Saturday, September 03, 2011

September 2011...Really??

Somehow, unbelievably, it is September 2011.  I think I am ready to begin blogging again after too long of an absence.  So, what is the current status of things?  Let's update by family member...

D, the Hubster - still pastoring away and getting all the paperwork necessary for Methodist ordainment, Navy chaplaincy, and Methodist endorsement.  He continues to be my best friend, the best dad I could ever have prayed for, and my biggest cheerleader and supporter. 

Doodle - she is back to taking dance class, has started piano lessons, and is enjoying 5th grade.  Her heart is so sweet and pure and she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

Meesta - he is still our gymnastics stud, progressing by leaps and bounds.  He is enjoying 5th grade and the extra independence that seems to have come with that.  We are so proud of the young man he is becoming.

Shenzy - our little whirlwind of stubbornness and wit just turned 7!  It is hard to believe she is growing up because she still seems so physically little, but has always been much older in intelligence and sense of humor.  She continues to keep us on our toes.

Yours truly - work is going well right now, it has been incredibly busy and is now just regular busy, but still exhausting.  My PhD continues to go well, my first 3 chapters were recently approved and then this past week the IRB approved my research and I am now able to travel to Cambodia to collect my data as soon as I have all the pieces in place...not sure when that will be for a variety of factors, but likely early November 2011.

Hopefully I will get back in the groove of preserving memories and processing thoughts in this little safe place.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Winter Grouchies

It has gotten cold and I rather don't like it.  Where was fall?  It went from being a record high summer, all hot all the time to cold and yucky.  Oh well, I remind myself that I am safe and secure from the elements, my job doesn't even require me to be outside working, so no whining allowed!  Yet, the grouchies linger and I can attribute them mostly to the weather.

I am ready for Thanksgiving and have enjoyed my own self-imposed 30 days of stating what I am thankful for on Facebook.  Some are deep, some are superficial - but true (like coffee!). 

D has been working out with the same training as the Navy Seals.  We are soon to be one of those couples where people ponder about how I got so darned lucky - not that they don't already, but it is becoming even more obvious!  I am working on it though, my sendentary lifestyle (desk job, dissertation, mom disguised as taxi cab) does not lend to lots of activity, but I am trying to be more aware of what I put in my mouth and trying to move more.

Dissertation work is moving along I am happy to report.  I have been collecting articles and books like it was my job (if only that paid!!) and will be doing some productive writing over the next 2 weeks.  My current goal is to have my first draft of the proposal done by the first week of January...which is really not that far away.

Kids are gearing up for competitions and conventions, at least 2 of them are.  I will be spending ridiculous amounts of time at these events I am sure and spending far too much money on eating out, registration fees, etc.  They will have a ball though and are only young once and I am going to enjoy and try not to grouse about the money and time.  I am proud of their abilities and am going to support their passions.

A good friend (who reads this but NEVER comments;) is going through a hard time and my heart breaks for her.  She deserves happiness more than about anyone I know and it just seems to evade her best efforts.  For prayer warriors who read, please join me in praying for N, she is one of my best friends and I wish I could make it all right. 

I continue to see sadness every day around the world as I try to stay informed about what is going on globally, especially as it pertains to women and children.  It is hard to stay focused on the positives when there are so many negatives.  But, I know there are so many people working to do wonderful things in a selfless manner and I choose to focus on what they are doing and to contribute in whatever manner I can (prayers, $, spreading the word). 

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Identity Crisis

Yes, it has been 6 months since I have visited.  I could provide a million excuses, but let's just suffice it to say that life has been its usually busy self - on fast forward.  So, let's do a quick recap for my own memory's sake.

The kids finished their first school year wonderfully, this area is good for them for sure.  Meesta is now on the competitive men's gymnastics team at our local gym - he is doing amazing and his little body is changing right in front of our eyes.  Such a wonderful and handsome little guy.  Doodle is on the performance team for gymnastics and has also taken a strong interest in sewing, for which we have hired someone to teach her given that I am completely inept in that area.  Shenzy is doing wonderfully, also sprouting right up but also seemingly so little too.  She is on the competitive dance team and is also learning to play the violin - she has lots of talent in her little self.  They are all just amazing kids and I am so blessed that I am their mom.

D is doing great, the congregation has welcomed us and especially him with lots of love - and food!  He continues to be my biggest supporter, my best friend, and all that other gooey stuff.  He is simply amazing and I wish our happiness for every marriage.

Me, I have finally finished all the coursework for my PhD - what a long road, 3 years of essentially nonstop classes (1 week break between quarters really doesn't count as a break in my opinion)!  I am now trying to buckle down and get the dissertation written.  I am such a deadline person, it has been hard for me to work on it and I have rather enjoyed the lack of stress and constant due dates for homework.  Just in the last 2 weeks I have started kicking it into gear, finally!  I really want to be done in 2011, so I must press on as there are lots of waiting periods and I need to stay on top of this to get it done. 

Now, for the identify crisis.  Despite all the positives above, I am still very discontent.  I am ready for a new daily purpose.  My work provides the needs, but I am lacking that internal drive to keep doing what I am forever.  I need more purpose.  I want to take my passions for international development work, especially with women and children, to the next level and make it my career.  This is a huge jump and I am nervous, but I know that deep down, I am nearing the end of my tolerance for my current role.  The superficiality and nonsense are a struggle to deal with.  The importance of what I am doing seem to be lost and I am ready for meaning in my career. 

OK, all for now, hopefully I will be here more often.

*I am presently praying fervently for a child in Haiti named Kephania.  She is an orphan and is very ill.  She has captured my heart.

Life is Good...but I can make it better!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day, while overhyped commercially, is such a valuable day for me.  I am grateful on this day for my kiddos, their birth moms, and my wonderful husband.  I am grateful for my mom, my grandma, my great-grandma, and my aunts, all who loved me and showed me how to love and to give of myself unconditionally.  I am grateful for my mother-in-law, who has never been intrusive and raised a wonderful man I am blessed to call my husband.  I am grateful to all of those women who have mothered me over the years in small and big ways.

Happy Mother's Day 2010!


Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Sometimes one must get a shock or a smack or just a break to regain focus and clarity.  I have experienced all of these over the last couple of months and think today, after a lovely night's sleep, I am ready to set a course that I can follow and hope I will be back on here more to keep the updates documented.

So, given that I am a list and to-do person, I work best with them...I am very Type A and like to check things off lists and must accomplish many things in a day to feel I lived it the right way.  Yes, I exhaust myself, and my family, but that is me.

Plans for the future, long-term and short-term:

1.  Lose a minimum of 20 pounds by October. 
  • This is 5 full months from now.  That is only 4 pounds per month, which is just 1 pound per week.  Totally achievable!  I will do this by exercising at least 2x per week and journaling my food.  I also have signed up for WW online.
2.  Finish my PhD by the end of 2011.
  • I must survive 4 more weeks of this quarter (2 classes).  I get a 1-week break, then I have 12 more weeks of coursework (2 classes) and then I AM DONE WITH ALL THE COURSEWORK!!!!!  I have done a dual specialization in nonprofit management and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and so it has taken me a little longer than some others, but this is the degree I want.  I have a good focus on what my dissertation will be about and I have every intention of completing it in 4 quarters (1 year as that is the minimum amount of time it can take you), but am giving myself until the end of 2011 just in case.  However, I am very hopeful that by the end of the summer quarter 2011 - I will be Dr. CC.
3.  Update my CV/resume and start sending it out.
  • This one is hard.  I have worked for my company for 10 years and while I like what I do and I have great benefits and an excellent salary, my heart is just not in it.  I have networked and worked every angle I know to get within an area of the company where my interests and heart could be matched much more with my education and background...but this week I received my second blow where I realized more than ever, the old boys' network is alive and well.  I am just not sure I will ever break that barrier.  It still might happen that I could get in the area that I want, and I am not rushing to get out of my company (although with all the cuts they are doing, I might be on my way out sooner than I would want!).  But, I know in my heart that doors are shutting for a reason and I have been praying for God to light the path that I am to follow, and understandably, that means that some doors will have to darken.  I am comfortable there, I like most of my coworkers, and I have the HUGE added benefit of being able to telework now, which is a necessity given D's career choices (which I support).  I don't look forward to the searching and the decisions that will have to follow - BUT, I am very excited about the opportunities that I know await! 
4.  Get out of debt.
  • We are closer than we have ever been and by this time next year, we will have zero debt with the exception of my student loans (and maybe a bit of D's left as well).  The freedom of mind that comes with this is huge.  I still want to have some fun and I could probably get out of debt a month or two sooner if we don't take any trips, etc...but living life and having those experiences are worth another month or two to me. 
OK, it looks like we have a top 4 list. 

Life is this good...

Sunday, February 28, 2010


My current mental focus is on discerning God's will for me.  I have plenty of wants and wishes, desires galore and some of them are rather nagging, but are they God's prompting or my human selfish desires?  That is the question. 

I have long believed that my intuition is God talking to me and I don't know that I have ever pondered so deeply about anything.  Nothing serious going on, home life is great, school I am surviving, just trying to anticipate where my career should go. 

I have been praying, although probably not nearly enough.  I have been talking to the hubster about it, he knows me so well and is a great sounding board. 

When to rock the boat, that is the question...


Friday, January 29, 2010

How Do You Know?

So, the question I have been pondering for some time is perhaps one common among many families at our stage of life:  Are we done adding to our family? 

Looking from the outside in, I realize that this is an insane question for our family, 2 parents working full-time (one being a pastor who's job never seems to end), one who just finished grad school, the other who is working towards her PhD, 3 kids who are busy with sports and other activities and are just on the verge of that social butterfly thing and wanting to hang out at others' houses and have others over to ours...and this, and that - well, you get the picture.  But, I have just always had that nagging feeling that there are more out there that will one day call me mom.  It is just some sort of gut instinct thing, which for me, is God talking to me. 

I have chalked this gut instinct up to a possible child that we will adopt into our family who is in a bad situation, a friend of the kids perhaps, I am not sure.  OR, it could be the space in my heart that still exists, will forever, for our Laurel Chompa and Lily Bopha, 2 girls in Cambodia that we all consider to be part of our family, but for a thousand reasons they are not able to come to the US and officially be our daughters.  Unfortunately, their tale has taken a sad turn and their future is definitely in jeopardy due to bad influences; all I can do for them is pray.

For us, the decision to have another child goes far beyond a wonderful evening...;)  Our journey to parenthood involves reams of paperwork, invasive scrutiny of our personal and financial lives, and tens of thousands of dollars.  Not that I am complaining (OK, maybe a little bit), because I am honestly beyond grateful for our 3 cherubs, they are truly beyond words blessings, but, suffice it to say, our journey to parenthood is arduous. 

There are lots of factors to consider, including but not limited to:
  • How will Shenzy handle another child in the family, this is one child with a distinct personality and I don't see her taking well to being an older sister, although I know she would adjust;
  • Financially, we are seeing a wonderful gleaming light at the end of the debt reduction tunnel, do we really want to run back into the fog (even though it would be temporary due to tax credits and work reimbursements);
  • Do we have the mental stamina to endure the world of adoption again? (we have been in knock down drag outs through our Cambodian adoptions and it took a lot out of us);
  • Do we rock our nice little family boat that seems to have all the holes plugged and life jackets securely fastened?;
  • What about paying for their colleges (not a HUGE concern for us, but one to consider; neither one of us had a dime to go to college and we both have Master's degrees and will both eventually have our PhDs, where there is a will, there is a way);
  • Will our family size limit where we can travel to and live as a Navy family?
  • From where would we adopt?
These are but a mere fraction of all the considerations that bounce around in my head like a pinball.  But, there are a few things I do know with absolute certainty.
  • We have many blessings and much love to share with at least one more child.
  • We are blessed to have the resources to care for more children.
  • We know that God calls upon us to care and look after the orphans of the world, and I especially feel such a strong tug to do this beyond the charities we support on a monthly basis.
So, how do you know?  I have been praying about this and felt somewhat settled that I was to sit tight and ride it out for a while in uncertainty.  The images from Haiti tugged right at my easily plucked heartstrings though and smacked me in the face that while I am being complacent, there are kids all over the world waiting for a family.  There were tons of kids in Haiti waiting before the earthquake and quite honestly, I had been following several blogs of people working with NGOs in Haiti (adoption and medical), but still did not feel compelled to take a step toward adoption.  Don't mistake, Haitian adoptions were ridiculously challenging before the earthquake, now they will be even worse.  But somewhere in the world, is there a kid who belongs in our home? 

How do you know?

Deep ponderings, I know.