Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Feeling Restless, One Year Later

Recently, a dear friend pointed out to me that, at this time this year, I was feeling restless and frustrated. I didn't know what I was meant to do with this life I have been given. What was I doing here? What was my purpose? How I was supposed to glorify God while trying to leave some small, positive impact on the world? I was restless and frustrated while trying to somehow understand the stillness that was the start of 2016. Around me, people in my life were doing amazing things. And yet, I felt stuck. 

What very few knew at that time is that my hub and I were trying to make our final decision about whether we would, in fact, answer the call to adopt that we had been discussing for over a decade. We were stuck and scared of making the wrong choice. So. We prayed and waited. And I felt restless.

Twelve months later, here we sit, waiting for our phone to ring. Waiting for news that our daughter is ready for us. Waiting to hear that, finally, we will be able to wrap our arms around her. So again, we are stuck in the stillness. And again, I have noticed that I am starting to feel restless. 


This time, I am trying to be thankful for the stillness, thankful for the restlessness. Because honestly, I think it is a necessary part of life. We live in a society that is so on the go-go-go. We have access to everyone at every time. Phones have become an ever-present extension of our bodies, and with that comes a focusing on everyone around us while missing what is right in front of us. 

I am tired of it, to be honest. It is exhausting. 

So THIS time, during THIS period of waiting, I am trying to focus on the restlessness, on the stillness. This time, I am trying to push aside the rush of the world and instead trying to focus on what is directly in front of. I am trying to really enjoy...

The compassionate heart that has developed in my Raleigh Jane over the last few months. The warmth in her eyes as she cares for our aging dog. The pride she takes in taking care for little ones. The sweetness she shows when teaching her younger brother something new. The determined spirit she embodies so well.

The purity of Banks' heart. How sweet and innocent he is in his friendships, the care he takes to ensure that others' feelings are protected, the goodness and patience he shows towards his little siblings, the adoration he has for his Daddy, how much he loves snuggling and reading with his Momma. The beauty of his being. 

The ever-present gleam in Harrison's eyes, the fact that he is happiest when making other people laugh. The way he can cheese like no other the second a camera emerges. The way he wraps his precious arms around his Momma's neck and squeezes with all his might, saying, "I love you SO much." The joyful way he greets everyone he encounters. The way he makes people feel just by being in his presence. His happy-go-lucky heart.

The quiet Friday nights I get to spend on the couch with my husband--no muss, no fuss. The support we show one another in our efforts to live healthy and active lifestyles. The way he loves and supports those around him. The leadership he displays within our community and church. His unstoppable work ethic and ambition. The way he loves me so well. 

Our parents who love nothing more in this world than family. Our siblings who love and support us through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our friends who allow us to be who we are - those who are truly genuine in the way they share their lives with us, not afraid to share what is real and raw. Our church. Oh, how I love our church--the community it provides, the relationships it brings, the way it allows our faith to flourish, the opportunities it provides for us to serve others-both young and old. Our community. Our neighborhood. Our home. 

Waiting can be hard. It can be so, so hard. It IS so, so hard. But this time, I am embracing the restlessness and the stillness and somehow finding...peace. 

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cheers to the Weekend, So Long February Edition

HOW in the WORLD is this the last weekend of February? I thought last year went by quickly, but this one is moving at lightening speed! Anywho, here are some things we've been saying CHEERS to over the last week: 

Another baby in the family. Yes, I am absolutely ECSTATIC to share that I am going to be an aunt again!!!! This makes Baby #12 on my "side" of the family, and I could not be more thrilled about my latest niece/phew!!! <3

Daddy is home. My hub was in San Francisco all last week but arrived on Saturday morning after taking a red-eye. He arrived just in time for the kids to snuggle up and me to head out to Pure Barre. :) 

Slumber parties. Although Banks has had friends spend the night at our house before, he had his first overnight last weekend! He loved every minute of it and had the BEST time, but I'm not going to lie...we really missed him that night! Our house is just not the same without our Bankster; so, we were glad to have him back the next day.

Baseball! Banks opted out of baseball last Spring in order to play (another) season of flag football but asked to play again this year. He had his first practice earlier this week, with Daddy as his assistant coach and one of his best buddies on his team! So far, so good!

Double dating. My hub and I snuck out for tacos and tequilas with a couple we l.o.v.e. last Saturday, and enjoyed every minute! Bonus: we went out to an early dinner and were home early enough for this grandma to get to bed at a decent hour. :) 

Consigning. Although I am still holding tight to all of my baby girl clothes so that Little Lu #4 will be able to inherit her big sister's wardrobe, I have finally been able to start selling my boy clothes, seeing as how Harrison will be the last boy of our bunch. Originally, I had intended to sell a bunch of clothes at a big, local consignment sale coming up in a couple of weeks, but alas, I missed the consigner deadline. Luckily, our neighborhood has an awesome, private Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook page, and there is also a larger, public Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook page specifically for children's items for the town we live in; so, I was able to list several bundles of baby boy items and finally make some cash off of these clothes I've been holding on to! And what do I intend to do with said cash? Turn around and use it to help offset the cost of the spring/summer wardrobes I'll need to buy for my trio. Dave Ramsey would be so proud. :) 

Our Greenway. As a Southern girl, I could not be loving this February weather any more! It has been GLORIOUS so many days this month, with our temps reaching the mid-70s on multiple occasions! And since we had a 4-day weekend last weekend, and my hub was able to take off Monday, we took full advantage! On Monday (Happy President's Day!), we hiked our local Greenway and enjoyed every drop of the glorious sunshine. <3 And we loved getting to meet some of our bestests half-way through our adventures. :) 

Back on the courts. After not playing since November, I was finally able to find time to hit the tennis courts again over the long weekend, as my hub and I played mixed doubles with our friends, while letting the kids run wild on the adjoining playground with their buds. It was great! 

As far as this weekend goes, I am excited to be meeting a new friend for coffee this morning before our Nana and Pop arrive for a weekend o' fun in the Mill! Just what the doctor ordered as February continues to march along. I hope you have some fun lined up for the weekend as well! Have a great one, and I'll "see" you back here next week. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wee One Wednesday: An Update

I wanted to give an update on our adoption because so many of our wonderful family and friends have been reaching out to ask how things are going (thank y'all for taking the time to ask! It means to much to our family to have your continued love and support <3). 

The update is...there is no update. 

Right now, we are just waiting for the phone to ring with a referral, at which time we will be emailed the file of a child who meets the criteria outlined in our dossier (i.e., age; sex; specific medical conditions). We will then have a few days to review the file, reflect, and pray before determining if she is who God has chosen as our daughter. The phone could ring today. It could ring a year from now. We just don't know when it will be.

But until then? Until the phone rings? 

We dream about our girl.
We pray for her, by name, every day. 
We talk about her with her brothers and sister.
We imagine what life will be like with Little Lu #4 in the mix.

And also? We use this time of waiting to...

Serve our community and church.
Love on Banks, Raleigh, and Harrison.
Work on strengthening our faith, family, and friendships.
Support those around us however we can.
Accomplish goals we have set for 2017.
Spend time with those we love. 
Bake, decorate, and sell cookies to help fund our adoption.
Enjoy the moments of stillness.
Pray for patience while we wait for the phone to ring. 
And we pray that God continues to wrap His loving arms around her while she is a world away, whispering to her that her family awaits, and with it, great joy and love.  

All that said, if I could tell her one thing right now as she waits for us it would be this: 

Sweet Little Lu, We love you so, so much already. We're waiting for you and are ready for you, beautiful girl.

Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend that we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act. Proverbs 24:12.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hello...It's Me...

I needed to take a little break from my blog for awhile.....

But I'm back and ready to focus on the bright side today and share some of what we've been up to the last few weeks. In a nutshell...

The Comparison Trap. Without a doubt, this is my favorite devotional I have ever done. I posted awhile back that I had felt a nudge to lead an online devotional for women who were finding themselves stuck in the comparison trap (in other words, EVERY WOMAN I HAVE EVER KNOWN. Including yours truly-big time!). We ended up with 545 women from across the country. We spent 28 days getting raw and real and honest. We let down our guard and shared our stories and our truths and our struggles. And for me? It was life-changing. We even had the author of the book herself, Sandra Stanley, drop in to offer some words of encouragement. <3 If you haven't already read it, I could not recommend her devotional any more highly. It will change your life, ladies. Truly it will. It has certainly changed mine.  

School fun. Banks celebrated the 100th day of 1st grade by dressing up like a 100-year-old man, and Harrison was stoked to get to wear his jammies to school for the Winter White Out pajama party. Poor Rals had to skip a couple days of school thanks to a stomach bug.

Alcohol-free zone. A couple of months ago, my hub and I decided to take 30 days off from having any alcoholic beverages. We started the day after CLEMSON WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (!!!). I tried to quit many, many times during the month but my hub kept encouraging me so I stuck with it...for 25 days. Yes, five days shorter than our goal, but I ultimately decided that I could have a beverage after a tough month. And you know what? I would do it again--for the full 30 days! I may actually do it again this year, but if not by the end of 2017, then definitely again in January 2018. :) 
The Big 6-0. Surprise! A couple weeks ago, all five of my siblings and I headed to Columbia to help surprise my stepdad at a 60th birthday party! My mom did a great job arranging everything, and he had no idea until he walked into his favorite restaurant and saw all of his kids, grandkids, and dear family and friends standing there waiting for him. It was awesome! Then, the whole BLOMPS crew stayed on the same floor in a hotel so that we could put our kiddos to bed and spend hours having fun in the hallway, drinking (well, not my hub and I -- we were still in the alcohol-free zone at that point ;) and laughing and chatting. It was great!

Winter/Spring sports. Banks wrapped up his basketball season last weekend...and had baseball evaluations the same day. Sheesh! No rest for the weary, right? His practices will be starting soon, as will Raleigh/Harrison's soccer seasons. Meanwhile, Raleigh continues on with her twice weekly gymnastics classes. Whew! But I just love watching them do what they love. 

Daddy-Daughter Dance. Last week, Raleigh and her daddy attended their third Daddy-Daughter dance. We look forward to this day each year now! We buy her a special dress and then she and I spend time getting her all fancy the day of the dance. Her daddy buys her flowers and rings the doorbell to pick her up. He then whisks her off to dinner before they head to the dance to par-tay. And just like in years past, they had a ball!

The glam squad, ready to get ready already ;)

Just like last year, she requested to have her hair straightened. This was her reaction during the big reveal

He rang the doorbell promptly at 4:30 :)

Off they go!
 Ready to dance after enjoying a triple dinner date with friends <3

New York. Last weekend, some of my favorite women in the world - my college best friends - and I headed to the Big Apple for the last of our crew's bachelorette parties. We rented a townhouse right in the heart of Manhattan...which turned out to be the same street where Carrie Bradshaw lived on Sex and the City (and of COURSE we took a photo on her front steps!). We girls had more fun than a weekend should allow. And good gracious, was this trip good for my soul. <3 

Three of us arrived shortly before 10:00 am on Friday, and we spent hours grabbing lunch, walking around the city, getting a few groceries, etc., before the rest of our girls arrived later in the day. Then, we all hit up a local spot for Happy Hour before heading back to get ready for a night on the town. We had dinner at a cozy, authentic, delicious Italian restaurant and then hit up a bar before heading to a show at the original Comedy Cellar. And, no joke (pun intended), I haven't laughed that hard in YEARS!!! It was so funny and so fun! 

We kicked off Saturday with another delicious meal - brunch at a Spanish-style restaurant - and then spent the rest of the day living it up in the city. We walked and laughed and talked and shopped and coffee-d and got lost on the subway and laughed some more. Then, we headed home to get ready for our second night on the town, which we would begin by enjoying some yummy cheese and wine while playing bachelorette games. Next, we went to dinner at Untitled at the Whitney Museum, where one of our friends from college is the head chef!! She created a special tasting menu for us, and no kidding, it was the BEST meal I have ever had in my ENTIRE life. Just so, so good. We then headed out on the town and found this amazingly fun bar with an awesome live dj who was spinning our favorite music--80s. We stayed out until past 1:00 am and then this ol' grandma finally had to call it quits. :) It was a weekend that was SO needed and I miss my girls so much already! 

Valentine's celebrations. Per usual, all three kiddos had their school Valentine's Day parties, with Harrison's being the only parent-invited party. They each took their classmates Pinterest-inspired Valentines (as did most of the rest of the world. Thanks Pinterest! ;) and ate their weight in candy. 

 Sweet Valentine mini #1...

 and #3 :)

 Ready to party, preschool style :) 

Because my hub had to leave for a conference in San Fran that day, he and I put the kids to bed a little early the night before and enjoyed a delicious in-home dinner date, comprised of filets cooked to perfection on the Big Green Egg with sides of brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, all made courtesy of the one person in our family who is actually a good cook...my hub. :) Since it was just my trio and me on Valentine's night, we decided to have a special menu for dinner...cupcakes from our favorite local cupcake shop, Cupcrazed. Delish!

And there you have it--a few of the bright spots from the last few weeks. And WHOA!!! How's that for a whopper of a post?! If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I'll be back soon with a much shorter post...and an adoption update. <3