Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gratitude - Day 9

Grateful for friends and neighbors that are willing to listen without judgment. I am always hesitant to reach out, but usually find that people are more understanding that you would imagine. I wish that everyone could have the experience of such wonderful neighbors, b0th past and present.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gratitude - Day 8

Hania - 2009

Missy - 1977

Today I am grateful that I can see a bit of myself in my daughter. She is a more perfect version of her parents, who are quite imperfect. I cannot wait to see how her personality develops. She is a strong-willed but quiet child, who prefers to sit back and observe a scenario before she rushes into anything. We often stay for 2 story times at the library because she uses the entire first one to settle into her surroundings. Once she is comfortable in her environment she is ON! Talkative, boisterous, verging on bossy, focused and not easily distracted when she sets her mind on something.
And do you see the crazy bruises on her legs? Yep. Just like Mama, all throughout childhood and even today!

Gratitude - Day 7

Grateful that every day is a new chance to start over with a fresh perspective.
Grateful for the warm weather and a chance to spend time outdoors this weekend in the sun. A little color in your cheeks makes anything better.
Grateful for the simple pleasure of digging tons of stuff out of my closets and basement for a garage sale!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gratitude - Day 7

I am simply grateful to have made it through this day. It was challenging, to say the least. Hania was awesome and entertained herself quite easily with the U-haul ramp and dandelions in the yard. Grateful that I can be true to myself, even during times when I feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. The sense of calm is still here. I wonder how long that will last...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gratitude - Day 6

I am grateful - no, ELATED!!!! - that we found a great home for Keira! In Texarkana! With someone who knows everything about Shepherds and has raised them her entire life! And she will still be able to be an indoor dog and sleep on their bed! These folks don't freak out over her high energy, they embrace it as a Shepherd trait, and they are willing to work with any of her behavioral issues! They do not have cats and Keira will be able to live the rest of her life without irritated eyes and itchy feet! Plus, they live very close to my parents and we will be able to check on her a visit her! A very difficult, but responsible, decision to make. Can you tell I'm thrilled? What, did the exclaimation points give it away? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gratitude - Day 5

Just a gratuitous picture of the cutie-pie at the horse races - Keeneland on 4/5.
Today I am grateful for an open window. As in, God opens windows when he seems to be slamming a door. Yep, he is surely slamming that door and unfortunately it is swinging shut so quickly that both my hand AND a random cat got caught in the middle! Ouch.

My first meeting as a board member at Fern Creek Highview United Ministries was exactly the window that I did not realize that I needed.
I was asked to be the volunteer church representative because it was a good fit, given my work experience and interest in local social services. My initial reaction was "oh great, another activity that I'll have to juggle, arrange childcare for, why can't I learn to say no, etc." So off I go to the first meeting and I am NOT in the right frame of mind to work on fundraisers and answer personal questions from all of the other representatives, who are older than me by at least two decades and giving me disapproving looks because I accidentally sat in the chair where the director normally sits! Blasphemy!

Then the agency director walked in and I immediately realized that I knew him from somewhere. Then it hit me - this man was the individual that told me about our current church and the ministries back in summer 2005. I was attending a job fair to represent the foster care agency, in the hopes of recruiting foster parents. No one told me that it was a job fair for teens. So... I wandered around the room to familiarize myself with the local agencies and happened upon Fern Creek Highview Ministries. The director was extremely friendly and warm, and we began talking about our family's decision to find a church that would meet all of our needs - me being Presby-catholic and going to a Catholic college, and my husband being a lifelong Lutheran. He suggested St. Stephen's and I tabled that information for later.

Fast forward to January 2007, when we decided to drop in to St. Stephen's one Sunday morning. We had been ignoring the church, despite the fact that it was the obvious choice based on location and we drove past it at least 3 times per day. The welcoming spirit of the folks there simply drew us in. It is not a pretentious place, and does not have a large number in attendance each week, but everyone there is deeply committed to their faith and they were so very nice. Eventually I put it all together that THIS was the church that the agency director had spoken about, and two years later, here we were.

Fast forward to April 2009 when I feel like everything is falling apart around me, but I'm lead to volunteer exactly where I am supposed to be. The director was thrilled when he heard about the result of our conversation back in 2005, and remembered my story and face. This agency does precisely the type of work that lead me to pursue a career in social services, and it was energizing to see the many people that they assist on a daily basis in this economy.

As we prayed before beginning the meeting, I simply told God "I give it up". I'm giving up control. Giving up trying to change the minds that are not open. I will wait patiently and use this time to grow. Apparently the seeds are planted at the right time, but sometimes they take a while to germinate.

When I woke up this morning there was a very different feeling that came over me. Not the typical dread that I experience as I wake up and realize that this is serious, and damnit I just can't do anything about it, so I need to think harder, make a better plan, I WILL CHANGE IT, and on and on. It was unexplainable. It was peaceful. It blew my mind.

Today, I'm thankful for the ability to give up control to God.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gratitude - Day 4

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to experience holidays and daily activities through the eyes of my daughter. Everything is new to her, which causes you to pause and wonder exactly what she is thinking about. I wonder what she thinks when she sees our funky little handmade egg chandelier (which I plan to leave up for while, thankyouverymuch, because it is fun, and yes I realize Easter is over). Taking the time to slow down and WONDER has been good for the soul. Forcing myself to actually celebrate holidays instead of merely seeing them as "oh crud, this means I'll be receiving more emergency calls because the office is closed and obviously every child is going to have a mental health meltdown at 2am". Thanks, Hania! You are apparently a good influence on your Mama!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gratitude - Day 3

Today I am grateful for some small, effortless things that are scattered into our complicated lives. Like bulbs. Bulbs don't ask much of you. You don't have to ask much of them (unless you live in the deep South, and then you have to contend with the little shits in your fridge over the winter to trick them into thinking it is freezing, and sometimes you might confuse them with shallots and accidentally put one into your crock pot, but anyway...not that I would ever make that mistake.) Here in Louisville, they are easy. Johnny and I planted these several years ago and they have been a beautiful surprise every spring. Easy. Sometimes we all need a little easy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Gratitude - Day 2

I am grateful that I am going to come out of this situation with my integrity intact. If nothing else, integrity will give you peace of mind at the end of a painful journey. Integrity is what will allow me to look at my daughter and tell her that Mommy did the absolute best that she could, despite what her pride was telling her to do. I am grateful for friends and family members who have also conducted themselves with integrity, who can act as a compass on the rough seas.

Gratitude - Day 1

Today, I am grateful for this little pig-tailed girl that has changed my life. I am grateful that she has shown me how to slow down a bit, forced me to lower my standards in areas that aren't so important, and raise my standards in the areas that are most important. So grateful.


For the moment, my blog has turned into a gratitude journal!

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