Who am I?? – Mother

I am a mother… to many…

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*I have been a mother to 13 different children… Read on!!

Being a mother has been my dream since I was a little kid.  I was a tomboy, for sure, growing up.  My only sibling, a brother, is 6 years older than me and I followed him around everywhere.  I wanted to do anything he did, and firmly believed I could do anything too.  He put up with me for the most part, but definitely got tired of his little sister following him around… I’m sure there will be more stories involving him as we go along with this thing, but this one is about being a mother.

When I wasn’t following after my brother and his friends and playing whatever sport they would let me join in on, I was carrying around a baby doll.  I didn’t have many barbies, because I didn’t like them.  I didn’t want to play with an adult doll… or even a teenager… I wanted the babies.  I had a cabbage patch kid (as did every child in the 80’s), but my favorite was a doll called a “Real Baby”.  I tried to search for this to show you what it looked like or even see if they still make them, and I couldn’t find anything about my baby.  What I did find was baby dolls that look so real it was scary.  So… just picture a doll that looked like about a 3 month old baby.  I had a boy, of course, because I didn’t want baby girls.  Anyway, I carried this baby with me everywhere.  I’m sure I threw him down somewhere when it was time to play sports of some kind, but mostly I took great care of him.  I even named him AJ (Andrew Joshua)… The story behind the name may be revealed in a story one day too!

When Ron and I got married, many years after AJ had gone away, we both had some pretty cemented thoughts about children.  I wanted to have 4, he wanted 2.  That was the only thing we disagreed about.  He wanted them to be able to do whatever they wanted with their hair because “it might not be there long” (his hair started falling out when he was 16.. this was particularly devastating to his hair-band-loving self).  I didn’t have an opinion about hair, so that one was okay (I was just praying their hair wouldn’t be as kinky, curly as mine).  I wanted to adopt children.  I didn’t care where we adopted them from, but I knew I wanted to adopt.  He didn’t seem to have an opinion about this at all.

We were married in July of 1999, and in May of that year I had gone to the gynecologist for the first time and gotten on birth control pills.  (We wanted to wait at least a year before having a baby, but not really any longer than a year).

I took those pills for exactly one year, and then I stopped.  I assumed that I would just get pregnant.  I didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t happen.  That my dream might not happen just as I had planned it.  We were living in a parsonage with 3 bedrooms, a huge formal living and dining room, and it was just too much room for us.  I wanted to fill those rooms with babies.  Instead, it was just us… the whole time.

In 2003, after fertility treatments, I got pregnant the first time.  Our son was born March 15, 2004.  We decided since we had so much trouble the first time, we wouldn’t worry with birth control and I’d probably just get pregnant again soon.

In 2006, after more fertility treatments, I got pregnant again.  Our second son was born on November 28, 2006.  That was the end of the fertility treatments for me.

I decided that I was done with all of the mess that went along with those things.  Infertility posts will definitely be coming because that defined the first years of our marriage, and even longer in my heart.

We became foster parents and have fostered 8 children.  I know each of their birthdays and have a tiny celebration inside each time one of them rolls around, but I only get to see pictures of 3 of them.  We would’ve adopted every one of them, but that’s not exactly the way the system works, so they all ended up somewhere else.  Not with me physically, but with me in every other way.

In 2015, we finally got our girl! 🙂  We didn’t adopt her, but we do have custody of her, so I claim her every chance I get.  She was 16 when she came to live with us, and we had known her since birth, so it wasn’t as hard as if we had taken someone from foster care whom we’d never met.  Not that this isn’t still one of our goals, but I know it’ll be different from what this is.

In 2015, I got pregnant again.  This time I didn’t even know it.  My body, at least the reproductive parts of it, had been messed up for so long at this point that I just thought maybe I was going through menapause early.  I had just turned 38, so maybe I was just early.  I didn’t take a pregnancy test because I didn’t think I was pregnant, and after so many years of taking test after test, month after month and really feeling like I was pregnant, and test after test, month after month seeing a negative test wasn’t something I wanted to repeat again.  So, I just didn’t do it.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, the baby died.  No one knows why, and no one even knows exactly when.  On November 28, 2015, I started to bleed.  I was in a store (near the hospital, thankfully) and blood just started running down my legs.  I knew something was wrong, but there was no pain.  My first thought was miscarriage, but I didn’t think that could be true because I didn’t think it was possible for me to even be pregnant.

The baby died months before my body decided it needed to get it out.  The doctor thinks that the baby was dead for two months before my body let me know.  It’s rare, but it does happen that the body just hangs on.  I have the ultrasound picture of my third baby, but that’s it.  Not with me physically again… and not even a mental picture to go with a birth day.  I could figure out about when the baby would’ve been born (at least around the month), but I’m not sure I can handle it right now.  It’s been 6 weeks and I’ve not even begun to know how I feel about it.  On one hand, it seems like madness to miss something I didn’t even know I had.  On the other hand, I feel like I’ve missed something wonderful and magnificent by not knowing this baby.  There are a million what-ifs, but none of them really matter.  Nothing brings that baby back, and nothing gives me more than an ultrasound photo.  We just keep walking forward… that’s what this is about… my journey forward!

and still I say….
Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

 

Who Am I?? – Wife

How I met my man…

** Warning… this may not be suitable for all ages!!  Preview it before letting children read it… though I’m not sure why a child would want to read about my being a wife! 🙂

 

I met my husband at a bible study.  That’s probably some kind of Christian cliché, but it’s still true.  The only catch in our story was that I was at the bible study with my boyfriend.  Uh oh!  I was dating someone who, while a pretty nice guy, wasn’t going to be my forever, and we both knew it.  Up to this point, I’ve had rather bad luck with guys.  In my mind, and maybe the truth was that I wouldn’t have sex with them so they broke up with me.  That might not be the real reason, but I had dated four or five guys over the last two years, including one I thought I would marry until he called to tell me that he had… yeah… with someone and they were “dating”.  Okay… so anyway, that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.  So I’m dating this guy and we go to bible study.  He knows that I think bald guys are hot (not old men! 😉  Just young, bald guys!!  He also thinks it’s funny to randomly walk up to bald guys and tell them that I “like” bald guys (with goatees)… I have a type… I’m not apologizing for this.  Anyway, he thought it would be funny to introduce me to this new guy at bible study who was bald with a goatee.  I was embarrassed, of course, but couldn’t really stop looking at him that night, and certainly couldn’t stop thinking about him.  I talked to him a little that night, but I had a boyfriend, so I did my best to just stop thinking about him.

Halloween, the boyfriend had already broken up with me, again for another girl who I assume… you know… so I was with my cousin for the annual Trunk or Treat.  We would all dress up and go around to houses collecting canned goods to be given to a local food pantry.  My cousin and I show up dressed as matching M&M’s… one plain, one peanut… we were (and still are) awesome!  Guess who else was there… in all of his bald glory… dressed as… Stone Cold Steve Austin… a wrestler… I was not a fan of the costume, but the head and the goatee were still as fabulous as ever, so I was determined to talk to him more that night.

My cousin and I lived in a trailer near the university, and we always had people over for movies or just to hang out.  So I invited him.  He said yes, but later admitted that he mostly said yes because he thought my other roommate was “cute”… whatever… we will ignore this from this point forward!!

We talked on the phone a few times before the movie at my house… we watched the movie together, I walked him out to his car (he was the last one to leave), and he kissed me.  It was adorable and sweet and mostly just awesome!!  He even told me he was going to kiss me before he did.  I’m sure I was super breazy as I told him bye and he left.  I then did a huge girl freakout and ran back in the house running from room to room letting everyone know that he had kissed me!! There was much screaming happening… Hey… I was 20… 🙂

He took me to meet his parents for our second date… Talk about pressure!! He proposed to me on Easter Sunday morning… We were married on July 10, 1999.  From Halloween to marriage was 8 months and 1 week.  It’ll be 17 years this summer, and we are still riding this roller coaster… I’ll post more about our marriage and some of our dates as I go along, but this is the story of us… our beginning!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Who am I?? – Christian

The beginning of my journey…

Maybe this won’t be a long post.  This area of my life is certainly long, but hopefully it won’t take me very long to tell about it.  (Keep your fingers crossed!)

As a child (and even a baby, but I don’t remember that part), I attended the local southern baptist church in my hometown. (Really, the only choice was baptist or methodist, and after I got older there was a catholic church in the area and a non-denominational one started, but my parents and their parents before them attended this church, so there was really no choice!)  It’s a great church, and my parents still attend.  I went every Sunday morning and most Sunday evenings (until Youth Group, and then it was every Sunday evening… because they fed us! )  We didn’t do very many Wednesday night services, but sometimes we did.  When I was 8 years old, I did the whole go-down-front-and-tell-the-preacher-that-you-want-to-be-saved thing, and I felt better.  I had been worried that I wouldn’t get to “live forever” like the preacher said people who were saved got to do.  I was worried that my parents would live forever and I’d die and we wouldn’t be together anymore.  I was worried that I might even go to hell, and that place seemed awful.  So let’s just say I went to the preacher because… well… I was worried.

Fast forward to when I was 13… We were having a revival… a hell-fire and brimstone revival.  13 is a pretty… umm… volatile age, we’ll say.  Probably not the best time to make a life decision… or maybe it is.  Who knows?  Anyway, the revival preacher said these words “If you aren’t 100% sure that you’re saved, then you are 100% lost!”  I sat in that seat for 3 nights in a row wondering if I was 100% saved… then… on night four he said the words that sealed the deal for me.  “If you are only 99% sure, then you are 100% lost!”  Okay… so it was a weird math lesson, and I can see his point now, however, all I knew at 13 was that I wasn’t 100% sure.  So down to the front I went again.  I told him that maybe the first time didn’t take… or that I was just too young and didn’t really know what I was doing.  But I was sure this time! 100%!  I even talked them into baptizing me again.  I’m really not sure whose idea that was, but in any case, I was baptize again at age 13.

Now… I’m an 18 yr old freshman at college.  I had a full-ride academic scholarship to a state university, my plan to major in psychology firmly rooted in my mind, and completely naive about the way the world worked outside of my hometown.  I had applied and gotten accepted into the Honor’s program at the school, and I was excited that I wouldn’t have the take the regular old Comp classes because my honor’s class would take the place of that.  Until the first day of class.  The professor (a lutheran minister) began the year with an overview of philosophy.  To say that I knew nothing about philosophy would’ve been an understatement.  He began with existentialism, and by the second day of class I was so depressed that I didn’t know what to do.  He taught these philosophies as though they were completely correct.  As if he WANTED us to believe them.  So one week we were existentialist and the very next week we were onto something else.  I completely had my mind blown.  That’s not even an accurate description of what happened, but I was altered… and back to doubting.  During this same time period (the beginning of my freshman year), my mother was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma.  It’s basically a non-cancerous brain tumor.  Also, I was away from home (nearly 3 hours away) for the first time, and NOT playing sports, so I was gaining weight just as fast as I could.  The first time in my life I had to do some real soul-searching.

I’m not sure how to shorten this other than to say… I eventually came home to visit my parents (after brain surgery), and I really talked to them about the doubts I was having and the craziness that was my brain.  I wasn’t telling them everything, of course, but most of it.  I never went crazy, or did illegal things (I guess I did drink alcohol before I was 21), but thankfully that didn’t lead to anything or cause any issues.  So throughout that year, I withdrew from everything.  I stopped going to classes because they were early in the morning and I didn’t like them.  I ironically, passed both semesters of the Honor’s class, and college algebra (I love math!), but the science stuff (I hate!) and psychology went away quietly.  I came home that summer and my parents helped me a lot with the doubting.  I still wasn’t really doing the “christian” things… like reading my bible, or probably even praying.  But I still felt like I was searching for the truth.  I was disheartened because most of the people I knew (except my parents) claimed to be Christians, but didn’t really live their lives with the same values they shared at church.

I transferred to the state university near my home and moved back in with my parents.  I lost my scholarship and had to get a student loan.  I had to get a job (the third job I’d ever had).  I had a couple of hours in between classes for that semester, and I used to go to my car and just sleep.  I’ve never been big about sleeping at night.  I’d rather my 8 hours of sleep come from 2am-10am, but the world doesn’t agree with me, so I would go to my morning class (with a honey-bun and a dr pepper) then to the car for a nap before lunch and then my afternoon classes.  One day someone in my class asked if I wanted to go to the MBSF for lunch because they were grilling burgers.  I thought about the crappy sandwich that I was going to have and said yes.  We walked over after class to hang out before lunch and I met Rob.  He was, and still is as of 2016, the director of the MBSF (Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship) on campus.  I didn’t know it at the time, but this man (and his wife and kids) would restore my faith…. in just about everything.  When I think back on this period of how lost inside my own mind I was and how depressed I was without even knowing it.  I can’t help but cry and be so thankful for Rob and the countless number of lives he has touched.  I ate lunch there that day, and nearly everyday after that.  By my junior year (still with no career goals in mind, but a did have a major!), I was the president of the MBSF and there all the time.  I was in a bible study in 1998 when a hot, bald dude showed up for the study.  We were married about 8 months later, and the rest is history!

I would love for the revival preacher to come back and ask me again if I’m 100% sure that I’m “saved”.  I’d tell him yes, but I still have a TON of questions.  I plan to ask some of those here.  Knowing that there is no way they will ever be answered to my satisfaction.  And still… with all the unanswerable questions… I’d still stand up and say yes… I am a Christian!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Who Am I??

An Intro to me! #1

Who am I?

This question could be answered in a lot of different ways, but I’ll try to keep the list short for now.  Since this is a commonly used phrase in our world today, I’ll say these are the things I “identify as”:

  • Christian
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • List Maker
  • Reader
  • Listener
  • Traveler
  • Teacher
  • Blogger (Now)
  • Crocheter
  • ENFJ (MBTI)
  • Obliger (4 Tendencies)
  • Enneagram 9 or 1 or 7

That’s probably enough for now.  I’ll spend the next few posts sharing what each of these roles or “hats” means to me, and how these roles are changing somewhat in my life.

Once I learn how all of this works, I’ll figure out how to link each of these words to the post about them.  Until then… you and I both will just have to be lost!  *The ones that are linked won’t come up until those posts are done, but I learned how to link and was pretty excited about it! 🙂

Also, we will discuss my aversions to taking pictures of myself or having my picture taken, but until then, enjoy the latest pics I have of myself.  This was the day after Christmas 2015 before and after my haircut!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda