Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lessons in a Year

I don't think it's coincidence that the journal I brought with me this weekend is the one that I took notes in at an adoption conference.

It's been exactly one year since we announced our decision to adopt.  I've felt myself sinking for a while now and today is why.

The decision to adopt was a long one.  It was strange and scary, but it is the path we are called to take.  In my journal, one of the pages of notes from the conference talks about the "kol d'mama daka" - the still small voice of God.  I can remember those first small whispers in my heart, while being around our friends' adopted children, of "You can do this".  Much like those first moments of knowing you're pregnant or feeling the first flutters of your unborn child, those first feelings of knowledge of that kol d'mama daka are exquisitely precious.  There was such joy and excitement in those first months, as we went to classes and learned about the type of parenting we would be undertaking.  I pinned countless ideas on Pinterest and dreamed of how bedrooms would be decorated.

And then we waited.  Suddenly, we were no longer in control.  We were waiting and having to put our faith in our social worker, in humans, in the world.  We learned very quickly that disappointment was to be found.  A process of approval, that on paper was supposed to take two months, ended up taking six.  When the papers arrived to notify us of our approval by the county we live in, there was no excitement or feelings of hope.  By this point, my hope had been replaced by cynicism and apathy. To me, this paper didn't symbolize one step closer; instead, it was disappointment that we had believed that work was being completed, and that there was still more waiting ahead.

At this one year mark, we are still waiting on approval from the state to be licensed to adopt.  We were given no timeline on this step, and though it may sound strange, I feel trapped.  I feel as though our lives are just floating along, stuck in a holding pattern, completely at the mercy of others.

Through this whole process, I've claimed a feeling of "everything will work out how it should."  And I do truly believe that.  But I've also used it as a crutch to enable me to shut down my emotions.  Instead, I should be using it as a way to fuel my faith.  I should be seeking that kol d'mama daka every day.  I should be actively putting my faith in God every day; not as a way to shield myself from disappointment or to be a mindless follower, but to voice those fears and disappointments to Him.  To seek His hand when I feel like I'm drowning, and trusting that He is going to pull me up out of the water.  I have to rely on Him through this, because I know that this journey of adoption is not my own.  I have to remember who set this desire in my heart, who gave me the courage to say yes, and who has been there for our future children during those times that their biological parents failed them.

I encourage you today to spend some time listening for the kol d'mama daka
Read More »

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Menu Planning

If you follow me on Instagram, last week I posted a shot of our lunch/menu planning trip to Panera.  If you don't currently menu plan, I strongly encourage you to.  It helps tremendously with budgeting, grocery shopping, and if you are an OCD list maker - your sanity.

I plan our meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - for the entire month.  I print out a blank month from the calendar on my computer, and use that to write in our meals.  This stays posted on the fridge, so we always know what our next meal is.  I make my grocery lists for a week at a time, and organize my list based on type of item - ex. dairy, meats, etc.  If you go to the store with a plan and a list to mark off as you go, you will do so much better about overspending AND over buying.  This will only work though if you are checking your pantry and fridge to see what you already have.

Planning out meals also helps keep you from going out to eat (unless it's been planned into the menu), because you have already bought all the ingredients for the meal.  We had gotten bad about not having a definite plan for dinner, or forgetting to thaw out meat and then just going out for dinner.  Now we stick to our menu plan unless an unplanned event pops up, in which case we just shift our meal plan back a day.

I also plan breakfast because I have to be up super early for work, and I need something that I can eat while driving and that will keep me full for a long time.  So sitting down to a bowl of cereal is out of the question for me, aside from the fact that I don't really care for milk and I definitely don't want milk at six in the morning. Maybe that makes me a weirdo.  Does anyone else have this feeling of resigned tolerance of milk?

We do plan a night each week for takeout (Thursdays!), and then a couple of nights a month to go out to a nice dinner. I feel like it's the same mindset as transitioning to a healthy diet; you have to have a few cheat days to help you stick to it.

If you don't already plan your menu, try it out!  Set aside an afternoon or a couple of hours and find some recipes, organize your calendar, and make your grocery list.  Remember to be detailed and if you're buying an ingredient that you only need a small amount of (such as fresh herbs or produce) try to plan other meals that week that can also use those ingredients.

Happy Planning!
Read More »

Friday, September 4, 2015

Goodbye Twenties

Being the crazy person that I am, I decided on the first day of September at 9:45 pm that I should write a post every day this month.  Well, September 1st, 2nd AND 3rd have come and gone, and no blog post.

So hello Day One :)

I am the queen of procrastination.  Why do today what can be done tomorrow?  All my fellow procrastinators will agree.....eventually....when you absolutely have to.  And that's ok.  Keep being you.

I said that to say that I must have a deadline.  And a goal.  And a list.  Sweet baby J, I adore lists.  Hopefully this month long deadline will motivate me to write more, even if I've done absolutely nothing of interest that day (which is most days).

So this is my last month in my twenties.  And I'm actually okay with it.  I'm kind of excited to see what my thirties brings.  Hopefully, it will begin with adopting our future kids, unless DHR continues to take their sweet time and I lose my Publix attitude and turn into Wal-Mart.  For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, go grocery shopping at Publix.  The parking lot is calm and relatively quiet.  The store is clean, the employees are smiling and helpful.  The shoppers are fully clothed, and rarely are there issues with people being rude or getting in your way.  Publix makes you want to be a better human being.

Now go shop at Wal-Mart.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Hell.  Wal-Mart will be the origin of the anti-christ, the apocalypse, where zombies are born and probably where the vortex came from in the movie Poltergeist. Wal-Mart makes me want to hunch over my buggy, white knuckling the handle all while snearing, "My preciousssssss", to anyone who gets too close to my cart.  That's the Lauren that DHR is going to get if we don't get moving along in the next year. Beware.

I'm also hoping that my thirties brings some clarity to what I want to do with my life.  I have SO many dreams, so many lives that I want to lead, and I can't quite nail down what it is that I actually want to do.  Maybe I need a vision quest.  Or Yoda.

Anywho, here's to my twenties.  You've seen my college graduation, marriage, moving twice, new jobs, the decision to adopt, the arrival of our fur babies, and new friends. It's been real twenties, but I'm ready for the next decade.  Deuces.

Read More »