Lessons From a Walk in the Valley

Before you start reading this, please know that it’s not directed at any one person. It’s just me talking, sharing life, thinking thoughts aloud…while drinking coffee ’cause I promised you all a coffee date, didn’t I?


I even brewed the coffee late at night because I have this idea in my head that words come out easier when there’s caffeine involved. I’m not sure that’s far from the truth at all. :)

Staring out the window on this last-day-of-May afternoon, it’s cloudy, gloomy, and rainy. And? COLD…40’s in May?! REALLY?!?! I’ve got socks on, a running jacket over my shirt, and the sweater that my sweet friend literally gave me off her back over of all of that.

I’m cozy. Really.

But a person is not supposed to be COZY on May 31. More like hot…or at least warm…and in shorts and a tank top. πŸ˜‰

Ok, not sure where that tangent came from. Down to business. Remember, this IS how I write. I joke for a bit before I get to the deep stuff. (Do you think that’s healthy? I’m not convinced. Just sayin’.)

So you may have noticed the lack of depth in the things I’ve been writing lately. I seem to go through those spurts, and after almost a year and a half of continuous blogging, it’s finally starting to NOT freak me out anymore. Because I know my words will be back eventually.

Life just feels like a long-stretching valley right now. There are little joys like pool-splashing and hugs from friends and bits of encouragement here and there, but lately, more down days than up.

For someone who is generally happy-go-lucky, fun, and full of spunk…that’s hard.

I wish the days were always sunny and that the smiles came easier and that I felt my purpose was being fulfilled and that am someone.

I don’t want to talk about the big D word, but sometimes I think we shove it under the rug, hoping that if we ignore depression that it will just go away and life will be rainbows and cupcakes again. (Hey…you know me and cake. I had to throw that in!)

I’m not talking about this to make you feel bad for me. Don’t. It’s life, and we all have those days even if we don’t want to admit it.

Honestly, it bothers me that Tobin and I are coming up on a decade of marriage…and our lives still don’t feel settled.

On the outside, it looks that they are. We bought a house we love. We have a car. Two, even. We are parents to the most amazing little girl the world has ever known. (Ok, I’m biased. ;)) But she is pretty wonderful. We have two golden retrievers who mean a lot to us. We’re surrounded by friends in this community who have loved on us without knowing how badly we needed that love. And we are blessed in those ways and many, many more…Beyond. Measure.

But it’s often that those things buried or hidden behind closed doors are what tear at a person’s heart and being the most.

It isn’t that I’m not happy with Tobin. We love each other and have chosen to stick things out while holding hands…despite many, many differences that could have driven us apart. And while we love big, we also disagree big…and that’s no secret to people who know us best. It’s personality type, partly. We really are the poster children(?) for the saying, Opposites Attract. And I guess I find it frustrating…and in some ways hurtful…that we are still battling through things after almost a decade together. I feel like we should have this figured out by now.

We’re aware of it, but it’s hard to know what to do about it. Just giving each moment to our Father, trusting that He is always Good.

I’m also struggling with parenting. I adore Maelie, and she is the sunshine of my day. Completely. But sometimes her almost-two-ness is just insanely in-my-face, and my normally decent amount of patience comes crashing down. It can be easy to let those moments discourage me for days, though she is the picture of forgiveness and love. Those times sure don’t bring out the best in me as a mommy, though, and I hate that because I love her and want the best for her.

And along with parenting comes the question that I don’t want to hear…that I don’t always have an answer for. Are you planning to have more?

Here’s the thing. Though I’m sometimes tempted to give the snippy reply, I wasn’t planning to have one, that’s not really how I want to respond.

The truth is that Maelie is a blessing we can’t put into words. After that adoption mess and struggling with pregnancy, I had started to think it might not happen for us. And when it did, I told God from the beginning that I knew He would help me be satisfied with whatever He gave.

I truly am. I just love the JOY that is my little girl SO. SO. MUCH. And if she is our only child here on earth, that’s ok. It’s more than ok…it’s amazing.

But it still hurts to think about more kids, which seems like a direct contradiction of what I just said. I can’t explain it, but some of you get it. There are what ifs and maybe somedays that creep in sometimes and cause my mind to go to places it shouldn’t.

I believe fully in God’s perfect plan, and clearly this bubbly, sweet, wonderful girl is the part of the plan He’s chosen to give us at this moment.

And part of walking through this time, this valley, is learning what He has for me. Growing in the Grace He has given. Honoring Him on days that are less than easy. Choosing JOY.

I’m really trying to grow through these days that are challenging and remind myself that God gives us times that are tough to remind us that He is our Help and our Comforter and our Hope and our Healer…and so much more.

It’s been a blessing to reflect on all He is…and who I am in Him.

Really, a sinner saved only by Grace.

And because I can’t leave this post on that kind of note, and because I’m a little wired on caffeine, here are a couple fun things.

Well, I think they’re fun. πŸ˜‰

First up…a photo. Yes, I am a dork and took a picture of myself. πŸ˜‰ Here’s the haircut. It’s actually more choppy than it looks. But since it’s after 10 pm and I just washed it, it’ll look better once I sleep on it…yay for a haircut where bedhead actually works to my advantage! :)

And, for some reason I thought you should know that I bought a shirt at the rummage sale at our church for $.50. It’s orange. It’s cute. And though I rarely wear orange, since it’s cute, I’m going to wear it tomorrow. Did I mention it’s cute?! I don’t have a picture of that, but maybe I’ll take one for you all. (Or have someone else take it ’cause I don’t want to be too dorky. ;))

Thanks for listening, for loving, for being here…even if I act like a dork sometimes.

Grin. :)


(Almost) Summer Love

So we’ll do coffee tomorrow.

Thursdays are really good for that. Not sure why, but it always seems that way. :)

Today, though…is good for reminding myself of what was. You know, because the temperature here randomly took a major nosedive and it’s no longer warm enough to do this. :(

In fact, it is warm enough to wear jeans and a hoodie and pretend that I’m not cold. Yeah.

However, I’m not worried.

This is the Midwest.

I’d be willing to stake a whole-bunch-of-a-lot on the fact that it will be in the 90’s before we know it.

In the meantime, we can dream.

And stare at this total cutie-patootie in the pool. :)


Rummage Sales, Memorial Day, Buying Coffee, and Hair-Chopping

So I’m sitting here this afternoon, twiddling my thumbs.

Almost literally.

Mae is down for her nap, and it’s hot outside. And while I could go soak up a few rays…which I still might do…I’ve got a pretty boring afternoon stretching out before me.

I spent the morning helping set up for the rummage sale at our church/school. If you are in the area Thursday-Saturday this week, you should pop over to the school gym, find a few treasures, and support this awesome school! We love it, and our Mae doesn’t even go there yet! :)

I’ll be hanging out there off and on during the week helping when I can, but it’s tough with the girl. She’s not in the sit-still-and-stay-out-of-everything phase…at ALL. (Really, when are they EVER?) So she won’t be joining me this year. :)

We had friends over last night for a Memorial Day BBQ. It was really fun…to just talk and laugh (and eat!) and hang out with some pretty awesome people. Unfortunately, Mae was up WAY too late. I am, therefore, anticipating a three hour nap from her this afternoon. We shall see. :) And since we had company, I can’t even clean the house ’cause it’s not messy!

Ugh…what to do with my afternoon.

Drink coffee. I can definitely do that. :)

Oh, and here’s something coffee related that’s too cool. I found it on a friend’s blog yesterday, and Tobin and I used it to buy a few cups of coffee for troops overseas. Being a girl who hearts coffee and a good chat, this is a really sweet way to say thank you to those who are serving our country. And it’s not too late for you to get in on some of the coffee action, too! You even get to add a personal note to your purchase. I love this. LOVE it.

Oh, I can also tell you what I’m gonna do tonight. (Like I didn’t have this conversation planned…SEE the title? ;))

I really love my hairstylist. Besides being my friend, she’s also my favorite person one day a month when she cuts/colors my hair. Maybe I’m biased, but I think she does a really good job. Since she started cutting my hair last October, in an I’m-gonna-hint-like-crazy-and-hope-you-let-me-do-this-somday kind of way, she’s been begging asking me to let her cut a pixie.

I finally told her a couple weeks ago that she could do it this time. Just once to see if I like it. :)

I’m kind of a hair girl. I spend enough time (and money) on it…plus, it’s just fun. I like to change it up every year or so. And if I’ve got the same style for too long, I start to get bored. So even though I love my current haircut, it’s definitely time for a change.

So that’s what I’m doing tonight. And I have to admit to you that I’m a teeny bit nervous. I haven’t gone this short since that dramatic episode in college where I basically fried my hair off.

Yeah, I’m a star. :)

I’ve pored through pictures and haven’t found anything exactly like what I want…just two that I’m hoping she can combine into something choppy, shaggy, fun. (I’m starting to get nervous…)

No, I’m actually excited. And I figure it will grow back by the end of summer if I really don’t like it.


And now that I’ve completely chatted away about everything…Happy Tuesday, friends. Hope your day is full of blessings!


His Legacy

I never knew him.

All I’d been told my entire life was that he was my grandpa, a farmer, a Navy vet, and that he’d died before I was born.

There were pictures of him at my grandma’s house…a few, but he was rarely spoken of. His stories were never told. It was as if everything he ever was…and everything he brought to the lives of those around him…died right along with him.

And I spent my childhood wondering about this man…my mom’s dad. Wondering how my life might have been different had I grown up knowing him.

There are two lessons I’ve taken away from never knowing my Grandpa A.

The first is that no person’s life is so insignificant that it cannot leave a mark on the world. His stories may not be told, but my grandpa left behind twelve children, eleven of whom are still alive. In their own ways, they’re leaving their own footprints on the world…and extending his legacy.

I’m sad for myself and for most of my cousins…that we never knew him. We never bounced on his knee, never wrapped our arms around his neck, never had even one photo taken with him so we could have that memory.

I’m also reminded that stories are worth sharing…the good and the bad. There are things that have been shared in recent years about Grandpa’s life…things that aren’t the most admirable. Yet, they are part of who he was…and it’s a shame that those are the things I know of this man.

I want to know more.

The picture I noticed during one of my most recent trips back to my hometown is one of him in his Navy uniform. So, regardless of other things that may mar who my grandpa really was, he is one of the men that we, as a nation, honor today.

He fought for our freedom.

He sacrificed.

And he left behind a legacy that’s worth talking about.


Little Blessings (Pt. 37)

:) A free playhouse that my girl is already lovin’ like crazy!

:) A parade with friends on a really hot and sunny day.

:) After-parade swimming. She loved the pool…I knew she would. πŸ˜‰

:) Funny conversations about texting with my girl. (Yes, you read that right. She’s growing up WAY too fast!)

:) $2 tank tops at Old Navy. For once I managed to NOT hit the sale at the end of it and actually came home with a few!

:) Smiles and giggles…they happen so often with a certain little girl in our house. I love her.

:) Anticipating reunions this summer with friends we’ve missed.

:) Running. I have a love/hate relationship with it, but it’s my time. To be alone, to praise my Father, and sometimes to burn off frustration, even. It’s good.

:) Homesickness and reflection.

:) Lessons through valleys.


Just Because I Can…

Maelie’s new favorite is Veggie Tales.

I like that a lot, and am hoping and praying that King George and his duckies get through to her and her often-inability to share. THOUGH…the other night when Tobin took us out for ice cream, she was very content to “Share ice cream!” as she pounded her fists on the table waiting for the next bite.

Oy. πŸ˜‰

I understand that she’s a typical two year-old but because there’s no guarantee of a sibling (aka: a built-in, must-share-with friend) teaching her to be willing to share is harder.

She does, however, loooooove King George and his duckies.


So in honor of my girl, and just because I can…

Here you go.

P.S. I guarantee you’ll be singing, “I love my duck!” as you go on with your day. Hee hee hee. πŸ˜€



I’ll confess tonight.

I am unbelievably homesick.

Like, tight-ache-in-my-chest homesick, tears-springing-to-my-eyes-constantly homesick, wondering-why-on-earth-I-am homesick.

I mean, I know this is my home. And I heart it. You’ve all read the love I have for where God has brought us. (And if you haven’t, I believe that the March-July 2011 blog archives will give you more than just a glimpse of that love.) :)

I was reminded today, though, that no place that becomes even a little part of us is ever gone from us.

And regardless of whether we were ready to move on or not, that means I now have this multicultural heart that will always bleed a little Indonesian.

And, boy, did it bleed today.

I think it had something to do with the fact that a pretty great class graduated today, and included in that class is a dear friend of ours. (And she reads here sometimes…so congrats, Amie! :)) I think Tobin and I both wished that we somehow could have been there. Instead, I had to live it through photos. Which was nice, but…you know, it’s not the same.

Big events like graduation and end-of-the-year events always bring back so many memories.

Memories are supposed to be reMEMbered…I get that. But sometimes I just want to hop back into them and LIVE them again. Just for a few minutes.

But I can’t, so I guess homesick is what I’ll be tonight.

Indo, I miss you.


And…We Talk

I won’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down tonight to try to write something.


Then, thought repeatedly about not blogging tonight, which is really fine, but I know that it’s far easier to fall asleep if I’ve just spilled my guts. Or, my brain. (Really, who came up with that phrase…spill your guts…? It sounds like it should involve puking or something.)


Probably more than you needed to think about right now. Sorry about that. πŸ˜‰

So it’s kind of been a roller coaster week.

Two trips to the doctor…we ended up going in for x-rays today because that darn limp is still there. Poor Mae. :( Thankfully, she doesn’t seem to be in much pain, but it’s frustrating to not have answers. The doctor we saw was nice, but he also didn’t really have anything earth-shattering to share with us. Just told us to watch her for another week or so.

I realized today that I like answers and knowing exactly what’s going on. That doesn’t typically fit my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants personality…maybe I’m just that way when it comes to people I love. Anyway, that made the week not great.

Kinda hard, in fact.

But even though she’s limping, we’re going to have a good weekend. I’m determined. πŸ˜‰ The pool is already warming up, and I’m gonna have to get in tomorrow, whether I want to or not, just to skim it. Lesson learned already? Cover. Absolutely. Necessary. πŸ˜‰

There’s a parade on Sunday we’ll go to and then we’re having friends over Monday night.

Good times.

It’s been an emotional week for other reasons. I really try not to let emotions take over my days, but sometimes…

Well, sometimes there are just those days.

The kind that creep up and, at the time, seem unavoidable, and the only thing you can do is pray they’ll improve. The kind that make a twelve-hour nap while buried under layers of blankets seem much preferable to the reality that is cleaning and laundry and chasing an active-but-wonderful girl.

But I don’t really want to talk about those days too much.

Because I HAVE had some really good times this week…hence, the roller coaster. :)

Like…walks with friends and ice cream dates with my hubby and girl and swinging and water splashing and dollhouse playing and hug giving and…just lotsa smiles. I’m pretty blessed to have the girl I do. In fact, I caught myself re-writing some words to a song…

I’ve got sunshine…on a cloudy day.
And when it’s cold outsside, I’ve got a girl named Mae…

I was thankful this week for friends…and for friendships that continue to grow, which I think is so important. I was able to have a couple really good talks this week with people…deep stuff, things that I don’t just talk about with everyone. It made me thankful for listening ears and sisters willing to love without judgment.

We all need those people, and I am incredibly blessed with the friends God has given me.


Tomorrow’s Friday. And I do love Fridays. :) Not too much planned, but that’s ok. I’ll take sunshine and my girl any day!

I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to come up with a huge list of blessings by the end of the day, too. Maybe I’ll even share it with you. :)

G’nite, friends. Thanks for being here.


Looking Back

It isn’t that I don’t have deep thoughts to share.

There’s a lot going on in this brain. (Isn’t there always?!?!) πŸ˜‰

But seeing this today reminded me that the days just fly. I’m intent on soaking up the moments we’re so blessed to have.

Aaaaahhh, the Maelie-preciousness that is completely abounding here.

So. Sweet.

I love her so much.

It was fun to look back today. :)

Happy Wednesday, friends!


Cherry Drool

I took Mae to the doctor today to get her leg checked out.

She was cranky and crying, as usual, while Dr. F was examining her, making it hard for him to pinpoint if he was dealing with a little girl in pain or just a mad little girl. πŸ˜‰ He invited her to take a walk down the hall with him to “get a sucker”…or, so he could see her limping.

She gladly obliged, and he was suddenly at the top of her “favorite people list” after giving her a sucker from the basket. (I think this made him feel good after so many visits of not being especially loved. True.)

The second she tore that wrapper off the Dum Dum, she stuffed the candy into her mouth…and I watched in amazement.

When did she learn to do this?

I’d never given her a sucker before, but she knew what to do!

And…what not to do.

Enter…The. Drool.

Cherry flavored.

Mmmmmmmm. (Or not.)

I could not believe the amount of drool that teeny, tiny sucker produced. It soaked the front of her shirt. It left a trail AND then a puddle on the floor.

And all Dr. F and I could do…was laugh.

Golly, it was funny.

AND a sticky, gross mess (that I got) to clean up…BUT it was such a good reminder to me.

Sometimes there are pieces of life that are not the easiest to deal with. The best we can do is laugh, clean it all up, and keep going.

Which is exactly what I did…except, I waited until she was done with her candy before I took her out of the office. (No sense in continuing the trail of cherry goo.) πŸ˜‰

We got out to the car, changed her shirt, and were on our way home.

With a story that, I’m sure, will be told over and over. :)

(Oh, and her leg is ok…just a sprain. Thanks for praying! :))