Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Good News for the Week!

If you know me you know I like to plan, set goals for myself and reach them! I'm not one to stick with the same thing for long and always like challenging myself.

So, I'm very excited to announce that....

I've been approved to move up to Intermediate Ballet this Summer!

This is big news for me. Since the fall, taking Ballet classes has been extraordinarily healing, partially physically, but mostly emotionally. I knew it would be fun, but going to these classes again (I haven't taken since college) and really challenging my body and mind have boosted my confidence and helped me find a small bit of control in my life. Ballet IS all about body control isn't it? :-)

I took a Beginning class this fall and LOVED it. But this semester I decided I needed more, so in addition to my Beginning class at Nashville School of Ballet, I'm also taking a "Beginner Intermediate" class at Vanderbilt. This class has kicked my booty in the best way possible and it has been exciting to see myself really improve in flexibility, strength and the ability to focus and put my body in healthy motion.

So, this summer you'll know where to find me from 9:30-11am every Wednesday.  You should totally come join me! :-)

PS- This does not mean I have advanced to pointe yet. That is for the students in the Advanced Class that  I am definitely not ready for, but desperately want to be! That's why I'm going to bust my tail this summer. I very badly want to make it to pointe sometime in the next year! I mean, how beautiful is this!?

Although, this is a bit more realistic for me....hehe


Photos taken from: http://anotherrookie.blogspot.com/2011/07/ballet-mood.html
and http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/10/health/ballet-is-the-new-jazzercise/

Friday, March 30, 2012

March is Busy!

My goodness... March has been crazy! And to think I even had a week of spring break in there... whew! Every weekend has been busy, but good. Whether we've had friends or family in town or been at a wedding, etc. it seems like the month has been a flurry. And the most exciting news is that Dave's sister, Mary Anne, is now engaged! We are so excited for her and are glad Adam is joining the family!  

And here are a few boring pictures to show what we've been up to here...

I HATE bugs! I seriously do! And a couple of weeks ago we started getting ants in the kitchen. Which is the grossest place you can get them, right? It's also the LAST place you want to spray chemicals. So, I discovered a natural and chemical free solution! You need 9 parts sugar (or maple syrup or jam) and 1 part Borax. Put it in a shallow container, like a soda bottle lid, and set out where the ants are congregating. They will come for the sugar, but take the Borax back to their colony too, which will poison them. I actually had just 1 piece of gum left in a pack where each piece is in its own tray and cut the rest of the trays apart individually and set them around the kitchen counter. And it has worked pretty well! I obviously spilled a bit when distributing my "poisonous solution."

 Here's Dave working in the raised garden bed! It's his favorite hobby right now. I think he kind of wants to become a farmer. :)

Last Saturday night we attended a friend's wedding! Alan is someone that Dave and I both knew from Belmont, and it was really a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful church.


I also got to catch up with some friends I hardly ever see! I love these girls!


The sad part is that we finished up the weekend with a nasty bug that kept us BOTH in the bathroom all Sunday night. I think it's safe to say that it was the sickest either of us has either been. We then spent all Monday and Tuesday on our individual couches complaining and recovering. hehe  (It was the first time in my memory I took 2 sick days in a row!) Thank goodness for my sweet mother who brought us food and Ginger Ale. We never would have been able to make it to the grocery store! You know your stomach is in bad shape when it takes you an hour and a half to eat one slice of dry toast... 12 hours after you got sick. 

But, on the bright side Dave and I spent 2 days at home together. We may have been groaning and nibbling on Saltines, but we were together. :) AND we finished the entire series of Friday Night Lights. I expected to have some withdrawal, but I think the plot was ready to come to an end. And now I'm totally hooked on Downton Abbey, so I have more drama to entertain me on the nights when Dave is working. 

And finally, we drove past these lovely tulips outside Belmont and I couldn't resist taking a photo. They were so pretty! Whenever I go back to campus I can't believe it's where I went to college! There are SO many more buildings I can hardly believe it. It doesn't seem like the same place.


I have to say, 2011 was a extraordinarily difficult year for us and I started off this year optimistically. However, 2012 continues to bring sorrow, confusion and frustration. But, we are drawing nearer to God so we are blessed. I don't know why, but for some reason we feel that a change in the day, month, season or year will surely change our circumstances. However, God changes our circumstances when He feels the time is ready. Right now our mantra around here is to remember that God has called us to a period of patience and perseverance. I'm hard-wired for impatience, so this is not an easy stage of life for me. :-) But, God is faithful even when I am not and I cling to that each day.

As we enter Holy Week, may our eyes be focused on Christ and his sacrifice and resurrection. What a gift we will truly never fully comprehend but must be continually grateful for.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Infertility & Outreach

David and I always wanted to be adoptive parents, but we thought that would be later in life. At the present time, it is infertility that played a big role in our decision to adopt. This is not an infertility blog, it is an adoption blog, so I do want to focus on that. However, infertility is also a part of who we are and always will be. Even when we adopt a child, our exceeding joy over the child that God will have brought us will not change the grief that has and will continue to exist that comes from the inability to have biological children.

We have recently started an Infertility Support Ministry at our church and are grateful for the support from the Clergy and Staff. We haven't had a lot of participation, (we think) largely due to the fact that infertility is such a private matter for most people. For our Church's Lenten Newsletter we were asked to write about the ministry we started (called Isaac's Prayer), and our story. There were other stories included as well, from a couple that has gone through several miscarriages, a couple that now has 2 adopted and 1 biological child, and a couple that chose to remain childfree.

Here is a link to the Lenten Branch. There's a lot in there on various things, but the section on Isaac's Prayer begins on page 7 and our story begins on page 8. It was difficult to write and obviously makes us very vulnerable at church. But, our hope and prayer is that our openness will lead to transparency and a ministry to the infertile in our church community as well as the Nashville community as a whole. Infertility is a very isolating struggle, so we long to reach out to others experiencing a similar situation that we have.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Impact Zambia!

Check out this awesome program going on in Zambia to help these kids go to high school! We're going to be a part of the ministry and hope you will too. :-)
 Join us to IMPACT lives in Zambia...   
    
"Hi.  My name is Richard.  I am in grade 7.  I stay with my sister, Josephine.  I have three brothers and two sisters.  My other sister attends Lifesong and is in grade 5.  Her name is Emelia.  My mother stays in a village far away.  My father died in 2006.  Thank you for supporting me and may God bless you and add more days to your life.  My favorite subject is art."
Richard is just ONE of the 253 students that we are blessed to serve at Lifesong Zambia.  He is also one of the students that will be moving on to grade 8 this fall.  
Without the construction of new classrooms, Richard may join the 95% of Zambian children that are not able to attend High School. 
Will you join us in impacting the lives of children like Richard?
To add to the excitement--thanks to a generous donor, all donations will be matched up to $225,000!!
  
To join the Impact Zambia 100 team, email info@lifesongfororphans.org!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Easy vs. Better

It's VERY difficult for me to accept the aspects of my life that don't go according to plan. I think I've gotten better at this as being a teacher in an elementary school lends itself to a lot of upset plans and I've had to learn to be flexible and to "just deal." However, there's a whole lot of bigger things out there than my Spanish lesson plans, and our journey to building a family is one of them.

I feel like this whole business of starting a family has not gone according to my Plan A, B, C or even Plan D. And although there are days where I praise God for that because of the ways He has challenged and grown my faith and trust in Him, there are still a whole lot of days when I wonder why things couldn't have been easier for us. And of course, this is always the worst when I commit the nasty sin of comparing myself to others. (Yikes! It's a slippery slope!) I mean, when thinking of their future, who in the WORLD ever imagines difficulties and wants their life to be full of them? Of course we all want things to be easy because that is a whole lot less painful.







But, I'm coming to the conclusion that easy is NOT the same thing as better! 
If you think about it, did you ever really learn anything from the classes in high school and college that were the EASY classes? I sure didn't and couldn't tell you a thing about them except that they were easy.  But, those classes that were challenging taught me a lot, not only about the class material, but also about life lessons such as perseverance, hard work and focus, etc. Now, I'm not saying that just because a situation in life is difficult automatically makes it better. But, I am saying that I'm realizing that I kind of get to be the deciding factor of whether or not my life is better than it was before based on how I respond and what I learn in the midst of trying times.

I've had this (common) mistaken idea that our windy journey to parenthood will only be "better" when we have our children in our arms and know that THESE are the children that God has meant us to have. However, that is false thinking. True joy and contentment do NOT lie in seeing God's plan come to fruition. Of course, we long to see that day soon! But, true joy and contentment are only found in God alone. And sometimes it takes the really difficult instead of the easy situations in life for us to truly realize that. And just because I've come to this conclusion doesn't make our journey "easy" by any means. It just makes it better.... and I'm determined for our lives to be better! Not by having children or making money or getting better jobs... none of that! Just by knowing that Jesus fills all those empty holes in our hearts and by listening to that voice that leads and guides us one step at a time and asks us to step out in faith.


"Oh Lord, thank you for desiring to make my life better instead of easy! You are a truly gracious God!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Welcome Ella Kate!

Today we went to the hospital to visit our good friends and their new baby girl! She was born Monday night, so it was so fun and special to see such a teeny, tiny baby. :-) She was a sweet, beautiful, little bundle of sleep the whole time we were there, snuggled very tightly in her blanket.
This baby is so special to us for many reasons, a lot of which comes from how much we love her parents! They have been extremely encouraging, sensitive and supportive of us through our struggle with infertility and decision to adopt. I've already let them know I may just have to come and love on precious Ella Kate frequently since I have all this bottled baby energy and love that needs to spill out somewhere! Congratulations Jeremy and Emily! You are both already awesome parents and Ella Kate sure is lucky to have you. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We Have Room: Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle? Absolutely...

I haven't done this before, but I follow this blog and just had to share what I read here today. It was just what I needed to hear... God IS currently giving us more than we can handle, and it is only in His grace and mercy that we are sustained and victorious.... please read it! :-)

We Have Room: Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle? Absolutely...: There are many sayings out there in our American vernacular that sound good and true on the surface, but don't jive with Scripture. Many pe...

Monday, March 19, 2012

All "hail" breaks loose!

I just couldn't resist the pun on this one! :-) Last Wednesday evening I was watching "Downton Abby" and catching up on some sewing (just mending, not creating anything) and all of a sudden I thought the roof on our house was going to cave in from the onslaught of giant hail! I have NEVER seen a hail storm like this! We just got our new roof last October, so we're a little nervous about going up there an checking on it, but we DO know it didn't cave in at least. :)  I would say it lasted for about 15-20 minutes and this video below was taken after it had died down a little bit. Here's some proof of the craziness!


                               
The new raised garden bed that Dave made, full of hailstones!                            
(The CDs are to detract the birds... a couple of them were broken to pieces by the hail!)

The hail in the "regular" garden bed

The neighbors' front yard after the storm
Also, this past week my dad had a birthday, so we celebrated last weekend at my parents' house here in town. Here's my dad with the Yazoo Sweatshirt we got him!

And somehow I managed to get this AWESOME shot of Dave and my sister, Hannah.  I think she may have been making this face on purpose, so I had to  share. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fun Weekend!

Last weekend a very close high school friend of mine and her husband came to down and gave us an excuse to go out and do fun, "Nashville" things! We took them to downtown Franklin on Saturday afternoon and spent some time sitting outside of Franklin Mercantile drinking our tea and coffee. And Saturday night we went to downtown Nashville to do some "honkey-tonkin" at some of the country music bars. I'm pretty embarrassed to say I had never done that before in my 8+ years living here! But, it was super fun and we plan to do it again soon. But, maybe on a Thursday night when there aren't so many people trying to do the same thing at the same time! :-)

Here are some fun highlights. 

Me and Dave downtown- proof we really did go out and have fun! :-)
Me and Kelly... I LOVE her! :-)
Outside Franklin Mercantile- It was a beautiful day!


Inspired by last weekend's events, today we continued the fun! After church we had brunch with a couple we have been meaning to get together with since the fall and enjoyed eating at Noshville. It is so nice to get to know other couples at church on a deeper level. And then tonight the two of us walked around downtown Franklin and realized we were passing the historic Franklin Theatre at 7pm, right as an old John Wayne movie was starting, so we decided to be spontaneous and bought our $5 tickets and even splurged on popcorn (since we hadn't eaten dinner... oops)! The movie was simultaneously very cute and very silly, and also pretty hilarious in the "old fashioned way" they treated women. Obviously not acceptable, but we were cracking up as he "dragged" his wife 5 miles home from the train station. The scene below definitely took the cake! (And in his defense she definitely had it coming!) :-)