40 by 40 – Running Out of Time

This morning, September 7, 2019, at 4:59 a.m. I turned 39 years old. I often don’t think that my age makes me feel much of anything. Most times I still feel very young, and really do wonder when I will feel “grown up” or like an adult. And then I get younger co-workers or talk to teenagers at church and I realize that I am WAY beyond that age I pretend I am in my brain.

Nine years ago I wrote a post called 40 by 40 – a list of 40 things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 40 years old. I figured 10 years is a good amount of time to get a list this size checked off. What better day than today to post an update on how this list is going? I have gone through and updated each item line by line.

What is interesting to me as I type this is that most of these unfinished list items don’t seem very important to me anymore. I’m starting to think that I may come to the end of my life having never seen a large chunk of these crossed off. And you know what? I think I’m okay with that. Because as the years have gone on I have found new goals and learned new things and stretched myself in new ways so much that the Katie from 9 years ago would likely not quite recognize herself in me. And that’s good. I think she would be happy with how we have turned out at this point.


 

Katie’s 40 by 40
(not in any order)

1. Visit Disney World
2. Go on a culinary tour of Italy
3. Go on a culinary tour of Paris
4. Take a cruise vacation
5. Pay off all my debt – Still working on it. Having kids makes this hard. Having kids with traumatic beginnings in life comes with a lot of bills…
6. Be at a healthy weight – Working on it again…*le sigh*
7. Eat more whole, organic, locally-grown foods
8. Read 12 books per year OR 120 books by the time I’m 40 – I actually read less now than I used to. I blame it on my kids and my iPhone…
9. Be in the habit of working out at least 15 minutes daily
10. Find a hair cut that I loveNot sure if I’ve found a hair cut I love, but I have found a hairstylist I love and that’s almost better. She knows exactly what to do to make me feel pretty! I’m counting this one.
11. Understand baseballIt’s probably as good as it’s going to get. I’m counting it. 
12. Get a great camera and learn how to use it well
13. Learn to play piano
14. Learn to play guitar
15. Learn Spanish
16. Read the bible from start to finish – I’m not sure how much I care about this one anymore. We will see…
17. Improve my complexion
18. Start a great ministry
19. See everyone in my family come to know and love Christ
20. Stop cursing – I’m crossing this one off my list. Not because it has been achieved. But because I quite enjoy the occasional curse word, and I refuse to feel shame about it any longer. Prudishness be damned!
21. Be known for a dish that I make – If I had a dollar for every time I was asked to make my green bean casserole, I’d have like twenty-two dollars…
22. See these artists perform live (again or for the first time): Neil Young, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Metallica, Marc Broussard, (to be continued/added to)
23. Live in New York City – even if for just one year – This one is NOT going to happen. And honestly, now that we have kids, it seems like a nightmare. I’m crossing it off. 
24. Go to Las Vegas with my Grandma Alice at least one more time
25. Learn to bake like my momI think I have a good handle on it now. I don’t love it as much as she does, but I can do it! Crossing it off…
26. Learn to be rebellious like my dad (to a point!) – I’m as rebellious as I’m going to get! 🙂
27. Become a mother (either by birth or adoption or surrogacy) – Never been happier to cross something off a list before in my life…
28. Find a beer that I enjoy drinking – I’m convinced this isn’t going to happen. But you know what? I have found margaritas and whiskey. So I think I’ll be okay…
29. Learn to bake bread – I did bake one loaf of bread a few years ago that was really yummy, and I can pretty much bake banana bread with my eyes closed, but I’m keeping this one on the list…
30. Create things that people love so much, they would pay money for them
31. Decorate my home well – I feel like I will never accomplish this! 
32. Have a great garden
33. Finish at least one more cross-stitch project
34. Catalog family photos with my dad
35. Enjoy one last good conversation with Grandma Jordan. – Sadly this one will never be crossed off. Grandma passed a few months after writing this list, and I didn’t get to see her again before she died. I will always ALWAYS have great guilt over that.
36. Worry lessCrossing this one off thanks to Prozac!
37. Rent a beach house with my family for an awesome vacation
38. See the ruins in Greece – Do I really care about this that much? I don’t think I do…
39. Go on a genealogy tour of Holland, Germany and the British Isles
40. Be on The Price is Right – I miss Bob Barker. Drew Carey is great, and has been a great host, but since Bob is gone my TPIR dreams just feel a little less sparkly. 

There. If I can do those things, I’ll be at perfect peace and happiness, right? 🙂

Ten years is a long time to cross these things off my list. As I look at all of these items, I have to think of some things that will probably happen during the next decade:

  1. Tayla and Damon will graduate high school, and may even marry and/or have kids (Both graduated high school. Tayla graduated college. She’s MARRIED and a TEACHER. And Damon is going to be a daddy in just a few months. HOW ARE THEY ADULTS???)
  2. Kamryn and Clarissa will be in high school: dating, learning to drive, getting grounded and turning into women (Not sure where my math was on this one. They won’t both be in high school next year.)
  3. Harrison will be here, and will be a tall, lanky 10 year old (He’s NINE! And such a great kid. ALSO – we have more nieces and nephews thanks to marriage and birth. Being an auntie is so fantastic!)
  4. Grandma Jordan will probably have passed away – one of the great saints of my life. (She’s 99 now, if she’s alive in 10 years, someone please call Willard Scott!) – She passed on December 23rd, 2010 – just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. I am blessed to have been loved by her.
  5. My parents will continue to age – hopefully well. – These two are the feistiest sixty-somethings I’ve ever known…
  6. My brother may marry a wonderful woman that fits right in to our crazy family – Not married, but he has definitely paired up with an awesome woman who fits right in!
  7. One or more of our pets will probably die. – Since I made this list we have lost three: Lucille, Buster, and Pork Chop. We have Applesauce now, and that’s good for a while. I can’t handle one more thing to keep alive in this family.)
  8. We may move once, twice, 5 times! Who knows? – Twice – We were in Veedersburg when I made the list. We moved to Greenwood in 2012, and have been in Vincennes since 2017.
  9. If I remain in my current job, I will have at least one change in bosses. – Big changes, yes. My job completely got flipped upside down this year!

Some things will continue to be the same though:

  1. Tragedy will continue to strike. – yes
  2. Happiness will continue to prevail. – yes
  3. Matt and I will continue to love each other strongly and deeply. – Oh, yes.
  4. God will continue to be sovereign. – Yes, always.

 

Cheers to me for turning 39! 

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WHEN

More than twenty years ago I was almost a junior in high school when I got seriously dumped. Like, definition of the meaning of the word DUMPED. Out of left field. Never saw it coming. My world revolved around this guy. We had been together for what seemed like a really long time. I pictured our entire futures together forever and ever amen. To say my heart was broken would be an understatement. It was dramatic and emotional and awful, and the adult me is a little embarrassed by how terribly I took it, but suffice it to say it was a bad situation. I was totally dumped.

A few months after, I found myself interested in this guy I had known forever. We had known each other all through school. Went to church together. We were in band together. I was getting involved in youth group, and so was he, so we were always together. Something was drawing me to Matt, and I couldn’t quite figure it out. He was not like the guy I had pictured myself spending forever with. I think I was still very afraid of getting into a serious relationship again, so I pushed Matt away time and again. We dated a few months, then I broke up with him. I dated someone else for a while. Then I dated Matt again, and I dumped him. It was ridiculous. I would get close to falling in love with him, and I’d push away. Eventually God broke into my heart and told me Swish was the one He wanted me to marry, and the rest is history. But that’s a different story for a different day.

At some point during our back and forth, Matt made me a mix tape. (Do you remember these things? God, there is something so intoxicating about making someone a mix tape. Let me gather these songs that I love and put them in just the right order to let you know all the things I want to say to you but somehow can never find the words with which to do so.) I don’t really remember any of the songs he put on that tape except for one. “Say When” by Lonestar is never going to be a song that goes down in any record books, but it said exactly what Swish wanted me to hear at the time. (Don’t tease. We were into country then.)

Your heart’s been broken, you don’t want to open up to me, But can’t you see
All that you’re needing is someone to believe in you
And when you are no longer afraid, Darlin’ I’ll be just one word away

Say when, I’ll be there by your side. For a day, for a year, for the rest of my life
I know you’re not ready, But someday your heart’s gonna mend
I’ll give you love without end. Say when

Could be tomorrow, maybe a little farther down the road. Your heart will know
My love is timeless and you’re gonna find it’s true.
And no matter how long it takes, If it means holding you I can wait

Say when, I’ll be there by your side. For a day, for a year, for the rest of my life
I know you’re not ready, But someday your heart’s gonna mend
I’ll give you love without end. Say when

I remember listening to that song over and over, and thinking that I was never going to be able to be what he wanted. I would never be able to open up to him. After I had my epiphany moment, I knew that I needed to say WHEN. The next day I opened up AOL Instant Messenger (RIP AIM!), and as we chatted away about mundane things, I just typed one word. “When” He was so confused. We went back and forth for a few minutes. “When what?” WHEN. “What? Huh? When what” WHEN. He finally got it, and we got on the phone to make a long distance love declaration. (He was in college three hours away then, and cell phones weren’t really a thing. People had them, but not like they do now, and we certainly didn’t call other time zones with them. Long distance phone bills got racked up when Matt was in school. Sorry Mom and Dad. You’re welcome AT&T.) With God’s clear guidance, I knew it was time to say WHEN to Matt. I have never been more sure of anything in my life, and to be honest I feel a little stupid that it took me so long to see it. What can I say? I’m a little stupid.

A few years later we are married, and have decided to start a family. We try and we try, and just never have any luck getting pregnant. We would think about the future, and say things like, “IF we have kids we can ABC.” or “IF we get to be parents we will do XYZ.” It was a way of protecting our hearts, I suppose, in case the thing we wanted most never came to be.

Our good friend Seth contacted us one evening to let us know that he and his (now) wife had been praying for us, and felt strongly like God was giving them a message for us. The message was simply, “Not IF, but WHEN.” We were so touched by that encouragement from the Lord and from our friends. In the darkest days of our infertility and miscarriages we carried that message with us as a torch of hope. We felt that we had been promised this family – however it was going to come. We just had to hold on to God and that hope that “WHEN” we were parents, not “IF” we got to be parents.

It sounds so easy, now that I’m typing it out. “Oh, you just hold on to that hope from God, and you’ll be okay!” Well, it’s not that easy. Please don’t let my language trick you into thinking that putting your hope in the promises of Christ is an easy thing to do. It’s really difficult. There were dark, dark days in the ten years we waited to become parents. But even on the hardest days, that little glimmer of hope and promise was like an ember in a dying fireplace. It was hanging on, putting off the tiniest bit of warmth.

And then, all of a sudden, when we weren’t expecting it, God said WHEN. And there was Hannah. And so quickly later there was Henry. And now that tiny ember in the ashes of my despair has grown into quite the blazing fire. And I sit before that fire every day snuggled with my dear husband and our amazing children, and I am so content and warmed by the WHEN that I am in. After decades of dreaming and hoping and praying – for the right one to partner with in life, for those children for us to love and raise together – I am living in my WHEN. It’s no longer “IF I fall in love again,” or “IF we have children.” It’s now. WHEN.

Last night a new friend of mine posted some pictures with the hashtag “#saywenz” (her last name), and I immediately started singing “Say When” in my head. It never occurred to me until that moment that the “Say When” of our young love and the “Not IF, but WHEN” of our desiring children were connected.

I’m not typically that person that chooses a “word of the year” or anything, but I think I’m going to make “WHEN” my word of 2018. My wishing and hoping is now seeing fulfillment. I am going to make every effort I can to remember that I am living in my WHEN. So much of our life is driven by planning for the future and looking ahead. This year I want to be intentional about being in the moment. To live my WHEN as much as I can.

Happy 2018 to each of you!

The truth about pregnancy…

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IT SUCKS.

I feel like I shouldn’t say this. It took me about 4 years to even get pregnant. Then I spent the next 5 years getting pregnant four times and miscarrying each one. Then I went through the long, arduous, expensive adoption process only to get approved and then have to remove myself because I was pregnant again. And then that pregnancy was way too short, and Hannah came so early and we spent almost 4 months in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. My journey to becoming a mother has been very long, tedious, tearful, confusing, scary, and (finally) joyful. I understand how it feels to be barren. I understand how it feels to lose pregnancy after pregnancy. I can still feel the hopelessness that would fill my body as my babies’ lives emptied. Almost like an aftershock from a tragic earthquake – I still feel the desperation and desire to be a mother. I remember the sour feeling in my stomach that I would swallow down as I dug deep to find joy as friend after friend welcomed their babies. I would hold those babies and love them and wish and wish with all my might that I would possibly one day have a little one to call my own. So I feel very guilty complaining about my pregnancy. I am thankful for Henry, but the process to get him here just plain sucks.

The truth is that pregnancy really doesn’t suck for everyone. There are so many people in my life who are really, really good at making babies. They don’t seem to have issues with weight gain, morning sickness, muscle soreness, bleeding, swelling, glucose levels, etc. And then on top of that, they carry those babies full-term, and end up delivering at home in a lavender-infused bath with 1 hour of easy labor and no drugs. “Only two pushes, and my 10 pound baby is here! And no tearing or episiotomy!” #eyeroll (I’m exaggerating, of course. I’m pretty sure it’s not hygienic to have lavender in the bath during a water birth.)

The truth for me is that pregnancy is really, REALLY hard. Perhaps it’s my “advanced maternal age,” but I seem to be exhausted all the time. I felt nauseous most of the first trimester. I get dizzy easily. My blood sugar has to be tended to. Because of my history, I have to go to the doctor every other week for ultrasounds. I get to have really painful shots in my butt every week to boost my progesterone levels. I got to have a surgery in my hoo-ha to stitch up my cervix in hopes it wouldn’t open early again. I’m under heavy-lifting restrictions, so I can’t even pick up my toddler. I’m starting to have trouble finding comfortable positions in which to sleep. My skin is completely wacko and zittier than normal. I get hot flashes, and sweat like crazy. On top of it all, I deal with the emotions of being pregnant after four miscarriages and one very-pre-term birth. “Will he stay in long enough? If he comes early, will he do as well as Hannah did? If I can just make it to (insert date here) I will feel better about his chances. What if we lose him? What if I get put back on hospitalized bedrest? OH! And I’m not getting paid for maternity leave this time (thanks job), so how are we going to handle that?”

I have spent over 11 years worrying about my reproductive system in one way or another, and I’m so over it.

I am so very thankful for Hannah, and very thankful for her little brother growing in my belly right now. But oh my goodness – I am looking forward to him being here (big and healthy, of course!). I am looking forward to moving past this stage in my life, and not thinking about my cervix or ovulation or periods or any of it! For me, pregnancy just sucks.

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