“More Than We Can Handle”

Now don’t get flustered or worried – nothing is wrong.  I don’t want to worry anyone.  This post is more of my thoughts on life in general and I just figured I would share.  =)

Actually this post has sat in my draft pile for over a month – I just never got around to publishing it until now.

I sometimes subscribe to emails – not a lot but a few.  Those that I feel may be beneficial to me and ones that don’t send me a bunch of junk.  I subscribe to Dayspring’s in(courage) emails.  For the most part they are positive and at time inspiring or at the very least thought provoking.  I love the pictures with scriptures overlaid on top and I love it when different women share their thoughts and stories.  Like I said these emails sometimes just get my brain thinking – and some days that is not a bad thing.  =)

A little while back I came across an email that discussed the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  For years I have said this to myself (and to others) in order to get myself through challenging times.  I have since realized this isn’t entirely accurate.  There are always going to be tough times and unfortunately there isn’t always going to be a visible reason for it.  There are always people who have it easier and there are always people who are going to have it harder.  Do we learn from those trying times?  Yes.  Are we always better for it?  I would hope so.  But we all have met people over the years who seem to go through life carefree who don’t seem to try hard or know those who keep getting challenge after challenge despite their efforts.  I say it all the time – Life is complicated and (as much as it pains me to say it) we will never know all the answers for all of our “why?” questions.

Anyway . . . not trying to get all gloomy sounding over here.

I read this email/post (which you can read in its entirety here) written by Kristen Welch (who blogs over at We are THAT family).  She writes how she met a woman from a different country who had already endured much violence and oppression in her country.  Which got Kristen to think of those words “God won’t give you more than you can handle”.  In her mind that was lie.  For me I see of being more inaccurate.  I don’t know if I believe that phrase is a lie but I don’t know if I agree totally with it any longer.  There are times I feel tested and I can’t tell if I am really being tried or challenged.  I try to look at those difficult situations and somewhere think that if I get through it that I might be able to help someone else later.  So while I don’t know how I feel about the phrase any longer I like what Kristen had to say and scriptures she quoted:

“Actually, the Bible promises us hardship in this life and tells story after story of suffering.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Cor 1:8,9).

If that doesn’t speak of despair and being thrown more than can be handled, I don’t know what does. We are promised tribulation and persecution in this life. We might even die (or feel like it).

Yes, sometimes we are given more than we can handle. But all the time, we have One who can handle anything.  

If we could handle all the grief, pain, suffering, poverty, financial woes, parenting struggles, gut-wrenching hard times in life, we wouldn’t need Jesus.

But He is made strong in our weakness. John 16:33 “…In Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

And He has already endured every sorrow we may carry.” (in(courage) 11/22)

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While I don’t always enjoy life’s big challenges (like the things we have gone through lately) I am working very hard to have faith in the One that can make things happen.

 

The Holidays

If I’m being honest I don’t know how I feel about the holidays. This feeling of “I don’t know” seems to sum up my emotions in general – probably more so these last few months.

To reinforce that thought – this post has sat in the draft pile for nearly a week.  =)

There really isn’t anything new on the adoption side – just waiting for whatever is next. Whenever that comes.

And while I have brief moments of sadness I’ve attempted this last month to focus on other things – nothing specific just other stuff.

The last few days have been harder for me – I guess because I haven’t been so incredibly busy.  I have been busy but in comparison to last week – these last few days were nothing.  I have wandered into stores to get a few last minute items and look at little babies or children and my mind wanders to the “what ifs” of the last few months.  If I stay too long in the “what if” moment then I do get sad but I usually will distract myself and go back to what I had been doing.  On Christmas Day I had a moment when I thought back to loads of what-ifs in a manner of a minute.  I envisioned the two babies we lost – how old they would be – what they might look like.  I imagined the three failed adoptions.  That minute in my mind lasted an eternity.  I eventually “resumed normal programming” if you will and returned to our conversation.

Luckily in these hard moments I have either been with J or one of my best friends (one is in town – hopefully she will get to move home sooner rather than later) so I have had some pleasant distractions.

Despite those moments I think we have done a good job of continuing on our holiday traditions.  Our house is decorated (albeit a little less than usual but there is still a ton of stuff up).

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One of our bookcases in the living room.  Normally the bookcase houses TONS of pictures of my grandfather when he was child and pictures of J’s Grandparents.  At the moment it holds only a few pictures (along with many books), cards from family, friends and co-workers as well as my nutcracker collection.

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Our kitchen table.  Sorry it is so dark.  I put my kitchen tree on my cookbook shelf this year and added lights since we would be having people over for a few holiday events.  I took a picture with the lights on but it really didn’t do the tree justice or really show off J’s handiwork hanging ornaments from the light fixture.

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Our tree – still missing at least a third of the ornaments (we scaled back this year) and hardly any of the presents.  I tried to get a dark picture but my phone would not even remotely focus on the tree so I gave in and turned the lights on.  LOL

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Another dark picture (sorry) but I absolutely love the look of the living room with just our Christmas lights on.  It just gives it that homey, warm feeling.  Normally we would be using our fireplace but until lately it hasn’t been that cold and this year we have another chair in the living room.   

Normally I will decorate the guest bathroom and drag out more stuff (because I have amassed lots of holiday stuff) but we/I just didn’t feel like going crazy.  I will keep my red and gold accents out through the winter and get out winter themed plates for the kitchen (because yes I have those too) and redecorate the mantle a little but the rest of the stuff gets packed away after New Year’s.

But Christmas hasn’t been all toned down (or at least that is how it felt for us in some aspects). I started a 12 days of themes/activities at work before we left for the winter break.  We stubbornly trekked to 5 different stores at the beginning of the month and got our traditional real tree (the right kind – a noble fir and one priced in our budget).   J made his peppermint bark.  We bought our yearly ornaments.  I went to J’s  yearly family girls’ night (-1 + my father in law). We have made gifts, wrapped gifts and we continued our tradition of going to my parent’s on Christmas Eve and went to J’s parents Christmas Day.

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I made this sign for J’s two sisters.  (The other sign is red.)  I have seen these signs on places like Etsy for  several months now.  I was walking in a local boutique a few months ago looking for a gift for a friend when I saw these signs for sale but they were not painted – the person had used vinyl.  I thought they were really cute but the price was not – especially since it didn’t come with any hardware.  So I made some myself!  

Like I mentioned I have tried to keep my mind on other things and focus on being grateful.  My mind is continually thinking – “when in doubt be grateful”.  Some days it is tough and some days it isn’t.  J and I do social stuff together (hockey, movies, watch tv shows, etc.) and then we do our own thing (hanging out with friends, he plays his video game with his friends) and life at home is easy and the house is picked up (except when the dogs are muddy.  LOL).  I am grateful for this new routine we have in place.

I am grateful for kind friends who send kind thoughts.  A dear sweet friend Elisha from Waitingforbabybird sent me the sweetest card (she is such a gifted writer with such a kind heart and she always knows what to say), we received a card from a church member with kind words as well as card from my beloved hair dresser who ALWAYS knows what to say to me (even on the days I don’t want to hear it).

So the holidays were, as much as we didn’t REALLY want them to be, the same as always (and what I mean when I say “same” is the routine and process for us – our lives as a family unit haven’t changed in over 7 years).  Despite the disappointing vibe of the end of 2014, having that routine is somewhat comforting – even though it wasn’t exactly what we envisioned for Christmas 2014.  I am cautiously optimistic for 2015 but for now I am going to focus (or try anyway) on what is in front me.  (And maybe get some of my never ending crafting projects finished! LOL)

I hope everyone has had a pleasant and blessed holiday season and a fantastic 2015.

PS – If for some reason some of the pictures are sideways – I have no idea why they look like that.  On some web versions they look the right direction and on others they are sideways.  I don’t get it.  =)

The simple things

For once it is starting to feel like we are actually back in a routine (as I have said before – whatever that is).

My goal this week is to focus on the things that bring me joy/happiness – even during times of stress.

So with that thought the kitchen is cleaner, dinner is finished, table almost cleared off, laundry going in the background, dishwasher ran, projects that will take too much time on hold til the weekend – I am making myself feel accomplished this evening.  (I still have a few things to do before bed but none the less I feel more content with some of those things I listed out of the way.)  I have one of the most ridiculous shows playing the background that for some reason makes me laugh and I have hockey this weekend. I am content this evening.

Monday during my wonderful snow day (yes the dogs and I LOVE snow days) I made a cute little headband/ear warmer  (a picture will have to come later because the ones I have – I look absolutely ridiculous) and spent the day doing laundry and hanging out with the “pups”.  In the last few years those silly two have been such a blessing of love and companionship.  They can drive me up a wall but love to take naps and relax and always seem to know when I am having a bad day.

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In other news, I have to giggle.  J has been really into playing video games lately.  While he goes through times where he will play more often than others – I have to laugh.  I told him earlier that when we first got married that it drove me nuts when he would play video games – now it isn’t that big of a deal.  Sure I am older, we’ve been married longer – I am sure all of that is a factor.  I just find amusement listening to him talk to other guys playing this video game that I could never play if I tried.  I think I will stick with original Nintendo, some Atari and throw in some Wii on occasion for good measure.  When it comes to video games I am very “old school” and simple.  =)

So for this short but happier post I will leave you with a picture that brings a smile to my face. I took it last night as J was taking 3 of our nephews into church.

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This picture just warms my heart and makes me happy.  Some days life feels so complicated and our journey at times feels long but I couldn’t go through it with a better guy.  I am thankful for him.

What Is Normal

Grief and emotion are funny.  Each vary per person per situation and in my case “being fine” is in the eye of the beholder.

Nearly a month has passed.  In some ways it has felt like an eternity and in other ways it feels as real and new as yesterday.  I remember mentioning to my ladies bible class a few weeks ago that I had no clue how I would go each day and that I could not promise that my tough exterior would always be present – that my brooding, sad, quiet self would make an appearance.  Apparently that is lately.

In my mind getting up each morning and showing up to work and continuing my life was a “win” if you will.  After talking to a friend earlier this week I don’t know.  My friend, well meaning, pointed out to me that mutual friends think I act mad at them and just unhappy.  I asked her what else could I do – I am physically present, I do what needs to be done but I will admit that at this time going above and beyond like I normally do was just out of the question.

The person people normally see is there but I am just tired. I am not that hyper little girl I normally am who runs around taking care of every little thing/everyone. My favorite place to be at the moment is at home with the dogs and with J.  The last few months have been emotionally exhausting – even my beloved hockey doesn’t always hold my interest (I cannot even remotely keep up with my NHL teams).

I may have moments when I am bummed out but I do what needs to be done.  I go to work, to church, and we go to movies and hockey games.  I make dinner, pick up the house and do laundry.  I am functioning but I will be the first to admit that I am not my hyper self.  Crafting, creating things, running around –  just don’t sound fun to me at the moment.  So with that thought I decided to take a day off this week to relax and sort out some of my feelings.

During my day off I made myself go into our backroom and actually sit (because I can count on one hand the amount of times I have set foot in that room in the last month).  I replayed a song over and over that seems to bring tears to my eyes EVERY SINGLE TIME I hear it.  I sat in the rocking chair and cried. It probably wasn’t as long as it should have been but it helped.  The rest of the day I went back to making plans for the room. I worked on more adoption grants and spent the day resting with the dogs.

In an attempt to go back to normal (because I am not sure what “normal” has been the last three months) I have gone back to ordering fresh fruits and veggies from a co-op and have spent the last week trying new healthier recipes (though I did make brownies last night).  Right now I am cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot (not sure how this is going to turn out).  Small steps – but I came to the conclusion this week that in order to truly feel good (physically and emotionally) I have do what is best for me/us.  The last few months have been a roller coaster and I have to keep working on feeling great for myself, for J and ultimately for our child (who I REALLY, REALLY hope we meet sooner rather than later).

And as my daddy tells me more often than I usually want to hear “This too shall pass . . .”  It will and when it all works out it will be wonderful. (I will admit I am incredibly impatient.)

And if you want to know what song that makes me cry it was originally by Fountains of Wayne but was covered by Katy Perry.  It is called Hackensack.  Honestly I have no idea why it pulls such emotion out of me – the only thing I can think of is there are certain lines that just resonate with me at the moment. Regardless I think it is a pretty cover.

 

Sorry if my posts seem repetitive – much has not changed.  But when it does I will be able to post more!

Here’s hoping we hear something soon!  =)