I can hardly believe it.
Here I sit, typing away, on my very last morning of the summer I so desperately needed.
What else I can hardly believe is that I'm actually excited to step forward into tomorrow. (Did I really just say that?) With a year of Pre-K under my belt, I'm filled with ideas and inspiration, knowing I get to watch kids grow by leaps and bounds over the next nine months.
I am also craving routine. The thing we love to let go of over the summer months so we can do all those things that don't fit into our school schedules. I like predictability, though, and I like to feel productive. Not having any sense of routine each day can so easily lead to laziness and idleness, meaning zero productivity. A trait I have not liked watching develop in my boys this summer.
Due to the extreme changes we've lived through the last few years, I held some pretty high expectations for this particular summer. Did we reach those expectations? A few, yes. Many, no.
Did we enjoy family time? Yes. By camping, by having lunches together every day at home. By going to the gym together every day and enjoying the pool many evenings when all the kids got kicked out at sunset.
Did I bond more with my boys? Yes, by sending them each off to camp on their own, giving me one-on-one time with both of them. I will admit, though, that a part of me really missed the bonding that used to take place between David and I when it was just us.
Did I rest? Yes, to some extent. I tried sleeping in like most people do, but it actually made me feel worse. When I slept in, (which my body doesn't do very naturally, anyway), I lost my precious morning time with God, along with routine. I also felt like I always needed a nap later in the day. When July came around, I got up between five and six again in the mornings so I could enjoy the long quiet mornings that I have always loved. Coffee and prayer time for awhile, then I focused on my writing for the next few hours until the boys got up. I realized that true rest comes when we are in God's presence, not necessarily with more sleep.
Did I accomplish my writing goals? No. I wanted to have my second book published by now. But I didn't have the inspiration to even work on it again until July. God held me off. I didn't have a peace about publishing it alone with a different publisher than my first book, but I knew I didn't want to use the first publisher again (nor could I afford to). God led me to a writer's conference where I connected with someone who had pulled their book from the same publisher, rewrote it, retitled it, and republished it with great success. They inspired me to do the same. I worked tirelessly throughout the month of July on both books, rewriting the first and heavily revising the second, making them fit together quite well as a pair. I take much more pride in both of them now. Plus I found a publisher to work with this fall, Lord-willing, that will also be translating them into Spanish!!!! May our story speak loudly and cause many more to hear the voice of the orphan. That is my heart's desire.
Did I get healthy? Well, I may have a long way to go, but I definitely got healthier. I am active daily and have energy to move. A summer membership to the gym did that for me. A year ago, my doctor noticed my cholesterol had gone way up (obviously, after a summer of eating unhealthy in Colombia). In December, I started having hormonal issues. In late winter, I struggled with my blood pressure. By the spring, I was diagnosed with PCOS after my doctor found my blood sugar levels elevated and my hormones unbalanced. I tried medication, but it made me worse. I read a bunch of stories about Plexus, this natural pink drink that supposedly helps with these issues, so I gave it a try for two months (since there's a 60 day money back guarantee). I bought it from a friend who has used the money from her business to visit an orphanage in Vietnam every year because they are hoping to someday adopt a little girl they know there. The money went toward a good cause, so I justified the spending. :) Well, I went back to the doctor for my yearly blood work last week, and guess what? It worked! My blood pressure is great. My blood sugar levels are normal. My cholesterol is normal. My hormones are even balanced again. I also changed my eating habits quite a bit and now find myself craving fresh fruit and veggies more than ever.
Did we improve our home? Yes, and no. The boys' rooms underwent a makeover, so they look great. The carpet is gone, so the house smells and looks so much better. We ran out of money, time, and drive to finish everything, though, so we're waiting to get past all of the back-to-school and soccer expenses to spend any more money on the rest of the floors. Honestly, between the camper getting smashed and then the AC leaking on the new floor in most of the hallway, we lost a lot of drive more than anything. (Mike fully accepted the camper's fate as something that God must have allowed for a purpose. I have struggled a lot more with the anxiety it caused in me, still praying my way through it every day.)
Did I reconnect with God? Yes. I crave my morning time with Him. My summer Bible study got me praying Scripture again, leading back to the intimate prayer life I had been missing. Not only did my own prayer life improve, but I watched other women develop their own. That, my friends, is awesome!
Over all, it's been a good, fulfilling summer. I have to daily accept that God allowed a few negative things happen in order to keep us dependent on Him rather than on ourselves or our own understanding. I trust they had purpose and still have purpose. We lost "stuff", and stuff can be replaced. So can money. I heard on the news just the other day about a family of four driving home from a family vacation, only to get hit head-on by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, taking all four of their lives. We may have come home from our family vacation with our newest "thing" all smashed up and destroyed with no insurance money to replace it, but at least we came home. All four of us. Together. For that, I'm grateful.
Now I'm off to wake up the boys and intentionally enjoy our last day of summer together. (They still have another seven days off, but, unfortunately, teachers don't.)
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.