???”  I whined.

“I threw up.”  He squeaked.

I sighed.  “Where?”  I asked.

“On the bed.” 

America was awake by this point, and I headed up to the room.  Sure enough, dinner was sitting in a neat little red pile where Joshua was supposed to be sleeping. 

“Joshua, why didn’t you go to the bathroom?” 

“Because I didn’t know I had to throw up.”  He cried.  “I woke up coughing and it just happened.” 

I sighed (and groaned, and moaned, and whined), again and took America to the boys’ room.  I told Dwight and Patrick to watch her since they were awake anyway, and then went back to pick up Madison and moved her to my bed so she didn’t roll into the…ummmm…half-way digested dinner.

I went back and removed the sheet, took it down stairs, rinsed off dinner down the drain, then threw the sheet in the wash.  Back up the stairs I went as I rummaged through the closet to find a new sheet.  I walked into the room to throw the clean sheet on and as I went to Joshua’s side of the bed to straighten out the sheet, I was surprised by another lovely pile of salmon patties and watermelon nestled in another pile on the floor.

“Joshua!  Why didn’t you tell me you threw up on the floor too?”  I whined as I headed for the closet hiding the steam cleaner.  

“Crap!”  I shouted (And I wonder where my two year old got that one from today)!  I never emptied out the steam cleaner from the last time I used it.  It was mostly the detergent and water, but it still looked gross and I wanted hot water for this mess.  So I went to the kids’ bathroom to pour it out and when I lifted up the toilet seat…eeeeewwwwe! 

“Dwiiiiiiiiiight!”  I shouted.

He came running and I gave him the speech he’s heard a thousand times.

It’s his job to clean the bathroom.  The toilet is disgusting and looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in months.  Clean it, NOW.  Hey, if I was going to be up cleaning puke anyway, he could do his chore! 

I got the steam cleaner put back together, with hot water and detergent and got to work.  I start spraying the solution onto the carpet as I ran over the salmon/melon mixture and waited for the machine to start sucking up the yuckness.  Only there was no sucking, just a soggier puddle of solution and puke.  Great.

The stupid thing was spraying the water great, but for some reason, it didn’t want to suck anything up.  I tried switching the setting from “hand tool” to “floor cleaner” several times, but it did nothing.  Finally, I, cussing up a storm at this point, grabbed the hand tool and started scrubbing away with it.  I could hear the baby crying on and off in the background, and Madison, with all my cussing and carrying on, came walking in.  I told her to stay out of the way, so Dwight, who finished cleaning out the toilet bowl, picks her up and follows me, “Mom, do you want me to put her on the couch?” 

“Oh sure, Dwight, like she’s going to stay downstairs by herself!” 

“Do you want me to put her on your bed?” 

“No, Dwight!  She’s not going to stay there by herself either.”

“Where do you want me to put her?”

Seriously?  She was perfectly fine where she was.  Why did he think he had to put her anywhere? 

“Dwight, just go to bed!”  I finally ordered.  Frustrated, I stopped the cleaner, took it back apart, and found a filter that was somewhat clogged up.  I cleaned it off, and sure enough, that did the trick.

“Thank you, God!”  I prayed.  Because surely I couldn’t have handled trying to clean up that mess with the hand tool much longer!

I spent another 20 minutes fretting and cleaning the redness out of the carpet that will be cleared of any furniture by Thursday of next week.  This was just what I needed, you know, red puke to stain the carpets right before we move out!  I think I got most of it out, but it was a chore. 

It’s just funny, how ironic things can be.  Like earlier today when I was thinking about how I can not handle my kids getting really sick right now – not in the midst of a move, and how God must know that because they seem to be doing okay even though they’ve been exposed to some nasty stuff over the last couple of weeks.  And then later when I thought about the sick sense of humor God has at times. 

I think God was just using His sick sense of humor to make a point (or two) – I apparently can handle the kids getting sick right now, even with my husband away!   Yeah, I had to laugh.  I have a sick sense of humor too, and when God shows his funny side, well, I just can’t help but laugh AT Him. 

Wait a minute…Me?  Laughing at God and His ways of pointing out my mistakes and misconceptions?  It’s funny how different my perceptions can be from the truth!

So that’s what it’s like to laugh at the parent who is trying to make a point.  There is something funny when we realize our misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth.  Like Dwight saw a “clean floor,” I saw a circumstance I thought I could NOT handle.  The truth is, I’ve made it through much harder situations than this!   I was a bit surprised that I was being proven wrong, and I’m sure Dwight, was a bit surprised to see the mud on the floor after he checked.  How else does a person respond to a surprise, but to laugh?

I may not always get his sense of humor, but I’m starting to realize, maybe Dwight and I aren’t so different after all.  But the difference between God and me, is that I’m pretty sure He doesn’t mind that I am laughing at His ways of getting my attention or pointing out the mess I’ve made in my own little head.  I guess as the parent, I need to learn to laugh along with my son, because I swear I could almost hear God laughing with (but of course, not at!) me as I realized in my own way, I was acting just like my teenage son!

and low.  This move feels like too much on some days. 

Scott just got off the phone with me.  He’s in Fayetteville right now and found a note in the door of our new house from the water company.  They are refusing to turn on the water until numbers are screwed into the stone on our house.  I guess the previous owners re-bricked the house and never put the house number on the house, so my exhausted husband is running  BACK to The Home Depot he just came from to buy some numbers.  I’m guessing he’ll probably have to buy a drill and some screws too since his tools are here in OHIO. 

It all makes me so angry and I just feel that is going a little overboard considering how difficult they were about getting the water turned on in the first place.   We’ve moved places where all you have to do is make a phone call, but not here.  No, you have to drill numbers into your house before they will turn the water on!  What really pisses me off is that if Scott weren’t there this week, we would have shown up with all 6 of our kids, 2 dogs, and NO water.  I just think that is WRONG.

DO YOU HEAR ME CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE?  WRONG!

Yes, I’m ranting.  Scott & I just don’t need any more stress at this point.  Moving is tough and with the stress and strain of it all, we’ve found ourselves arguing more.  I know it’s normal, but it just makes it all that much more exhausting.

I’m excited about getting there, because this whole moving process has been dragging on for months.  I’m tired of showing our house (or should I say, cleaning up after 6 kids in a mad rush to show the house?), and tired of not feeling settled, and I just want to get the impending tearful goodbye done and overwith so I can have a good cry and move on. 

And I’m trying so hard not to freak out about the future.  Life as we know it is about to change forever with this move. 

Donavan will be graduating highschool during our time in Fayetteville for one.  I can’t believe I’m about to have a kid who will be a legal adult in 2 years.  He wants so badly to join the Army, and even though Scott and I think it is the wrong move for him, we’ve agreed to support him and found a military summer camp to send him to right after we get moved in.  It will be 2 weeks long, and a “realistic basic training” course. 

Donavan will either come back more fired up than ever about going into the military, or he’ll decide once and for all that he hates it.  Only time will tell!

I am still fighting off anxiety attacks about this whole small town thing.  Just the idea that everybody knows everybody and so much about everybody makes me a little nervous.  (And all that much more pissed off that the loser water guy wouldn’t turn on the water.  Dude, can I send you a bill for the drill and screws?) 

With this move is the knowledge of us moving further away from Tina and her husband and kids.  I am taking it harder than I thought.  I hope that we can work out some good visits, but I know how quickly summer flies by and with work and school, it’s going to be tough! 

And the fact that Scott and I just met the coolest couple with whom we’ve connected so quickly.  ARGH!  Why do I always make the best friends right before moving?  So unfair!

I am really, really, really hating this moving every 2 years thing…I feel like my life gets put on hold, and then I have to restart it all over again with new friends, new places, new everything, and by the time it all gets familiar, we leave.  I’ve had a few tearful nights where I’ve confessed my loneliness to my husband, because it really is a lonely life for someone like me who takes a while to really make good friends.  I can open up so much at first, but to really connect with someone, it just takes me a while…or when it’s one of those kindred spirit type things, it’s right before we leave. 

Okay, I’m done complaining now.  (Or as I tell Scott, “venting!”)  Emotions will probably continue to go up and down as we leave and arrive.  I’m trying to stay positive and there is certainly a lot to look forward to, I just had to, you know, vent.