Tuesday, April 16, 2013

on seeing the good...

This morning, as I eat my oatmeal, drink my coffee, and listen to my children playing in the living room I am thankful. I am thankful for these two little boys and the joy they bring to my life. And I am so thankful that we live in this tiny town, in the middle of nowhere, where I don't have to worry too much about the great evils that could snatch them from me at anytime. 

Yesterday I was checking my Twitter feed when I saw tweet after tweet about Boston and explosions and bombs and carnage. People had come together for fun and were now experiencing horror. As Joey and I sat in front of the TV and watched the news stories unfold, we both said something about how grateful we were that we lived here. 

When I got on Facebook later I saw more posts about Boston. "Pray for Boston." "Praying for Boston." "Help Boston, donate here." And on and on and on. What occurred yesterday in Boston was a tragedy. Same as what occurred in the halls of an elementary school right before Christmas. Same as what occurred in a movie theater. Make no mistake my friends, tragedy is all around us. Whether it's on a mass scale like the Boston Marathon, or a smaller scale of children being abandoned. As foster parents, we hear about tragedy befalling innocent children all the time. Whether it's the loss of a parent or the loss of their innocence, it's still a tragedy. But with this tragedy all around also comes something else. Hope. Love. Help. 

Within a short time of the explosions, funds were being set up for the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. Immediately people were looking to help. To help the injured, search for remaining explosives, clear debris, donate blood, donate money, give their time, pour out themselves to do whatever they can. In the face of a tragedy, people are always willing to help. 

This country, these republicans, democrats, minorities, Christians, atheists, all flooded the halls of a temporary school for Newtown students with snowflakes, hearts, and ducks. If there is one thing about America, we band together to help each other. During any tragedy, look around, you'll see people helping. Doing whatever they can to help those in need. 

Some people are rotten and cause great tragedies. But for every rotten person, there are more that aren't rotten. That are ready to take the hurt, the suffering and mend them to restoration. 

I saw this quote and it speaks volumes about humanity:

Regardless of what tragedy may occur, there will always be more people willing to light up the darkness, give where there is none, replace fear with hope, replace hate with love. So as so many people look around them and see darkness and tragedy surrounding all of us, I choose to see light and goodness. Because I've read the Book, and I know who wins. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

because I still love blogging.

To say that I've missed blogging lately would be an understatement. I've really missed it. Mostly because I've missed my friends. You know who you are! I've missed you. For those of you who read my last post about going back to school and left me a note of encouragement, thank you. Really. You totally warm my heart. 

And here's an update on what's going on with me school-wise: I've almost completed the admissions process for DeVry University and will be starting an online class there next month. I'm excited! I finally heard back from the UCO advisor and discovered that, according to UCO, I'm just 4 classes away from graduation. That's it. four. However, it will not be an easy process by any means. I'm not going to kill myself, or miss out on my kiddos, trying to finish that degree immediately. I'm working on getting some stuff together so I can find out exactly what I need to do and how for UCO and then, we'll see. It may not be this summer, fall, or even this year, but it'll happen. I'm hoping that I can get things worked out with UCO to finish that soon, but if it doesn't happen immediately, it'll be okay. In the mean time, I can work on this new degree through DeVry that I'm really excited about. I decided on a degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Project Management. I really think that's right up my alley and will be great for my career. And it being 100% online means that I won't miss out on my kids. Super important to me.

I'm not sure how much time I'll have for blogging and stuff when I start classes, but I do know that I'm not going to be able to just quit altogether. This blog has always been and always will be an outpouring of me. Every time I've tried to turn it into something more or something different, it's failed and I've burned out. 

The past couple months I've been having some blogging conversations with my awesome friend Ashley about what I want for my blog and what I don't want for my blog. If you're expecting regular posting on a consistent basis... don't. If you're expecting a new blog every day of the week... don't. If you're expecting posts straight from my heart about what I like, don't like, can't get enough of and can't stand... that's what you're going to get. If you're expecting posts on DIYS, recipes, fostering, and things that I'm doing or thinking... that's it. And if you're expecting me to use the blogging world as a way to keep in touch with some of you that I've never met but feel such a connection to... absolutely, I am. 

Because some of you I would consider friends, even if we've never met. And because I still love blogging, even if I am the most inconsistent blogger ever. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

on revelations and changes

I didn't start this year off thinking it was going to lead to so many big changes. I mean, I did make my 13 in 2013 list intending to end the year a healthier, leaner, more budget savvy, more experienced me than I had started the year as. So some changes were expected. Others were not. 

5 years ago I was in school at UCO in Edmond. I was still pretty much a newlywed, I was going to school full time, I was working full time, and under the weight and stress of life and many, many worries, I was struggling. I hated where I was and who I was in my life, and the only thing I wanted was change. The summer of 2008, Joey interviewed and was offered a position as a Youth Minister in Levelland, TX, of which he quickly and happily accepted. I was thrilled about the opportunity for him, and for the change for me. Maybe not 100% thrilled 100% of the time, but as a whole, I was welcoming the change. So, even though I only had one semester left of school at UCO, even though I had a path laid out for me to advance within the company I worked for, we still packed up all of our belongings in a U-Haul that was much too big for what we had, and we moved to a different state. At this point, I wouldn't change a thing about that. Had we stayed in Oklahoma, I honestly don't think Joey and I would have made it. Life stresses and worries were driving us apart. So I don't regret my decision to support him and his life in ministry one bit. 

However, I have often wished that I could have finished my degree at UCO before we left. If I could go back and change things, I wouldn't. I wouldn't trade a degree for my marriage. But I have wished and wished that I could finally finish my Bachelor's Degree. I transferred to Texas Tech in hopes of simply finishing my degree there. I realized it might take a bit longer, but I wasn't prepared for what happened. I went from 120 credit hours at UCO to only 66 credit hours at Texas Tech! Yep... I lost nearly half of my credit hours, plus I was going to have to retake several freshman level courses, and I was going to have to completely redo all of my foreign language. It was ridiculous!!! Needless to say, that took the wind right out of my sails. With that weighing on me and the health issues that I was experiencing (this was right before I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis) I gave up. I threw myself into crafting, blogging, supporting Joey, and all the other things that I did. 

A couple years ago I thought about going back to school online. The company I work for is a branch of Devry University so I could go back to school for free. I thought about it, but then decided it just wasn't time yet. About a year ago I had decided that I was really happy with where I was with my career. I wasn't so interested in finishing my degree and was looking at my job as a very temporary thing, and that my Etsy stuff would take off into a full-fledged business. First it was jewlery, then art, then mobiles, then garlands, then art again, then I thought my blog and eventually my writing might be a money-maker. But within the past 6 months or so I've had another revelation, I like having a "regular" 9-5 kind of job. I like the stability. I like knowing that I'll have a retirement. I love the fact that I get to work from home and be there for my kiddos. I love having health benefits, perks, and a regular paycheck without having to worry about paying myself a salary, working out the taxes of a small business, etc. I think it's awesome that people want to start their own businesses and I'm definitely supportive of them! But right now, that's just not me. I don't know if that will ever be me. I think it's brave of people to do that, but I also think it's just as brave to not do that. To live your life, make your money, support your family with a job that's a "regular" job. There's nothing wrong with either of those options, except that the latter is what fits me right now. I also love being creative when I want to be. My awesome friend Ashley and I were talking about this just last week. After a few conversations with her over the past couple months I've realized that I really love my blog, but I also love not having to blog if I don't want to. I really love creating things, but not if I have to. I love being creative... on the side. Anytime I've taken anything creative that I love to do and tried to turn it into a business, the more quickly I experience frustrations, lack of inspiration, and all around burnout. 

I've been toying around with the idea of going back to school for a while. Not sure if I should, if I could raising two little boys and being a preacher's wife too. Not sure if Joey would support me. Not sure if it was what I really wanted. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was definitely what I wanted. I hate this unfinished degree hanging over my head all the time. I hate feeling like I failed miserably at something. I want to make me proud, my family proud, my boys proud. So I talked to Joey about it and he was fully supportive. We talked through some possibilities, and it was wonderful knowing that 5 years ago I quit school to support him, and here he is supporting me right back. :)

So yesterday I called UCO to see if there was anyway I can finish what I started there. I was given the email address to the English Advisor, I've emailed her, and now I wait. I also contacted Devry University because if nothing else, I can get a degree through there for free. I've started the admissions process there while I wait to hear back from UCO. I realize that I may be completely nuts to take on school with everything else I have going on, but I also realize that life isn't going to slow down anytime soon. I can't "pause" my kids and say, "hold on, Momma's gonna finish her degree, then you can finish growing up." It just doesn't work that way. It's either do it, or don't do it. Have a degree, or don't. Feel accomplished, or not. I may end up having to do this thing at a snail's pace because of everything else going on in life, but I'd rather move slowly than not at all. 

So... if I do get accepted into school and start soon, you can be certain of a couple things: I will not be blogging as much and I will miss you all like crazy! So please be sure you follow me on Facebook (or even friend me), or follow me on Twitter

There are also a few other certainties: I will be stressed out, busier than I can imagine right now, I will want to quit more times than I can count, and in the end I will feel the most incredible sense of accomplishment and self-pride. And it will all be worth it. 

So, here's to chasing down your goals, never turning your back on your dreams, and giving it all you've got.