Category Archives: misc

Post-Mother’s Day Letdown..Back to being "Just A Mom"….

  I’m getting to the POST-MOTHER’S DAY LETDOWN thoughts….I swear :)  

Just bear with me as I get some pictures onto my blog so that, when my kids are 30 and 40 and all sitting around the table every holiday scrolling through my blog (huge eyeroll :)

They will remember a bit of these moments captured forever….

 (We just spent some time in St. Petersburg, FL. It was a great week…)

 Required Mother’s Day pictures…”Children…stand around me and smile NOW!” ;) )))

 Our profession (and highly annoying) family photobomber :)

 OH SWEET MERCY they are SO amazingly gorgeous when they are asleep….I mean they are sweet and all when they are awake and loud but…something about a sleeping angel makes this heart stop!

 Some family rollerskating time…I did not die :)

 Yeh, I’m a great chaperone. Um..Your kid is falling Andrea..stop hammin’ it up for the camera!
 *************************************
The flowers are already starting to wilt.

The Hallmark cards are stored away (or thrown away as we all know people do this).

The Elmer’s glue has dried on the sweet hand-made priceless bit of treasure your kids couldn’t wait to hand to you.

The family visits have been achieved and promises to see each other more often have been made (ouch).

The pleasant memories of May 6th, Mother’s Day, are not nestled into our hearts and souls to be recalled with -hopefully- some fondness over the next many years.

So.

We Moms woke up this morning…and found life staring us back in the face. Actually, it wasn’t just staring it was peeved as we’d taken a day off.

Life was mad that the laundry got piled or, gasp, ignored. 

Life yelled at us this morning that we didn’t get the lunches packed for school Sunday night, as we were to busy re-reading our cards and smelling our flowers, so this morning was going to be a brown bag nightmare.

Life just wanted to let us know that we were back to “just being a Mom”. 

Given that millions take a day to celebrate Motherhood, it goes to say that the other 364 days go without Hallmark cards, lazy breakfasts, and fresh flowers because we are “just being a Mom” and only one day a year is needed to celebrate Motherhood. 

Life, you are kinda mean.

But. Life. Ya know what?  BRING.IT.

PLEASE let me remind ‘you’ that I am, in fact, “A MOM”. The word “just” just doesn’t apply.

Life”…PLEASE remind me that I “only” get to watch the transformation of a life from chubby baby kisses to kissing my daughter as she walks down the aisle..eventually…(as in 30 years from now).

“Life“…PLEASE remind me that I “only” get to be one of the most formative persons in another person’s life. 

Dang. The word “JUST” is starting to seem a bit diminutive isn’t it?

So why do we hear the phrase “Oh I’m just a Mom” so often?!

I was watching “The Amazing Race” season finale with my kids two weeks ago.

If you are not familiar, it is a reality show where pairs race ‘around the world” for 12 weeks. This is done with the hopes of being the last ‘pair’ standing. If they are then they are on the receiving end of a lot of PRE-tax money (which means, in reality, they receive no where near what they think they are getting once Uncle Sam comes to the after-show party).

Anyways, one of the runner-ups was a pair of “Moms”. They did have some outside hobbies such as roller derby leagues and such but they were there to “represent Moms”.

Well, I almost threw a shoe through the TV during their “exit” interview. 

If they said they were “just Moms” once then they said it a hundred times.  

They referenced themselves as “just Moms” when referencing how far they’d gotten in the race…for example [paraphrasing] 

“Well, we are JUST MOMS so getting this far is great. Our kids are going to be so proud of us.”

You get my point.  Somehow being “just a Mom” turned into martyrdom. 

uh, when did that happen? 

I just pinched myself. I am alive. 

I also just looked around. I am definitely a Mom. The empty ice cream bowl(s) all around our family floor was my proof.

So. Take a step back Jack….er Jane.

I am NOT a martyr and I AM a Mom.  

I am also NOT ‘JUST’ a MOM.  (though I am far from diminutive)… I am simply “A MOM”!  

And that seriously, truly, take-my-breath-away dominates anything else I could POSSIBLY be doing with my life…even if there are other pretty hot dang amazing things I’m doing with my life besides raising little humans.

MOMS! WHY DO WE DISCOUNT OURSELVES??!!!

We rock!  So you are a “Mom”?  Well – you are awesome then!

 (I heard you…“I am not a good Mom. I have messed up. I have a history. I don’t spend enough time with them.“  STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. STOP. You are a M-O-M. You are blessed. The rest is a work is progress. Show me someone who IS NOT a work in progress and you will be showing me a stone statue of a human.)

So then….

Are we going to put parameters around each other, us Moms??

Oh mercy help me NO!

I get green around the gills when us Mommas start putting each other into boxes. 

We are MOMS. We have different ways about it that’s a fact…but…WE.ARE.MOMS. (EEE! We are MOMS! How did we get so blessed?! )

I do not care if you are a Momma to one or twenty; if you work outside the home as CEO of the biggiest XYZ Corporation or if you stay home everyday working within your own walls; 

if you birthed your babies with pain medicine or without; if you got on a daggone plane to find your baby;

if you are a single Momma or not;if parent a child with delays;  if your kids eat all organic; if you feed your kids fast food more often than not;

if you dress your kids in designer clothes or if your kids think the word designer is only for Heidi Klum to say during the show “Project Runway”; 

if your kid struggles to maintain a D average in school or if you have a kid who is years ahead in his education; if you are the Mom whose kid runs around outside in their underwears *when they were toddlers…NOT teens*;

if you are a Mom with a kid whose special needs you understand; if you let your 6 year old wear makeup *who does that though? oh.yah.me*; if you wear sweatpants every livelong day of the year; if you wear heels to the grocery store; 

if you are the Mom who brings store-bought cupcakes to the school Valentine Party [notice THOSE are the cupcakes that get eaten though]; 

if you are you the Mom who embroiders your kid’s name into the label of their boxers for summer camp; if you are just happy if you kid has boxers on; 

if you have your kids closets organized by size, color, season, and use; if you are the Mom who think closets are over-rated. 

WHO CARES?! We think the rest of “us” do.   PPssssttt…. WE DON’T !!!!!!!  

Let’s erase these little, weird boxes we put each other in and simply relax and revel in the fact that we are MOMS.


WE. ARE. MORE. THAN. “JUST”. ANYTHING.

Yes, Monday morning came today. Maybe it kicked your butt. Maybe you wondered where the love of yesterday had gone?

Well, the love is in the “normal” isn’t it? You know I’m preaching to myself now because I am not one to be super fond of “routine”…but…

There is A LOT of routine, repetitive, and not so glamorous components of being a “MOM” in the real world.

Laundry is NOT ‘lovely’ [dang..that's the truth]…….but maybe it is when you are emptying pockets and you find a crumpled piece of paper that is a little “Mother’s Day” love note that your son forgot to give to you. 

That’s sorta crazy loveable. And it wasn’t even Mother’s Day. It’s just a day now. But lovely nonetheless.

Maybe the dishes are not oh-so-lovely…oh heck are they SO far from magical that you sorta wanna throw a dish or two against the wall on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays? 

BUT…..stay with me here….without dirty dishes (or towers of paper plates in the trashcan…coughcough…)that would mean there had been no food to make the dishes dirty.

Suddenly, gritty, greasy, dried-up bits of casserole on a dish can become symbolic of your love towards your child. You nurtured them.

Now that’s some crazy great lovin’ there….

So.

I REFUSE to ever utter the phrase “I am just a Mom” EVER again. 

Sure, have a career, be a superstar, be the President, be a Starbucks barrista (just threw that in there…doesn’t that sound fun to do?!) ….. BUT …. You are “A MOM” along with all the other.

What truly defines you the most?  

You would never say, “I am JUST a neurologist”. 

“I am JUST an orphanage director”.  

“I am JUST a realtor.”  

So why would we EVER say we are “JUST MOMS”? 

Wanna agree to do our part to remove the “JUST” from all of this and to elevate the status of “MOM” to where it should be? 

AT the TOP … no matter what other occupation, hobby, talent, or even dream you have?

Being a MOM is quite sufficient …. It is a ROLE that CHANGES THE FUTURE. 

We, MOMS, are more than “just” anything. 

We are honored…even in the valleys, even the days when we feel like we are getting gruel shoved down our throats [dang that was vivid?!], even when the days of extreme confusion/sadness/questioning/hurt occur…..

None of that “yuk” of parenting takes us down to “JUST MOMS”.  We are still honored women.

The mere fact that we Moms can walk through, run through, cut through, hold on, pray it out in the times of “bleak” speaks volumes for the ‘vocation’ of “MOM” as being of the HIGHEST ranking way to spend our time.  

Let’s be MOMS this week…even though the flowers are wilted, the chocolates are gone, you forgot to mail your Grandma’s Mother’s Day card, and even though you may have really wanted a necklace and not a “Dremmel” power tool as a Mother’s Day present….let’s take Monday…and now Tuesday..and then Wednesday….

Let’s take the days by the horn and show this world a “A MOM” can do. 

Let’s just “LEAN IN” (eyeroll) and do this Mom thing …. together without parameters that we stick each other in.

You are powerful and called to this. You are MUCH bigger than “Just” anything …..

All my heart,
Andrea,
Occupation:  Mother   (sure, I do other things, but what defines me? How I am raising my kids defines my occupation because that is *truly* what I am defined by….because I am a Mom. )

"It’s Just All in Your Head"…Sadly, True. But I just want some Macaroni-n-Cheese

Right now, I’m experiencing what might be called a ‘flair’ or a mild panic attack or it might be some depression poking through … all under the umbrella of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”.

I’m in my bedroom.

The house is silent save for the rumblings of a new puppy and the run of a lawnmower outside (and I am jealous of the person behind that lawnmower as they, apparently, are not ‘stuck’ right now…)

I’m very hungry.

Everyone else went to get a bite to eat but I just didn’t feel up to going.

I’m not physically sick. No fever. No nausea. No actual pain.

I just couldn’t get my head around getting into a car and eating in a room full of other (noisy) people.

So here I am.

I want to heat up some frozen mac-n-cheese.

I can picture the little box of mac-n-cheese out in the garage freezer.

I have thought through, for about 20 minutes now, that it would need to be microwaved for 4 or 5 minutes.

But it’s in the garage.

And it needs cooked.

Those two things feel vast to me…to me right now inside this ‘flair’ or whatever is happening.

To get my limp legs walking, to go out into the garage, to figure out how to open the little box of mac-n-cheese. To wait the long 5 minutes for it to cook until I can sit back down.

Well.

That mac-n-cheese might as well be sitting in a freezer in Paris.

It feels practically impossible for me to just get up, walk across the house, open a freezer, open a small box of food, cook it, and eat it.

It is a very defeated feeling. It is very confusing to me.

I imagine it sounds ridiculous to many who have not experience mental health struggles.

This “stuff” is so very annoying….I am a strong person. Really! But..a girl cannot ‘beat’ a sickness. She just has to ride through it.

Right now, my mind is playing around to the point that I’m fairly frozen here, in this spot, in my room….stuck.

If there was danger…I’m sure I could move. Adrenaline saved my life once…I’m sure it would again.

But, unless some sort of high-voltage chemical change happens instantly, my mind will hold me captive for a bit longer. I will remain exceptionally fatigued and feel 120% defeated for awhile longer yet.

I’ve lived through …what…maybe hundreds of these types of afternoons or span of hours?

A span of time where the smallest thing feels the biggest and, during this time, it makes me feel that I will never make it out of this ‘state of weak’.

I always do though.

Sometimes I fall into a movie to get my mind at ease. Sometimes a book but not usually as I don’t have the mental energy to read during these ‘flairs’.

A nap might help but I hate it when a nap turns into 9 hours of sleep and then I’ve lost that time with my family and feel even more defeated ….. yet it was not on purpose.

I just want a bit of macaroni and cheese.

It seems so very basic. I need to eat because I am hungry.

Yet, inside my brain, a brain that is damaged from trauma, very basic things can feel as overwhelming as very difficult things. 

I wish I was mentally stronger than my mental faults.

I wish I was mentally tougher than my inner thoughts.

I wish I was mentally above the lows that my sickness takes me too.

I do know how to get through these blips in time that are my ‘normal’ now. But that doesn’t make the “flairs” any easier, it just makes them less scary. I know they do not last ‘forever’.  When this all first started 5 years ago, these “flairs” were more like “marathons” and it was all a major game-changer.

However,  these events, though smaller and less often, are still infuriating and depleting and constricting and it’s bothersome to everyone around me – including myself!

The really bad spans of time are getting further and further apart. I am improving. I am improving a lot.

But, yet, today, for quite awhile…I have felt stuck in the throes of figuring out how to get myself lunch.

It is a very weird place to “be” … this feeling of frozen and exhausted, defeated and confined.

But, the fight continues and I am sure I will eventually get the dang macaroni-n-cheese…because Jim will be home soon :)

In the Middle of “REAL”,
Andrea

March Madness..Andrea Style (read: a pictorial review of March :) I have been a lot healthier this month!!!

I have had a lot on my mind this month. 

Everything from happy to terribly sad things. As all of you do to I would imagine…I cannot be alone in that rollercoaster of thinking.

Right now I am really contemplating how complicated things can be sometimes. EVERYTHING can be complicated from dinner to TV selections, from FB drama to North Korea :) (big leap..I know).

One thing I over-complicate is relationships. 

Specifically, girl-friendships.

It is because they are important and powerful to me and I have seen my fair share flounder. 

Also, when you cannot ‘always’ be counted on to show up for the ‘thing’ because you might be “ptsd’ing” or dealing with high-level anxiety…it does make one’s friends be a bit on guard I think. I understand this. 

I hope this “unsure” season of my life is wrapping up. I hope I can restore the confidence in my relationships without doubting them every other moment. 

I think this over-complication may be a female-dynamic for women wired like me (A++ to a negative degree!).  But the stupid health stuff magnifies several things in regards to my relationships.

One.  It is magnified that they are exceptionally important to me and I desperately need that type of female-friend support. I also know I need to give it back in return.

Second.  It is magnified to me that a good friendship can disappear within seconds..due to anything from frustration to misunderstanding to growing apart. 

Which leaves me a bit bug-eyed over the ones I hold so close. I fear it makes me come across as “needy” or “over-whelming” but I wish all my girlfriends could see what’s written on my heart. 

It’s pure and simple need. And the need to know they will continue even if thing’s get jacked up for awhile. 

I am going to work on this balance…I have been working on it.

One thing that is so “easy” about having younger kids and a long-term marriage….we are each others biggest fans :)  

The people under my roof restore the hope in myself when I think I’m not so worthy of great friendships. 

I figure if 2, ten year old boys think I am sorta fun, a 13 yr boy can live without actually lashing out at me, a 16 yr is allowing me to help him navigate his first “relationship”, and my 6 yr old daughter still wants to be my shadow. 

And..if my husband still thinks I am sorta amusing with my silly antics here an there…well…surely I am worthy of some ‘outside’ friendships that feel as if they are ..“dipped in cement and sprinkled with sequins”..right?!!. Ugh with the doubt.

This month, as I have been feeling better, I have been able to put forth more effort towards my friendships. 

These pictures show ‘some’ of that outreach..me and my special peeps being’ goofy, fun, and Mommas. But, a lot of it also happens via texts (Jeanna, Lisa, Em…), or has happened over quick catch-up at my kitchen table (luv you Laura)…and this week a very neat thing happened..

A neighbor called and said, “Come over. I’m hanging out in my room watching a movie. Come chill.” I  went 5 houses down, in practically pajamas, and had a beautiful time just being real … no makeup, no high heels, no activity…just conversation. It felt so reviving ….

Now, I love a good girl’s night with the fashion, the shoes, the lastest “instagram” make-up idea…I always will! But it’s also refreshing to just be in a comfort zone without those elements sometimes.

I have only had that type of close relationship with a few people … a few pop up in these pictures and a few I didn’t get time with this month….but to have a friendship like that is really what I’m earning for and striving for.

To elevate my friendships from the outer and middle of each other to the deep-seeded inside feelings, wonderings, ideas, and dreams that can be shared without heels, without makeup, and in sweats and pony tails :)  

I am looking forward to April.  

It is my birthday month…last year I wrote myself a “TO DO” letter for my 38th year. We will see how I fared…eh?!  

I LOVE and completely ADORE that you are here on my blog. As much as I am striving to deepen my in-real-life relationships, I also consider “cyber” relationships to be exceptionally special. 

You guys have impacted my life with your encouraging words and advice more times than I will ever be able to recall…yet my heart has kept tally.  

I know friendships are a beautiful thing…I really want to be exceptionally good at it. 

Any advice you have in regards to how you keep your girl-friendships strong and deep … please share!!!  We are all in this together…

NOW…who’s ready for April?!  mercy :)

A brutally quiet Love Poem for what is or might be. And for what We Are.

I love you more than suddenly cleaning out your closet when I lose you.

I love you so as to hide myself in your clothes and to feel enveloped in the ‘arms” that used to surround me and protect me.

Love is bigger than your old sweatshirt but within it I find the world. I am not diminished for this smallness in thinking but am comforted by it. I know you are there, were here, are here. 

We are.

I love so that I refuse to make you a saint but keep you real and human so that I will never forget we love each other even through the ‘even thoughs’.

I love you that I would refuse to make you a charity or a work but to keep you secret and only ‘mine’ for awhile yet….

The world has had and will have you forever.  I deserve you for a few more moments in only the way that we are we and in the nuances that only this ‘we’ comprehends. 

Then…they can have you and your memory  but I keep the best of you in ours…and in me.

I love you so that I would cook your favorite foods just to smell their smells…even if I didn’t like the taste..just to think that you’d have been pleased and to let the memories of your ‘pleased’ unfurl in my mind.

Your love is not a noisy love. It is a love that is like a solid bridge between life moments that is actually a bridge I am not terrified of crossing or even of looking at. 

It is the one thing that I know will not tumble, buckle, break, or fall. I trust your quiet love.

I would talk of you everyday to keep you ‘alive’ to them…teaching them of you so they remain as much a part of you as I get to be a part of them.

I would curl beneath our covers and relive our moments and I would be grateful for what we have even if unthinkable.

We are.

I love you so much that I would never guard my tears. I would let them flow in a river of love that I refuse to hide because each tear is an honor to ‘us’, to you, to them.  

Loving to teach that tears are not solely for sadness but also for beautiful remembrances, laughter, and the mysterious.

I would not remove any part of you from me. Ever. I would keep you close…no matter how far you had go from me or for how long.

Some may say I do not understand. I accept that for they might not understand either. I trust what my heart is telling me is right for what is within. 

 I lay in the knowledge that we are not everyone and that each love is it’s own perfection. 

Love molds to those that have it and then the mold is broken for each. Our mold is broken. We shattered it beautifully.

My transformation into a new person is largely due to walking within your strengthening shadow.  

Somehow, even the brightest day does not lighten the strength of your shadow within me. It heightens it and makes me remember.

Wherever you are, I love you. I will love you. I started loving you. I will never “have” loved you…as that would imply that this could somehow end…and that is not something that love does. 

We are.  

We are US…or any other two people in love…

~ andrea 

How do you GLUE a family together anyways?? Fear. Screaming. Chaos. That works for us. :)


We have never traveled “for the holidays”. 

We were, typically, a ‘stayput’ kinda family that did all the traditionals.

BUT…this year we got a little bit of a giddy spark in late summer. 
Wait. 
It may have looked more like a vision of a melting snowman with it’s “parts” lying all over the front lawn…..and feeling like ‘we’ might be that snowman (again) by December 31st :)  
Um. Yep. Way different from my initial and wrong description of “giddy spark”. (I swear I try to be honest..what was that about?!)

Instead of plowing through December this year, we wanted to sorta leap over it?
 Does that make sense?  A lot has happened in my extended family this year and past that made December feel …well..like a “RUN!”. 

So. We Ran. 
To Mexico. 
To celebrate the end of the known world!
 (who knew?! The Mayans were wrong! But it was certainly fun ‘wandering’ with that culture before and during and around the 21st of December :)

We were gone for 13 days…which turned into 15 because we ended up stuck in Dallas due to “snow” issues at home…it was QUITE an adventure from the moment we left our front door to the moment we got back to it!

So…Why “run”? 

It was not really “running” it was “the need for different”. 

The “need for new” experiences. (all of which are pictured below :)

We certainly got that and more as the following pictures (oh wow a lot :) ) will show….

But…We learned a lot as we plowed our way through another foreign city let alone the country. 

We learned that adventures bring you closer…even if you sorta hate them in the midst. 

We did some “out of the envelope” family activities -
* jungle zip lining,
*jungle repelling, 
*swimming in an underground Mayan cave (a ceyanote),
 *the boys and Jim went ocean snorkeling, 
*I got a tattoo from a Spanish dude on the beach while the kids checked in on me every now and then (true story), 
*we traversed ancient Mayan cities & ruins, 
*we -again- used our Spanish-in-training to navigate our little group….
*and, obviously, we survived the “end of the world” in the middle of where it was to end (wink)….

During some of the above…there might have been some screaming, some “OH NO I AM NOT’S”, some “ARE YOU SERIOUS?”, some “Uh..this is NOT the right way!”,  and possibly even a few Spanish no-no words uttered by the random terrified Mom as she was being PUSHED off the tower to zip line hundreds of feet down… (well deserved no-no words I gotta say)

And then you add … 
The sudden and surprising and the logistically-challenging blizzard-layover in Dallas for two days…there were tears, anger, confusion, and unknowns. 
There was some exhaustion and “Why didn’t we just stay home by the fireplace & Christmas tree?” questions. 
There were moments when Jim and I were only seeing dollar signs and NOT the happy smiles of our kids. 
(vacation is always more expensive than planned! Well..it is when I plan a vacation at least)
There was some “homesickness” for a few traditions but… 
All of that said….RUNNING in December was the right thing for us.  
We, even if it was just Jim and Andrea, needed to “run”…We needed a “break” from the December pressures. 
We have been doing the traditional “December” for oodles of years now for the kids and wouldn’t trade any of those Decembers for anything…
But…phew…we just didn’t have another “December” in us this (last) year. 
Call it “escapism”. 
Call is “weak”.  
Call it “selfish”. 
I call it “self-preservation” and in the middle of that…
We managed to create some crazy weird and fun memories that are definitely NOT a part of normal life and that, even the kids say, are (now) more of a gift than anything we could have wrapped up in a box. 

(pictures below..like..um…a lot ;)
(though there were definitely a few naysayers about ‘not being in our house on Christmas’ throughout the trip… somebody hand the boy a tissue..please?! mercy :)  

We (finally…thank you blizzard)…made it home. A few days later we saw our Pastor…
He said, “Wow…so you made back?!” 
I said, “Yep. Eventually, eh?!

He said something that I think will now become a bit of a family mantra of sorts… though I haven’t honed the words perfectly…  
He said…

“I heard someone explain how some families really stick together and get on well year after year.”

I said, “HOW?!!” [doesn’t that sound like some holy grail secret or something? I was thinking he was going to quote a scripture or hand me a book to read… or some secret handshake or seomthing…]

He said, ” They camp together.”
HUH? (dang I hate camping but..)
He continued…”Have you ever heard of a camping trip that goes perfectly? NO! There is always something that goes wrong. However, the family then looks back on and laughs hysterically over it all. It pulls them together. The adventures/bad/surprises breed common ground. ” (sorta paraphrasing but you get his great point)

I said, “YES! I completely see what you are saying and I ‘think’ we just did a bit..or rather…a lot of that the last 3 weeks or so. We need to keep doing more of the terrifying adventures and/or mis-managed getaways!” (sorta paraphrasing but you get my response ;)

After he said that…I have now seen it play out. Now that I have been made aware of it at least. (Maybe it is obvious to others….but not to this Momma.)

No longer is Trey dragging his knuckles about how much he hated snorkeling but he’s laughing about how he doesn’t know how “he made it back to the boat alive”. 

Tye is not talking of how scary the dolphins were but ….. now he “collects” dolphins and we all get why :)

I, however, am still not laughing about zip-lining from the clouds to the ground. Seriously? Stupid. Dumb. Base.

We are all past complaining about how horribly cold the underwater cave water was and are now onto laughing about how Mom had to sing “Supercalafragalisticespyaladocias” to Aven. 
I had to sing to calm her down….
 (she did not have an appreciation for being under the ground, in freezing water, in semi-darkness…. shoulder-shrug?!)
  ….to stop her screaming (cuz screaming in an underground cave with water up to your shoulders is REALLY loud and REALLY sorta terrifying for Mom and girl…) …
Jim and boys are past the freezing water memories and on to talking about the fish they saw in the cave and are now laughing about the temperature of the water…etc.

The whole “Mayan Calendar” thing….
 We were not ever ‘scared’ of the world ending…but just being “down there” when it was advertised to end was a bit thrilling.

I can see how all of this “BINDS” us …..

Sure…daily life “binds”…. but watching a reenactment of ancient Mayan life, surrounded by Mayan ruins..on the night the world “should” end…well… that really binds too!
I never really put all of this together before. 
When we relocated to Antigua, Guatemala for 3 months to be with baby Aven until her adoption was complete, we did it with a mild sense of adventure but it was spurred just to simply be together with our baby and ALL of our children. That way we could all experience her babyhood and miss out on as little as possible.
However….
That Guatemalan adventure is mentioned many times over each month.
I ‘knew’ it brought us together but I thought of it as sort of just something “we talked about”…I didn’t realized the impact of that adventure until we got home from the last one.

I’m so grateful for them…even if I am screaming, and saying no-no words in Spanish, and doing things that ONLY my beautiful family could talk me into doing….

….I imagine a lot of my kids have similar feelings about some of the things we ‘pushed’ them into (hopefully without the no-no words in Spanish though?).  

Even homeschool…now that I truly ponder it…sort of feels like an adventure because..honestly..it is a bit unchartered and it could go different directions for each and every one of our kids. 

I hope homeschool is binding us. 
I hope it is not quietly ripping us apart..
 (being together so much, the kids living a different lifestyle than some of their friends and being forced to ‘stick up for it’ could cause bitterness…or they could end up learning near to nothing and won’t even be able to get a job at McDonalds…that could all quietly tear us apart :) !! ) …..

We will trust our guts on that one though…our God Guts.
Ultimately, 

I think God gave us that “withering Snowman” image when December was approaching
I believe He knew December would just be to “much” of “everything” for Jim and Andrea (the kids would have been fine…..but sometimes it’s about the parents too, eh?!).

Jim and Andrea are sorta tired a lot of the times with everything going on….

Even though it turned out to be a smidge more adventurous and uncertain than the anticipated “sitting in a chair by the beach for a few weeks”…..
(now who is surprised anyways?! smile)  
I think God gave Jim and Andrea a present by nudging us to “RUN” in December.

We made memories that we will talk about at their graduations (well..hopefully those happen…snirt), parties, weddings, etc. 

(All of our kids out there swimming with dolphins at once? Are you kidding me?!
 I was a ball of tears…tears of FEAR that my children would be the first humans eaten by a tame dolphin in centuries…
…. yet also tears of gratefulness that they were getting to experience that together….
Yep, I will be talking about that…and the stupid zip-lining. NEVER go zip-ling. NEVER. Trust me.)

So….

We are out to seek more binding adventures.

I pray they do not necessarily have to occur in a foreign country …. (even worse for me :)

…..or around a withered fire, with only lukewarm hot dogs to eat, and with only public showers to share…but..if that’s where the next “let’s get glued”  (smile…) adventure awaits us…

…. then I will suck it up and eat the nasty hot dog and just bring my “no water necessary” shampoo and soap :)

Let’s BIND!

Thanks for being here my friends…I TREASURE you and love when you comment…

I would LOVE to hear some “Binding Adventures” you have had or some suggestions!
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

(At this point….WE THOUGHT we were headed home…-yes, Aven had her New Year’s Eve Mask on in the airport-…but…we only made it from Mexico to Texas… binding :)
If you made it this far…leave me a “binding family action” idea or experience in the comments section!!!! 
(Cuz..if u made it this far you ARE an adventurer :) ) 

So what if I did turn away from God? Sometimes He just feels like a brick wall anyways.

As I mentioned in my last post….my writing posts jump from uplifting to questioning on the spin of a dime.

Here’s another spin of the dime.

I am TIRED of this.

Tired of feeling lethargic, guilty, slightly useless, pained, angry, and without spiritual answers.

My relationship with God has had peaks and valleys lately.



The peaks seem to last longer as I am seeing such little results from my utterances of prayers. 

Utterances in that – no- I am not on my knees, not on the floor spread eagle crying out for answers, But small, pleading prayers for help.

Along with these whispered prayers are thanksgivings of course. This could be SO MUCH WORSE. It could be terminal.

This mental health battle that has me tanked lately (it has taken a few steps backwards lately it feels like…or maybe more than a few honestly) could be saddled upon one of my kids.

THAT would be terrifically horrifying as in at least I can read “my brain”. I could not read someone else’s to help when needed. The idea of my kids suffering brings my utterances to God that starts with thanksgivings. 

(I’m not being the “perfect mom” saying this…if you are a parent you know my words ring true.)

BUT.

My prayer life, my spirituality, my sense of peace seems to, lately, hit up against a rough, red, thick, and annoying brick wall.





I do not feel like I am “getting through” to my God.

I have become so “whatever” about this that I have stopped listening to my beloved “MercyMe” music.

 (God-oriented music that used to be the songs that hit me between the eyes with encouragement.)

Do I know God is here?  Yes.

Do I “feel” Him as much as I did? No.

Is this my fault?  Yes.

He hasn’t gone anywhere. I have.



Why?  Because the feeling of ‘not being heard’ is frustrating and exhausting and seems a bit pointless right now.

Am I causing myself set backs by having this attitude? Surely.  Can I fix it? I haven’t been able to lately.

I am doing my job as a “Bible Teacher” in school.

We are studying the book of “Job” right now. Fairly pertinent huh?! 

(I didn’t pick this study..it was preset in our curriculum. Again, God is there…it is me that is silent? I just don’t know.)

But…I can relate to the Book of Job.

 I can related to Job’s deep grief to a certain extend. I can related to his ‘friends’ calling him out as being a sinner who ‘deserved’ such pain. 

I can related to his “friends” questioning him and telling him to ‘shut up’ as questioning God is inappropriate.



I can also relate to the fact that Job never turned against God but, at the same time, questioned his circumstances and pleaded for answers as to the “why’s” of his situation. 

Questioning the “why’s” is NOT inappropriate..not matter what Job’s “friends” said to him. 

So…the rubber hits the road…just as in the book of Job.

Will I ‘give up’ on God. Will I turn my back b/c of the frustration in regards to a lack of release from this battle? Because of the relationships it seems to be ending?

Will I turn my back on God, for as much as I have asked, He has yet to give me a physical avenue to use my journey to help others…

IE having energy to set up a useful support group, having the energy to talk to others, IRL, about this mental health road while debunking the stigma of it?

I want to be useful.  I want to be successful. I want to be “out there”! danggit.



I see A LOT of people who do not have their lives set to a moral code who are useful and successful.

But, here I linger, giving thanks yet pleading for more steps forward in this battle yet receiving very little “back” from my questions.

Do I ‘see’ God in my journey? VERY much Yes. He has led me to therapies I have never heard about yet which have helped tremendously.

But I am speaking in different and deeper terms.

My heart hurts from the unanswered prayers.  I feel isolated and alone without answers.

Many of you are thinking, “No response to your questions is -actually- an answer. It means stay still and wait.”

Really though? I am sick of “waiting”.

I am sick of wanting to be consistently useful to others, with my art, and within my community.

I am absolutely clueless as to why I am not receiving direction, strong gut feelings that can only be attributed to God. 

I WANT THOSE GUT FEELINGS BACK. The ones that used to come so easily and guide me.



For instance, I desperately want another child. (I know you all just rolled your eyes). But I do and I have had this strong desire for several years and those around me know of it.

But…that door only seems to exist in my head. I know the difference between ‘a wish’ and a “do”. Is the baby just a wish? 

I have pleaded (in private, in my own way) for a solid answer to this question.

NOTHING. Not even a “no”.

Not even the longing for another child to simply vanish.  I deal with it daily.

Will I turn my back on God?  No.

Does it sound appealing? Not really.

 Like Job simply intensely questioning but never blaspheming or accusing God…. Job knew God was “there” … at least somewhere…

I know God is “here” but I do not feel saturated by Him like I have at other times. I am not closed to His saturation…

I simply feel locked up and away from answers that I am desperately in need of.

One analogy has helped me… I forget where I read it recently but it goes like this…

A farmer manages his field in certain ways.

 One season he will sow, plant,  grow, and “reap” abundantly. 

(IE a person will learn and grow and reap in their spiritual life during this ‘season’ in their lives.)

Simon Bening, Labors of the Months: September, from a Flemish 



Another season, the harvest may be less and he may struggle. 

(IE a Christ-follower may sit and ponder that past season and implement some of the new revelations into his life. But the feelings of the past season seem to be waning)



Finally,  the last season before he starts to sow, plant, grow, and reap again….he must allow his farmland to “Fallow”.  This means to simply let his land rejuvenate itself. Let it relax. Let it restore itself.

The land (a Christ-follower) may seem useless if one gives it (him/her) a passing look but the farmer (God) knows what he is doing. He is prepping his land for a great harvest.

 

I feel that I am definitely in the “fallow” season.

I hope, pray, cling to the idea that a great harvest … a lot of “good” … a lot of beautiful .. a lot of “GOD”….is coming from these last difficult seasons in my (our) life…..

Please cling to this idea with me ….

Andrea

PS I am reading and studying the devotional book “Unglued” by Lysa Terkeurst of the “Proverbs 31 Ministries”. It has helped…it explains “imperfect progress” in an interesting way and tries to wipe away the guilt one feels when there is a mistake, a change that you are slowly working on, a goal that is slow to achieve, etc. 

She deals SO well with making one see that God does not demand perfection…

It has helped me remove ‘some’ of the guilt I feel about all of the feelings above. But….if they weren’t still there I wouldn’t be writing about them.

Celebrating Kids…It is not bragging. There’s a point to it all.

(Eek…many typos and a few left out words I see now…wrote from heart not a ‘Language Arts’ book….will fix them later?..or….it is me we are talking about. A blog post without typos would be inconceivable)

Dang! Whave had some fantastic opportunities to “celebrate kids” this past season…
Around house from Halloween to the end of January…there is a Cockrum Kid birthday about every 3 to 4 weeks…add in Christmas and…WOW…lots of celebrating and joy over family and friends…and children.
All of this “growing up” that is happening around my house has me a bit giddy, a bit depressed, a bit shocked, and a bit exhausted :)  
But…it in my heart …
(even if planning the birthday parties at loud kid-oriented crazy places, or accidentally forgetting birthday candles…
  or hoping that friends show up to the kid’s party, or emptying our wallets to do all of this make me PTSD-crazy and really just sorta want to hide under a tree…)
….. I know that celebrating a kid is pretty much essential to them.
I feel like a kid needs to SEE that they are loved. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate birthday party…our family party for Zane and Tye? 
We played “Chubby Bunny” and “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” and it was one of the BEST birthday parties EVER because of the laughter amongst grandparents, aunts, uncles, us, and our KIDS.
But…in the “down” times when a kid sorta “hates” his family (I am not naive enough to think those those never enter my puberty-ridden boys’ brains) I think a small part of their brain remembers being “celebrated” in some way…
…from having their favorite meal made for them to singing in the loud, out-of-tune “Happy Birthday” song to him over a flaming cake.
Maybe seeing an item that was gifted to them by a special Aunt reminds them of “the big picture” and brings them back to reality a bit and off of “Puberty Planet” 
…. or maybe a younger kid has some confidence built when he or she sees loved poured over them by people…”If people love me a lot I must be a worthwhile”.
It breaks my HEART to know that some (many) kids do not get love poured over them.
Orphans stuck in an institutional environment where there is no time for even a hug. 
A child being ignored, abused, neglected within there own home.
I certainly wish these situations did not exist. I wish kids did not have to find their worth in gang membership, getting high, or running away to escape and “find love somewhere else.”
I have witnessed, firsthand, kids who have very little hope.  Children in Chase, Tye, and Aven’s situations before they were adopted.
 Kids wandering the streets of Calcutta, India or Beijing, China. 
A beautiful girl who tried desperately to get into our taxi after we toured an Orthodox Church in Rostov, Russia. 
She wanted SO desperately to “get away” and to be loved and celebrated.
These are major issues. 
How can celebrating MY kids to such a degree NOT seem selfish or NOT spoil them?
Because they know or have seen for themselves what I just wrote about orphans, begging children, and deprived babies.
My kids have seen boys shining shoes for a glass of milk on the sidewalks of Antigua, Guatemala.
They know their life is not the norm.
So shouldn’t we ‘bring it down a notch” and simply have our kids do a charity work for their birthdays and donate the proceeds to Chase’s orphanage?
NOPE.
We want to raise kids that KNOW the INTENSE love of an adult, a Dad, a Mom, Chosen Family, Family…because we ‘think’ we know what ‘might’ happen…
They will pass it on.
They will “pour their love” over others because they have felt the benefits of it and want it for others. 
They know that providing settings where they are celebrated (birthday parties, etc) is not cheap
…it is not always normal, etc., but they will know the “feeling” of such things and want it for others because we believe that a kid that has the confidence of unconditional love with pass it forward to others.
It might be to their own families. Their wives, their kids.
This means another generation of “celebrating” which means another generations of confidence and giving. 
Of pouring and helping. 
Maybe “celebrated kids” will want to celebrate orphaned, abandoned, desperate kids and will work in environments where they can do this. 
Maybe “celebrated kids” will want to celebrate others who did not feel unconditional love and will volunteer in places where they help others to find their confidence and worth again.
I think “celebrating kids” is amazing.
I do not think it is a form of bragging.
I think it is an essential form of parenting. Do I think it is a “guarantee” that a kid of mine will walk away into a life I do not understand? 
Of course not. I do not live in a bubble. 
BUT…I think “knowing you are loved” is foundational (as I have experienced it with Jim and it makes me feel like I have more worth than I did before I met him because he has shown me more of myself).
Again, the celebrating can be small. 
My Mom used to make “doubles” of every dish for dinner on the day my parents found out they were having “TWINS”.  That day, every year, made me feel wanted and celebrated. 
It cost my Mom very little but the impact was great.  
At the time, I may not have expressed my appreciation is large measure, but I remember the double dishes of jello, the double dishes of pudding, the double dishes of mashed potatoes, etc and I smile because…
 I know my parents wanted BOTH of us and were happy about two babies…one being me. 
So…these pictures are some of the “celebrating” that has occurred within birthday settings…birthday’s for Trey, Zane, and Tye.
 Since we have had some “family meteors” thrown our way in the last few years, we felt it was really important for our kids to feel celebrated by other family…to know that family doesn’t always go away…
…. but can stick around and love and celebrate and play “chubby bunny” (putting as many marshmallows in ones mouth while still being able to say ‘chubby bunny’. Gary won..23 marshmallows…impressive and hilarious)
So, after family parties…we then planned “friend” parties.
Was it a bit exhausting and sorta blew our budget? yep.
But this year the two parties felt necessary…and we aren’t even done with them all yet (Christmas got “in the way”..ha)
  It’s been a hard few years between a few important family members “leaving” along with my PTSD junk…
So….”CELEBRATE OUR KIDS” we did.

 (Chubby Bunny Winner :)

 

LOTS of celebrating…and of course there are more pictures (that I might throw in here so when my adult kids read this blog they can remember how drowned they were in love…and spring foward from it …. :)   but … these made me smile and I hope idea of “Celebrating a Kid” pays off….
We love you to the moon and back…
Chase Lee
Trey William James
Zane Landry
Tye Andrew
&
Aven Catherine Mundell
You are celebrated everyday..whether there’s a party or not or and even if you don’t necessarily “feel” it every single minute of the day…
You are Celebrated.
Now…Use It.
ALL our Love,
Your Mom and Your Dad

Well Hello Blog…Happy Christmas…So why is there a ticking time bomb on my chest?

Now, if you have read my blog for any length of time…You know I jump around from topic to topic. 

Sorta of in an extreme way. (see above image :)

The last month I have become very self-conscious about that. 

I started feeling like the “jumping around” indicated some sort of ‘enhanced PTSD’ symptoms and that you all were starting to wonder about me.

I have since decided to … well …. ignore that thought process. (Andrea: 1 ;  Insecurity: 0 )

My personality, by nature, is a “jumper”. 

I talk in circles until I come to a conclusion (I think that is called deductive reasoning … and now I am a nerd too :)   

That my blog posts jump from “Oh I am so happy” to “Oh holy jelly beans the sky is falling”… is simply just “Andrea”. 

Yes, PTSD may play a part in that now but I really no longer care. I have PTSD. There’s not getting around that. 

It affects every part of my life. If it “enhances” my “jumping”..well so be it. 

I am choosing to enjoy the ride…as if I have a choice.

So, my inhibitions about writing here again are vanquished and I feel like I can be myself here again. phew.

 
(ha)

SO! Let’s JUMP RIGHT IN!

It is 3:39am.

I have been laying in bed for about 3 hours.  It isn’t really insomnia. It is an all all worry-fest.

Does anyone else do this in the midst of the “witching hours” …. when the world is quiet but your brain is not.

Your brains seems to SPIN OUT OF CONTROL when everyone else is making their little sleeping sounds and seem to be oh-so-cozy in bed…whereas your sheets are relatively soaked in sweat from heavy thoughts and silly worries.

Tonight…I have thought about (in no certain order):

-crud I am a horrible wife/mom because I do not have a dinner idea for tomorrow night…or even the next four nights. Let alone the four nights after that. I must surely stink at this housewife gig.

-I desperately need to call my grandmother like NOW. (I honestly almost picked up the phone at 2:30am to call her but she is 84 and I was worried she may have negative health consequences from a middle-of-the-night phone call. I am not joking.)

-what am I going to wear tomorrow. I want to wear my yellow skirt but it feels tight around my waist. Maybe if I cut the elastic it will be more comfortable.

-I wonder if my kids are happy.  As in truly happy and will reflect upon their childhood with smiles and not inside a therapy session.

-I want a dog that is loyal and not a yapper and “excitable urninater”.  (I almost got on Craig’s List to look for one but that would seriously put my marriage in jeopardy right now.)

-I want to repaint our kitchen table…which led me to about 20 minutes of, mentally, choosing a color, considering the repairs it needs, where I would conduct this project.  (I’m going with purple enamel and then pale orange chair covers. Yes. I am … at least I think I am)

-what if there is a natural disaster? We do not have enough food to last more than a few days. Maybe I should reserve a bathtub for storing water from now on?

-I wonder if homeschooling is seriously damaging our kids. I am to unorganized to truly school them. Chase is 16. Maybe he’s past the “I can fix this” part of his education. Crap.

(those are just the thoughts that i can remember…it’s been 3 hours people. )

So.

All the Christ-followers who are reading this are thinking:

PRAY Andrea.

Andrea has PRAYED.  Yet, I still lay in bed, many nights a week, feeling like I have a 400 lb ticking time bomb sitting upon me. 

It is just WAITING to explode with “I TOLD YOU SO’s” and horrible events and proof positives that the minor things rolling through my brain did deserve my mental attention and that I should have acted…before the dang bomb “exploded”.

Now…some are going to say….

Read your Bible.

I.Have.Read.My.Bible.



You know what I found?

King David, Moses, Abraham, Ruth, Aaron, Jesus, Paul, Silas, Peter, James, Solomon, Ester, etc.

ALL key figures and major players on God’s team. Yet, they ALL had major struggles.



I find it hard to fathom that they did not lay upon their straw beds or wooden beds or dirt floors and ponder the state of their “being”.   

I do not feel ‘convicted’ when I read the Bible about these flying mental issues. 

I feel “in company”.

Am I dealing with an impending army invasion that Moses had to have his arms held up for (that was Moses, right?) in order to show obedience?  

No so much. 

But I do feel a sense of “invasion” in that “If I do not get some of these major and even minor issues resolved I am failing”.



I know a lot of this is not rational.

I know a lot of this will dissolve in the morning.

We will get take out for dinner.

School will go well. The kids will surprise me in some way with their retention and I will exhale a major sigh of teacher-relief.

I will talk to Jim about a dog and he will look at me like I have 23 heads.

 
(I’m going to get busted for this one .. but he’s sleeping peacefully…so I feel retribution is in order. )



I will buy the paint for the table and eventually get to the project. 

I will call my grandmother and slubber all over her about how much I adore her (She is my -deceased- Dad’s Momma. She is as important to me as my right hand)

But you know what…

I will crawl into bed tomorrow night…and..you guessed it.

New thoughts will start rushing.

My head will start aching.

My heart will start hurting.

I will try to talk myself out of the stupid thoughts…but…sometimes…my talking feels like silence.

Am I alone in this?


I have heard of other human beings (laugh) talk about this irrational phenomenon. So, I do not ‘think’ I am alone in this situation.

SEE EVEN MY PICTURES JUMP AROUND….


But I surely do feel alone, at night, as I wonder about a new dog, if my kids will be successful, if the birds got fed, if the nutritional needs of my kids are being met, if Jim still thinks I am ‘worth all of this’, if the major family “craters” we’ve traversed the last year (plus a few) will ever just stay in there place and if the hurt will stop.

Sometimes…sleeping is lonely. Especially when you are not. 

(How’s that for JUMPING back in? You know my next post will be about a fun birthday or our recent Christmas trip to Mexico to celebrate the end of the world with the Mayans -true story- but .. for now…THIS is what I wanted to write about…)

I wonder if I will ever pick up a paint brush again, I hope my friends will love and be loyal, I wonder if….

Oh heck. Andrea..find sleep.

We had a daughter. Then we didn’t. Then we did. Happy Birthday Stori…I wish we knew.

Today I ….want….to…..

Throw a chair against a wall.

Scream until it hurts.

Hit a glass wall with a baseball bat.

Throw all the paperwork in the world up into the air and watch it fall back down in unorganized heaps.

Peel back the layers of “stupid” in bureaucratic processes by exposing those bureaucrats to the consequences of their own actions.

Pound a table until someone hears me.

Sweat my anger out until it’s gone.

Roll the memories around in my mind until I think they will go away but they don’t. 

THAT…. is… what I’d like to have done today.  

I did not…except for the last one.

Happy 6th Birthday Stori Noelle…Today you are celebrating with your adoptive family in Guatemala. For that I am eternally grateful. Yes grateful…that the daughter we “lost” is with another family.

I am GRATEFUL you are NOT in an ORPHANAGE.

But, I am CONFUSED as to WHY WE are not your adoptive family.

You were to be ours. 

You WERE ours. 

We were SO cussin’ close sweetie.  

So close to a cuddle.  To a giggle. To happy memories. 

 So.Close.

But, after having you in our hearts, our souls, our conversation, your picture on our walls, on our Christmas card, after a baby shower was held in your honor, after you were ‘the baby sister that would soon be home from Guatemala’ …. after months of this…

You were taken away by bad paperwork. 

By a bureaucratic process that is difficult for birth parents to navigate. By a process that shoots a birth mom who is trying to do the right thing in the freakin’ foot.

Yes, your birth mom messed up your paperwork. Which messed up our lives. Which then brought us Aven.

I don’t understand the circle of life there. 

I do not understand how it all worked out. 

I do know it was painful, shocking….did I say painful? 

Yes, painful…like a bullet…to receive the phone call we did on March 26, 2007 that you would never be ours. 

And then to have to go forward immediately with another child or risk being yanked out of the Guatemalan adoption process. 

To move forward even though it felt as if we were the most disloyal, confused, horrible people to accept another baby after the one we loved was not “here” anymore. 

We did move forward. (thanks to Jim’s decisiveness…which I am forever grateful for. His words, “We are not going out like this Andrea. We are doing this.”)

We wanted a daughter. We wanted you, Stori. But we did not get you. 

We got Aven. 

And when I held her I was over-the-moon, heart bursting, eyes boggled in love with her instantly. As fast as an arrow pierces a heart…she had me. 

She had me with that first whiff of her little neck…that instant when I finally felt the weight of this “second” baby girl in my arms and my entire being could exhale because I knew God had done something miraculous. 

God healed me….yet He won’t let me forget and I am open to that. I NEVER will forget or, truly, understand any of this Stori. But I know Providence helped us.

And AVEN is our daughter. SHE is our heartbeat. SHE is your replacement? 

No, never. But she has sucked all the possible milliliters of “good” that could POSSIBLY have come out of the March 26th phone call.  Out of the botched paperwork. Out of the pain. Out of the tears…Aven pulled joy out of it all. (I believe God was pushing too…)

I look at Aven and I am FILLED with love. OVERFLOWING with it actually. I look into her almond-shaped, deep as the forest brown eyes and am mesmerized. I feel like she was carved out of me. 

Would I have felt that way about your Stori? I will never know. 

But my LINGERING attachment to you…which is surely spiritual and will forever be even though the ‘world’ surely rolls their eyes at this severe and unshakeable “thing” I hold for you…makes me think we would have had “it” too. 

I would have been honored to have been your Mom to Stori Noelle. 

However..I am not.

Though, I am SURE the Momma who was privileged enough to take you into her arms, to have her heart healed (maybe?) by YOU, to fall-on-the-floor in love with you on April 17th, 2007 as HER new daughter… is laughing and celebrating with you today. I always wonder what kind of cake and pinata you enjoyed on your birthday.

 Every year…I wonder.

I PRAY … know…I have to say I KNOW because if I don’t I cannot sleep.  I KNOW you are well-loved, warm at night, safe at school, with food at your fingertips. Please God. Let that be. 

How could it not be? A Guatemalan couple that adopts is an anomaly for many reasons but it does indicate severe devotion and love…regards of financial status…I can only assume they would give you all of that and way more given who they must be. 

They…I KNOW…are amazing people.  Please God.

I do not think I will ever “get over” losing you Stori. 

Even if people tell me too. Even if people are sick of hearing about you. Even if people in my life forget you (though Aunt Ruth has your picture up in her house….amazing). 

Even if rolling the memories of the months we ‘thought’ we had you and the reasons we were positive you were to be ours (there were many….) hurt when I think about them. 

Even if Aven looks at your picture in our home and says, “Let’s pray for Stori Mom” and I want to both swing her in the air with “happy”  that she’s so sensitive…

…. and then cry that the two of you will never meet, as I have a feeling you two would have made amazing sisters…though I would never have known Aven if you had stayed with us.

Even if I will NEVER understand that. 

Even if.

Even if every November 26th of every year for the rest of my years I cry, feel out of loop, feel waves of anger that were held at bay the other 364 days, take time away from the family I have within my reach to ponder and pray for you…

Even if ALL of that…

I always will.

I will ALWAYS have you in my heart. You are etched there regardless of how odd that may seem to someone who has never fallen in love with their child if only through a picture….

Always.

You have a set of praying parents…and a praying sister…in Indiana. 

We will all probably never meet…but we are bound by the Arms of Providence in ways that I will never understand but am somehow grateful for? (Aven…)

Aven….You were and are my heart’s glue. Thank you for pulling me through my sweetest daughter who carries my mended heart inside her eyes. 

I adore you and thank you for understanding “Stori” as much as you already do. I find that miraculous. 

All of my love girls…..Always.