Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nostalgia and pain

I am still feeling the effects of the Santa Ana winds.  Poor Mary Jane has not felt well for the past 24 hours.  It hurts me to see her so sad and grumpy. 

That said, I wanted to  make sure to document my nostalgia this week.

One year ago we left Thanksgiving dinner early.  It was planned but the departure left me in tears.  The hubby's family decided they were ungifting the money they'd given us for adoption and wanted it repaid. 

While I understand their decision (too much to detail here), it was a blow to the gut.  And said gut had been sucker-punched too often in the previous ten weeks.  Three failed adoption matches and countless dollars lost.  It was more than we could fathom.

So we planned a little get away.  Our hope was to just enjoy each other.  Everyone kept saying that we needed to enjoy life as a couple before we became parents.  Those words stung since there was not date for us to become parents.  However the Mister convinced me that we should get out of town.  It was much needed.   

So we retreated to Santa Barbara.  It's strange.  SB is close... two hours away yet neither of us have spent much time in SB. 

We booked a room at the Upham Hotel which is one of the oldest inns in SB.  It was quaint in a good way (you know... sometimes quaint means shabby w/o chic). 

Here's a picture or two:

Sorry for the blurriness...

We were not in a good place.  The only positive thing that I can say about last Fall is that we were leaning on one another the way married people should in tough times.  I think we both questioned God and his plan at times.  It was rough.  All we wanted was to be able to be a mom and a dad.  And in those days, our hope was lost.

We enjoyed Santa Barbara and the Upham Hotel as much as two sad saps hoping for something that seemed intangible could.  We saw Tangled (the Mister's BIL has credits in the movie...) and had nice dinners out.  We played Scrabble and sipped cocoa.  We admired the hotel's Christmas tree which was already assembled.  It was nice but we felt vacant.

What we didn't know is that God's perfect and unfailing plan was about to be revealed to us in a way we never anticipated.  We could have never guessed in a matter of two weeks we would have our baby girl.  We never thought we'd end up with a Korean daughter (domestic adoptions are rare for Asian families.)  We could have never guessed that it would be a friend that led us to our birth family. 

Life is mysterious and wonderful.  And God is great. 

I know when I was waiting I never wanted to hear "in God's time".  But now more than ever that saying rings true.  I wish I could hug all of my IF, TTCing, and wanting-to-adopt sisters in the world and remind them that this is all in God's wonderful hands.  It really is and I am a testament to that fact.

Our Mary Jane could not be more right for our family. She is mine and I am hers.  There's no doubt that this was His divine plan. 

As strange as it sounds I get nostalgic for that empty pain we felt last year.  It is that pain that reminds me to be grateful for our gifts this year.  It reminds me of who I need to be in service to God and others.  That pain will always have a special place in my heart as a reminder of God's call to trust. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Santa Ana winds = Not a happy mama

Sure, the CA weather is great... but when  the infamous Santa Ana winds, the same winds that contribute to fire storms, visit, I am not happy. 

I feel yucky.

And that disappoints me.  Today is the first day of Advent.  I'd like to blog about it.

Today is the last day of a long weekend with Daddy and babies, and I'd rather play.

Today I received my Advent Prayer Buddy!!  And I'd rather talk about Advent Prayer Buddies and the like.

Unfortunately I've been in slow motion all day.  Mary Jane also is suffering.  So is Daddy.    Betsy's slept well and seems to be fairing okay.

On the upside, we made it through the new translations in Mass just fine.  Father J joked a bit about doing better than he expected.  He did very well. 

Speaking of Mass, I've been a little stressed managing two under a year old while John lectors.   It's tough to be present in Mass, be prayerful in Mass, and wrangle a toddler and keep a three month old quiet.  I am NOT complaining... just talking about my new juggling routine.   (For the record, Betsy did not do well... her colic really acted up and either John and I had her out of Mass for the better part of today's service.  Mary Jane did well though!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Peace be with you.... and Advent Prayer Buddies, etc.

Peace be with you...
And also with you.

Feels like the end of an era.  A new translation of the Mass.   While I don't have strong views about the actual change of the Mass I do feel frustrated that money and time dedicated to the change. 

I am always conflicted when I criticize the Church... but this feels wrong. 

At a time when the country and the Church could use discipleship and positive programming, I hate that the energy, money, and time were spent in revamping and translating the Mass. 

Perhaps it's an LA thing... but I get a little jealous of the easy access my Protestant friends have to positive programs in their churches and examples of positive role models.  I've attended some MOPS meetings, and while I've been welcomed, I do feel out of place.  By definition, MOPS is not an evangelical or Protestant group but in our area it definitely is both.  I love the positive support and Christian love these moms extend one another. I just wish for this sort of community among Catholic moms.  It's just where I am in my life.

I recently spent a little time searching beyond my parish and found  nothing that was similar to MOPS.   I could use the positive reinforcement of good Christian role moms.  I must say that I get the most positive energy right now from reading Catholic mom blogs.  They've inspired me any many ways.

I guess my point about the change in translation of Mass is that it won't provide for me what I've been searching for... a deeper community of Catholic faith... especially among moms.


I am so excited to partake in Advent Prayer Buddies.  I was part of the Easter exchange. It really provided me with what I yearned for.  A sense of belonging and support.  Although I don't know the women involved, it felt good to be praying with purpose for someone else.  It made my world feel a little smaller which is always nice.


In an effort to be a better Advent Prayer Buddy, I am also dedicating myself to blogging more.  I still have to finish my letter to Mary Jane.  I need share more about Betsy.  I also look forward to using the blog to document my journey to become healthier.   Of course there will be first birthday preparations for MJ to talk about too! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mary Jane's Letter Part 2

Again, very over due. Mary Jane will soon be 11 months! And she has a baby sister, Betsy Jo!

So, back to my love letter.

Dearest Mary Jane,

Once we returned to the hotel, we talked about what we should do. We decided one last meal out as a DINK (dual income, no kids) dinner was in order. Victorville is full of chains. As you get to know your parents, you’ll know we love local culture and chains aren’t always our favorite (or atleast mine!).

We chose to eat at Outback Steakhouse. When we arrived, we noticed a big sign on the door. It was closing at 8 PM for a staff Christmas party. We checked our watch and realized that we had plenty of time. It was only 6 PM. We both splurged and order a cocktail and some sort of Surf and Turf.

We tried to have meaningful conversations but we really didn’t enjoy the meal much. We were just so anxious to meet you. Know remember, we didn’t know if you were Mary Jane or Charlie. We also weren’t sure what you’d look like. And most important, we knew anything could happen and all we wanted to do was meet YOU!

Once we got back to the hotel, we both got ready for bed . We called the hospital one more time to check on Miss Gabby but we were told it was fine for us to sleep.

I am not sure how we possibly slept but we did. When I woke before seven, I called again to check on Miss Gabby. We were so anxious. I was surprised to hear that little progress was made and it would be mid afternoon before you were born.

We ate breakfast at the hotel, showered up and tried to decide what to do for the next several hours. We talked about seeing a movie (I think we would have chosen Date Night… Daddy would not have enjoyed it!) Ultimately we chose to go to a Regional Park.

We drove out and weren’t sure what we’d do. We were excited when the ranger told us that beavers had built a dam. We’d picked up Subway lunch so we first had lunch. Then we explored to find the beavers. Well, you can’t see beavers during the day but we did see the impressive dam they built. We hiked around the park . We saw some horses and a pond. Again, though, it was surreal because all we cared about was our future with you! (We look forward to taking you there and hiking around too!)

We returned to the hotel and called the hospital again. No real changes. This was our version of labor I guess!

We spent the afternoon in our room and in the hotel lobby playing scrabble and reading magazines. It was quite chilly and they hotel was decorated for Christmas. They also had the fireplace going so it was quite cozy. But we were still anxious and thinking of you!

Finally we went back to our room. I called the hospital and they thought you were still hours away from arriving so we decided to go to sleep at 6:30 pm. We both took Tylenol PM and went to sleep.

RING RING. RING RING. At 8:30, a nurse named Rebecca called and asked if I was Jill. She said our baby would be here shortly.

It is hard to be aroused out of sleep. We were both excited, scared, excited and more scared. We changed, grabbed cameras and were out of the room by 8:45.

I was so worried that we wouldn’t get there in time. I wanted to be there as soon as I could for you.

Daddy and I barely spoke in the car. Finally one of us decided we should pray so we said a few prayers. I know we said a Hail Mary.

We arrived at the hospital. Got out. It was so cold and my heart was racing.

We rushed into the entry and asked to be led into Labor and Delivery. Rebecca met us in the waiting area. Soon you’d be in our arms!