Saturday, December 20, 2014

Incomplete Family at Christmastime

Christmas is not necessarily a happy time for all of us.  I am not saying the whole season is terrible for me.  I definitely enjoy the majority of it!  But as we go through this waiting-to-adopt time, and as God grows a sensitivity in me toward others and their individual situations, I am starting to see that there is pain involved in holidays, too.

As I go Christmas shopping and to all the gatherings and parties, and just in general interact with more people than I usually do, this year I am going to try to be more sensitive with my "Merry Christmas!"es.  I would encourage you to do the same; think and pray carefully before writing the same greeting in each Christmas card.

I also think there is some validity in what I heard somewhere recently:  it's more painful to have your painful situation ignored than acknowledged.  So maybe instead of writing "May you and your family have a happy Christmas!", write "This Christmas must be tough for you.  You're in my thoughts & prayers."  (I haven't lost any loved ones very close to me, so if you have other thoughts on this topic, please feel free to leave a comment.)

There are such a wide variety of painful or confusing situations that people may be going through this Christmas, including but not limited to:  (Please forgive me if in anyway I have not worded these sensitively.)
  • having lost a loved one, including miscarriage or stillbirth
  • divorce, separation, marriage difficulties
  • infertility
  • loved one working/living far away and can't come home for Christmas
  • empty arms while waiting to adopt
  • loved one hospitalized, or you yourself hospitalized
  • single
  • you or loved one has cancer or other disease
  • family tensions and unforgiveness
  • financial problems
  • spiritual struggles; trying to figure out what you believe
  • trying to find your birth family or have recently reconnected with them  
  • job issues
As my mother-in-law once told me, you never know what someone's going through.  That is so true.  Behind people's tough demeanor, or calm face, or cheery attitude, everybody has a story.  We don't necessarily need to know what that story is, but I think everyone does deserve our sensitivity.  Especially during the holidays when emotions can be so fragile.

It's been interesting this Christmas season for me as this topic has been on my mind and heart.  The other day I was in a grocery store and I saw a lady busily shopping whose husband had passed away a year or two ago.  Another lady who knew her and her situation came up to her, put a hand on her shoulder, and kindly said "Merry Christmas.  Have a good one."  The first lady turned to continue her shopping and I saw that her face now looked bewildered.  I was left wondering how she felt -- hurt that she was told to have a good Christmas even though her husband was gone?  -- or blessed that the lady didn't cheerfully smile a "Merry Christmas!!" as if everything was fine?  I don't know.  Maybe she didn't even know herself.

For me personally, I find that I appreciate acknowledgement of the pain we feel, in not being parents yet.  Don't get me wrong, no one wants to be felt sorry for!  But thought (like not giving us the card that says "from our family to yours!"), kindness, and acknowledgment is always nice.  Keep your words genuine, gentle - and brief.  No one wants to cry at a gathering after all, lol!

At the same grocery store, same day, we were stopped by a lady we know and asked how things were progressing with our adoption.  I always appreciate it when people ask because it shows they care.  But I was rather surprised at how down I felt afterward.  And it is because of the Christmas season.  It is another Christmas without our baby.  Christmas is a time of family.  And lots of people feel their families are incomplete -- they are still single, or a family member has passed away, or their womb is empty, or their arms are empty, or they are separated from their spouse, or they don't live near their family, or fights have separated them from their parents, or a parent has lost their memory, or they have placed their child for adoption, etc -- and at Christmastime this incomplete feeling is often very much amplified.

I don't have much of a conclusion.  Perhaps, I hope you come away from reading this with a new awareness of what others might be going through, and a new sensitivity towards others when you interact with them this holiday season.  I also hope you feel your personal pain has been acknowledged.  Christmas is tough.  And I honestly think that's okay sometimes.  Not that it's okay to feel sorry for yourself, but neither do you need to be tough and ignore the pain and put on a false cheeriness.  If someone is kind enough to say to you "This Christmas must be tough for you" there is nothing wrong with simply saying "Thank-you, yes it is.  I appreciate your thinking of me."

I also hope that whether we are the comforter or the one in pain, or most likely both, that we deliberately take the time to be thankful for -- to use a cliche -- the Reason for the season.  Have you ever stopped to think about it that Jesus' earthly father was not His birth father?  And that when Jesus was crucified, His Father rejected Him?  (He rejected Him because all our sin was on Him.  The wages of sin is death and Jesus paid for our sin so we would not have to.)  Jesus understands pain.

He is also our comforter.  When nobody else understands how I feel, He does.  And that is already a big comfort to me just by itself.  

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  2 Corinthians 1:3-4    

Monday, December 15, 2014

Doubts and Truth

Every five weeks, for roughly a ten day stretch, I am an emotional, mental, and physical wreck.  Most women are, to a greater or lesser extent.  I fall into the "greater extent" category!  During this time, I doubt everything.  I doubt that my husband loves me.  I doubt that we will ever get matched, and assume that no expectant parents would ever like us.  I doubt that I am saved, or at the least I question what I believe.  I doubt that I will ever feel "normal" again, and assume that something is wrong with me.  Amongst many other things, during this time my brain is filled with fog, I do not like myself, everybody makes me irritable, and problems seem insurmountable.

Of course, once a certain "Aunt" shows up to visit, my whole world settles itself back on it's axis.  I regain my equilibrium and everything calms down again.  My husband loves me (he did all along).  Odds are we'll get matched one day, if it's God's will, and I'm content with that (usually).  I am saved (I was all along) and I know what I believe (usually).  I feel normal (my own unique version of normal, anyway!) and know that nothing was seriously wrong.  I realize I'm not ugly (whodda thunk?!), people are enjoyable (most of them), and I feel able to tackle problems (which were never that huge).

But time passes and I know that after a certain length of time I will once again be a trainwreck.  I have learned various ways of coping.  (No, medication is not one of them.  I have been down that long, dark road before and will never step foot onto it again.)  One is simply being aware of what day I am on so I can be prepared, knowing what to expect when.  Letting Hubby know where I'm at is helpful, too, so he can be prepared!  Another is fewer commitments during that time, and planning simpler meals - in advance.

But one of the things that has helped very much is facts.  Logic.  Thinking like a man, lol.  A man has a very hard time comprehending that, to a woman, what she is feeling feels like it IS factual!  That her feelings are incredibly REAL.  That these feelings do not seem "illogical" as many men like to state.  A wise man will comfort his wife when she is feeling all sorts of tumultuous feelings that are very real to her, without correcting her and telling her "that's not the way it really is".  A wise woman will accept his comfort, lol!  But as I was saying, I have found that when doubts assail me, telling myself facts is the way to go.

I like logic.  Facts.  Truth.  Solid things that don't change.  The more unsteady my life is, the more I like stability!  Christ's love for me doesn't change.  His salvation of me is secure - nothing I do or don't do will change that.  Usually I am not the hugest advocate for Scripture memorization because I have a very poor memory, but knowing some pertinent Bible verses that I can tell myself in times of doubt really does help.  And God's Word is solid truth that doesn't change!  Very reassuring when everything feels unsteady.

The other day I read Psalm chapter 3.  I read it along with John MacArthur's notes (he has very good notes as long as one ignores the Calvinism).  Here is the psalm, written by David when he fled, fearing for his life:

O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God.
But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and He answered me from His holy hill.
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For You strike all my enemies on the cheek;
You break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
Your blessing be on Your people!   

For me, my enemies are my doubts.  During rough times, they are many, rising against me, and saying to my soul: "there is no salvation for you in God".  BUT God, praise His name, is a shield about me, protecting me, not allowing those doubts to be true.  I cry aloud to Him, and He answers me.  Usually doubts assail me the worst at night.  But here Scripture says I can lie down and sleep and wake again and do not need to be afraid because the Lord sustains me!  He saves me, fighting for me against my enemies - those wicked doubts.  Salvation belongs to God and He has blessed me!  Praise His holy name!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Motherhood Month - 13

Progress:  We have been waiting 1 year + 7 months since we were approved to adopt.

How I'm feeling:  Content and curious, waiting to see what God will do or not do.

Craving:  Cookies.  I have been doing a bunch of baking lately, and I went to a cookie exchange yesterday and came home with at least 4 dozen cookies, but I can't eat wheat and a bunch of other things, so I can't eat the majority of them.  I did make some Coconut Macaroons for myself but they are waiting in the freezer til Christmas :)

Thoughts about our future child:  Miss you.

Thoughts about our child's expectant mom:  Praying for you.

Most recent baby purchase/gift:  I may or may not have bought something for Hubby for Christmas :)

This month God:  Reassured me in a time of doubt.  Hopefully I'll take the time to write a post about that yet.

For other first-time prospective adoptive parents -- how long have you been waiting to adopt since being approved?  How much of your time do you find yourself thinking about/praying for/preparing for your future child?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Motherhood Month - 12

Progress:  Today is exactly 1.5 years since we were originally approved and started the official wait.  Early on when we were approved my husband and I each made predictions (not very seriously) of how long we each thought it would take til we were matched.  Hubby guessed 1.5 years and here we are today, no baby.  I guessed 2.5 years so we still have another year before I fail, too, ha!  Seriously, though, it could be any minute, any day, any year.  And with every day that passes, we are one day closer.  God's timing is best.

How I'm Feeling:  I wrote about this a fair bit just a couple days ago here.  I am feeling more positive, encouraged, and hopeful all around, but also more accepting of however things turn out.

Craving:  Nothing, I just finished eating Basil Pasta Shells.  Well, there are those Coconut Macaroons I just finished today...I'd eat another one of those :)

Thoughts About Our Future Child:  I just recently watched this video and it has definitely got me thinking about our future child, and our future adult child.  Definitely worth watching!

Thoughts About Our Child's Expectant Mom:  Feeling torn; wishing there was a way we could adopt without you having to go through the hard times coming up; knowing there isn't.

Most Recent Baby Purchase/Gift:  I don't think we have bought or received anything in quite a while.  However, I have been updating our Amazon baby registry as the Christmas shopping season approaches!

This Month God:  I am grateful to Him that He is always consistent, unchanging, and just there even when I can't sense His presence.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Epilepsy & Parenting

I've been debating whether to talk about this on my blog for two months.  Remember I mentioned back here that we'd been going through some difficult times?  And then I missed two Motherhood Months in a row.  Well, I am still here and we are still waiting to adopt.  But I did have a seizure.

I haven't hidden the fact that I have epilepsy from my readers nor from any potential birthparents who may read my blog (just to be clear, where I live, it is illegal to advertize ourselves, so this blog is not in any way intended to solicit birthparents to choose us).  I've mentioned it here, here, and most recently, here.  I've also mentioned it in the above tabs.

But I still have felt reluctant to talk freely about my epilepsy here.  My hesitation comes from a fear of not being chosen, the fear of all expectant adoptive parents.  When talking it over with Hubby last month, he said he thinks I should go right ahead and speak freely about my epilepsy on my blog.  After all, he said, how would our future child's birthparents feel if they realized, after they'd placed with us, that we'd kept this hidden from them?  I realized what he said made sense (although my epilepsy, like every other teeny-tiny part of our lives, is written up at our agency for potential birthparents to read anyway!).

Another (lesser) fear is that my readers will judge me for choosing to parent with epilepsy.  This one is fairly simply addressed by telling myself "Who cares what they think?"  Thankfully I have the kind of personality that I can tell myself that somewhat easily, haha.

My other completely wild, unfounded fear is that CFS would take away my child(ren) due to my epilepsy.  I think this fear comes from growing up in a [good] home where my parents fostered children for most of my childhood and teen years.  And I guess living in today's paranoid world, we are all aware of how quickly people will report even imagined things, and CFS will swoop in and devastate a family.  (Don't get me wrong, I know CFS does good as well; after all, my parents worked with them for years.  I just think people are too trigger-happy with their reporting, and that more emphasis should be put on helping families rather than breaking them apart.)  The way to comfort myself about this fear is reminding myself that (1) my doctor is completely on my side, and (2) there are many people who parent with disabilities, successfully.

So.  About that seizure.  I've had epilepsy, specifically Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy, for 14.5 years now.  Well, it's been that long since my first seizure.  I had it for probably 1/2 a year to a year or so before that.  So during that time I've had 7 seizures.  One in the year 2000, three in 2005, two in 2008, and then almost a full six years later (my record), I had seizure #7 on September 8, 2014.  As you can see, I don't have them frequently at all.  I do regularly get "jerks" (bilateral muscle spasms in my arms), though they seem to have settled into a "once a month" pattern for now.

So on September 8th, a Monday, I got up and went about my morning, making lunch and going online.  I was jerking a bit and decided to lie down.  I texted Hubby to let him know I was jerking and proceeded to rest.  I then had the seizure but did not realize it til later of course.  What I knew next was I was walking around disoriented, from room to room around the house, very nauseous and feeling terror.  I felt I needed to get help but could not recall any phone numbers.  When my mind cleared up enough that I could recall my husband's phone number, I phoned him and told him I was scared.  He came home immediately (he was there in 20 minutes!).  During that time I rested and my mind cleared up all the way and I realized I had had a seizure.  I knew this from past experience, although did I mention this was my very first seizure all alone?!?  All my other seizures someone has been there to prevent me from getting up, which apparently I always want to do when the seizure's over, and to comfort me, because I always feel terrified while coming to.  Well, anyway, I took all those factors into consideration, as well as the fact that my tongue was a bit bitten and my upper arms were incredibly sore; all normal.  Hubby came home, very concerned, and held my hand while I slept and recovered, sweet man of mine.

Here's to hoping I can beat my record and go over six years seizure-free this time!

Well, how did this seizure affect our thoughts and feelings toward adopting?  It definitely had a big effect for both of us.  I guess this seizure was a bit of wake-up call for us.  We knew epilepsy would affect our parenting, but we hadn't really talked about it thoroughly or made any specific plans.  Now, all of a sudden, both of us completely doubted my ability to parent.  We didn't talk about it immediately but each knew what the other was thinking.  I went from being completely excited about adopting (with the occasional "we'll never get matched" times, of course) to completely losing my joy.  I didn't read any of my (thousands of) adoption blogs I follow, nor blog here, nor read about adoption, dream about it, and I didn't even want to talk about it.  I felt completely --blank-- inside. 

When Hubby & I first approached the topic with each other, I broke down into those physically-painful sobs:  I could not, would not, consider not adopting.  I'd already had one dream - pregnancy - stolen from me, I would not have another!!  We decided to not talk further about it right then.  We prayed about it.  I read up about parenting with epilepsy.  We set a date to talk about it more thoroughly.  When we talked about it we found we were both scared about continuing but I wanted to more; he wanted to quit more.  We talked a couple times and never got upset with each other which was wonderful. 

We took some steps:  I made an appointment with my neurologist (well, I had to find a new one, so that appt's coming up) to see if he knows any parents with my specific kind of epilepsy.  I also talked to some family members to see how willing they would be to babysit in the early mornings for the first few years of Baby's life and that has been encouraging all around.  Hubby read what I had found on parenting with epilepsy.  He also talked with a trusted friend who I know is praying for us as well.  We agreed to continue, and if we get matched, awesome, and if not, perhaps that is God's way of saying "no".  I talked with my regular doctor and she was very encouraging, saying she supports me completely, that I will be a good parent, etc.  A close family member who is very supportive of us adopting has committed to helping babysit as needed.  Although we are now looking at things more realistically, we are all around feeling more hopeful.  My joy is returning.  Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Where Is Your Heart?

A couple weeks ago, Caroline over at In Due Time, wrote this post, which inspired me to write this one:

What have you spent time getting to know?  Done research on?  Whom have you spent a lot of time with?  What have you spent a lot of time doing?  What do you find yourself talking about the most; thinking about the most?  What are you passionate about? 

Christ?  Studying God’s Word?  Praying for lost souls; praying for Christ to teach you?  Celebrities?  TV?  Gossip magazines?  Your hobby or passion and everything related to it?  Your spouse and strengthening your marriage?  Your children and making a better future for them?  Homeschooling?  Adoption?  Being healthy; avoiding bad foods; exercising?  Politics?  Human rights?  Equality for all?  Helping those in need?  Your pets?  Pet rights; shelters for pets; spay and neuter?  Gaming?  Organization; cleaning; homemaking?  Making money; being financially secure; moving up?  Cure for cancer or other disease?  Speaking up against abortion?  Food; cooking; recipes?  Flirting; finding that man who validates you?  Music?

I realize that not everything is bad in this very random list.  But remember:  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:21 (ESV)   

“The only way to get to know someone intimately is to spend time with them.  If you are married, think of when you were dating your now husband or wife.  If you are like most people, when you are first getting to know someone you desire to spend every free moment together to get to know them as good as you can, and if your marriage is healthy, that thought should last for your entire life together.  The same is true in our relationship with the Lord.” – Daryl Evans

Have you ever wondered why, as a Christian, you aren’t as passionate about Christ as you’d like to be?  Or do you sometimes feel almost annoyed at how passionate about Christ some Christians are?  Whatever (or WHOMever) you spend time getting to know, you will be passionate about.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Birthdays

Lots of pictures coming up... :)

My birthday was August 12th; I turned 32. 

To celebrate, we had my husband's parents over for a barbeque on Aug. 10th for supper.  We cooked a feast for them and my FIL sang "Happy Birthday" loudly for all the neighbours to hear (thanks, Dad).  They gave me a hammock that I have been wanting for a while and I enjoyed it over the remainder of the summer.


On the 12th, my actual birthday, I had a bit of a crummy day, but in the evening my husband and I went out to a local cafe that we both like.  It was super-busy and loud inside, so we sat outside, which ended up being really nice.  We had hot chocolates which we both decided were the best we'd ever had.






On the 16th we went to the zoo.  I think this was part of my birthday celebrations...but it may have just been because we wanted to; I can't remember!  Regardless, the weather was hot, and we got to see the new polar bear exhibit where you can see the bears swimming over you while you are standing in a clear tunnel, so it was a good time.



On the 17th, we had my side of the family down for the evening.  We had snacks (chips and Rhubarb Upside-down Cake) and here we are playing Probe.


On October 7th my Grandma, on my dad's side, turned 90.  NINETY.  My aunt put together a really nice evening at the care home my Grandma lives at.  She made a meal that was exactly like one my grandma would've cooked years ago.  She decorated the place nicely, there were pictures of my grandma when she was younger, a chalkboard that listed what grocery items cost back in 1924, treats that my grandma used to give to us grandkids, etc.  We took a lot of pictures; my grandma has always liked doing family photos but I think she was a little confused and overwhelmed.  I'm glad we celebrated her, though.  I gave her flowers from my flowerbed; she has always appreciated pretty things.




On the 16th was my husband's birthday; he turned the big 3-0.  We started off the birthday celebrations for him by going out to eat at Red Lobster with his parents and brother on the 13th.  His brother was out visiting for Thanksgiving weekend (from the 10th-13th; we had gatherings on the 11th and 12th).  Hubby really wanted his brother to be part of his birthday celebration, so we tagged along to the airport when Hubby's parents were bringing Hubby's brother there, and went out to supper first.


On the 16th, his actual birthday, he wanted to do the same thing we did for my birthday - go out to the cafe for hot chocolates :)  So we did.  This time it was very un-busy, so we got a couch/armchair corner inside which was nice as they're not always easy to get.  He was pretty tired, as it was a weekday evening, but it was still nice.





On the 17th we had my family over in the evening for snacks - chips & pop, Skor Trifle (his favourite), and spinach dip (definitely not his favourite).  It was a good evening.





On the 18th the two of us went to the aviation museum.  It had been many years since he'd been there and I'd never been there.  Unfortunately the displays were not all in the best condition and the descriptions needed some serious updating, and there was a wedding going on which pretty much forced us out of there, but otherwise it was good for the most part and I'm glad we went.





So those were the big birthday celebrations in August and October!  In September my side of the family went to a cabin for a weekend; something we do every Fall and it was gorgeous weather and a good time.  One of my sisters & her husband celebrated their 10th anniversary in October by going to Yellowstone; there is a number of anniversaries in my family in Fall.  And of course (for us Canadians) there was Thanksgiving in October as well, so with that came 3 family gatherings.  The next big thing is Christmas, oh my!  Not sure if I'm prepared for that yet... :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy 30th Birthday to My Husband!

HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY to my husband!!!

If you don't like mush, stand aside.  I'm going to let the world know what I think of my man!

I am so thankful for this man and the wonderful husband he is to me.  For someone who is quiet and sensitive, some people may be surprised to know just how strong he is.  And yet he knows he would be nothing without God, whom he relies on.  He has been through incredibly hard times, as he stood by me through antidepressant drug withdrawal, praying for me, helping me keep continuing through it, having to hear his wife say what I can't imagine anybody wants to hear their loved one saying "I don't want to be here anymore".  He has been by my side, sometimes literally catching me, through at least 5 seizures if not more, the first one within weeks of our wedding.  He has prayed for me millions of more times than I know of, and if he hadn't I'm sure I would've had more seizures.  He has given up his dream job of flying to support the two of us - his family.  He has sacrificed dear relationships to stand up for his faith.  I have watched Christ transform him when he became a Christian in his early-mid twenties and watched his faith grow in leaps and bounds.  I can't tell you everything he has sacrificed, but if there is one word I might sum him up with it would be that. 

He is the sweetest man to me.  Absolutely gentle, patient, calm, encouraging - in a word, sweet.  I cannot count the number of times a day I hear or read the words "I love you" from him.  He always asks how my day is going and gives me hugs.  He offers to do things for me to make my day easier such as pick up groceries after work, and doesn't complain.  He even mops the floor and does other things around the house and let me assure you that just makes him more of a man to me, not less.  I am so thankful for the hard worker he is and that he provides for us.  People, this man works 12 hours days, 5 days a week!!  There is no such thing as a lunch break or coffee break in his days; he eats as he drives.  And yet he still spends time with me, knowing it's important to me, at the end of his day.  Now that is what I call love!!  
      
He loves his three nieces almost as if they were his own daughters.  He loves to hug them, talk about them, show pictures of them, spend time with them, listen to them, etc.  

He is good-looking, faithful, forgiving, a pilot which of course only increases his good looks ;) and I could go on and on as I'm sure I'm forgetting some of what makes my man wonderful.

Happy Birthday, Babe - neither of our dreams for age 30 came true but that is okay because as badly as I want a child and as badly as you want to be flying, we've got what really matters - God's got us in His hands, and we have each other - I love you!    

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Can Eat, Can't Eat

A lot of people have asked me what I can and can't eat.  Unfortunately this is not a quick and simple answer.  I wish it was!  But since so many people seem to genuinely care, and want to make an effort to provide me with the kinds of food I can eat, I will try and explain as best as I can.

First off, let me clarify by saying that I by no means expect people to go out of their way to buy specific ingredients for me (often expensive ingredients that they will only use once) nor cook dishes specifically for me.  I don't feel entitled; like people should cater to my needs.  If I am at your place for a meal, and I cannot eat something that is served, I will not make a big deal of it.  That only makes you feel bad and makes me look bad.  We live in a first-world country after all; if I don't get full at your place it is not the worst thing; I can eat when I get home.  In fact, I am often prepared for not being able to eat everything that is served and I often eat a snack or even a small meal at home before I come!  If I am feeling courageous enough, I may call ahead of time and ask what the person is planning on making, and that way, if you don't mind, I can bring whatever I need (salad dressing, for example).  Sometimes, if I feel comfortable enough, I may ask if you can change a small part of the meal (put the salad dressing on the side, for example) and that way I may be able to eat the meal.  But I just want people to know that I am not going to be upset with them if they don't cook according to my needs because I think that is just conceited; you are not my servant; you have been gracious enough to invite me over for a meal.  But please also know I may not be able to eat everything, and not to feel sorry for me.  I'll be okay!

Second of all, let me say that my reasons for avoiding certain foods are very real, and actually quite serious.  It's not just because I don't like something or am concerned about gaining weight.  Neither do I do it to get attention.  Rest assured, I would LOVE to eat the foods I am avoiding!!

Thirdly, let me say a genuine "thank-you!" to the people in my life who have cared enough to ask what I can and can't eat.  Most of the time, I admit, I assume that my health problems are a hassle and a nuisance to people, and even that they think I am making it all up.  It always amazes me when I find out some people really don't mind going out of their way to provide food I can eat; that they actually want to.  So thank you for caring.  It means a lot to me, it really, truly does.  

So, three things:  why can't I eat certain foods?  what foods can't I eat? and what foods can I eat?

For starters,  I have a couple more minor health concerns that I prefer not to talk about in a public forum like this, but they do somewhat influence what I can and can't eat.  There's no reason really to go into deep detail here, so I'll just say that I try to avoid anything acidic or spicy - so things like orange juice,oranges, and lemonade are a definite no-no, as is hot salsa.  I also don't drink carbonated beverages.  If I ever do have anything acidic or spicy - such as tomato-based products, a bit of pineapple, fruit juices in general, too much pepper or vinegar, etc - I make sure to drink lots and lots of water.  And water's always a good thing! :)

Okay, now to the critical stuff!  I will tell you what I can and can't eat, to the best of my abilities, but first the 'why'.  I have epilepsy (specifically, Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy).  If you do research on JME as I have, you will find that very few people have food sensitivities that affect their epilepsy, or at least there are very few who have tried dietary modifications to help their JME.  But for epilepsy in general you can definitely find information.  The main source of my information has been this website; my neurologist was very interested in my experiences and so I passed on to him the information that I had found helpful.  However, neither my family doctor nor my neurologist have been overly helpful.  My neurologist had me tested for gluten sensitivity and I am not gluten intolerant.  Otherwise everything I have learned has come from trial & error and research online.  If I could afford it, I would go see a nutritionist or naturopathic doctor.  My neurologist is semi-retired now and I have been told I have to find a new one, so hopefully my next one will have some insight.  What I would really love to see is an epileptologist; unfortunately my understanding is that there is only one in my province.  Anyway, most of that is an aside to the fact that I have epilepsy and what I eat affects it.  This was not always the case.  I had JME for approximately 9 years before food became a problem (I believe triggered by sudden changes I made to my diet for an unrelated problem).  Now for the last 5 years life has been a learning curve of figuring out what I can and can't eat, where I can buy alternative foods (some expensive, some delicious, some gross), and trying new recipes (sometimes pretty much inventing them!).  So what happens if I eat something I shouldn't?  Do I immediately fall down and convulse wildly?  No.  (Btw, I never convulse wildly, lol.  I have 'jerks' - muscle jerks in my arms, which I remain conscious during, and I have grand mal (or tonic-clonic) seizures for which I do lose consciousness and will fall if I am not already lying down in a safe place (which I usually am because I know it's going to happen) but even for these I am told my body pretty much just gets very stiff and only jerks slightly).  When I eat something I shouldn't, my body's response is very hard to describe - it is somewhat like a feeling of pressure in my head combined with a feeling of grogginess.  It is somewhat similar to the feeling I feel before jerking (which almost always occurs upon awakening too early; the hallmark of JME).  At this point I immediately quit eating whatever I was eating, and if possible I will go lie down til the feeling goes away.  The real danger comes if I eat something very bad for me, or if I eat bad things in too large quantities, or if I eat bad foods too frequently, or if eating something bad happens to coincide with another one of my triggers.  Then I am likely to jerk, usually starting the next morning and potentially lasting for hours, and if I jerk too much, for too long, have big jerks, or don't get the rest I need, I could have a grand mal seizure.  With a grand mal seizure comes the risk of hurting myself or others, feeling like I've been put through a wringer washer physically & emotionally for a day or two, causing my husband stress, and of course the minor inconvenience of losing my drivers license for a year.  So why don't I just go on a different medication or a higher dose of my medication, you ask?  Well, that would not take care of the problem completely.  I have yet to hear of a case where medication completely controls a person's JME.  Also medication, particularly brain-altering ones like anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), always come with side effects, a number of difficult ones that I already live with.  Also I have already made a huge sacrifice in my life by switching to the medication that I am on - not being able to get pregnant on this medication - so that I could be on the best medication for controlling my epilepsy so that I could be the best mother possible and hopefully start a family through adoption.

Let's move on to the facts of what I can and can't eat.  First of all, what I can't eat.  Note that some of these ingredients I need to avoid 100%.  Others depend more on the factors I mentioned earlier - the problems occurring not only if I eat something very bad for me, but also if I eat bad things in too large quantities, if I eat bad foods too frequently, or if eating something bad happens to coincide with another one of my triggers.  These are things you can't necessarily know, so I need to be the judge of whether I can eat something or not at a certain time.  It may be confusing to you sometimes.  It is to me, too!  I am constantly listening to my body and evaluating and re-evaluating what it's doing, thinking about what I ate and what I will eat, plus taking into account all my other triggers.  It can be very wearying as sometimes it feels like things are not consistent, but I am very thankful to have discovered natural ways to help control my epilepsy.

What I Can't Eat
  • Soy - Soy is a huge one for me.  And you would be surprised what soy is all in.  You pretty much have to become a label-reader for this one.  I avoid all types of soy - soybeans (edamame), soybean oil, etc.  Soy can be hidden under other names, such as hydrolyzed soy protein, textured vegetable protein, soy isolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), etc.  I am wary of any product with the ingredient vegetable oil, and sometimes contact the manufacturer to find out what that is specifically (for example, Tostitos tortilla chips lists vegetable oil on their bags, and when contacted they kindly told me it was 50/50 sunflower oil and corn oil).  The majority of chocolate out there has soy lecithin in it.  I have found this to not be the hugest of problems, perhaps because of the small quantity, but I still try not to eat it too frequently (I have found a few soy-free chocolate bars out there).  Common foods that you will find soy in are salad dressings including Miracle Whip and all mayonnaise's except for Hellmann's (even Miracle Whip's Olive Oil mayo has soybean oil) - you can buy salad dressings from the refrigerated section (like Renee's brand) that don't have soybean oil, but some have other bad ingredients; obviously soy sauce; a lot of prepackaged/processed foods like canned soups; some frozen chicken breasts; margarine; I cannot think of everything that has soy in it right now but there is a LOT!  A number of flavours of potato chips have MSG.
  • Grains - This is another big one for me.  I avoid all whole wheat, oats, barley, and rye.  I used to be able to eat white flour occasionally in small quantities but it started to become a problem so now I don't eat it either (I have occasionally put a tiny bit of white flour in as a thickener for sauces but prefer not to).  There are some gluten-free flours that I can eat but not all of them.  I haven't learned yet exactly which are safe or not (there are so many available with this gluten-free craze going on right now!) but as of now I also avoid oats, bran, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat until I know for sure.  So the obvious places one would find grains are baked goods like bread & buns, hamburger & hotdog buns, cakes & pies, muffins & cupcakes, desserts & cookies, waffles & pancakes, etc.  More hidden places are things like canned tomato soup and wieners.  Also don't forget the breading on chicken or anything that has breadcrumbs, as well as breakfast cereals, crackers, pasta, and pizza crusts.  Of course I am just scratching the surface with this one as well!
  • Cow's milk products and Casein - Another big one.  If you're wondering what casein is, it's a protein in milk, and it's very concentrated in cheese.  I avoid all cow's milk cheeses.  I used to occasionally eat small amounts of mozzarella, but have since found it to be troublesome as well.  The WORST cow's milk cheese is Parmesan.  I really need you to tell me if you have sprinkled a little of this in a salad or mixed it into a casserole or what not.  Cheddar is also very, very bad.  But I don't eat any cow's milk cheeses - Monterey Jack, Swiss, Feta, Ricotta, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Havarti, Brie, I could go on and on and let me assure you, I miss them ALL!  I am a HUGE cheese lover!!!  I used to be able to eat other cow's milk products, just not cheeses, without too much difficulty, but things have gotten worse, so now I try to avoid them all for the most part.  This includes milk, butter, sour cream, yogurt, cream, ice-cream, etc.  I am not as strict (yet) with these items as I am the cheeses but I do exercise caution with them.
  • Beans - Just like the soybeans, I can't eat any beans.  So think of things like refried beans, bean dip, chili, etc.
  • Nuts - I can't eat any nuts, the worst ones being peanuts, cashew, pistachios, and almonds.  Well, actually I have heard that almonds are not quite as bad, but I prefer not to test this out.  So no peanut butter for me, nor treats made with nuts in them.  (Please note: I am not allergic to these foods.  So, unlike if a child had a nut allergy, you can have nuts in the house, etc, and I will be fine.  I just can't consume them.)
  • Seeds - Seeds such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I don't know if this includes sesame seeds or not.  Also includes lentils, although I've never eaten them in my life anyway.  This is not a super critical one; I should just not consume seeds in large quantities.
  • Aspartame - I don't have a hard time with this one at ALL, because I have always found the artificial sweetener aspartame DISGUSTING, lol!  Aspartame is, of course, found in diet drinks.  It's often called NutraSweet or Equal.  It is in most foods labeled "sugar free".  I have no idea what I would do if I became a diabetic, lol.
  • Meats - I don't avoid meats, but some of them should not be eaten in large quantities or too frequently.  These include turkey, rabbit (I don't ever plan on eating one anyway, lol), and grain-fed meats.  As of this point in my life I don't check to see what my meat ate when it was last alive, lol.
I think that is all!  By now you must be wondering, what DOES she eat?!?  Actually, I've had people ask me that.  Well, I will tell you as best as I can.
  • Mayonnaise & Salad Dressings - For mayonnaise I eat Hellmann's mayoBoth the regular one and the olive oil one do not contain any soybean oil.  For salad dressings I either buy a refrigerated brand such as Renee's (first checking the ingredients to make sure it doesn't have Parmesan or anything else bad) or I make my own.  It's actually really simple to whip up a vinaigrette, especially when you have seasoning already on hand (Epicure makes a really yummy Italian one).
  • Rice Pasta & Gluten-free Baked Goods - I have gotten totally used to pasta made with rice, and for that matter so has my husband!  Our grocery stores all sell a very wide variety of different pasta shapes (still missing manicotti, but hey).  I also buy Udi's gluten-free hot dog buns and hamburger buns (they cost an arm and a leg but thankfully not a brain, haha).  I have not yet had success worth talking about it when it comes to baking with gluten-free flours, and I can't eat all of them anyway.  Just because it says "gluten-free" does NOT mean it is safe for me!  I have also bought some gluten-free mixes (cake, waffles, muffins, etc) and most are wonderful, especially Betty Crocker's GF cake mixes; I swap out the butter for canola oil and it works just fine.  On occasion I treat myself (it's expensive) to a small loaf of gluten-free bread (I can't remember the brand; it's from Safeway) - it needs to be toasted to taste good, but at least I can have some little sandwiches!!  I can eat coconut, so if I go to Tim Horton's with a friend (where I can pretty much not eat a single thing) I can get those DELICIOUS coconut macaroons they have on hand there.  I also buy Udi's gluten-free pizza crusts on rare ($) occasions.  Breadcrumbs for chicken I make using a combo of Cornflakes crumbs and tortilla chips crumbs plus seasonings and it is delish.  
  • Meats - Wieners I buy Schneiders Naturals brand because it doesn't contain any wheat.  For frozen chicken breasts we buy Dunn-Rite because it is soy-free and gluten-free.  There can usually be hamburger patties found that don't contain wheat or soy; just read the ingredients label.  I've never been a huge meat-eater and most meats are okay; it's the additions that can be a problem. 
  • Goat Milk & Goat Milk Cheeses - Goats have become my friends, lol!  Seriously, though, I am SO thankful there are goat dairies around here and that our local grocery stores provide these products.  I can get goat milk at Sobeys and Safeway; goat mozzarella at Sobeys and Superstore; goat cheddar at Sobeys (and if not in stock there, at De Luca's in the city).  Of course every store carries soft goat cheese, which I mix together with goat milk to create "sour cream".  It is a very rich version of sour cream and I don't use it in big quantities.  In place of Parmesan cheese, we buy Myzithra, which is a sheep's milk cheese.  We have to go to the city to either De Luca's or Fenton's in the Fork's for that one, but that's okay because we buy a large amount, grate it all and freeze it.  Goat feta is another one that's easy to find.  I even found goat Gouda (at De Luca's in the city) which I have bought once; it was so good and I used it in place of Fontina cheese in a recipe.  I would LOVE to be able to find butter, yogurt, sour cream, ice-cream, cream cheese, and cream made from goat's milk but this hasn't happened yet.  I learned how to make Ricotta using just 3 ingredients - goat milk, salt, and lemon juice - and it turns out great every time I make it.  Recently my husband bought me coconut "ice-cream" (Luna & Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss) and it was AMAZING!!  It is soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free (I can't eat all their products, though, as some contain nuts). 
  • Beans, Nuts, Seeds - I haven't found any replacements for these yet, and I do miss them.  They are such a great source of fibre and my new motto has pretty much become "an avocado a day keeps the doctor away" when it comes to getting enough fibre!  Seeds are not the worst thing, though, and I have discovered I can make a homemade pesto using pumpkin seeds and Myzithra cheese, instead of pine nuts and Parmesan (which is what most recipes call for; store-bought ones usually have soybean oil).
  • Other things - I can eat - and I like - the majority of fruits and vegetables.  So I consume a lot of them.  I also eat a lot of potatoes, eggs, and I can also eat rice.  "Plain" food is really the best route for me as it is the additional ingredients that are usually the problem.  For example, yes I can eat potatoes, but if I go to a potluck and there is scalloped potatoes (because we know those have to be at every potluck, right?) there could very likely be canned cream of soups in there, or sour cream or butter, or cheese.  So something like a baked potato is a much better bet for me.  Some people put soya sauce in their rice, or fry their eggs in margarine.  So I always have to ask what is in food.  This is something I just have to get used to, and it is very difficult for me.  Going out to eat is a struggle beyond words.  I've learned what dishes I can eat at which restaurants, and I don't get much variety!  But that's okay; I am SO thankful that God has provided me food that I can eat!
Here are 3 recipes that I have posted in the past.  I will try to post some more safe recipes in the future.
Thank you for taking the time to read this; I know it was long!

And It's Mid-October

So I have missed another "Motherhood Month".  I have been feeling so overwhelmed lately; there is so much to do and I feel like my brain is rather over-stuffed, to put it mildly.  I am working on a number of posts - one I'm in the middle of actually writing; the others are in my head and will hopefully make it to "paper" yet.

Hope all my fellow Canadians had a good Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I'm Still Here

Sorry I have been MIA for a while.  We are going through some really difficult times lately.

But in the meantime, I have totally rewritten my testimony, which you can read here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Adoption Love Link-Up: Intros


So many adoption bloggers that I know love Kristen and her blog, Adoption Love, and I am no different.  This month she has started a monthly blog link-up and I am very excited to start participating in it! 



The discussion topic for this month is intros.  How did I become part of the adoption world and where is my family at in our journey?

I don't share all the details of our journey that brought us to where we are now, but I don't mind sharing a fair bit of it.  In the summer of 2010, we made the painful, difficult, yet relieving decision to quit ttc and instead switch to adoption.  Amongst other factors, this decision was made primarily because of my epilepsy and epilepsy meds.  I was on an epilepsy med that was safe for an unborn baby, but did not control my epilepsy very well and was starting to give me negative side effects.  I switched to one that I had been on years earlier so I knew it worked very well for me, both at controlling my seizures and giving me minimal side effects.  Unfortunately this med is very unsafe for an unborn baby.  Hence the quitting ttc.  I could've experimented with other meds to try and find a different one that controlled my epilepsy and was safe for an unborn baby, but both Hubby and I were very reluctant to, as I was already in a bad place health-wise and we know I am very sensitive to medications.  A decision had to be made and we made it.  Not to say it was easy at all; I definitely grieved for quite some time over never getting to meet the baby that I had dreamed so much of.

We contacted our adoption agency that same summer and I embraced everything adoption full-on.  We spent the following year's time switching me over from my past medication to my current one (we did it over one year so as to minimize withdrawal), getting me healthy again, saving up money for adopting (we were working on subdividing our property), we told our immediate families we were adopting but no one else, and we attended a free info night at our agency.  Also, I devoured adoption blogs like there was no tomorrow.

In the spring of 2012 when we finally went public with the news that we were adopting, and finally actually started the adoption process, I was super-eager to start my own adoption blog and start connecting with other bloggers, which I did.  I consider you my friends!

In the spring of 2013, on May 14, we were officially approved for domestic infant adoption.  We have now been waiting 1 1/4 years, and as far as we know we haven't been shown to anyone during that time.

      
How did you become part of the adoption world and where is your family at in their journey? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/#sthash.AWe5tsVs.dpuf
How did you become part of the adoption world and where is your family at in their journey? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/#sthash.AWe5tsVs.dpuf
How did you become part of the adoption world and where is your family at in their journey? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/#sthash.AWe5tsVs.dpuf

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 2014 ICLW

Wow, I haven't participated in ICLW for almost a year!  Well, here I am.  And here you are!  Welcome!!

Speaking of, I just updated my "Welcome" tab so feel free to click up there and read that :)

My husband and I are approved to adopt and have been waiting for 1 1/4 years to be matched.

I like cats, chocolate, scrapbooking, the sound of rain, presents, wildflowers, cheese, and a great many other random things :)

Looking forward to hearing from you and visiting your blogs!

Friday, August 15, 2014

No Fruit on the Vines

If you ever have a chance to, read Habakkuk in the MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, along with the notes (it's only 3 chapters long, and totally worth it).

I found it very inspiring, how in the hard times when Habakkuk was questioning God about how [he perceived] God was ignoring the problem, Habakkuk ultimately ended up choosing to have confidence in God, to quietly wait for Him to act, and to rejoice in Him.

"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3:17-18 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Motherhood Month - 11

Progress:  It has been 1 1/4 years since we were approved to adopt.

How I'm feeling:  I've never been one for enjoying taking the time to figure out how I'm feeling.  I don't like turning introspective and trying to evaluate my feelings.  "How are you?" or "How was your day?" are some of my least favourite questions to be asked.  I have a hard time summing up an entire day as "good" or "bad" as I tend to see various events or emotions (each which rarely last long) as good, bad, mediocre, etc.  I am a very live-by-the-moment kind of person, with high highs and low lows.

As far as the adoption wait goes, my thoughts and emotions range from one end of the spectrum to the other in any given month as well.  This month, I would say my feelings about it have included, but have not been limited to: contentment that God knows what He's doing and peace that He will time everything out according to His perfect will; excitement that we could get 'The Call' any moment and become parents in a heartbeat; discouragement as I realize that everyone's getting older - my child(ren)'s grandparents, cousins, us, etc; and both doubting if we'll ever get matched and also hoping we don't get matched before we get to go on a vacation to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in Spring! (don't get me wrong; I'd take Baby first!)

Craving:  Nothing; I just finished a lunch of Baked Eggs Napoleon.  A little something sweet to finish off the meal would be nice, though.  Maybe I'll eat an apricot yet.  There's one on the counter getting too soft and needs to be eaten.

Thoughts about our future child:  I know I say this often, but most of the time I'm simply just curious!  Gender?  Nationality?  Personality?  Things that don't matter at all but that I'm just curious about, you know?

Thoughts about our child's expectant mom:  I guess "curious" is the go-to word here, too.  What will our relationship be like?

Most recent baby purchase/gift:  Nothing for us, but we did buy a couple really neat gifts for friends of ours who just adopted their first baby.  We haven't given the gifts to them yet, so I won't post pictures here, in case they happen to read this blog ;)

This month God:  I am thankful for His Holy Spirit who lives in me and is continually teaching me, reminding me, encouraging me, prompting me.   

Monday, July 14, 2014

Motherhood Month - 10

Progress:  It has been 1 year + 2 months since we were approved to adopt.

How I'm feeling:  In this moment, I'm okay.  So that's a good thing.

Craving:  Something a little sweet to finish off my meal.  I just had a Mexican Omelet.  Now I would like, hm, a Chocolate Strudel?

Thoughts about our child:  The other day I caught myself thinking, I wonder what my kid(s) will think of me?  And then I very quickly decided that was probably not a good route to go down, because it only matters what God thinks of me, and I can't live my life wondering what others think of me (so rarely they even are thinking about you at all, eh?!) 

Thoughts about our child's expectant mom:  Where are you at in life?  I'm sorry you are going to have to go through the difficult times coming up.

Most recent baby purchase/gift:  Nothing.  There's a lot we need yet that I wish we had, though.

This month God:  Has reminded me that He died for me, personally.  That believing in the historical Jesus, the Son of God, the one who loves everyone, and died on a cross to save the world from death - is not enough to save me.  But that believing that He died personally for me, that I deserved to die because I was a sinner - I couldn't meet God's requirements to be perfect - and He took my place instead because only He was perfect enough to be that final sacrifice - that is what saved me.  Praise God; without Him I am nothing.  


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Just for Fun

I suppose it would be unethical if our adoption agency had signs out like this for human babies...

This sign for a local pet store caught my eye while driving.
...although potentially convenient.  Joking, of course!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motherhood Month - 9

Progress:  1 year, 1 month, and 2 days

How I'm feeling:  Irritable, can't think clearly, down, anxious...I could go on.  But that's just hormones and will resolve itself yet.  Whenever my body decides to behave like normal.

Craving:  FOOD!!  I am hungry!  Lasagna would be nice.  (about those hormones...) 

Thoughts about our child:  Hoping you will exist and I'm not just dreaming this all up.

Thoughts about child's expectant mom:  Curious.  Always curious.

Most recent baby purchase/gift:  For Father's Day yesterday I gave my husband a onesie and matching shorts.  The onesie says "Daddy's Little Cupcake".  It's for a girl; even though we don't know if we will get a boy or a girl, I buy items for each, plus gender-neutral.  He loved it.


This month God:  Lately has felt far away.  I know that's just the hormones, though.  And feelings is not what this relationship is based upon anyway, thankfully!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"I Understand"

Back in highschool I had a teacher that taught me a couple of things that I actually took to heart and carried with me into real life.

One of them was, when you ask someone how they are doing, listen to their answer.  Don't just say "hey, how's it going" as you rush on by.  I think it also important to give a genuine answer to those who ask sincerely.  Don't just say "fine".

The other thing was the skill of active listening.  Perhaps this resonated with me because as someone whose love language is quality time, it is important that people actually listen to me without distraction.  Since my personality is not one well known for good listening skills, I feel like learning how to listen actively was really helpful.  Eye contact, lean toward the person, respond to what they're saying, etc.

Another thing I have learned in life, this one from my mom-in-law, is that you never know what someone is going through, or has gone through.  You don't know their story.  You might think you know most of it, but you probably don't know all of it.  Keeping this in mind has helped me respond to people more gently than I might feel like reacting.  This life lesson also has a flip side.  Don't assume that people cannot relate to what you are going through.  If you are the kind of person who keeps things buried inside, try sharing and you might find someone who has gone through the same thing.

I don't know who taught me this life lesson, but another thing is to never say the words "I understand" unless you truly feel like you get it.  There are many other comforting and encouraging words to choose from, such as "I'm sorry", "That must be tough", and "I'm praying for you" (if you actually are), if you feel like you cannot understand the person's feelings or situation.  I personally will never say "I understand" if I do not feel like I actually do.  Since I haven't yet had anybody closer to me than my Grandpa pass away, I won't say "I know how hard this is for you" when your loved one passes away.  However, if you are going through stress, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, etc, I will say "I understand" because I personally know that world much too well.  I think there is great comfort in someone understanding where you are at, especially if they have been able to come out the other side.  Even if your situations aren't identical, they may be able to understand what you are going through well enough for you to be able to trust their "I understand".

Monday, June 2, 2014

Good Enough?

Sometimes I get so weary of advertising ourselves; trying to sell ourselves; waiting to be chosen; waiting to be wanted; hoping we're good enough; being dependent on others decisions and choices before we can move forward.

Adoption.  Waiting for someone to choose us.  To be matched with us.  To want us to parent their child.  Waiting for The Call.

Career.  My husband is a pilot and has his application in at a number of places; has had them in for quite a while. We are waiting for that call to fulfill his dream.

Our house.  Our house is up for sale; has been for a few months.  Been shown about 8 times but no bites.

My business.  I sell Regal (Canadian catalogue company) from home as an independent rep.  I am continually advertizing.  I am continually hoping someone will actually follow through and place an order when they say they want to.

There are two things that I, as a Believer in Christ Jesus, take from this:

One, because I desire God's will for my life, I can choose to thank God for these various circumstances we are in, and contentment will follow.  "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  "The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:5-7  I can thank Him for the situations as they seem (bad), and I can thank Him for the good in them - that we are approved to adopt, that my husband has a good job currently (gravel truck driver), that we have a good home to live in that has room for a baby, and that I have a little business so that I can help earn a little income and feel useful, and I can thank Him for however He will work these situations out in the future as He sees fit.  See?  I am feeling better already! :)

Two, I am just so grateful that I do not need to advertise myself to God.  I don't need to try and sell myself to Him.  I do not need to strive to be good enough for Him in order to be wanted by Him.  Before I was saved, I did not need to clean up myself the way I have to clean up my house before a showing.  I just needed to believe in Him - in Jesus, God's Son - and that He died instead of me because my sin needed to be paid for, to be made holy and righteous - "good enough" - in God's eyes.  And now I remain always forgiven and accepted by Him!  "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."  Isaiah 53:6  "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."  John 3:14-18