Category Archives: Simplicity

Cosmic Shift

Drafts. A post. Lots more drafts.
That’s been the extent of my blogging the past several months.

Tears. Refining. More Tears. Did I mention tears?
That’s been my life the past several months.
Much of that just hasn’t been put into words, here or even in-person.

Well, because…

Sometimes the most powerful, gut-wrenching yet healing moments in life leave us simply so undone we (even I) am unable to utter a sound, let alone wax poetically about the cosmic shift occurring within. We are unable to ascertain just exactly what our Creator is doing in the miry depths of our disheveled soul, which can leave us feeling vulnerable to the core and, at times, scared of what is next. All I know is that, if we surrender to the beautiful chaos, when He’s done chipping away and putting back together, we will never be the same. I will never be the same.

Thank you, Father, I will never be the same.

More to come. 🙂


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Filed under grace, Life, Sanctification, Simplicity

8 Years: Reflections on Life Post-Transplant

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

8 years.
2,922 days.
70,128 hours.
4,207,680 minutes.
252,460,800 seconds.

It’s been 8 years since I was wheeled through those double doors and taken back for my double lung transplant. It’s been 8 years since I said goodbye to a room full of family and friends, never knowing if I’d see them again this side of Heaven. It’s been 8 years since the Lord saw it fit to rescue me from my physical brokenness and save me from the brink of death in a matter of just 12 hours for my good, but most importantly, His glory. It’s been 8 years, but those years have been so very full, it feels more like a lifetime…and then some.

So much – so much more than I ever could anticipate – has happened since that time. It would take several blog posts to go through it all, but thankfully I’ve already written about much of it in my book, Breathtaking, as well as documented the most recent happenings here on the blog. If you only recently started following my story during the series on our adoption/surrogacy/miscarriage/adoption journey (thanks for reading, btw :)), I’d encourage you to get to know my life prior to 2013 through my husband’s and my book, if you get the chance.  It truly is a miraculous story of God’s sovereignty and goodness amidst human suffering, a story I could never, ever conjure up on my own in a million years. When I occasionally stop and read portions of the book, or even blog posts I have written this year, to remind myself of how faithful the Lord has been to me during my 27 years of life, I sometimes have a hard time believing that the person I’m reading is about me.

The ways in which I have seen God move in my life are staggeringly beautiful and constantly leave me face-down in a posture of humility before my King, as they should. On days like today, when the vivid memories come flooding back, and the tears fall like fresh rain, I am once again left speechless and so in awe of the work He has chosen to accomplish through me instead of choosing to take me Home years ago, which He so easily could have done. Words can never express my gratitude for the 8 years I have had to walk this earth. No matter how many more years I get, I have been blessed beyond measure to have had the fullness of life I have experienced since September 25, 2005. He didn’t have to practically raise me from the dead for Him to be sovereign or good. By His sheer nature, He can be nothing but those things and more. Friends, He didn’t “owe” me 8 more years, and He certainly doesn’t owe me any more.

He may not owe me any more, but I’m still a human. I still desperately want more time with the ones I love, especially my husband and my children, with whom I have yet to get to spend any time. If we’re truly honest with God, ourselves and others, we all want “more” of something. Whether that be something as simple as more understanding of why a life circumstance had to occur, more children, more money, more friends, more prestige, more whatever. At the end of the day, though, Jesus is asking us – is asking me – if we (I) ultimately only want more of Him, no matter if we get our desire for “more” ____.

That’s a hard pill to swallow (and believe me I’ve swallowed thousands of pills in my life), though, when more of Him may never mean more of the thing you so desperately want. You want the good news, though?

He promises He’ll always be enough.
Always. No exceptions – ever.

I wish I could say I live like I believe this 100% of the time. Like all humans, my finite mind has a hard time sometimes grasping why certain things have to happen. To be honest, 2005 was a lot easier for me than 2013 has been thus far. I know that will sound dramatic to some. It is what it is, though. I can’t really articulate for you all the ends-and-outs of exactly why that is. That is my reality, though, whether you (or I) understand it or not.

As I continue through my post-transplant journey, I admittedly struggle at times feeling like a ticking “time bomb.” In some ways, this feeling has gotten better as time as gone by; in others, it has become harder to escape. 8 years out, 1 year always feels like 5 years, if not more. In the beginning, 1 year would feel like a decade.

After all of these years, I think I’m finally starting to realize why:

The longer I live, the more people die who began their transplant journey around the same time as me (60-70%); that’s a fact of life I can’t change. I don’t have to be a slave to it, but I can’t hide under a rug and act like it doesn’t exist. Consequently, though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God can choose to have me live another 50 years, time certainly doesn’t seem on my side. Just like an older person who most likely has lived at least 1/2 , if not much more of their life, I am left with not only a keen awareness of time but this insatiable desire to not only be a good steward of my time but also for more – lots more – of it in general. To not be enslaved to the awareness of life being but a vapor (James 4:14), I also have to daily (especially during this season of barrenness) give my desire for control over my time on earth over to the Lord, the One who numbered my days before time existed.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer that being cognizant of time isn’t all a bad thing – hardly so. In fact, I believe (for me) having a healthy awareness of post-transplant patients’ life spans, and thinking through how your family is going to be taken care of if/when you’re gone and unable to be there for them, is not only the responsible thing to do but the Godly thing. That’s why I took the time to plan out my funeral 8 years ago when I was faced with the very real possibility of death. I refused to leave that difficult task on my parents to do with the help of my close friends, who also would have been grieving (though not as deeply) upon my death. My mom didn’t understand my reasoning for such planning at the time. Understandably so, she refused to take part in it. It had to be done, though; at least it had to be done for me, if even only for a few months, to live with a clear conscience. Even though  God had other plans for my life, and those written-out funeral plans were obviously never used, I know to this day I was obedient in doing it, even 8 1/2 years after sitting down with a group of people and planning out something that never came to fruition.

Now, 8 years, a loving marriage and Lord-willing soon-to-be, precious children later, my focus has shifted from my parents and close friends to my husband and children. My love for my parents hasn’t waned in the slightest (in fact, it has grown as I prepare to be a parent myself), but my priorities have changed and rightfully so. I still want more time with my parents, other immediate family and friends, of course. After all I had been through, I had no idea how much marriage, and the oneness (spiritually, emotionally and physically) that comes with it, would change the way I process time. After my surgery, I was made aware of how precious time truly is, but my urgency for spending my time well has only been heightened since marriage. I’m sure it will become even more sensitive once our children are here. Now I just don’t think about how I’m spending my God-given time and what type of legacy I am leaving. I also have a  physical longing to be a good steward of my time with my spouse and kids. I daily long to “redeem the time” we have with one another. I’m consciously aware that my days with them are (most likely) fewer than we all would like and for which we would ask, and that knowledge changes the way I view everything.

To illustrate my point, I’ll give you an analogy:

Sometimes I feel as if I am standing within an hourglass made of impenetrable glass, which is quickly burying me with sand, i.e. lost time.

As I look out at 99% of the world, in particular those my age, I see those whose glasses seem to be pouring much more slowly than mine. They are standing only knee-to-waist deep in their sand and hardly aware of the urgent feeling they, too, will one day feel to “redeem the time.” For most of them, that realization of their finiteness will come many years later in their journey called life. Due to feeling as if they, even those older than me, “have all the time in the world,” I see mostly a generally worry-free attitude when it comes to redeeming their time left on Earth.

As for me, no matter what the speed of others’ glasses, or how hard I try to move at their speed, I can’t crack the glass or slow down my sand. As a result, I continue to be (or feel as if I a being) swallowed up at a much faster rate than the vast majority of my peers. Those who are my age, including my own spouse, are naturally more concerned with their grandparents’ and parents’ hourglass at this point in their lives than their own.

As Christians, weasily say that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Most of us are planning on easily living at least 70-80 years, though, because that’s what statistics tell us we’ll most likely get.  In the process of living all of those years,  it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty and importance of redeeming ever single day, even the mundane ones. It’s easy to “bank” on things happening in life for you (whether graduating from college, marriage, having children, succeeding in your career, retirement, etc.), because after all, that is the natural trajectory of the vast majority’s lives. Furthermore, as people are moving through life and its natural ebbs and flows, most don’t consciously take their finite nature to heart, at least not every single day. This is especially true of those living within the first half of their natural lifespan.

People don’t consciously think about their own hourglass until tragedy strikes.

A few times in life, one will inevitably be rocked to the core and left to deal with a loved one’s mortality. This uneasiness is most likely first felt through the death of grandparents, in particular a close grandparent. Usually, after the initial blow (through the death/sickness of whomever is closest to them — usually the oldest loved ones still living at the time), life eventually returns to “normal.”

When tragedy strikes the younger (peers, spouses, children), however, it tends to “wake people up” a little more than when the elderly pass. Depending on how close and young the dead loved one was, the sting of death seems a little deeper, because all of us (no matter our religious affiliation) know the young aren’t “supposed” to pass away. We feel the effects of the Fall a little more during those tragic times.

Still, the formative life-changes that come from these times of grief, even in its most tense form, usually do not fully garner our attention to our own life clock. Even after the gravest of situations, the urgency to “redeem the time” wanes until the next tragedy, which starts the process all over again for a few days, months, or possibly a few years. 

Most of our lives are not lived under the part of the mantra that says “for tomorrow we die” but instead the former part, which says “live, drink and be merry.” And so we do. Like the old Tracy Lawrence song says, “time marches on,” and it does so without much thought from us most of the time.

Eventually, though, everyone starts to acknowledge their “sand.” After usually a very long, full life, people “suddenly” become aware of their hourglass filling up. They seem shocked and act as if it happened just overnight. As we all know, though, aging,  and consequent loss of time, is a natural progression; it is one that occurs whether we pay attention or not. Some life events, such as illness or a major birthday milestone, just make us more aware of that fact. Major life changes, such as graduating high school or college, getting married, having children, a mid-life crisis, or retirement can also remind us, at least for a bit, that life is indeed moving along.

Eventually, not only do people have to come to grips with time passing, they are faced with their pending death – the end of their “sand” falling – whether they’re ready or not. Psychology experts will tell you that it is during the last years of one’s own life, that deep reflection on one’s own life occurs for the first time for the majority of the human race. Some are eased into this pattern of thinking very slowly and reflect on-and-off for two or more decades before their demise. Others, however, are shoved forward into dealing with their mortality in a more tangible way when they are suddenly diagnosed with a severe illness (such a cancer or heart disease), diagnoses which can even come with a possibility of death for some. For many individuals, due to lack of self-actualization throughout most of their lifetime, oftentimes this period of end-of-life reflection brings up past regrets and disappointments in their personal, professional lives and even spiritual lives. It can conjure up feelings of  past hurt and shame and cause one to feel the consequences of the weight associated with a lack of fulfilled dreams, forgiveness for oneself and/or others, or a pattern of disobedience to God. Sadly, for some (even Christians who are confident in their eternal home), the darkest period of their life is the very end of their life – a very, very sad fact, if you ask me.

Whether we’re ready or not, whether we are at peace or not, the fact is this: We all die.

The question is this: Are we going to not only die well, but more importantly, live well? Are we going to live with conviction for the glory of King, the Author and Finisher of our faith, or are we to try be the masters of our own fate until that no longer works for us?

 Fast pouring glass or not, whether we choose to acknowledge our glass throughout life or not, in order to have peace, Jesus still has to be enough – in all things.

He has to be enough in life and in death. He is the Keeper of the glass, after all. He is the One who determines the number of our days, not us or a statistician who promises us far more, or maybe far fewer, days than we will actually live.

For me, that means a desire for more of Him has to be more than my desire for more time. On a tangible level, that means daily balancing the tension I feel to not focus so intently on my hourglass I feel paralyzed, but to be responsibly aware of its contents, nonetheless. That daily tension causes me to be cognizant of our finite nature, and therefore wanting to live my life to the fullest, but also wanting to be capable of relaxing and enjoying life while I have it, too. Some days, I walk the mental tight rope better than others.

Bottom line: I have to balance my keen awareness of the time at hand (which is a unique gift I’m thankful to have) with also a permission for myself to join the others and, at least in a way, “live, drink and be merry,” as long as I’m doing it for the glory of my King. After all, I’m not dead yet. 😉

Thank God, I’m not dead yet. 🙂

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Filed under Breathtaking, cystic fibrosis, grace, Health, Life, Marriage, Purpose, Sanctification, Simplicity, Transplant

Life After A Mid-Life Crisis

I recently had a mid-life crisis.
Sounds fun, huh?
Not so much.

During the emotional turmoil which was that season of my life, I discovered (and shared about how) I was a relational harlot – for years. The crisis is over, though, and life has thankfully moved on. I’m officially a recovering relational harlot at this point. From the messages I received after my post, it sounds like some of you are moving into that category, too. Good for you! I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be happier. I pray the same for you, as well.

So, not only has life post-crisis moved on, it’s changed – a lot.

Some days I willingly embrace my new-found relational freedom. Other days, like a drug addict in rehab, I crave my former life and wonder if I was really hurting myself as much as I have recently come to make myself believe. No matter if my feelings align or not, I’m daily left to make a conscious decision to still live as authentically as I always have (and always will) but not as transparently as I – and everyone else – have become accustomed.

After a few minutes of doubt, some prayer, and a lot of grace with myself, I feel confident in my decision once again…until the next time, when I repeat the process over and over again. I guess that is what people de-toxing from old, unhealthy habits do. As I “get healthy,” I don’t want to get so caught up in not going back to my old relational habits that I am tempted to move the complete opposite way, which wouldn’t be healthy, either. That wouldn’t be profitable and would just lead to another rehab program down-the-road. No, thank you.

I’m daily committed to finding the happy relational medium.

That means…

  • I’m learning how priceless my marriage is and how much my husband means to me and deserves my undivided attention. I’m learning relationships are few and far between where both parties, whether in a marriage or a friendship, are being mutually transparent and giving; they may be rare, but they truly are a taste of Heaven on Earth.  I am more consciously aware of these relationships’ value and uniqueness. Moreover, I am more devoted to cultivating these few relationships, especially with my spouse, instead of giving so much of my heart to so many and not getting much (if anything) in return. I’m learning you can be loving without giving all of yourself to every single person.
  • Furthermore,  even though it feels so wrong to even say that, let alone do it, I’m learning self-preservation, at least in a way, is Godly and good. I’m left to show more wisdom and pursue “wide-open” relationships with people who don’t question my heart (You want to really hurt a hyper-relational, honest-as-they come type of person ? Just question their motives.) and desire to reciprocate the transparency I’ve always so easily given. Moreover, because I’ve consciously preserved myself and not expended myself (even if sincerely) to the point of emotional depletion, I’m left with more emotional energy to “love” the masses from a healthier distance without unintentionally needing anything from them or getting hurt when they don’t (for whatever reason) accept my genuineness.
  • I’m on my phone a lot less. This is still a work in progress (ask my husband), but I’m slowly losing my desire to constantly “connect” with people via text, to “Like” everyone’s latest status updates on Facebook, and everything else that can easily deceive you into thinking you have a close, mutually-giving relationship with someone when you have the furthest thing from it.  My phone doesn’t blow up nearly as much as before, because I’m intentionally taking a step back and not initiating contact with most. I’ve slowly realized that, because of my former propensity to live life wide-open with everyone and therefore share all my cards to anyone who breathes, I have been duped all along into believing this sentiment was mutually being practiced by far more than who actually reciprocated that level of transparency. Ouch. Admittedly, after years of being the pursuer, I’m wanting to be, and working on being, pursued. Though it’s hard,  I guess I’m learning that timeless lesson, “You teach people how to treat you.” People are rightfully used to me being the pursuer; that’s what I’ve always done and enjoyed, after all. Well, not anymore. I’m sure I’ll increase my pursuit with time (never to the extent I did before), but during this time of transition, I’m not setting myself up for failure. I don’t want to go back to bad habits, and they do die hard. In the meantime, I’m learning the few people who do regularly contact me, without me always having to contact them first, are the ones who deserve my attention the most. My love and appreciation for said individuals has only grown and matured. 
  • I spend time with Jesus a lot more. Since my phone hasn’t been occupying my time as much, I have had much more time to devote to the Lover of my Soul, Jesus Christ, during this season. Not surprisingly, He hasn’t changed. He has waited patiently for me to climb up into His lap, tell Him my troubles, and let Him slowly heal me to the core. I listen to sermons a lot more, in particular those on relationships and how most people function with each other (I’m realizing I really am rather strange). I review almost daily how the Lord ministered to (and very much loved) the masses, yet was obviously closer to the 12 disciples and even closer to the “inner circle” of 3. I am encouraged by the fact that, if Jesus didn’t feel guilty for not giving Himself fully to every single person, I don’t have to feel guilty either. I journal prayers and talk much more to the One who knows me better than I know myself. I love you, Jesus. Thank you for never giving up on, and believing in, me.
  • I’m choosing to be more guarded with most, yes, but also refusing to become someone I’m just not, i.e. cynical and cold. Though I wish it were possible to healthily give so deeply of yourself to as many people as I’d like without hurting yourself, I’m learning it just isn’t. No amount of sincerity can change that fact.  On the other hand, becoming bitter and cynical isn’t an option for me. Sure, I have my moments when I think about some past relationships and realize it wasn’t really the way I perceived it and feel hurt. There’s even past relationships that, now when I think about them, make me feel extremely burnt. That’s when, though, I find myself having the most compassion, even for the people who caused me the most hurt. I find myself praying for them and their families. I find myself genuinely wishing them nothing but God’s best. I told you before, I’m not very good (at all) at holding a grudge. I refuse to stop loving people. Doing so, would just deny a very large part of who I am — a very outwardly giving, caring person who loves very deeply very easily. I’m just learning I deserve to be loved, too, and that starts with me properly loving myself through putting up relational boundaries.
  • I’ve realized that, for years, I haphazardly left so many more very personal pieces of me with a much larger population than whom has left valuable pieces of themselves with me. In a way, because of my carelessness, I’m left feeling like a prostitute who has given away her body far too many times. I wasn’t just cordial with the masses. I didn’t just “kiss” all of these people. I emotionally went to bed with humanity, exposing all my “goods” for the whole world to see. I’m now dealing with the consequences of my emotional promiscuity. I honestly still don’t really know what to do with that fact but face it and move on; what else can you do?

Yes, as my good friends (a girl can dream, right? ;)) Rascal Flatts would say, I’m movin’ on


Filed under grace, Life, Purpose, Sanctification, Simplicity

Why We Halted Our Adoption: The Roadblock – Part 6

Holy Cow!
We have been floored by your response to my little blog series. All I know is God asked me to be transparent about what has been going in our lives (as I’ve done in the past), so I obeyed. I’m so glad I did! 😀 THANK YOU for all your support and encouragement this far.
It means more than you’ll ever, ever know. 🙂

The story isn’t over yet.

Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?

The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option,  and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
*For more on the questions we both had, and the emotional struggle I went through, once the surrogacy option was presented to us, please see Part 4.
*For more on the initial, God-filled meeting I had with the woman who strongly felt God may very well be calling her to be our surrogate, please see Part 5.
Coming out of work last Monday evening, I was on a high.
I have never been more excited to drive home.
No, I take that back – to drive anywhere.

I couldn’t wait to tell John everything that had transpired earlier that morning with the God-sent woman who came into our lives out of the blue, about the one who was so at peace with helping make us a family of three. It was becoming more and more clear that she was going to help make John’s (and therefore my) dream of having children of our own flesh and blood come true. I was confident that only a few hours earlier I had met not just another human being but an angel sent to us by our Heavenly Father to accomplish His miraculous plan. I was on cloud nine.

John and I spent the whole evening talking about my meeting with this woman we had both grown to love.
We prayed.
We, especially John, cried many tears of joy.
We laughed.
We thanked the Lord profusely for how He was seemingly working in our lives for His glory.
We cried again.

We spent a lot of time thinking about our children’s names. Hannah Grace will undoubtedly be our first-born daughter; that has been decided since before we got married. A boy’s name, however, has always been hard for us to solidify. As of now, 2 names are still in the running and no decisions have been made. I am praying the Lord clearly tells John the name I like is his God-given name, not just one his mother likes, soon. 😉  This conversation wasn’t one we hadn’t had before; in fact, we’d had it hundreds of times. What we never had done before, however, is try to come up with 2 names for both genders we could both agree upon, like we did that night.

John was clearly dreaming BIG. He was believing the Lord could not just give us one child through surrogacy but TWO (or more) and wasn’t afraid to pray specifically for it. My usually skeptical, very realistic husband was once again showing that he had extreme faith that God was working on our behalf. He was operating with a faith I had never seen in him before, a childlike faith I had prayed so many hundreds of times before for him to have. My prayers had been answered, even if not in the way in which I was imagining. After all, we hadn’t planned on surrogacy ever being an option for us; we were adopting, and that was that. I was planning on my prayers being answered by him being completely at peace with that decision and showing this much enthusiasm and joy about the prospect of being a family through the beautiful gift of adoption. Though I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work out now that the Lord had hijacked our plans, I was absolutely in love with my husband in that moment. I could have easily stayed in that moment with him forever.

We went to bed that night full of joy and peace, anxiously anticipating how the Lord was going to work next.
And then Tuesday came.

Unlike most days, I had to be at work that day at 9:00am instead of my usual 1:00pm. I was happily going through my work day, answering phone calls and gathering people’s information for them to be quoted auto insurance, while trying not to daydream too much about what our biological child would look like, when I got a Gmail chat message from John on my phone.

“I have some bad news,” the message said.

He went on to tell me that after talking with our insurance that morning, as well as two – not just one – fertility clinics, he was informed that, as the prospective parents, we would be responsible for the entire fertility bill for all parties involved (3), that the surrogate’s insurance wouldn’t kick in until pregnancy was achieved. We had naively assumed, though, that the implantation of our embryo (what we thought they meant by IVF) into the surrogate would be covered under her insurance (if at all) because she’d be the one being “serviced.” We had already been talking through, and planning, on the very real possibility of her insurance not covering it and therefore us needing to pick up the entire tab for it, so that wasn’t a deal breaker.

It wasn’t ideal, but we could work through it.
There was another problem, though.
Things were about to get worse – a lot worse.

John went on to tell me we don’t have the fertility coverage on our insurance plan we thought we had. In our minds, all the other fertility treatments, besides In Vitro Fertilization (as we defined it), were covered by our insurance, so it was just a matter of how much implantation was going to cost. 

Like I said, it was our understanding that the embryo implantation was essentially defined as “IVF”. Sadly are understanding of our coverage couldn’t be further from what was really going to be covered. Quickly he had learned that “IVF” is what they call the entire process, meaning my egg retrieval, his sperm retrieval and analysis and implantation. Yes, the whole process, not just a third of it.

The only “good” news that came out of his dialogue with our insurance company was that he was informed we did have coverage through our prescription plan for the hormonal shots/prescriptions that both I, and the surrogate, would need to achieve successful implantation. In their words, that would shed a “couple thousand” off the bill.

So, instead of our estimate of probably getting through the fertility part of the process for $5,000 (or less), he was told by the fertility clinic that, without IVF coverage, we were looking at bill of $20-25,000 for just the fertility. This total didn’t include the legal fees, pregnancy or our payment to the surrogate. In a matter of minutes, our dream of having a child through surrogacy went from a miracle within our reach to seemingly an impossible financial hill to climb. Impregnating the woman who was feeling “called” to carry our baby now came with a perceived cost almost as huge as if we would have gone through a surrogacy agency, something we’ve already established we could never afford, even if we found the “right” person to carry our baby.

In a matter of seconds, my heart shattered into a million pieces.

Unlike John, I didn’t have a door to shut to hide my tears. I hid behind my computer screen and prayed for the breath to return to my lungs. I wanted to go hide in the bathroom, but I knew the sobs that would inevitably come behind a closed door would scare my co-workers and any customers who happened to walk in. I had no escape for several hours. I wasn’t about to tell my boss, even if he was a close friend, I was too emotionally unstable to finish out my day. We were already short two people, which is why I came in early, so I knew he desperately needed my help. I wasn’t going to put him in a tough spot just because I received some bad (OK, horrible) news. No, I had no choice but to pull myself together and continue to welcome people into our State Farm office with open arms. None of our policy holders were going to want to hear my sob story. They just wanted to pay their bill and get on their merry way. They just wanted to hear a friendly voice on the other end of the line when they had a policy question, one who was giving them their undivided attention. As one who prides myself in doing my job with excellence, I knew I had no choice but to bury the raw emotions I was feeling until closing time. So I did.

Once I got into my car a little past 5:00pm, however, I lost it.
I sobbed the whole way home.

I begged the Lord to make the emotional roller coast we’d been on for weeks (more like years) to end.
I asked Him “why” a hundred times.
I told Him, “I can’t do this anymore” more than once.

Then I got home and did what I always do when I’m upset.
I cleaned.

Don’t get me wrong. We don’t live in a pigsty, hardly so. Since I live with one who loves a tidy home, I clean all the time. The kind of cleaning I engaged in that night is the mindless, I-just-need-to-take-my-mind-off-my-current-reality-so-get-out-of-my-way type of cleaning. I stood at the sink and begin washing a huge pile of dishes, some which I took out of the cupboard, even though they were clean, to give me more to do. I didn’t want to be sobbing when John got home, so the only other option left was to focus on scrubbing the tar out of my Corelle Ware.

John came home, changed out of his suit into something comfortable, and joined me in the kitchen. Instead of conversing after work like we usually do, we didn’t speak. There was nothing left to say at that point. He joined me by the sink, picked up a dish towel, went to begin drying the dishes I had piled a mile-high into the drying rack, and proceeded to do what I knew was coming.

He stood in the middle of the kitchen and began to cry.
We held each other, as we felt our world crashing down on us.

Throughout the course of the evening, hardly anything was said. We just held each other on the couch in our family room for dear life. Most of that Tuesday evening was spent mostly in silence, with us staring at a TV screen and wishing the past 8 hours were all a bad dream.

“I don’t see how we’re going to be able to afford this now; it’s over, Babe,” was muttered by John more than once.

“This seems like a cruel joke,” was also said by both of us at least a few times that night.

Eventually, we got off the couch – the same couch on which just 24 hours before we had cried tears of complete joy – and headed to bed. Instead of having sex, and therefore being completely relaxed before we drifted off to sleep, we were bent-out-of-shape, emotionally bankrupt and had no choice but to cry out to the Lord for answers.  We held each other in bed and prayed for a long time.
Why, Lord?”
“What are you doing?”
“What was the past 3 weeks for, anyway?”
“Why did You give us so much peace about this for nothing?”
“Are we really supposed to borrow all this money? Is that Your will? Help us, Lord! We need Your help.”

“Help us to move forward with adoption and put this behind us.”
Help us, Father, to get up tomorrow, to face the day.”

As John eventually drifted off to sleep, and I was left in the darkness alone, I remember once again saying to the Lord,
“Not our will, Lord, but YOURS be done. I just don’t really know what that is right now, at all. Please help.”

Answers, however, weren’t going to come easily. Part 7 to come!

*Note: These blog posts have not been pre-written. I’ve been writing each only 12-24 hours before posting. Therefore, due to John asking me to spend this evening with him (instead of blogging) watching the OSU game (go Bucks!), and then us going out of town together this weekend for some much-needed alone time, I will NOT be posting Part 7 until next week. In the meantime, we would appreciate your continued prayers. You all have been SO incredibly encouraging to us; it means more than you’ll ever know! We’re humbled by the fact God has allowed us to walk this journey for His glory and are doing our best not to “waste” this difficult time.

Thanks in advance for your prayers and patience. I’ll be back next week. 🙂


Filed under Adoption, Baby, Marriage, Purpose, Sanctification, Simplicity, Surrogacy

Dollar Store Love

Roaming the dollar store is like going on a treasure hunt.

…or so I’m told. 😉

I may not get a gleam in my eye the moment we step in the door, like my husband does, but I try my best to show at least a bit of excitement when he asks almost each Friday if we can make a stop at the local Dollar Tree.

Not wanting to disappoint, I cheerfully say, “Sure Baby,” and the adventure begins.

We don’t mess with stores like Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Deal$, where the deals really aren’t all $1. No, we’re purist when it comes to our “dollar” store shopping.

We walk hand-in-hand into the land-of-$1-deals, never knowing what we may find. Sometimes we choose just a basket,  but sometimes we need a cart to collect our treasures.   If you’ve never frequented your local dollar store, allow me to give you a guide to the items that are worth buying there. It will save you money in the long run! And don’t worry, they are open at times other than Friday night. 😀

First, you must peruse the front, where they keep their seasonal items and rather large collection of as-seen-on-TV products.  You can usually find some really sweet deals right at the front of the store.

  • For example, during times like Christmas, their gift bags, which come in a variety of sizes (including super large), patterns and colors, are a STEAL! The tissue paper is also a good buy, even though it’s not the best of quality, at 40 sheets for $1, it’s still worth it.  I’d skip the wrapping paper, however. After Christmas you can find good quality, big rolls of paper for cheap prices at places like Target.
  • All the as-seen-on-TV items are also a $1, so be sure to try some out just for kicks.

Here’s a list of other items we only buy at the dollar store:

  • UPDATE: Shower caps – how could I forget about my beloved caps?! Get 8 sexy caps for just $1!
  • Tea Lights – 16 for $1. That’s less than 7 cents a piece!
  • Hand-held lighter for said candles – Can’t be a $1 for these!
  • Kitchen sponges – Get the Scotch Brite ones; they’re the best.
  • Dryer Sheets – Never buy ones at the regular store again!
  • Cleaning products – Either make your own or buy them for $1 a piece. Why spend more?

A list of products we sometimes buy at the Dollar Store:

  • Cards – They now have a good selection of cards either 2 for $1 or $1 a piece. They don’t have  great ones for every occasion, but they certainly have a good assortment.
  • Gum – Unless there’s a good sale elsewhere, which happens pretty often.
  • Tin foil – It’s kind of thin but good for grilling
  • Batteries
  • Random items we find throughout the store

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, or maybe I’m not, but as you can see, there’s plenty of treasures to find at your local dollar store. 🙂

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Filed under Marriage, Simplicity