Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Winter is Over!

You know it's been a long time since you last posted when you can't quite remember how to do a new post! I was very surprised to see that I haven't posted anything since December! Forgive me! It isn't that nothing has been happening and there hasn't been anything to write about. Time just flies by and I don't spend as much time online as I used to and life is busy. I have a few quiet moments today though so thought I would just do a newsy post.

First of all an update on the adoption. We are still waiting. We finally broke the top 10 and we are currently sitting at number 8 with one couple on hold ahead of us. Our profile was shown once last month. We have been waiting for so long that sometimes I feel like it is never going to happen and yet in the last short little while I have felt a new hope. Maybe it's just because it's spring or maybe it's because something really will happen soon. I don't know but I am going to encourage that hope because it sure is better than being down and discouraged. I updated our profile today for the agency because Emma has changed and grown so much since I last did it. It felt strange. I felt like I was trying to find the best wording to "sell" us to someone without coming across as pushy. Such a fine line. So hard when you realize that the person looking at it is trying to make what is likely the hardest decision of their lives. There is a new group starting in the city. It is called Surviving the Wait and it is being put on by the agency as just a get together for those who are waiting. I am hoping to go and see how it is. It can be pretty lonely sometimes not knowing anyone else who is going through and experiencing all of this.

Emma has changed! There is no preschooler left in her really. She is a big girl now! I even heard her Daddy asking her the other day where his little girl has gone. They had a talk about it though and confirmed that she will always be Daddy's little girl. :) She is starting gymnastics again this month after taking the winter session off to instead take skating lessons. She is still doing music and is loving it and excelling at it. She is so excited that winter is over and today she talked so much about our gardens and all the work we have to do and what we should plant. She can practically make her own breakfast and still so loves to help with everything and have jobs to do. I cannot believe she is going to be 5 in just 2 short months! This age has proven to be one of the more challenging ones as she struggles to find her independence while still being obedient and respectful. Lots of learning and growing going on for all of us some days! She is an amazing girl and I am loving watching her grow up, even if it is happening much too quickly!









I am still thoroughly enjoying essential oils and all of their health benefits as well as sharing with others about how wonderful they are. I was nervous about teaching classes but find that because I am so passionate about the oils and all of the amazing things they do it is easy to talk about them and share them. Everyone should be using them! :) 

Chad is working as hard as ever and he will likely be starting to travel with work again this month. We have been blessed in that he actually hasn't really had to travel all winter. It's always tough for everyone when he has to be away but at least it doesn't happen very often.

We are all very excited that winter is finally over. It wasn't an awful winter and in fact it was quite a beautiful one except that our March made up for that! It will be so good to start spending our days outdoors and get our gardens ready and go exploring.

I so hope that my next post has wonderful news of a little one joining our family!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Year in Review and Looking Ahead

Where did 2016 go?! Looking back it feels like it went by so quickly and yet I am sure I had days when it felt like it was a long year.

We spent quite a bit of time out at the lake with my parents both in the winter and in the summer. It is such a treat to be able to go there. So relaxing and quiet and beautiful. Emma feels almost as at home there as she does in our own home and she is always so sad to leave. Such an adventure it is to stay out there and see wildlife and play in the lake and go for walks in the woods and do some fishing and boating and really just whatever we decide to do in the moment. I am so thankful for that place of refuge and for my parents' open arms.

I did gardens again this year but it just wasn't a great year for growing. So very wet sometimes that my plants wouldn't dry out and so dry sometimes that there just wasn't enough water. Still we had a fairly good harvest and Emma loved going out before supper to pick veggies to eat. Our one mighty little apple tree did have a bumper crop this year and we have so much applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple pies. Yum!




Emma turned 4 in June and now she is in the second half of that year already! So many changes for her. She definitely is not a toddler any longer although there are moments when Chad and I need to remind ourselves and each other that she is still only 4 because most of the time she seems so much older. She is reading now, short words of course and she has to sound them all out, but she is doing amazingly well with it and she loves it! We will be losing her to books soon I am sure. She loves to create whether it is pictures or stories or songs. She enjoys colouring once in a while but it seems to bore her because she has to 'stay in the lines'. She would so much rather create something from her vivid imagination and then sit and explain to you what she did and how she did it. Her stories are something else! She can go on and on and on and we are looking forward to the day when she can write so that she can record them all. She is musical, loved doing gymnastics this fall, has a great sense of humor, spreads joy wherever she goes, is as stubborn as ever and striving to be more independent while still clinging to Mommy's hand. We love her so and it is such a blessing and joy to watch her grow and bloom.




Chad kept busy at work as always. It's been a stressful couple of years for him with no hopes of it slowing down. While we are so thankful for the job security that he has it is tough sometimes to see the toll it is taking on him. We will be starting 2017 with trying to get him healthy and strong and more able to deal with the stress. We painted Emma's bedroom and closet in the fall and also redid all the trim which kept Chad busy for a number of weeks as he only had an hour or so a day to work on it all. He spends as much time as he can with Emma and it makes my heart smile to see how they love each other and how devoted he is to her. The man she ends up marrying is going to have an awful lot to live up to! His girls are so blessed to love him and be loved by him!




Not much has happened in regards to the adoption. We are still on the waiting list and have been for over 3 years now. Apparently the average wait is now up to 3-4 years so hopefully it will happen soon. I have moments of wondering if we should even still be on the list as I watch Emma grow and yet my heart knows that our family isn't finished yet and so I continue to wait and pray and at times shed a few tears. This Christmas was a hard one for me as I had so hoped your baby would be here. I was hanging the stockings up one day and the tears began to fall. I had so hoped to be hanging 4 instead of 3. Emma asks multiple times a week when I think the baby might come and she told me one day that she misses the baby and just wishes she could hold it. It is hard on our hearts to wait and yet the joy when the time comes will outshine it all and we will see God's hand in it yet again.

As for me, well, there has been quite a bit going on. I found out recently, after some testing, that I have some genetic mutations that explain pretty much every physical struggle I have had all my life. It may even explain our inability to get pregnant. I will admit that when I first started finding out about it all I went into a bit of a tailspin for a couple of days. I had one weekend where I was very discouraged and emotional until Chad and I had a talk about it and I said the words I needed to say which were that I was so sorry that it might be me and that I was so sorry that I had never been able to give him a baby. Being the man my husband is he answered pretty much exactly as I knew he would and told me he had never thought of it like that, that if it hadn't been for our infertility we would not have Emma and that I didn't need to apologize. Our family is as it should be. Some of the implications can be serious in that I am at a higher risk for some things like certain types of cancer, Alzheimers and Parkinsons but the part that was the hardest to deal with was the thought that I could be infertile because of some of this. The genetic mutations I have are not serious in and of themselves. They mostly just explain a number of previously unexplainable things and what it all really boils down to is that my body does not detoxify properly and so I end up feeling sick and in me it manifests as depression, mood swings, weight gain, being achy all over etc. I am very sensitive to chemicals and my body can't get rid of the effects of them on my system so they build up in my body. It is the same with a number of foods and supplements. I end up feeling like I am being poisoned which in effect I am. It has been so good to finally have answers and to have a way to deal with it all (mostly certain supplements to help the detoxification, staying away from certain foods, using safe cleaning and personal products etc) and to know that it isn't all in my head or that I am just being paranoid. It really boils down to I just need to take care of myself in a more specific way and if/when people question my diet or lifestyle choices to not let it get to me but to know I am doing the right thing so that my quality of life can be better and Emma can have a happier and healthier Momma and Chad can have a healthier and happier wife. Which brings me to the next big thing going on for me.....

I have used essential oils for a number of years for different things like colds/flu, tummy issues, sleep issues, etc. and this past summer I signed up with Young Living Essential Oils initially just to use the oils myself but once I started using them I loved them and I am now pursuing a business through Young Living as a distributor and team leader. With the sensitivities I have to chemicals Young Living has been an answer to prayer for me. There are so many products out there that I cannot use and the ones I can are pricey. With Young Living I now have access to amazing products that are organic and chemical free and because the essential oils are so pure I can make my own laundry detergent, hand soap, skin care etc and know that it isn't going to harm me or make me feel sick. Even Emma is to the point that if she has a tummy ache or owie she comes to me and asks for oils to make it feel better. How I love being able to take care of my family with products that will only bring them health and not harm them! I recently did a 'business bootcamp' where for 6 weeks we were trained in getting started in the business and on personal development. Chad is working on a website for me. I already have a number of people on my team and a couple of them are also interested in pursuing the business. I love that I can work at it as I have time and without it taking away from family time. And I am learning so much! We will see where it all goes for me. Being able to help people care for themselves and their families in a healthy and safe way excites me! When my website is ready to launch I will post the link here. For now you can go to www.youngliving.com or my Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/JulieSakalukYL/


I think I am ready for 2017. How can one ever be ready though for what they don't know is ahead? How thankful I am for a God who knows and cares and that because I know Him I don't need to worry about what tomorrow or the next year holds. I am excited to see what He has in store for us as a family and for me as an individual!




A very Happy New Year to all of you! May the year ahead hold joy and peace and love and a certainty that the One who holds all of your tomorrows also holds you in the palm of His hand and loves you with an everlasting love. God bless.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Encouraging

This month's update is a little more encouraging than the last few have been. 😊 We have moved up to number 11 on the list! The agency had a busy summer as they placed two sibling groups with a total of 6 kids. They are also working with a few birthmoms right now. Our profile hasn't been out recently but that's okay. At least we moved up!

I was out for a walk the other night and was thinking about the seasons changing and was wondering whether or not this new season will include growth in our family. Only God knows. While we continue to wait we will be busy. Emma started music class last week and starting this year she has homework and it is much more involved. She is also starting gymnastics next week plus homeschool preschool. We are both really looking forward to all of that and it will be wonderful to watch her grow and learn and have fun and make friends.

The weather has certainly changed. Fall is my favourite season and I am hoping for a nice long fall, and perhaps opening my home and heart to a new little one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Adoption Update as Promised

In my last post I talked about how things have been really slow in the adoption world whether due to birthmoms keeping their babies or to termination. I hope and pray it is the former. That slowness is reflected in the update I received from the agency today. We are currently at #14 (we haven't moved in a couple of months at least) with one couple on hold ahead of us and one couple matched. Our profile has not been viewed since February. The average wait is now 3 years and we will be at our 3 year mark this fall.

If I think about it for too long I get fairly discouraged and so I try not to think about it. I am thankful for busyness. Right now I am up to my elbows in apples from our tree, making apple butter, applesauce, apple crisp, apple pies and dried apples. This weekend Emma and I are heading to the lake for a week. I am starting to figure out curriculum and a schedule for school for Emma. Her music lessons and gymnastics start in September. I have a garden that will need to be harvested. It is good to be busy.

I told Emma her adoption story again today because she chose a book about adoption for her naptime story. When I told her how much Mommy and Daddy love her she said "Even more than salt water taffy?" 😊 She knows that is my favourite candy.

Your prayers and support are appreciated as we continue to wait. This is yet another time in my life when I wish I knew what God's plan is. I know it is better than anything I could have planned and that He knows what He is doing and so really there is nothing we can do but wait and trust. I remind myself often that even though things look discouraging we could still get "the call" at any moment.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

10 Years

"Now you're here and everything's changing. Suddenly life means so much. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and find out this promise is true. I will never have to go back to the day before you."

Those are lyrics from a song that is from our wedding day. July 22nd was our 10th anniversary! 10 years! Gone in the blink of an eye and yet sometimes it feels longer. I think that's because when we finally came into each other's lives we felt like we had just always known each other. As if "we" had just always been. When I look back at photos and see the joy in our faces and the love in our eyes I remember the "firsts" and the sweetness of it all.

10 years and I am still in awe of the man God gave to me. Or perhaps I should say that I am in awe of how God answered my every hope and dream and yet even more abundantly. I was recently asked what makes our marriage so strong and I will admit that at first I had no idea what to say. What did come to mind though were two words. Grace and respect. I am thankful to say, and I pray it is always so, that our marriage has never really hit a rough patch. We have been through a lot in the 10 years but rather than our marriage taking a hit I think it has made it stronger. We have needed each other and supported each other through some emotionally and physically hard times and we are blessed to be a team. I think so much of that is because of the grace we extend each other and the respect we have for each other as partners and people. Neither one of us is perfect and we drive each other crazy at times. There are things we could each point out about the other person that we don't like or that irritates us or that we think needs to change but rather than dwelling on and harping on those things we have chosen to accept each other as we are, to extend grace rather than nitpick, to love rather than tear down. To recognize that neither one of us is perfect and that we both make mistakes. When we do make those mistakes they are talked about and discussed and we share our hearts but we don't dwell, we don't drag up past infractions. I respect my husband so much for the man of integrity that he is. I trust his judgment. I rely on his common sense and wisdom. I turn to him when I need council. He in turn does the same with me. We are best friends, a team. We most certainly don't have it all figured out and we never will but I so love the feeling of security that comes with knowing that we have each other's backs and that we won't uncover each other's faults or imperfections around others. That the relationship we have built means something and that we are faithful to each other.

I haven't loved every moment of the 10 years we have been married but I am thankful for each one. Thankful for the memories made and the lessons learned and the love shared and the strength we have been to each other. I am truly blessed to call Chad my husband, to be his wife.  I will cherish the last 10 years and look forward to so very many more!





Adoption Update:
I don't have much of an update on the adoption front. Chad told me recently about a news story where adoption was being talked about and how adoption rates are down and the average wait is now 3 years. The director from our agency was actually interviewed and she said there has been a huge downturn in adoptions. The hope of course is that more birth moms are choosing to keep their baby but it also means that more lives are likely being terminated. The news of the downturn is reflected in our waiting as when I last checked in there really hadn't been movement on the waiting list and our spot hadn't changed at all and our profile hadn't been out since February. We are almost at our 3 year wait. Some days, the ones where Emma talks about "the baby" as if the baby is coming tomorrow, are tough. There is nothing we can do though except to keep waiting. I will be checking in with the agency this coming week for another update as I do the first week of every month. I will post again once I heard from them.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Moments in Time

In some ways it feels like we didn't even have winter this year. It was so very mild and not lots of snow. That means we have had a beautifully early spring but it also means we are in for a very dry summer. Time is flying by and I can't believe we are in the second half of April already!

There are times though when it doesn't seem like time is flying by and those are the moments when it hits me again how long we have been waiting this time for "the" phone call. Moments when I would just like to sit and have a good cry about it all because sometimes the waiting just hurts so much. For the most part life is filled with joy and love and little girl giggles and adventures and listening to an incredibly active imagination at play. But there are moments in time when I just want to sit and hold a baby again and experience all those firsts again. I am part of a moms group that meets every week and I have really been enjoying it. The girls in my group are all so great and I have made some sweet friendships and I appreciate them and am thankful I joined. There are moments there though too where it is just so hard. I am surrounded by beautiful women who have had or are having babies. There are announcements being made all the time and baby bumps all over the place. I am so happy for them and love seeing the toothless baby smiles but there are moments when it is almost more than I can take. Where it is another reminder that I am just waiting and there is nothing I can do about it.

This morning at the moms group there was a speaker who was sharing on grief. Most of it was centred around losing a loved one but of course things came up like broken marriages, loss of jobs, loss of health etc. I have know for a long time that I have and probably always will grieve my lack of fertility, the loss of a dream I had all my life of bearing lots of children. At times I even feel like less of a woman somehow because I haven't been able to conceive. Sometimes it hurts so much and yet I don't talk about it because there really aren't people in my life who would understand and because I don't easily share my heart with people. Don't want to bother others with my burdens but also don't want them to feel awkward in a situation that they don't understand. What happens then of course is I bottle it up and try to pretend it's not there. So today I decided to blog about it. I haven't written for so long and part of that is my way of bottling up. I don't want to just write shallow, flippant posts but it's also draining and hard for me to write what's really going on in my heart. It takes a lot out of me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not living in depression or any such thing. My life is so full right now. I have a beautiful little girl who is turning 4 in June (already!) who loves to give spontaneous hugs and kisses and sing me songs that she made up and help me with whatever I'm doing and who is learning what it means to be able to pray whenever and wherever she is. She is light and joy and she makes us laugh and I am so incredibly proud of the little person she is. I have a husband who is truly my constant. When it feels like things are falling apart or when I feel anxious about life he is there and he is constant and he loves me. I have a dog who is loyal and loving. I have a beautiful home and big yard and space for gardens. I am so incredibly, beautifully blessed! That is what gets me through those moments of sadness and grief. Counting my blessings and seeing what God has done and hoping and trusting in what He is going to do. It doesn't mean I don't still cry at times and in all honesty I just feel like I probably always will. Like it is my own silent grief that will always be there. I am coming to terms with that and learning to just live and let God be God and trust that He truly has my best interests in mind. You know, my life hasn't gone at all the way I always hoped and dreamed. For that I am thankful. I can look back and see how God has worked and moved and led and guided and protected and because of His faithfulness I can still trust. Some days it is so very hard to do so but still I cling to that unchanging hand and trust that He is always there.

When you think of me please pray for me. For us. I told Emma her adoption story again recently and explained to her again that we are waiting for a baby to come and live with us. She asked me the other day when the baby is coming. In her own little way she is also waiting. She will tell me how she is going to help me and she will talk about being a sister. She is going to be such a wonderful big sister. We all hope the phone call comes soon but until that call comes your prayers are coveted and appreciated. We have been on and are on quite a journey.

As of the first of April we were number 16 on the waiting list with 2 couples on hold ahead of us. Our  profile was out once in March with a birth family but it sounded as though birth mom was deciding to keep the baby.

So we wait. We wait and we live and we love and we hope and when those moments of sadness or hurt come I let myself feel it and then I look up again, count my multitude of blessings and carry on. Life is too short to live in despair!

Here are a couple pictures of the joy of our lives. By far our biggest blessing! She is such a remarkable gift to us and to all who know her. How truly blessed we are!




"Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Teach me Lord to wait."




Monday, January 4, 2016

Quick Update

As promised here is a quick update from the adoption agency that I received today.

We are currently number 19 on the waiting list with 2 couples on hold ahead of us. Yay for being out of the 20s finally! Our profile hasn't been shown since September which is a little discouraging but now that we are in the teens the chances of it being shown go up quite a bit.

Hopefully it will be be soon...

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year Begins

Have I really not written anything since July?! There have been so many times that I thought about sitting down to write, so many things on my heart to write about, so much going on in my head but I just never did it. I thought that with it being the new year though I would sit down and write, give a little update, post a few pictures and hopefully get back into writing mode again. It's good for me to write rather than keep things all bottled up and I need to get back to it.

2015. It was an interesting year for me. It was a year full of much stress, which is evidenced by the grey hairs I seem to have to accumulated throughout the year. I won't go into the details of said stress because it would take much too much time and perhaps bore you! Suffice it to say that I have been learning so much about myself and my health and where I am with God and what I need to work on and what I need to accept and what I need to let go of. There was lots of good along with the stress as well like time spent out at the lake and Emma's birthday and a little family vacation we took this fall. Lots of love and laughter. 

I am looking forward to 2016. I don't have any resolutions because truthfully I know I won't keep them! Instead I am looking forward with hope and anticipation of what God has in store. I am so thankful that He knows what the new year holds because that means I don't have to worry about it. I can take things one day at a time. The days are flying by so swiftly and I need to slow down and appreciate them because before I know it Emma will be grown and gone. One of the many things I have thought about so much in the last few months is just how precious my time with her is. All too soon these days will be over and I so don't want to look back on them with regret for not having spent time with her or enjoying the time I do have with her enough. So I will leave the details of 2016 in the Lord's hands and just enjoy my little family and all of our many blessings.

Emma has grown and changed so much in this last year. We started doing homeschool preschool in the fall and she absolutely loves it! She can write her own name (and signed many Christmas cards this year!) and is starting to want to know how to spell other words. I have the feeling she will be reading early.



She is very much a kid now with no baby left in her except for when she is sick and needs her Mommy. She is quite the conversationalist and she loves music and singing and making up her own songs and stories. She is still taking music lessons and next week she starts ballet as well. She also loves trains and fast cars. She enjoys drawing and is getting to be quite good. She drew a picture of Minnie Mouse the other day.


 She loves wearing dresses and twirling around and hearing her Daddy tell her how beautiful she is.


She has been doing a great job lately of dressing herself and it's always fun to see what outfit she comes up with!


She is still always our little helper in everything we do. She has such a natural nurturing spirit, loves to take care of people and help whenever she can. Something I so want to encourage in her. She is as stubborn as ever but as sweet as ever too. Our amazing gift from above. We love her more than words could ever express and I am still often in awe that God entrusted her to me. I pray often that God would help me be the Momma she needs me to be. I fail so many times but God is faithful and I am learning to go to Him more and more for strength and wisdom.

My parents moved out to their lake house this fall. They put so many hours into building a home that is so peaceful and restful. A refuge from the city. We were able to spend a couple of nights with them this week and I didn't want to leave the peace and solitude. It's been an adjustment having them be a couple of hours away but it is so good to see them loving it out there and to see the peace that fills their hearts and is evident in their countenances. They need to be out there and I so understand that. It is a huge blessing for us to have a place to go to get away from the city and enjoy some down time. 


There isn't really much news to share on the adoption front. Last time I checked in we were number 20 on the list with some couples on hold ahead of us. I will admit I was truly hoping our baby would come home in 2015. In retrospect though I can see God's hand and timing in it all. He knows what we can handle and when and He knew last year was not the right time. I am feeling more ready and prepared and eager now and am hoping it isn't too much longer. Emma knows we are waiting and she talks often about "when the baby comes". It will be an exciting time to be sure. I will be getting another update next week as to where we are on the waiting list and I will post again to let you all know.

As you look ahead to the new year that lies before you I hope you have an anticipation for what God has in store. A trust that He is holding you and guiding you and will be with you no matter what comes your way. May 2016 be filled with joy and growth and hope. 



Friday, July 17, 2015

Tears of Grief

"Sad news." "Homicide detectives." "Shot and killed." "We wanted you to know."

I never expected to receive such news in relation to someone that I knew but there it was. A shock. A heartbreaking shock. In a tragic and violent incident a young woman's life was taken. A young woman who impacted our lives more than anyone else ever has. A young woman with a sweet spirit who had so much potential and yet she just couldn't seem to overcome her addictions and the choices in her life that brought her to such a point. That young woman was Emma's birth mom K.

We knew when we adopted Emma that K had an addiction problem. She pretty much went straight from the hospital into rehab. I kept in touch with her for the first while. We texted and we exchanged emails. She was in a vulnerable position and was open to me asking questions and she told me about her drug of choice (cocaine) and that she had indeed used while pregnant. She came out of rehab and she was so excited about life and the possibilities ahead of her, knowing that she likely would not move back here because there were too many triggers and connections. She was making a new life for herself. But something drove her back and in time she was right back where she started. It was hard hearing the news from her Mom. Hard knowing that she was hurting her parents and her boys. Her Mom was so good about letting us know what was going on and what the latest news was and how K was doing. This was never expected to happen though. A drug related home invasion. Shot multiple times. Succumbing to the injuries.

I have had so many different emotions towards K in the last 3 years. Everything from deep gratitude to anger. She gave us the most amazing gift anyone could ever give but while she was pregnant with our gift she chose to use drugs and endangered our baby. I remember getting the call that Emma did indeed have cocaine in her blood when they tested it. I remember being so angry. Emma did go through withdrawal and I am so thankful it was short lived. I see my Emma now and all I can think is that God was protecting her in a huge way. She is strong and healthy and intelligent and such an amazing little girl.

I will never forget the first time I saw K. She was sitting in the hospital bed holding Emma. She would have been almost 24 at the time but she looked more like 16. She looked so scared and vulnerable and like she just wanted to run but didn't want to run because it would hurt so much. She was trying to be so strong while her heart was breaking inside her. She later told me that she had always dreamed of having a little girl. I will never forget her strength that day, her determination, her sweet spirit. You can argue that she chose her lifestyle over her children and maybe she did but she also loved them enough to be sure they were loved and taken care of.

We went to K's memorial service today. I have been to many funerals but this was one of the hardest. To see her two young sons walk in with their grandparents (who adopted the boys last year), to see her parents in tears and to see her oldest son (who is 7) absolutely heartbroken really took a toll on my heart. Then to see the slide show of K's life and to see Emma's look alike pop up on the screen was almost more than I could take. They don't look exactly alike, and in fact sometimes you really have to sit and compare before you see a similarity, but Emma has K's eyes and some of the expressions on K's face in the photos was so like our Emma. It was a nice service, a quiet service. One where faith was talked about and where God was the centre. K was raised in a Christian home and at a young age acknowledged God and the seeds of faith were sown. We can only hope and pray that in those moments before death stole her away she cried out to God.

Looking at the future is so different than it used to be. I used to wonder what it would be like if/when Emma wanted to meet her birth mom. How would I handle that? Would I be able to be gracious and understanding and not let fear take over? Those questions are gone now and in their place are new ones. When do we tell her? How do we tell her? How much do we tell her? For me there is no "if" we tell her. This is not something I will ever hide from her. She deserves to hear the truth. It is more having the wisdom and discernment for the where and when and how. I found myself grieving for Emma today. Grieving for the heart that will be broken. Knowing that she will have to go through a grieving process herself at some point. I will walk with her through that, pray her through that, hold her through that and trust that God will make something beautiful of it.

There are two memories of K that I will always hold close to my heart. The first one is the moment we shared just before she walked out of the hospital room and left Emma behind. We hugged each other and we cried together and K looked at me and said "You will be great.". Here is this young woman walking away from her beautiful little girl and telling me that I will be a great Mom. The other memory I have is when Emma was 6 months old K got to see her again. K had completed her time in rehab and was making a new life for herself (before eventually moving back here). I saw peace in her eyes, like she wasn't running anymore. She looked so happy and healthy and ready to tackle whatever lie in front of her. I am sure it broke her heart in many ways to see Emma with me her Momma but K's face was glowing as she watched us. Almost as if she knew that for the first time she had made the right decision in blessing us with our amazing gift.

K was an addict. She made so many wrong life choices. She chose the life she had over the life she could have had and as a result she died a tragic and violent death. K was also sweet, she loved and felt deeply. She had a beautiful smile and a beautiful spirit. I will never speak ill of her to anyone and especially not to Emma. I know full well that the way I speak of K and act when K's name is spoken is the way that Emma will learn to think of her and so I want to always speak of her with love and respect. Respect for making good choices when faced with the most important ones, the lives of her children. Love for blessing us with the beautiful gift that has changed our lives. I want to instil within Emma the kind of love and respect that acknowledges the wrong choices K made but sees that there was so much more to this beautiful lost soul.

I heard a song on the radio the other day and if I could have shared it with K I would have. It brought me to tears as I thought of all she could have had and all she could have been if not for addiction.

You're Beautiful

And so our lives go on. In so many ways K's death has closed many doors. Never though will I forget the sweet troubled girl who hugged me and cried with me and told me "You will be great." Those words meant more than she will ever know.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Finally Writing Again

Months. It has been months since I have 'taken up the pen' as it were and written more than just a quick waiting list update. I'm not sure why. It isn't for lack of things to write about as there has been much going on in our lives and in my heart and on my mind. It hasn't been for lack of time as Emma still naps and I have evenings as well. I am hoping to start writing more consistently again and the first thing I want to do is to give everyone an update on us. So here it goes...

I had a really tough winter. I was sick for a few months and am still not sure exactly what was going on. It started out as gallbladder/liver issues and morphed into supposed kidney infection and just lots of pain and discomfort. I wasn't eating much so lost weight. In hindsight I can say that I was definitely dealing with seasonal affective disorder as well. I'm still not sure which came first, SAD or being sick, or if it was just a vicious cycle. I have known for years that I have adrenal fatigue (I finally a few years ago found a doctor who would treat it and help me and have been doing so much better) and so that was a factor as well. I was able to find help through different practitioners as well as just doing a better job of taking care of myself and slowly over time I began to feel better. I am doing so much better now than I was a few months ago but I definitely find that stress and busyness are really hard on me and I am slowly and not very patiently or without frustration learning to rest when my body says rest. I try not to be envious of those people who seem to have endless energy and just accept that I am how I am and I need to take care of me so I am here for my family.

Emma and Chad were amazing through all of it. Poor Emma had to put up with a Mommy who many days was just not happy and was in pain and unfortunately she probably saw the worst of it. I am so thankful that children are resilient and that she really didnt know what was going on except that some days Mommy just couldn't do stuff or Mommy had a short temper etc. She was certainly my light through it all. Chad was wonderful in jumping in and doing so much around the house and with Emma as there were many days when I just couldn't and I know he could tell just by looking at me. I will forever be so grateful and in awe of the man God has blessed me with. 

It is good to be feeling better. It is good to be able to laugh and play and just be thankful for healing. It is a journey that I feel like I will always be on as I often start to feel really good and then will have a setback but I think I am learning how to handle situations better. An example is that we just had a wonderful 3rd birthday party for Emma and I actually asked my Mom to come early to help me out as I knew it would be too much for me to do. Asking for help is a really hard thing for me to do but I am learning to humble myself and do so. Life really is a journey of learning and mistakes and setbacks and walking forward and defeats and victories isn't it?! How thankful I am for family and friends to take the journey with and for a God who loves me and strengthens me through it all.

Chad has had a big project going on at work and they will be launching a new software program in the next few weeks. The stress is high and I'm not sure who will be happier when it calms down Chad or myself. It's hard to see him under so much stress and to see how it affects him. He is such a hard worker who does such an amazing job of providing for his girls and taking care of us. I don't know what he would do without his little girl who runs to greet him with smiles and hugs and kisses when he comes home from work and it makes my heart sing to hear the giggles and laughter as they play together. He so needs it and so does she. That little girl has a hero and it is most definitely her beloved Daddy.

Emma. Dear sweet headstrong Emma. Where have the last 3 years gone?! When I look at her now it's hard sometimes to remember how tiny she was. She just had a growth spurt recently and I really don't see any baby left in her anymore. She is such a character and has such a kind and compassionate heart. She loves to talk! Oh my but she loves to talk! It is so hard sometimes to not laugh while she is talking because she talks like such a little grownup but of course she doesn't realize that she is using some words in the wrong context or mispronouncing some of them (like hippopotomanus). Yes, I will admit there are moments when I wish she would be quiet, like when she is supposed to be falling asleep, but I love to listen to her. It is always fun to see people's reactions to her speaking when we are leaving a store and she is saying thank you to the cashier and telling them to have a good day or when she is explaining what we are buying or why we buying it or when we walk into the chiropractor's office and she tells the receptionist and everyone in the waiting room that we are there so the doctor can fix Mommy's back because Mommy's back is hurting. As she gets older in some ways she seems to be getting more headstrong as well but I also find that she is understanding more when it comes to discipline and talking it out with her. Like the other day when she threw a temper tantrum and afterwards she acknowledged that she wasn't throwing the tantrum because she wanted me to do whatever it was but because she was frustrated that I wasn't listening to her bossyness and giving in just to keep her quiet. Working through things like that are always so difficult but the reward comes in little things like her asking me, when it was all said and done, if we could just sit on the couch and cuddle. Which of course we did, for a long time. She has been asking me quite often lately to tell her the story about when she same home. I love to tell her the story because hearing how much Mommy and Daddy loved her before we even saw her and how she made Mommy the happiest Mommy in the world the day she came home brings such a sweet smile to her face. Three years ago our world and family changed forever and she is by far the best change that has ever happened to us!

There isn't much of an update as far as the waiting list. When I checked at the beginning of the month we were at number 32 so we really didn't move up much in May. I am hoping for a call soon but also resting in knowing that God did amazing things in bringing us our Emma and He will do the same again.

By this time next weekend all of Emma's programs (music class, swimming and sportball) will be over and we can truly enjoy summer and no schedules and playing outside and lazy days and time spent at the lake. I am so looking forward to it. To giggles and squeals and adventures and discoveries and cuddles and singing and family time. We are so blessed to have each other and being together is the most important thing to us and what we enjoy the most.

Here are a few recent photos of our Em. She was so incredibly excited about turning 3 and about her party and she loved every minute of it. It took her a few days to recover from all of the excitement. :)












Friday, May 1, 2015

Time to Update

It's been a long time since I have written and I do need to do that soon but for today I thought I would just share our latest update on where we are on the waiting list.

I emailed this morning for our monthly update and was told that we are #34 on the list with 8 on hold ahead of us. Our profile has been shown twice this year. Once in January and once in March. I am hoping that maybe by June we will be in the 20s. That would increase the chances of our profile going out more often.

I am ready for baby number 2. If you had asked me a few months ago I would have said absolutely not but I am feeling ready now and so of course now it really feels like the time is dragging. I am starting to get so that every time the phone rings I am hoping it is the good news. So many around me are having babies too so that increases the longing. I also watch as Emma nears her 3rd birthday in June and see how much further away we are getting from anything baby and how big the transition will be to start all over again. I will have one amazing little helper though! 

In the not too distant future my own birthday is looming. Little ones are exhausting and I am not getting any younger! How different it would be if I was 15 years younger than I am! I find that I don't really fit in very many places that I go. So often when we attend events for Emma it is me and a bunch of much younger moms and if I am in a group of women my own age most of them have kids that are grown and on their own. But this I know, God's timing always has been and always will be best and I wouldn't change anything in the work He has done. 

I have such a beautiful little family...which will hopefully grow by one more soon!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

At the Feet of Jesus

I have come into this new year with different thoughts and goals than I have had any other year. There were always all the usuals like work out more, eat better, spend less etc. But this year those thoughts haven't been there. This year my goals are more realistic, more fulfilling, more eternal, more life changing. This year my heart's cry is to spend more time at the feet of Jesus. I haven't been good at doing that for a very long time now and just as it is true that you can see the fruit of the Spirit in people who spend lots of time with the Lord it is also true that there will be a lack of them in people who don't spend time with the Lord. I see more of the latter in myself lately and it hurts my heart to realize it. I miss Jesus. I miss being at peace. I miss being constantly aware of God by my side.

I remember when I moved to the city and how desperately I missed the meadow that I would walk to whenever I needed time to be with Jesus. My dogs and I would go for a long walk and I am sure if people had been able to watch me they would have thought I was a little off in the head as I would walk along and talk out loud to Jesus as if He were walking right beside me. Which of course He was. How I loved those walks! I was free to laugh and cry and pray and scream and sing and just express everything that was going on in my heart and in my head. When I moved to the city it was so different. I remember my Mom telling me to remember that the meadow wasn't just a physical place but it was in my heart and that it could be wherever I was. I will be honest and tell you that in the 13 years I have been here more often than not I haven't been able to find it. Life is so different here. Not in a bad way but in a way that keeps you busy and entertained and so you have to be more purposeful about taking time away and just being quiet before the Lord even in the midst of the noise. Not something I have been very good at it. With all that has transpired in our lives in the last few years and with bottling so much up I am at the point where if I don't find that meadow again I feel as though I may never find it.

And so the only goal I have for this year is to spend more time in that meadow, at the feet of my sweet Saviour, because I know that in doing that everything else will be more peaceful, more joyful, more beautiful.

I know it will never be exactly how it was but I don't want it to be. Life has happened and with that life has come change. I am so incredibly thankful though that my God never changes and that He is the same yesterday and today and forever! My heart needs work, my attitudes need work, my thoughts need work. I long to be the kind of wife and mother that God has called me to be. I long to be less selfish, more patient, more compassionate, more understanding, more loving, kinder, and I know that I cannot make that happen in and of myself and that it will only come when I spend time with Jesus.

To help me along on this journey I have purchased 3 books that I am going to work my way through...


The one on the left is a Bible but it is laid out in such a way that each day has readings from the Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament so that by the end of the year I will have read through the whole Bible. The book in the middle is by Francis Chan and his wife Lisa. It may look like it's a book about how to have a great marriage but really it's a book about focusing on God first and foremost. "The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage". (Now before anyone reads anything into this, my marriage is just fine. There is always room for improvement though right because nobody has the perfect marriage.) The last book is one that when I saw it I knew I had to work through. It is a daily devotional about sitting at the feet of Jesus, 'daily devotions to nurture a Mary heart' as it says on the cover. I used to be such a Mary but have become more of a Martha over the years which I suppose is almost inevitable once you are married and have a family. I need to take more time to be a Mary again. So far that devotional book has hit so many areas in my heart and it is only the middle of January. I look forward to working my way through it.

If you think of me through the year please remember me in prayer. I am absolutely aware that as I start this journey back to the heart of God and who I am in Him that along with that will come obstacles and discouragements and attacks. That is okay though because greater is He that is in me!

When I first started the devotional book this is what I read and it speaks my heart probably better than anything I could write...

Lord Jesus, I give You my life.
I invite You to have Your way in me.
Take me and break me. Shake me and make me.
Fill me and spill me. Change me and rearrange me.
But whatever You do, Lord, don't leave me the same.
Spirit of wisdom and revelation, I welcome Your work.
Open my eyes so I can see...my ears so I can hear...
I choose truth over comfort, challenge over complacency.
Lord, make me forever Yours.
And most of all, make me like You.
        Amen.