Friday, January 4, 2013

Hope for the New Year

As we reflect on 2012 and welcome 2013, I thought I'd share a few of our family's hopes for the new year.  Not resolutions, hopes.  I think there's a difference.  And while some of these will take discipline on our parts like resolutions do, most are things that are out of our control and require, well, hope.  So here's our some of our hopes for 2013:

1. This probably goes without saying, but our number one hope for the year is to have another baby in this house by the end of the year.  We have had quite an eventful end of our year in the adoption realm of our life, but we aren't quite ready to share details yet.  We hope to be able to share the specifics soon.  These last two years have been such a journey of faith and we have clearly seen our Good Shepherd walking ahead of us each step of the way.

2. To build up our savings again.  Our savings has been wiped out several times in the last few years and it seems that every time we build it up, we have a major expense (sewer lines, beads in noses, etc).  Of course, as soon as we build it up again, we're likely to have need to spend it all again, but it would be really nice to be able to, you know, have the money to spend when something else breaks/gets lodged in our daughter's nose.

3. To be intentional with our time and not commit out of obligation.  In the last half of 2012, we watched as several of our commitments were cancelled - most without our control or consent.  A friend said to me that she thought God might be "clearing our plate" and I came to agree with her as one thing after another slid off our plate of time commitments.  I struggle with finding the balance between being involved (read: not being lonely) and being introverted (read: remaining sane in my own skin) and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to rebuild our calendar of commitments from scratch.  I want to be intentional in those choices.

4. To increase our ability to give generously.  Number 2 and 3 directly relate to this one.  The thing I hate the most about being stretched thin financially and calendarily (I made that word up) is that I end up having to be stingy.  I hate being stingy.  I want to be generous.  I want to be able to bless people the way we have been so blessed these last two years as we have raised money for our adoptions.  I want to treat friends to dinner, to support the causes dear to them, to babysit their kids, to take Kirby to movies, to visit my Grandma more often, but I haven't had the time or resources to do those things this year.  I hope that if I keep the end goal in mind, I'll be able to pull off 2 and 3 more easily.

5. To be able to sell our house and move into a larger house.  When we decided to adopt from China in addition to Ethiopia, we also were deciding that we would for sure have at least three children.  As much as I love our little house and our neighborhood, the lack of basement makes it hard to imagine expanding much beyond one more kid.  We have three bedrooms so we could totally make it work, but this just doesn't feel like our "forever" house.  I dream of having a basement, a garage I actually get to park in, a kid-friendly family room, and a house that can host friends and family comfortably.  We'd love to have a space to have someone live with us again (we loved our summer roommates when I was pregnant with Lila) and to be able to use our house to bless others.  I kind of doubt we'll be able to pull off an adoption AND a move in a single year, but we hope to at least say goodnight to 2013 closer to being able to sell our sweet house.  (When that day does come, I will cry like a baby, I will.  I love this house.)

6. To protect our marriage.  Though this past year has been hard in nearly every way - with the death of a friend, walking with several friends through miscarriages and health concerns for their kids, watching things we invested a lot of time and tears into fall apart (see number 3), trying to get pregnant for 8 months, fretting over the wait time for our Ethiopian adoption, being stretched financially (see number 2), etc - both the Husband and I would say that our marriage has been miraculously steady, comfortable, and - dare I say it - easy.  When I use the word miraculously I mean it.  Only by the grace of God and a lot of hard work in the years prior are we able to have endured what we did and still be on the same team.  When we met with our social worker for our China home study, she asked about our marriage and we both said how grateful we have been to have had the other walking this road with us.  We have made some big decisions in the last 12 months and each one has come with a lot of discussion, prayer, processing and research and each one has been unanimously decided.  The fact that we have been on the same page - with no convincing, pleading, manipulating or misleading - is worth celebrating.  We hope to continue to be open with one another, to value each other's opinion, to trust the other to hear from the Lord, to be supportive and encouraging, and to just enjoy one another.  We pray protection over our marriage and ask the Lord to use it for His glory.

7. To train and love Lila well.  There's the adage, "Treat your child as if you won't have them tomorrow and train your child as if they won't have you tomorrow."  After being sick for so long, both she and I were lacking coping skills earlier this week.  I had my worst mommy day yet and she was no picnic either.  After a horrible morning, she woke up from her nap and said, "Mommy, I'm sorry you were a grump."  Why was I a grump? I asked her. "Because you put me in time out a lot." No, I did not put you in time out because I was a grump.  I put you in time out because YOU EARNED IT!"  *Sigh* The rest of the day proceeded about like that and I resolved to be proactive with my parenting strategies.  The things that worked when our biggest problems were impulse control issues are no longer working now that she's learning to use words and behaviors in direct disobedience and disrespect.  This year, if it brings with it all we hope and imagine, will be one of big transitions for our girl that may make her feel insecure or out of control.  I want to fill my parenting tool box with strategies so that I don't come up empty when she, oh, I don't know, spits on the floor when she's mad at me. Ugh. So gross.  I love that girl, but she knows how to push my buttons.
My mom took Lila and me out to lunch the other day after our very hard day.  They were putting stickers on their noses.  I don't know why they were doing that, but they looked cute.

8. To keep my house clean.  I have a life-long battle with clutter.  And really, this is of little importance to me in the grand scheme of things, but it is something that periodically drives me up the wall so number 8 it is!

9. This is so cliche, but here it is: to exercise more and eat healthier.  I heard adoptive parents talk about the "baby weight" they gained when they were adopting and I thought they were just making excuses for themselves.  Well, maybe we are, but I'm here to tell you that I cope with stress by upping my Dr. Pepper consumption and this year has been stressful.  And I've been feeling a little sorry for myself because every time I've gotten into a good groove in the exercise department the last few months, I've gotten sick or Lila's gotten sick or we've both gotten sick and my groove has been thwarted.  But I want  to be healthy and I'm sick of Lila asking if there's a baby in my belly.  "No.  It's just fat." Nothing like a three-year-old's innocent question to motivate you to exercise.

10. To bring a baby home.  Oh, wait...did I already say that one?  Well I really want a baby.

2013! The year of HOPE.


brit said...

what beautiful "hopes!" many of these I want to echo in my own life. I will be praying and hoping and BELIEVING for that baby in 2013!

Katy said...

Love the new cover pic of Lila. I am praying for your new baby in 2013 also! Miss you!

Sarah B said...

I LOVED this post and your recap of 2012. You and your family are beautiful and so inspiring to me. I'm forever grateful that God crossed our paths. Here is to a hopeful 2013 and lots of God-sized moments ahead! Praying for you all!