Sunday, June 7, 2009

What a Year!

***This is a long post, but a good catch-up.

Our little Kindergarten cutie has grown so much this past school year! PandaGirl has really done well and we are so proud of her. I can't believe we have a 1st grader! Honestly, where did the time go?! I know I've lost most of my blog reading crowd since I haven't been able to blog much since last summer nor have I had time to visit much of anyone, but hopefully I will be able to rebuild some fun cyber-friendships that I have missed so much.

I thought I would share some pros & cons of my "year" as a working mom. First, let me preface with how crazy our life got in August of last year. We found out we had to move a couple of weeks before school started. We scrambled around to find a house all while I was busting my rear doing all the needed things I had to do in getting my job as well as the dread we had knowing how hard it is to move houses not to mention the added costs.

I was overwhelmed to say the least.

Then throw in the fact that I hadn't worked full-time in five years, obviously never worked FT as a mother and I hadn't been a practicing speech therapist in TEN years! I felt like a tiny lamb thrown to the wolves when I started work! My "supervisor" was ten years younger than me. All the hard copy paperwork I had ever done was now computerized meaning I had to learn the ropes with no real training to do it on top of the district's email system to learn. I was on multiple campuses, fumbling around to figure out where I was supposed to be and what the heck I was supposed to do and no one really cares for the speech teacher anyway because, by law, we HAVE to see the kids for whatever they are in for---so there wasn't much smiling nor friendliness going on like I was used to in ministry events---and while working in middle schools, taking kids out of crazy schedules is just HARD. Before I took the job I had already committed to teaching 6th grade Bible Study on Sundays at church as well as be the head of decorating for a HUGE women's event at church to be taking place in November. All this while trying to move houses and wondering how my sweet baby was doing in Kindergarten. Oh--did I mention that we were also pursuing an adoption from Haiti?

After filling out papers all summer for adoptions, online job applications, housing applications, got-the-job-filling out papers, homestudy paperwork, work paperwork....I was SICK TO DEATH OF FILLING OUT PAPERWORK!!!!!!!!!!

I WAS S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D!!!

Within the first six weeks of working I saw myself falling apart, but didn't really know what to do about it. By Thanksgiving, we were settling in our house and work was "somewhat" coming along better, but the adoption thing was NOT working out at all. Too many details to get into on this blog, but just suffice it to say that we were broken-hearted several times over in our attempt to adopt from Haiti. We never really went into at the time with very many people, but the final straw that made us pull out of the program was after we were told there were twin baby boys that we could "officially get a referral" on, got our hopes completely UP and then found out they really weren't available. This is on top of three other little boys in Haiti that made us hopeful and didn't work out.

At that point, PandaPop was done.

Done. Done. Done.

I was so angry and hurt. We were out a few thousand dollars and a ton of emotions. People had given us money on the "Chip In" widget on our Kaleidoscope blog as well as some friends here at home and I was feeling so guilty about that, but we didn't do anything wrong. Though PP was "done" I just absolutely couldn't get it out of my head and heart that God was NOT done with our family. However, I didn't have any solutions either. Every single time I believed God had "led" me to some new way to add to our family, it didn't work out. We got so sick of telling our friends over the past four years of how the adoption we were currently working on "didn't work out". I even waivered in my faith and questioned if God was just teasing us with so many friends getting pregnant or leads seemingly from Him and then just not panning out.

Towards the end of November, right before we got the news about the twins not being available, we had to go to the doctor again for new physicals. We went to a new doctor who did all kinds of blood work on us. We got the results of that testing after we found out that we weren't going to Haiti. She was our same age and flat out told us to "grow up" and eat like adults. If we continued on our same path of unhealthy eating we'd both be diabetics within five years. YIKES!! She got us on a regimen and we took it as a wake-up call from the Lord to focus on our health and not so much on adoption. Since then PP has lost 40lbs and I have lost 30lbs. I still have about 30 more to go, but am loving that extra weight being GONE!! I am actually enjoying exercise now and I am NOT an athlete of any sort! LOL!

There is so much more about our journey this past year with adoption, but now is not the time--I want to leave the computer and go read. ; ) I will do another post soon about what the Lord is doing with our PandaFamily. We are very excited. There ARE plans going on right now for adoption and it is nothing at all what I thought in my little head. Adventure is on the way! Scared out of my mind, but excited to see God's hand unfold something amazing and wonderful for our family, too.

As far as working full-time goes...I griped a lot about that job, but the blessing of the money that came from it, the precious students I got to meet and pour myself into, the people I met along the way and the sheer experience of getting out of my Christian bubble and living among people who either hate God or have no care about Him at all was all worth it. I hated almost every step, but through God's grace and my precious husband, I made it!

Believe me, I DO NOT understand how people work full-time AND have multiple kids who are involved in extra-curricular activities and keep sane. Maybe that's why people seem so ticked-off and rushed all the time. I found myself being so agitated and short-circuited all the time.

The part I'm sad about is that my spiritual life stunk. No matter how much I tried to "get it together" I was just always tired, always felt like nothing was getting done and always felt rushed.

Start the day at 6:00am, rush, rush rush--pick up PandaGirl at 4:30, get home, check emails, get dinner ready (or go out!! I would be so tired that we'd go out, eat gross food and spend too much rather than eating at home!), baths, read, blah, blah, blah, get the kid in bed, work-out...maybe, shower, hit the pillow and then start all over again the next day.


I so wanted to be at my spiritual "best" even through less-than-stellar circumstances. I would remind myself of our blessed life as compared to the little girl we sponsor in Africa who has nothing really or about all the people losing their jobs recently or even several dear friends who have been battling very fast growing cancers (one who went to be with the Lord just this very morning leaving behind a husband and two teenage boys). Reminding myself of every gracious thing God has done for me would get me back on track and I could focus for a little longer. I even tried starting Beth Moore's Esther Bible Study....HA!...there was no time for that! (Again, I seriously don't know how people do it!) I need to mention also that we had a small group at our house on Tuesday nights and Wednesday nights PG and I had dinner at church with PP or else we wouldn't get to see on him on Wednesdays and then would run to the grocery store for weekly groceries since there wasn't really any other time to do it. Our weekends were always full with some thing or another. (And can I just say that THE worst time to shop at Wal**Mart is on a Sunday evening around 5:30?!!! OH MY WORD! Not a good idea). Back to the spiritual...I am grateful for my God who loves me despite my weaknesses. In fact, He says in His Word that when I am weak, HE IS STRONG. Praise You, Lord.

I can't post again for another week and a half. I'm going out of town to spend some time with my mom who is recovering from her double knee replacement surgery.

Didn't I say that I was going to go read a bit ago? I guess I got distracted. That's happened a lot in the past year. But that's another post entirely...if I remember to post it. ; )

The picture below is where my heart loves to be: right in the middle of ministry events with PandaPop, free to do what needs to be done with my family and being the best mom and wife I can be.

Bless you for sticking around to see what happens next. ; )


  1. Have I told you lately how much I love and miss you guys!!!!! That was a very touching post. I know how hard this past year has been. Trying to work, be a mom, be a wife and have a life of your own is VERY hard to do. I'm like you I am not sure how so many women do it. I work, but not full time I don't think I could do it. Anyways, I am glad that this journey in your life is over, now you can enjoy PG and PP again. By the way, you look AMAZING ;) Love Ya!

  2. what a beautiful post...and what a year!!!

    You survived and you shed 30 pounds on top of it! You GO GIRL!!! As a working mom, I can totally sympathize with every complaint of trying to do it all. The juggling act gets really old.

    I'm sorry that the adoption process for Haiti turned out to be so unstable. That's so unfair.

    I'm here for you, sweetie. Soak up the summer as best you can. Best wishes with your mom's knee recovery. I'm looking forward to more updates on your blog. ((hugs))

  3. Friend, I can't WAIT to catch up...and you look FABLULOUS! Tell me when to call. :)
    Love you.

  4. Go take care of your mama. Looking forward to hearing more from you. We will be moved from our house on the 23rd, and living only God nows where. :0} We have been on our own roller coaster ride this past year! New adventures ahead!!
    Love you!

  5. So glad to see how things are going for you. Great picture! I totally understand how you feel. I love being in the middle of ministry with my husband and kids! It is the best!

  6. so - sre you returning to speech in August or are you just "done" for the summer

  7. Whew, that was a lot to read through! Good job on the weight loss, it shows in the picture and you look great! I hope you have a wonderful and restful summer. Can't wait to hear about your adoption news. I hope you'll have a blessed time caring for your mother.

  8. The latest family picture there is great. Y'all look fabulous! I'm so glad for you that the summer is here. Soak it up! You deserve it! Praying and waiting expectantly for adoption news for your dear family.

  9. So excited to have you back blogging!! Your posts have been missed! :)

  10. So great to read your post and "catch up".

    So looking forward to hearing about your adoption plans.

    So glad you are back to being a SAHM (I know how much that means to you!)

    Congrats on the weight loss!

  11. It has been a crazy year. We love you and your entire family!

  12. You guys look great! I enjoyed the catch up from this year...lots going on in your family. Good to hear from you again!

  13. I thought you guys were looking skinny! Wow - 70lbs. in all. We're working on a healthier lifestyle here, as well.

    So glad you're finished with the full-time working mom thing!

  14. It's good to catch up with you! Pandagirl is sure getting tall! She's looks so grown up in the top pic! ;) It sound like a lot is going on in your life as far as reflection, spiritual growth, etc. Isn't God so good! I love times of growth and personal analysis. I think my job as an oncology nurse has been such a blessing in so many ways. I know what you mean about everyday being a gracious gift. I don't live a day without looking at my husband, my dog, my family and friends and am just almost brought to tears by how good God has been to me. Life is just so rich and then we get to end life here by being welcomed in by Jesus! It just doesn't get better!

    Thanks for the catch up post.

    Take care!:)


  15. Well, it looks like you still have quite a few followers. Loved this post. I HEAR you!! Had so much fun with you in our short time. Hope to see you again this summer. look fabulous!!