Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This one is about me.

Hey Peeps--
Billy and I recently discovered a common trend called "binge watching Netflix".  We've been doing it for years, but we didn't know there's a name for it.  I wish we could all go back to the old days when we didn't have to label everything.   I liked it way more when all I was doing was watching too much t.v.  Now it just feels like I'm fat and lazy.

Honestly I'm not surprised I was behind on the label "binge watching".  My kids even knew about it before me.  When I told them I learned to use the phrase properly they sort of rolled their eyes and shot each other looks that said, "This is how it is now.  She can't help it.  Let's start the search process for in-home care after we eat all our Easter candy".   Snotheads. 

I've always been behind on stuff.  I couldn't keep up with the Jones' even if I wanted to.  Which I don't.  Unless they get a new kitten or a pet Eagle, then I want one too.  In high school my friends had fancy clothes and nice cars.  I wore hand me downs and drove a 1977 Jeep Cherokee that got about 7 miles to the gallon and had something of a muffler problem.

In college all the girls had boyfriends while I remained single.  They were married off before my eyes.  From aqua blue to hunter green (and several other colors in between), I was a bridesmaid 6 times before ever being a bride.  Of course that meant my kids came later too, after everyone else had their babies.  Now as several of my good friends are kissing goodbye to dioramas and wax museums of the elementary years, my last baby hasn't even begun her school career. 

Speaking of careers, and since I'm on a roll, I could speak to that subject too.   When I was 31, my 3 weeks of employment at The Gap inspired me to look harder at who I wanted to be, after my manager who was 19 and living with her parents had to explain to me what "stonewash" was.  I did some very hard soul searching after that.  Then I had a baby and searched my soul some more. 

When my youngest (at that time) was 5 and in kindergarten, I began my two year stint in Nursing school.  The beauty of it was there were other people my age, a few even older than me.  I finally wasn't last.  For two years I worked harder than I ever had in my life and it paid off.  At the age of 40 I became a Registered Nurse!

For the past three years and 4 months I have been an RN.  I have had several jobs and experienced many different kinds of nursing.  I've seen death and I've seen life.  I've seen pain and I've seen loneliness.  I've been saddened by the lack of value placed on life and I've been guilty myself of not caring as much as I should have.  To tell you the truth, I struggled.  I have felt far behind co-workers on all levels.   I have been frustrated to rely on others to train me on the most basic of skills.    At one job in particular I was the oldest employee in my circle, and knew the least. 

After some hard months in a really tough place, I decided to move on. I left the one doctor I have respected more than any other I've met on this journey.    I walked away from a small amount of security, and a huge amount of stress.  I felt absolute peace in my decision.  I told God I was done trying to figure out what kind of Nurse He wanted me to be and told Him I'd sit back and let Him figure it out.  I'm pretty sure He replied, "Finally". 

A few days later I was at home wondering if I'd made a mistake.   Then the phone rang.  The pediatric practice I have taken my kids to for almost 16 years called me.   They wondered if I was interested in the nursing position they had.   Naturally I tried to talk the office manager out of interviewing me.  I told her I didn't have much office experience and my confidence was about as low as it could be.   She calmly said, "So do you want to come in and be interviewed?" 

Long story short, I have been at this job for over 3 months now and I haven't cried even once.  Every other job in nursing brought weekly tears, and many, many Peanut Buster Parfaits.  This job is different.  My boss Ellen speaks of "culture" around here and what do you know, I fit right in!  Of course I am still the low man on the totem pole, learning the most simple things, but for the first time in my career as a nurse, I am accepted.  I am part of a team.  I work with people who want to see me succeed, and don't sit around waiting for me to make a mistake.  And when I do make a mistake, they help me fix it.   They laugh with me.  They teach me.  They let me interrupt their day 400 times to ask dumb questions and they patiently answer me.  They let me be who I am. 

Life is funny.  Looking back I can see all the twists and turns thus far have had a purpose far greater than I could imagine.   Every job before this prepared me specifically for where I get to be today.   The co-workers and the patients I've met along the way continue to be part of a bigger story.  I am so grateful for each experience, even the ones I thought might kill me.  In a year I will be different than I am today.   We all have the potential to grow and change.  You can choose a challenge or run and hide.  You can choose a hard, narrow path, or you can choose the wide, easy one.   The Lord knows I've done both.  Which one will you choose? 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The beginning of Faith

Hey Peeps—

March has arrived, and our family is almost done celebrating what we like to call "birthday row".  All four of our kids have birthdays in the first 3 months of the year, and by March 31th, we are so happy to be done jubilating.  Don't get me wrong, I'm always so grateful our kids have been given another year of life, however, the parties, the expense, the finding time to make a big deal of it all…it's not easy!  Last year I began a new tradition. I paid Jack $100.00 to NOT have a party.  It was amazing.  And quite expensive.  So that tradition ended up being a one time gig.  Don't tell him, or his friends, but it was worth every penny. 

Faith, my second child, is last on the birthday ladder and her big day will be in a few weeks.  We've been talking for weeks about what to do to celebrate.  She wanted to go see Carrie Underwood in concert, however I did not. Not to mention it's even more expensive than my favorite one time birthday tradition for Jack.   I like Carrie and all, and sometimes I do need a Smokebreak, but I just don't have the energy for the Pepsi Center at this point in my life.  I'm tired at night.  I am around people every day all day long, and being surrounded by a gajillion people in a giant stadium makes me want to crawl under my bed and hide.  Without my phone.  Sweet Faith understands, so please don't tell her you feel sorry she got stuck with a loser mom like me. 

Faith is turning 13 this year.  I can barely even type that without feeling butterflies in my stomach.  How 13 years have flown by I have no idea.  Words cannot even begin to express how much this girl means to me and the gift she has been every single day of these wonderful years.  Faith represents the amazing way God shows His love for me.  She is beautiful. She is forbearing and merciful.  She is strength in hardship.  She is human and makes mistakes, but she knows she's not perfect and needs help to become the person God is calling her to be.  She amazes me. 

The first time we heard about Faith was the night we met her birth mom.  She was 30 weeks along, and adorable.  We met this wonderful person when she was 21 years old and making the bravest and most selfless decision of her life.  As we sat and listened to her story at the adoption agency, she told us about the baby girl growing in her tummy and why she felt adoption was right for her.  She explained that she wanted this girl to have both a mom and dad, and she couldn't give her that right then, and she was even honest about not being ready to be a mom.  I loved how real she was and how honest she spoke about the decision she was going to make.  And when it came time to hand Faith to me, she did.  I will never know the pain she felt in her loss, but I pray it will never be lost on me. 

The other day at work my boss asked me why I named Faith "Faith".   Truth?  There is no denying that the gift of Faith is more than just God giving me the daughter I longed for.   Her arrival into our family sealed any doubts or questions I ever had about whether or not did God really love me and want what is best for me.  The second she was in my arms, I knew God not only had a purpose for me, but He delighted in me.   Billy and I did not earn Faith by praying hard and living right.  We did not get to be her parents because we go to church and know all the right things to say.  Nothing we did on our own procured us the rights to become her mom and dad.  It was all grace.  Complete and undeserved goodness showered on two broken people and one 3 year old little boy who has taken the role of big brother very seriously from day 1. 

I love to ponder on the meaningful things of life this time of year.  The fact that Faith's birthday is always close to Easter feels appropriate to me.  In a very small way, I  can understand the gift of Jesus' death more clearly when I think of the loss our sweet birth mom felt the morning she walked out of the hospital without her baby girl.  She understands what sacrifice means in a way most of us never will.  She experienced loss so that someone else could experience a rich and full life.  She gave Faith to us so that Faith would not only have a mom, but a dad who would be there for every heartache and every victory along the way.  She taught me what it means to love well. 

So as I honor my sweet daughter this month I turn to my source of hope.  Psalm 139 has always been special to me as a mom, but for Faith in particular I have prayed through this chapter of the Bible more than any other.  For God knows she was fearfully and wonderfully made.  His thoughts toward her are precious.  Every single day of her life has been ordained by Him.  Thank the Lord for my Faith!  Oh He is so good!