We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Maybe I'll write.....

I've been kind of in a rough spot lately...you all know the story....times are changing for me, and I'm just having a hard time adjusting.  It's a huge adjustment.  I'm trying to make the best of it, but first I really need to get my head around the whole idea.  I need to change my way of thinking and accept and move on.  I've been focusing on this change that is needed in me for awhile.

I went out shopping with my mom this week.  She came and took me to an eye appointment, and since I needed some time away, I went back with her for a couple of days and we did some shopping - just her and me.  We had fun - we enjoyed some coffee together, scoured the racks for deals, took some time out for lunch and had plenty of time to talk.  My grandmother passed away last week, and that has brought about a lot of discussion around family.  I got in contact with one of my cousins that I have not been in contact with since he was very young - he is now 27... so we were talking about things like that, and enjoying our shopping time together.

As we were shopping, there were times when I started to think.... I HATE when that happens lately.  It's not good.  Thinking about my situation changes nothing, and thinking about it, is scary.  Anyway, there were times when it came to mind.  

I'm scared.

I cover it up well, most of the time, but truth be told, I'm scared.  It you know me well enough, you will see it in me.  There were things that happened while I was spending time with my mom that just kept slapping me in the face - almost forcing me to think.  For example, when we were in the Dr. office for my eye appointment, I was called back for my exam and the lady who called me back did not wait on me - she called me back and started walking.  I saw her up ahead of me and she had gone up some stairs... the problem was, I didn't know how many stairs and where they were.  I actually had to ask her where the steps were.  My mom didn't want to come back, because she didn't want me to feel like she was minding my business.  Well, when I had to change rooms because an instrument was not working, I asked her to please go out and get my mom, that I got around better with her back there with me.  

I did the color test - you know, the one where there are circles that have colored tiles in them that make a number and if you have color vision, you can see the number.  Well, the doctor showed me about 12 different circles - I got ONE right.  I guessed on some of them, and he kind of just chuckled, some I just couldn't even make a guess.  At one point I said - 93, and he just kind of moved on.  I said "Was it 93?"  He looked at me kind of crazy and said "No, it wasn't 93".  How stupid did I feel then.... I actually thought I saw something that looked something like 93.  Oh well - I got ONE right :)

While we were shopping, I decided to pick out a couple of shirts for Tim if I found a good deal.  I found one shirt where I liked the pattern, but didn't think Tim would like the color, because it was pink.  I showed it to my mom and she said it was a nice shirt.  I said yes, but I don't think Tim will like the color.  My mom asked me why not... I told her because Tim is really not a "pink" person.  My mom just said - well then, the shirt will be fine because it's orange....

As we navigated the stores, I find it increasingly difficult to maneuver through the aisles and feel confident.  I always feel like I am too close to something and I'm going to run into it, or I'll run into a person.  There were several times when I was in an aisle looking at things and someone was waiting on me to look in the area that I was, and I just stood there, taking my time, seeming so rude.  But, I didn't see them waiting.  Then I finally see them, panic, and apologize like 100 times and then get out of the way.  I swear, shopping is no longer relaxing for me.  

And, I don't know if this is actually the case or not, but it seems as though they pack the stores full of more stuff than they used to when I was a kid.  The aisles are smaller and the own store's shopping carts won't fit through their aisles.  Especially in clothing stores - where there aren't really aisles to begin with.  It KILLS me.  They put the racks right on top of each other and you couldn't get a cart through it you wanted to.

So, as we were walking out of one store after a near panic attack on my part, I asked my mom, through somewhat misty eyes - What am I going to do when this gets worse???  I asked without expecting an answer, because who can really give me one?  But I asked anyway, because I'm scared.  I don't talk one on one with many people about my eye condition and how it makes me feel - because I'm not the kind of person who will let it define me - let it stop me from doing something.  And if it does, I certainly don't want to share it with people.  And, I really don't like for people to see me cry... and this has brought me to tears lately - because really... I'm scared.

What AM I going to do?  I mean, it's getting worse.  I told that to my mom and she said "I know, I can see that".  Seriously?  That's pretty bad.  What I wanted her to say is... I think you are just under stress, I don't think it's actually gotten worse.  But she can't say that, because she can see the differences.  She can see me hesitate when the texture of floor surfaces change, because I don't know if it's just a change in a pattern, or if there is a step associated with it.  I trip on curbs, I run into the little parking markers, I bump into my mom while we are shopping, I call things the wrong color, I have to pick a table by a window when we go to lunch so I can see, we PICK a restaurant based on the lighting (seriously, not the food, but the lighting).  And, it's only getting worse.... the list goes on and on.  I can't see sizes on clothing - sometimes even with reading glasses I can't see them....sometimes, I'll be walking along, look at something and then be paralyzed, not wanting to continue walking because I've lost track of where I am, because I was stupid enough not to concentrate on what was right in front of me, looked at something else, and now can't determine where I need to go.  My field of vision is SO small, I don't see the whole picture - it's extremely difficult.

Having my dog will help - but it's not going to fix everything.  It's not going to change some things.  It will give me some confidence back, but other things, it won't change.

We were talking about kids and parenting, and I asked her what my kids will think of me and my abilities.  Cameron will remember a time when I worked.  He understands what my profession was and why I had to stop.  Anna knows, but not as much.  Sara... she will never know what her mom did - she will only ever know me as the way I am now.  Not that the way I am now is bad - it just doesn't feel like "me" right now.  She will never know that at one time, I made a different - more than just within the walls of our home.  I did something that changed lives.  It's not that changing lives at home is bad, or insignificant, but I DID do something else, and I was proud of what I had accomplished and what I was doing to help others.  She won't know about that.  It will just be something that I tell her about.

My mom has always said that if I end up having to leave my job, that I need to find something that I can do that will allow me to contribute.  I'm not sure what that is.  Many people have told me that I need to write.  I love to write.  I always have, even since I was a kid.  I pulled out my senior year book the other day and one of my close friends said that she hoped that I would always continue to write.  I haven't done that.  Several of my friends here in SC, when they found out that I was going out of work for a bit, said that it would give me the time I needed to start writing.  Then, yesterday, as we were out shopping, my mom said it.  I don't think that my mom has ever mentioned anything about writing to me.  I found it strange that she would say that.  It hit me somehow though.  I guess because I heard it all along, but now I was hearing it from my mom.  Tim has said it as well.  Maybe I will.  But what do I write about?

I don't write stories... when I write the best is when I'm emotionally attached to something.  I think things through and I share my thoughts.  I explain things, the way I see things, it's emotional, it's colorful (funny that it's colorful, seeing as how I can no longer see color :)  I relate complicated things to life.... real life.  I've always said that I have a story to tell... maybe it's time to tell that story.  It's about life, love, rejection, adoption, salvation, success, defeat and everything in between.  It's just my story.  It probably wouldn't interest anyone but my family - but it would tell my story to my family.  I think it would eventually offer hope to someone in a similar situation as mine - because let me tell you, in the beginning, the doctors give you no hope.  And if you are hit with it unexpectedly, like I was, and don't know anyone who has been successful despite this condition - you really feel hopeless.  I've ignored Dr's recommendations (not on medical care, but on planning for my future) and have achieved great things, when they have set their mind on minor things for me to achieve.  Someone, some day, may need to hear my story..... to give them hope of what can be achieved, even with certain circumstances.

Maybe I'll write.... 

In Christ,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One answered prayer....

Received a call from admissions at Leader Dog this evening and they approved my application to receive another dog!  Thank goodness!  I have prayed about this as it is becoming more and more of a necessity.

No dog wil replace my Pearl, but I'm so thankful for the opportunity to get another Leader Dog.  

It's looking like January or February to go up to Michigan for the training.  Nothing like training in the Michigan winter weather - but very worth it for the opportunity to get another dog!  They have also agreed that I will be able to have a shortened training period - which will mean less time away from my family!  Very happy about that as well!

Sure do miss my Pearl!

In Christ,

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's my blog, I can whine if I want to...

Ok, so I've been kind of reserved here on my blog, not sharing a whole lot of what is going on in my life....I'm not sure why.  I don't know who I think might read this, and no matter who they are, what do I have to hide anyway?  NOTHING.  So, it's MY blog, I can WHINE if I want to (whine if I want to, whine if I want to - you would whine too if it happened to you... :)

So, today I was making dinner and unloading the dishwasher and keeping an eye on Sara when I realized something.....I'll likely never, ever, the rest of my life, get a raise.  It's looking as though I will be out on short term disability, and will then transition over to long term disability.  Unless a miracle happens, or there are some accommodations that will allow me to see detailed work / documents, something that will restore my color vision, remove the blind spots that I have in my central vision (and if you know about any of those - please feel free to let me know...), it's unlikely that I will be returning to work.

My mom (I know you read this mom) probably just had a heart attack because I actually said that on a blog.  It's ok mom - breathe deeply - it'll be fine.  My mom just wants to protect me.  I know that.  I want the same thing - but I want to be able to express my feelings as well.  

So, as I was beginning to feel sorry for myself, one thought led to another... I went from - I'm never going to get a raise again, to I'll never move into another position, to I'll never have another performance review, I'll never see my friends at work again, I'll never go through another audit (oh wait... I think that should be on the pro side, not the con side :).  Truthfully, I loved my job.  I really enjoyed the people I worked with (most of them anyway :)  I was doing something good.  I was helping people - indirectly, but still, I was helping them!  We made life-saving drugs....I was part of that.  

I started trying to convince myself that if I'm no longer part of the working force, that I'm still contributing to society.  I'm still valuable to our family.  My kids will still think I'm something.  When someone asks where do your parents work - what will they say? - well, Tim works at Roche; but my mom... she doesn't do anything.  She doesn't work.  Or will they say, she USED to work at Roche - maybe implying to some that I got fired?  Or will they say that their mom is a "stay at home mom"?  

No offense to any mom who is a stay at home mom.  We all make the choices that are best for our family when we decide to have a family.  The problem for me is that I won't be a stay at home mom by CHOICE... I'll be a stay at home mom by necessity.  The decision will have been made for me.  

I think what bothers me the most is that someone else is doing MY job.  You feel so "un-needed".  I always said that no one is irreplaceable - including myself - unfortunately it still stings when that truth becomes a reality.

There was a time in my life when I was SO thankful that I was NOT a stay at home mom.  When Cameron was born, I had a BS degree in Chemistry and was very proud of that fact.  Shortly after Cameron was born, his dad and I separated.  From that point, until the time Cameron was seven, I supported him, and eventually Anna on my own.  Tim came into the picture when Cameron was 6 1/2. and Anna was 2 1/2.  I would not have been able to raise my son on my own, add Anna to our family and support her as well, if I had decided in the beginning to forego my education and be a stay at home mom.  Or if I had gotten out of the workforce to be a stay at home mom... it's difficult to get back into it after being out for some time.  Especially in my field.  Things change quickly and you need to be involved in the changes, and change with them, in order to really make things work.  

When Tim came into the picture, I went through a period where I thought... I wish I could be a stay at home mom.  I could do this, do that, be there with the kids - but we would have to sacrifice some things.  The kids might not be able to go to private school, money would be tight.  In all honesty, at that point in time, it wouldn't work, but it was a decision WE could make.  No one could make it for us.  

Here we are now - almost five years later.  Now, God made the call for me.  You know how many times I have prayed for God to heal my eyes?  Somewhere at or near a million times.  Lord, PLEASE just let me wake up and by some miracle, let me see again.  Please!  Let me continue to do my job.  Let me continue to contribute.  God had other plans....It never happened.  In fact, just the opposite.  Lately things have just gotten increasingly worse.  

One day I was out shopping with my mom - we were looking for a birthday gift for Anna.  As I wrote in my last post, Anna is suddenly into pink.  She went from hating it to loving it.  So I saw this pink stripped shirt.  It was adorable.  It had a little hood on it - it was kinda like a "hoodie" but it was not a sweatshirt.  Anyway, I told my mom - look at this cute pink shirt - Anna would LOVE it.  My mom looked at me kind of strange, realized what was going on, and just gently said to me - it's not pink, it's lemon yellow.  Oh...  Well, it would have looked good on Anna to me :)  (just a side note, Anna looks TERRIBLE in yellow - probably because of her skin tone, but it's the one color that does not look good on her - and here I was trying to put it on her!!!).  

I lose things - if I put something down, it could take me forever to find it.  I'm good about doing that with my reading glasses.  I set them down all over the house, and they could be right in front of me, but I won't see them.  

I can't see anything even if it is a little bit dim - restaurants are difficult - that ambiance you all love....it makes my dinner experience HORRIBLE!!!  We find the most light possible in a restaurant!

I trip on curbs, I miss steps, I run into people..... ugghhh!

I came home from a dinner with friends the other night, and Tim had not left the exterior house lights on (I'm not blaming him, it's really my fault - he just usually remembers for me).  I couldn't find the sidewalk... thankfully the ladies that I was with, understood the fact that I could not see, and got me to the sidewalk, where I needed to be (this is the point where I really need my dog back - Pearl would have gotten me where I needed to go, without hesitation).  I miss my Pearl.  I hope I can get another dog soon.

It's all just changing so quickly!

Why am I so tied to this THING called my job????   There are so many more important things in my life!!!!

I've been thinking a lot about my dad lately.  So much in my life has changed since he passed away.  Cameron grew up - by 11 years!   I moved to South Carolina.  I added Anna to my family. I met and married Tim.  My career grew.  We added Sara to our family.  I wonder if he would be proud.  I wish I could just talk to him for a day and ask him.  Sometimes I think I worked so hard in my job, because I wanted to impress him.  I wanted him to think I was doing well.  I wanted him to be proud of me.  We were so much alike.  My older sister, she seemed to have it all together from day one.  She got married, had kids, was able to stay home with them from the very beginning.  She contributed to the household first by making and selling crafts, starting her own business out of it, then starting a second business for herself.  She is athletic, her kids are doing great.  She seemed to have it all.  

I went straight from high school to college.  I started seriously working my sophomore year of college.  I got married out of college.  My job was going well.  I was diagnosed with my eye condition.  I had to quit driving.  Everyone worried about me.  I got a divorce.  People worried about me more.  My job was going great.  I moved to South Carolina for a substantial promotion.  People worried less.  I adopted Anna - so I must be doing well.  EVERYTHING that kept people from worrying about me, or what defined me as successful, had to do with my job.  At that point, besides my job - my life was a mess.  Nothing to be proud of (with the exception of my children of-course).

And now here I am.... back where I started at the beginning of this post - (I know, it's a long one) - likely never to get a promotion again.  Likely never to get a raise again.  Never be involved in the expansion of a facility.  No more business trips overseas.  No more International visitors.  No more equipment qualifications, process validation, change control meetings, phone calls in the middle of the night, Quality emergencies, critical decisions....  None of it.  I need to learn that NONE OF THIS MAKES UP ME!!!!

So, sitting there in the kitchen, feeling sorry for myself, and I looked up.  I had perched Sara up on the butcher block - she was helping me put together dinner.  But, I perched her up there because I needed her out from underfoot while I was unloading the dishwasher.  I didn't want to trip over her while I was moving around the kitchen, so I perched her up there and we chatted while I was unloading dishes.  We counted plates as I took them out.  When I saw her though, I thought... this is going to be OK.  Not only is it going to be OK - it's going to be GOOD!  This is not my choice - but just because it is not my choice, that does not make it bad.  I have a little girl who loves me who I will get to spend more time with.  I have another daughter who was playing legos quietly up in her room - who I will get to be home with every afternoon to help her with her homework.  I have a son, who was out helping wash the truck, who I will be able to spend more time with.  He is already growing up too quickly and sooner than I know it, he will be gone - out of the house - onto adventures all his own.  God has taken away my sight, my job - but has given me something sweeter.... TIME.  

Isn't it just like God to do that?  Take away what you think you can not live without, only to show you that not only will you not miss it - but you will like what HE has in store for you, so much more than what He asked you to leave behind?

So, no more raises.  No more business dinners.  No more promotions.  I've been told to trade it in for -  time with my kids!

Obviously, I'm scared.  This is something new for me and for our family.  I'm getting used to things though.  For right now, Sara continues to go to child care.  I need to keep her there because hopefully I will be going to get a dog soon, and she will need to have somewhere to go while I am gone.  Also, until this all gets fully settled, and I transition into long term disability, I need to know that she has somewhere to go.  Once things get settled though, I will keep her home with me.  It will be good for us.  I'm already enjoying being home with the kids after school.  It makes the evenings so much easier to have dinner ready and homework done before Tim comes home.  I'll teach her colors, and maybe even how to read....

It'll all be fine....so why this pit/knot in my stomach?  Probably just because it's change.  I don't prefer change.  For someone who can't see real well, change is difficult.  I know this is not a physical change, but I think that I've gotten into the routine of "no change", and that has spilled over into every aspect of my life.  Change has always been uncomfortable for me... it probably is for everyone.  I just need to move forward with it, accept it, and soon it will become the new normal, that I won't want changed.  

I just want to know WHY God.... Why would you take this from me.  My sight?  I want to see my kids graduate.  I want to see them get married.  I want to see my grandchildren.  I want to see color in real, actual color - instead of what I guess I imagine in my head (I wonder how that works - how I see pink when something is actually yellow.... that is kinda interesting.  Maybe I'll research it...).  I know things could be a lot worse - so many other things could be happening to me that could be much worse... but for right now, it's my life, it's my blog and I'm having a moment.  A moment to feel sorry for myself, ask a lot of questions that don't have answers, and share all of my fears.

My moment of pity will be over soon... I think truthfully it's more adjustment than self-pity.  Adjustment with Kleenex.  A new name for self-pity :)

And a final disclaimer - I'm looking forward to being home with my little ones.  Really I am.  I have a ton that I can do... things that I enjoy.  I just really enjoyed what I'm having to leave behind too....I worked at it for 20 years.  It's hard to say good-bye to 20 years.

Thanks for listening!

In Christ,

So much to say....

So much to say... just working on saying it the right way.  It's coming.  Lots to share....