Wandering, Not Lost

Wandering, Not Lost

“Not all those who wander are lost”- J.R.R. Tolkien.

That’s become the catchphrase for my life in the last few years, and particularly since last Fall.¬†I know God wants more out of me because he keeps asking for it. Read this, pray this, visit me now. It’s not really so much demanding as it is exciting, like a scavenger hunt.¬†He’s asking for a leap of faith. Trust me. Leave the familiar, the known.

Humans are funny. Even when we’re not happy, even when we’re unfulfilled by where we are, we’re still afraid to leave what we know.¬†We don’t know where life is taking us. We don’t have all the answers. ¬†And yet we know that in order to be satisfied, we need to close our eyes and jump, trusting that he knows where he’s leading us.

This weekend, James and I took a big leap.

After 11 years of infertility and 2 years of the most wonderful marriage we ever could have imagined, on August 1, 2015, we officially began the adoption process.

Saturday afternoon, we sat together at the computer and submitted our application. I was so overwhelmed with happiness, I cried. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be so excited, so emotional, so incredibly HAPPY at this moment.

Monday morning, our agency told us that we are approved. We are now beginning our home study.

I know that there is a long road ahead, but I am so excited to be on it with my very best friend. ‚̧

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From Darkness to Light

Last night was our first Halloween with the new house. I made my mom’s apple cider, we handed out candy to Trick or Treaters, and then we promptly shut it down at 8 to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” on ABC.¬†I had so much fun! It¬†was a perfect Halloween.

At one point, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if we had children. Would they look forward to their mom’s apple cider as much as I did? Would they want to¬†dress as¬†princesses or vampires? Would Charlie Brown be a sacred event for them as well?

That was October 31. And now it’s November. It’s time to¬†put aside¬†the bad stuff for a while¬†and start counting the things we’re thankful for. Good ol’ Bing Crosby¬†had it right¬†(I’m telling you, White Christmas is definitely one of those feel-good movies to keep on hand year-round).

What am I thankful for today?¬†I’m thankful that I was born into a loving and supportive family. I’m thankful for generous soon-to-be¬†in-laws. I’m thankful we bought a¬†beautiful¬†house this year (with a library in walking distance!!).

Most of all, I am thankful that in exactly 7 months from today, I will be marrying my best friend and the love of my life. It certainly doesn’t get any better than that.

How to Know He’s Perfect For You, Part 23

This weekend I was in desperate need of some retail therapy. Engagement is an emotional adjustment because every single relationship in your life is changing. Even your relationship with yourself is changing as you take on a new identity.

Like most women, I tend to drown my sorrows at the mall. What’s better than new shoes and the choice between Starbucks, Auntie Anne’s,¬†Cinnabon, and Chick Fil A? Having just lost all my fun money (see my previous post), this isn’t an option anymore. And window shopping isn’t as much fun when you know you can’t buy the stuff. So, what is Nature’s remedy for an emotionally distressed engaged woman with no more spending money?

THE REGISTRY.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I lost my disposable income during my engagement. God’s timing is usually en pointe. Thursday evening we went to a “Sip and Scan” event at Macy’s, and registered for a few things, but it wasn’t so great, only because there wasn’t a lot of stuff that I wanted. I almost cried at one point, and James had to pull me back from the brink of a bridal meltdown (blame it on the sleep deprivation).¬†SATURDAY, though, I wised up and went to my favorite wish-I-could-buy-everything store: WILLIAMS-SONOMA.

James came with me, which was a very brave¬†move considering my¬†almost-tear fest 2¬†days before.¬†Poor guy, I don’t think he was expecting what was about to happen. I literally registered for almost everything. It was a frenzied display of “Ooo¬†click that one! Did you get this one? We need 6 of these! I want this pan! And this pan! And don’t forget the ocean blue Le Creuset¬†Dutch oven!” I was so excited. Sure, there were moments of stress: “Connie, why do we need a Paella pan?” “James, I’ve been dreaming of this day my whole life, and I¬†would love¬†a Paella pan.” But there were also moments of sheer glee, like when I found the French onion soup bowls. And the Ruffoni hammered copper au gratin pan.

At the end of a few hours, we handed the scanner back to the employee and ate a few samples of pumpkin thingies.¬†That was the moment James turned to me and asked if I would like to split an Auntie Anne’s pretzel on our way back to the car. I do. Happily Ever After, Amen.

Why do we make New Year’s resolutions?

Everyone likes¬†a chance to start over, but maybe we put too much pressure on January 1. Perhaps the reason we never keep our New Year’s resolutions past February is that a whole year is just too daunting. We always tell people to take life one day at a time. Maybe we need to take our resolutions one month at a time. Maybe every 30 days we need a New Month’s resolution.

Here’s an idea: Write down your big goal, or your New Year’s resolution. Then, write down what you are going to do this January in order to work for that goal. When January 31 comes around, make some notes on what you can do in February.

This year, instead of being one of those people who crowds the gym in January, maybe I’ll take some time to think about small steps¬†I can take to accomplish¬†my goals. For example, it’s not too hard to keep up exercise for one month. Maybe I’ll¬†say, “This month of January, I am going to work out 3 times a week, write 4 hours a week, and spend at least 30 minutes reading that book I’ve renewed from the library 6 times already.”

Personally, I have several things I want to do this year. I’d like to publish some articles, get started on a book, find a¬† job that fits my interests, get a wedding date that’s not too far in the future, brush up on my Italian and maybe start learning French, lose the 15 pounds I gained last year, spend more time at the park, make more dates with friends, and save as much money as possible. Funny how the last one makes all the rest more difficult. I’m sure I’ll find a way to make it all happen, but I have to take this one month at a time.

Christmas and the promise of a new life

Another Christmas Eve is here, and all I can think about it how different it’s going to be this year. I’m in a new place in life: James and I are engaged, he’s finally done with college, and I was fortunate enough to have a steady job all year. Sure there were plenty of problems this year, but all of that is ok for now, because James and I have each other and the promise of a¬†new life together starting sometime soon.

This year, for the first time in 5-6 years, I’m not cooking. I was really bummed at first, since I love cooking our major Italian feast we do every year. Today, though, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about 15 eggs worth of fresh pasta and can just go to James’s parents’ house and relax this evening.

Why is it that life is nothing but one change after another, yet humans still can’t get used to it? Something about the holidays always highlights this feeling. People always long for those golden years, whenever they were, when Christmas was perfect and the same every year. Christmas is way different for me this year, but it’s going to be ok. Despite everything else, one wonderful change is that we’re engaged. Even¬†though we don’t have a date, we’re getting married soon. I think at Christmas, like every other time of year, we just have to have faith that everything is going to work out for the best. Maybe that is what Christmas means anyways. The day Jesus was born was not the day that he saved us, but it WAS the day that we receive the promise of hope, that God has a plan, and that all things will work out for good in the end.

Merry Christmas!

Big Changes

It’s official, I’m going to Athens and Istanbul this summer! I quickly got over my fear, and have come down with a serious case of the travel bug. I only wonder if there’s any way I can make enough money and have enough time off to see all the places I want to see. My travel “bucket list” is quite literally over a mile long.

In other news,¬†my family is¬†moving to Silver Spring, which means I have to pack up absolutely everything and get rid of everything else. Space is going to become a real issue starting next month. On the up side, I’ll be able to get a dog at this new location. I’m thinking of naming him Fritz.

I was pretty bummed out about the move, but now that I’ve got a few things to look forward to, it might not be so bad. A trip to Europe and a new dog? I mean come on, that’s gotta cheer anyone up.

I wonder if 2 days in Istanbul is enough to write a story moving enough to be picked up by National Geographic.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Everything is changing, and there’s almost nothing I can do about it. Ever feel like you’re just treading water, not getting ahead, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep your head up? That’s me right about now. I’m generally pretty happy, and I still am. It’s just that my life is starting to change in ways I disapprove of. Solution?
If you can’t change change, then maybe create some more changes. Negative, uncontrollable change can¬†make me¬†feel helpless, put-out, neglected, and depressed. Positive, purposeful, self-induced change makes me feel like I’m in charge again.
I’m finding that little, insignificant changes can do a lot for¬†my morale. Maybe I can’t change the fact that I’m probably not going to have my same lifestyle for much longer. I can’t change the fact that it’s hard to get a job these days. But, I can take up new hobbies, read new books, and start writing that novel I keep talking about. I can make little, positive changes that make me feel more like myself. I can start doing the things I’ve always wanted to do but never actually did. It doesn’t take a lot of money or luck to start making some of my dreams come true, and THAT is a change I can look forward to.