“The Event” (Or, what my roommates have been calling my recent break-up.)

About a month ago, the relationship I had been in for the past 2+ years ended.  Amicably.  Somewhat mutually.  (He broke up with me, but it was for reasons I had been thinking about as well.)  But it was still not without a great deal of pain.  And grief.  And tears.

Right after the break-up, I was in a daze.  I knew what had happened, but I still could not wrap my head around the conversation I had just finished.  I was sure he would call me back, say “just kidding”, and things would be the same again.  I would be very upset with him for pulling such a cruel prank, but I would forgive him and everything would be okay.  Even as I dropped my groceries on the kitchen floor and told my roommate what had just happened, I could not seem to process the reality of the situation.

She hugged me and I heard her cry a little bit; I honestly thought to myself, “Tears.  Yeah.  You’re supposed to cry when your heart is breaking.  I should probably be crying.  Okay then…why don’t I feel like crying?”

Shortly thereafter, I did feel like crying.  And then I could not stop.  It was as if the floodgates had opened and nothing short of an act of God could close them.  The reality of what had happened was finally setting in.  Our relationship had ended.  The man I had imagined spending the rest of my life with was no longer in my life.  I had just been broken up with by my very best friend.  The plans we had, the trips we would take, the colors we would have at our wedding (did I forget to mention that we had started planning a wedding some time before?); all of it was over.  Completely, irrevocably over.  Even though I knew it was for the best, I could not imagine my life going on without him by my side.

I took the next day off of work, vacillating between tears, confusion, anger, and phone calls.  I called my closest friends to let them know what had happened.  I called my friend who I was to move in with in a few months to let her know that the boy I was moving to be closer to had just broken my heart, and, needless to say, I was no longer moving.

Work the next day was a blessed distraction.  I didn’t much feel like talking to people, but a couple of my work friends came to my desk to see how I was doing.  Their caring helped me make it through the rest of the workweek until it was time for me to head home that weekend, because you are never too old to need your family when you are struggling.  Something about being in the home I grew up in helped to calm the sudden panic and heartache I had been experiencing during that first week.

At the encouragement of my roommate, I also began journaling as a means to process through this experience.  I think that was probably one of the best pieces of advice I received.  Externalizing and analyzing my thoughts and feelings has taught me so much over this last month.

I have learned a lot about grief.  It is not a pretty thing.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance to not arrive on your doorstep each in their own tidy little package.  Rather, they pepper your entire life, ready to rear their ugly heads in absolutely no sensible order at the slightest provocation.  There is no easy “12-Step’ program to overcoming it.  Instead, you must simply take life as it comes to you, one day at a time.

I have learned a great deal about myself, what I want in a relationship, and what I don’t want.  There was so much that was absolutely beautiful and right about the love we had, but there was also so much that was not.  I am now able to look back on our 2+ years together and see more clearly the signs that it should not and would not be a forever love.  There was nothing wrong with him.  There was nothing wrong with me.  But there was something wrong with us.  (I want to be sure that no one gets the wrong idea from any of this.  Yes, I was hurt.  Yes, I am angry at him sometimes.  But he is not a bad person.  Please be clear on that.)

Finally, I have learned so much about the importance of friends, family, and faith when it comes to getting through difficult times.  I could not have made it this far without the amazing support system that has surrounded me during this last month.  Phone calls, emails, and text messages just to say “I’m thinking about you,” “I’m praying for you,” and “I love you” have meant the world to me.

I could not have survived this had it not been for my family.  I have spent more time on the phone with my mom, dad, and brother in the last month than I think I had in the last several months.  They have been willing to just sit and listen as I pour out my feelings completely uncensored.  They have been on the receiving end of my very misdirected anger.  And they have stood by me through all of it.

My friends and family have been there to provide a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to all of my ups and downs, and they have brought joy back into my life.  They have shared with me their experiences with grief, consoled me and reminded me that it will get better, and given me tools to deal with my own grief.

And I absolutely could never have gotten through this without God.  As cheesy as it may sound, He has been my strength during this time of great weakness.  I really don’t know how to explain it without using a ton of platitudes and sounding even more cheesy, so I’ll just leave it at this: In Him, I am learning what it means to really trust. I am learning what it means to be vulnerable. I am learning what it means to be held.

God is good.  Thanks for listening.

Much love,

My heart’s one desire…

I want to adopt.  Oh how desperately do I want to adopt.  My whole life I have wanted to be a mother, but only in recent years (perhaps the last 5 or so) has God moved my heart toward adoption.  Specifically, international adoption.  More specifically, adoption from Russia.  (Goodness knows that may change, but that is where my heart is now.)

My heart breaks for children who live without forever families.  Children who do not know the gentle touch of a mother’s goodnight kiss or the pure joy of play wrestling with daddy on an afternoon at home.  Children who spend their days and nights in an orphanage with dozens of other children and very few staff.  Children who have learned not to trust because their basic needs are not being met by those who are there to protect and care for them.  Children who know how to self-soothe not because they have naturally reached that stage in their development, but because self-soothing is the only kind of relief they have ever known.

I cannot wait for that day when I look into a tiny pair of eyes and just know, from somewhere deep within my soul, that they are my baby.  That, before He even thought the world into existence, God had chosen to give me the privilege of raising that little child.  Regardless of whether our lives intersect while they are an infant or a teenager, God planned for us to become a family.

I am excited, but I am also terrified.  I know that adoption is no easy task.  Years of paperwork, tens of thousands of dollars in legal and travel expenses, endless sleepless nights of worrying if your child will ever come home.  And then once they do…Will they accept you and your spouse as parents?  Will they ever be able to move past their attachment and trust issues so they can rest peacefully knowing that you are there to protect and love them?  Will they continue to suffer the negative effects of their early childhood spent in an orphanage for years after they come home?  Will they be able to handle all the changes that come with being adopted?

Will you be able to handle all the changes that come with adopting?

Will I be able to handle all the changes that come with adopting?

Is this something I am remotely capable of?

Can I even do this?

Can I?

Longingly yours,

[This post is largely inspired by my reading through the archives of an amazing blog Rage Against the Minivan over the last couple of weeks.  I would highly, highly, highly recommend reading her blog.]

First snowfall of the year!

Happy December everybody!  Can you believe the first of December is already here?  I haven’t even come to terms with the fact that September ended two months ago, let alone the fact that winter is indeed upon us.  However, the winter wonderland I awoke to this morning is helping me along in that process.  :)

It’s been ages since I posted last, and I am sorry for that, but I promise I have a good excuse!  Last week was Turkey Day and driving up and down America’s mitten to visit four sides of family (my mom’s extended side, my dad’s extended side, M’s mom and grandma, and M’s dad’s extended side) certainly took a lot out of me.

Sadly, no Turkey Day themed crafts were a part of our celebrations this year, but there’s always hope for next!

Seriously, we put almost 600 miles on the odometer over the course of four days!  Thank goodness that boy of mine loves to drive, because I do not.  All in all, it was a lovely holiday weekend.  The rest of my family loved meeting M for the first time (and I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it too) and I loved seeing M’s family again.  I only wish everybody lived a bit closer!

But, enough of that fall holiday talk, a new season is in town:  WINTER!!!  Yes, you read that right.  Winter.  In all caps (to show excitement).  With three, count them, three exclamation points (to show even more excitement).  Now, I’ll be honest with you, there are some things I do not like about this season.  Biting cold winds.  Car doors that are iced shut.  Driving.  Other drivers, especially those who don’t think it is necessary to use their lights, wipe the snow off their brake lights, not tailgate, drive at a safe speed, clear their windshields (front and back) completely.  However, there are tons of things I LOVE about this season!

This love of winter isn’t a new thing. This turkey feather came from a Thankful Turkey made by either my preschool or kindergarten class.

First, let’s talk about the first REAL snowfall.  I’m not talking about that wimpy stuff that melts before it even hits the ground.  I’m talking about the big, fluffy, winter butterflies that coat everything they touch with a beautiful layer of white.  The kind of snow that makes you stick out your tongue and start singing that song about snowflakes and milkshakes!

Winter from Greenridge

A prime example of what a real first snowfall looks like. I just took this picture out my bedroom window and it has barely been snowing for very long.

Another reason I absolutely love this season because it brings with it one of the happiest times of year:  Christmas!  (Now, just because Christmas didn’t receive the ‘all caps lots of exclamation points’ treatment doesn’t mean I’m not as excited about it.  I just thought that might be a bit of overkill.)  Who doesn’t love decorating their home in shades of blue, white, green, and red; wrapping (homemade) gifts (in newspaper that will be recycled); covering a beautiful pine or spruce tree with lights and ornaments made by your little ones in their kindergarten class?  (Okay, so I don’t have any of those little ones, but I was one once and still love putting up my twenty-year-old handmade decorations that my mommy has saved.)

Back in 2008, the last time we were all home for Christmas, rather than buying a tree-farm tree, my dad cut a branch from one of the huge pines in our side yard. This was by far my favorite Christmas tree ever!

Back in 2008, the last time we were all home for Christmas, rather than buying a tree-farm tree, my dad cut a branch from one of the huge pines in our side yard. This was by far my favorite Christmas tree ever!

The best part of the Advent season is seeing family you don’t get to see often, sharing stories over a delicious meal, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  That, and these tasty treats are everywhere:

I know that Jesus is the true reason for this season, but these bad boys run a close second in my book. Yum! (Click the picture to read a lovely legend of the origin of candy canes.)

So, despite the occasionally nasty weather, the icy roads, and the terrible drivers, I very much so look forward to this time of year.  And I hope you do too.  Happy holiday season to you all!

Snowily yours,