Monthly Archives

September 2014

Mission

Help True Good and Beautiful Improve

September 22, 2014

Howdy!

This week instead of Little Happies (don’t worry we are still happy around these parts!) we kindly ask you to take a brief survey.

This will help us do a better job at gauging who’s tuning into True Good and Beautiful and what content is most intriguing and helpful to you.

I want to let you in a little secret…

We are planning to do a blog overhaul including a new design, layout, regular posting, and improved content. This survey will help us make our posts as effective and interesting as can be.

Take a minute and head on over to our survey!

Thank you all so much for keeping up with us here at TGB! 🙂

Lastly, a word from our sponsor, Wrigley, who did absolutely nothing to contribute to this blog post unless you count being cute.

thanks.jpg

Marriage

A Letter to Moms Before I Become One Too

September 19, 2014

Hello!

I wanted to write this blog post to all you bio mommas out there who follow along here at True Good and Beautiful.

Why?

First, to apologize.

Secondly, to beg you to welcome me (and all other adoptive moms) into the “inner circle.”

You might be scratching your heads…why do I need to apologize? Why do you even need to be asked to welcome me?

Let’s start with the apology part.

I’ve more or less spent the last 3 years avoiding you. Or being jealous of you. Or judging you. Or asking God to send me blessings instead of to you. Or intentionally not asking you about your pregnancy or kiddos.

Basically I’ve been a jerk.

Sure there are a few moms I was fine being around and they know who they are. But those of you who haven’t seen or talked to me in years? That was on purpose. It was my doing.

I was afraid of you since I felt like I didn’t belong to be around you. I felt lesser. Like a loser of a wife…and being around you as your children ran laps around you and your belly grew with your newest pregnancy was an unintentional slap in my face. On some level I even thought you didn’t like me or want me around since I was a broken infertile lady.

Silly, I know.

That’s why I want to say sorry. Infertility took a toll on me and many friendships. I had a few dark years where I honestly wasn’t myself (I blame the medicine clomid). I did need to grieve and to a certain extent I needed space to not be around “triggers” like pregnant bellies, little babies, and cute kiddos. I am not apologizing for that but more for the anger, jealousy, bitterness, fear, and judgement that kept me from being your friend. I definitely could have grieved and protected my fragile soul but still  been your friend at the same time.

I chose not to and that is why I am apologizing.

Secondly, why am I begging you to welcome me and other adoptive mommas?

Because even though I will absolutely, positively, definitely be a mother through adoption…I still feel like I won’t be truly accepted or something. I have nightmares about going to my first mom hangout and ONLY hearing women talking about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and how fertile they are…all the while I twiddle my thumbs on the side since I can’t contribute to the conversation.

Again. Just like the old infertile days.

I am just going to be vulnerable right here, right now.

I need you non-adoptive moms to be intentional about welcoming myself and any other adoptive mommas in your community. And to be charitable when we are around with what the topic of conversation is turning to. Some of us (me) need our confidence built up after years of infertility and being isolated from conversation is a sure way to kill confidence.

Do you need to walk on eggshells? No. Just be considerate and emotionally intelligent. Haven’t we all been part of a group of people talking only to be the odd man out? The one clueless about the topic at hand as the group dynamically engages in conversation about it? Yea. Multiply that by a thousand and you can get a glimpse at how awkward social settings can be if you’ve dealt with infertility or adoption.

What I am trying to say is engage me in conversation about mom stuff I can relate with you on…which will be MOST stuff. A neat fact for you is that I am currently undergoing lactation induction! So we can talk breastfeeding, lactation cookies, and all the things that come along with it.

I know not all adoptive moms will feel shy or nervous around seasoned bio moms but I will. I know myself. I will stupidly put myself at a disadvantage to you and so I need you to remind me just how much we share being moms….no matter how our babes came into our families. Help me get over my insecurities. Help me realize I am “one of you” too.

I do wonder if any first-time bio moms might have these same fears or feelings of inadequecy? If this isn’t simply an adoption thing, tell me!

If it is a common adoptive momma struggle…well then I need to hear from you ladies who have been there and done this! How did your bio mom friends help you the most in your time as you transitioned to being a mom? How did you get over fear?

Let me know in the comments! 🙂

 

Uncategorized

Little Happies: Musical Memories

September 15, 2014

Last week was a sad and tragic week in our family.

A beloved member was taken from this life and welcomed into the next…sooner than anyone would’ve expected. Thank you all for your prayers for Caitlin’s family and especially my cousin Jeff at this time. Please keep lifting them up in prayer since it will be a long road ahead.

On that somber note, I am jumping back into the Little Happies Monday posts.

This week, I am drawing from music that has made me happy or was tied to a season/memory in my life. These by no means are my favorite songs now so don’t judge me. 🙂

–one–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT6T-a9Dl28

Let’s travel back to 1988 when I was three years old and THIS song came on the radio.

An instant classic, I’d say.

Why at three years old was I listening to and loving a song about a romantic getaway? Who knows but it was sure fun to dance to.

–two–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgImcqpOyt8

I used to lock myself in my bedroom during middle school and BLARE this song.

Why?

Because it was in the movie Man Of The House  and I was OBSESSED with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Like, two entire bedroom walls covered in posters of JTT’s face from Teen Beat Magazine obsessed.

So, as I lay there I would think about how cool JTT was and how much I liked his long hair. (Currently I am married to another Jonathan who had long hair at one point…hmmm)

–three–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNyKDI9pn0Q

Let’s just get it out there.

I am dramatic.

OK, it’s been said.

Remember this song? After I saw Titanic three times in theaters, I had to get the soundtrack ASAP.

For weeks I had a routine of, yet again, locking myself in my bedroom with the lights out and dozens of candles lit as I would blare this song and sing into a hairbrush while looking into a mirror and bawling my eyes out as I sang….pretending to be Celine Dion or Rose Dawson depending on the day.

Those were glorious moments for a twelve year old.

–four–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZi_7t__cJk

And then NSYNC happened.

I loved ALL their songs so really there wasn’t one particular favorite.

But this song had a really cool music video that I loved so much I taped it on VHS during TRL (Total Request Live on MTV for you youngings). I watched it daily for weeks after school, thinking about how someday maybe I could meet J.C. (Weirdly enough Jonathan actually has met and talked to J.C. from NSYNC. First JTT and now J.C. Chasez? I was meant to be with this guy!)

NSYNC jams basically dominated the rest of my High School years but I won’t torture you all with more of their hits.

–five–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fFn2LZGnMM

I am not sure exactly when I heard this song but it simply reminds me of college and being in Alpha Phi. There must have been several spontaneous dance parties to this hit. It’s just so fun! 🙂

–six–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=iopkKJJr-xw

College is also when I started listening to Christian music for the first time.

I love good and well done Christian music but you have to sort through a LOT of fluff and cheesy songs.

This song was one I loved from the get go. I heard it my freshman year of college and it reminds me of a summer program I experienced with a non-denominational ministry in Jacksonville, FL for ten weeks one summer with nearly 100 other college students. That summer was INCREDIBLE and really helped me set a foundation of daily prayer in my life. I will never forget it.

–seven–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgZkm1xWPE

I hear this song and I think of Fall 2008.

It was my first year as a missionary with FOCUS – Fellowship of Catholic University Students and I was placed at University of Illinois. All the students were listening to it that Fall. It was my first time living away from Nebraska…totally on my own. I really grew up that Fall and this song just represents that time for me.

–eight–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgyJY9yndv4

Summer 2010 and The World Cup!

I was at a FOCUS New Staff Training that summer and due to the World Cup everyone had soccer fever. I played dozens of pickup soccer games. And along with about a hundred other women on staff, we learned a coordinated dance to this song. It was a blast.

It also was the summer Jonathan and I began dating 🙂

–nine–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nQy-aP_Koo

This is a song that reminds me of dating and marrying Jonathan.

We had a few rocky patches while dating and this song always spoke to me and filled me with profound peace that we would make it through…with God’s love.

Well we got engaged and on October 22, 2011 we got married and this was the song we danced to at our wedding.

–ten–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb7TSGptd3Y

Oh the waiting.

This song reminds me of two periods of my life – singleness and infertility.

I used to go on long runs and have this song play on repeat as I tried to absorb the lyrics and instill an attitude of patiently waiting within my heart and mind. Usually I just ended up crying as I ran for miles.

–eleven–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFy0hQ3lY-w

This song isn’t related to a specific season of life…rather a specific night.

We were out cruising Denver on a Friday night and we pulled up to a red stop light. There was a car on our right-hand side, windows down, blaring this song. They were jamming out to it. Hard. Their car was shaking they were dancing so hard. Jonathan rolled our windows down and began dancing and screaming along with them. They noticed and we all started hysterically laughing. We were then informed that one of the guys was getting married the next day. We cheered him on gladly. Then the light turned green and we were off.

–twelve–

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVHU_YWV3e4

This song was one that Caitlin loved.

It was played at her Celebration of Life service.

I will always think of her when I hear it for the rest of my life. It’s really a peaceful song and it makes me want to tell her “Yes. We love you…and you will always be beautiful.”

May the light and life of Christ shine within you, dear Caitlin, making you radiantly beautiful and more alive than ever. We love you!

Well that’s a Little Happy wrap!

What songs remind you all of certain memories or seasons in your life? Let me know in the comments!

 

Uncategorized

Prayers For Our Family

September 7, 2014

No Little Happies today.

I actually won’t be blogging this week.

Our family lost a beloved member this weekend.

My cousin’s wife, of eleven weeks, passed away suddenly Sunday morning. They’d been together for several years, so she was totally part of the family. She was only barely twenty-four years old.

You may remember me write about their wedding in this Little Happies post. It was such a great day filled with so much love.

Needless to say many family members are grieving the loss of the such a wonderful and beautiful person. I invite those who stumble across this post to pray with and for our family. Most especially my cousin, who undoubtedly is feeling this loss more than anyone else. Pray for eternal rest and happiness for her soul. And for peace and comfort to envelop all family members.

Thank you!

Adoption

Adoptive Family Public Service Announcement

September 5, 2014

Hi there!

This is a Public Service Announcement on how to talk to us about our adoption.

(FYI – This is meant to be funny)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeT3c9TmxLE

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Money, Our Debt-Free Story

Our Debt-Free Story: Part 3 – WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!

September 2, 2014

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series. Be sure to read about Our “We’ve Had It!” Moment and Our Secret Weapon.

We left off in part two when we were knee-deep in debt but with gazelle intensity and a laser focus to pay it all off ASAP. We even shocked ourselves and beat our “debt-free date” by nearly five months!!

How did we do that?

Let me tell you…

So there we were, Spring 2012, with between $15,000-$18,000 of student loan debt left to go when we got the tax return funds and threw it towards the loan. The numbers fell significantly that month and momentum started rolling like crazy.

At this point, we sort of snapped and went scorched earth. We also found out we would likely be moving in two months time, so we started thinking about all the things we could purge from our household and turn into quick cash to pay towards our loans.

Sometime in April, I gathered up items from our house in the living room and began listing them on Craigslist left and right.

Bicycles. Nintendo. Lamps. Throw pillows. An HDTV Television. A desk we dug out of a dumpster. A chair we got for free.

If it wasn’t nailed down, it was on the “discuss to sell” list. In a two week window, we had people at our town house nightly, one after another, purchasing items from our living room garage sale. 🙂

We ended up with a couple thousand dollars from our sales…but still had to live in the place for a few weeks before moving. Yup, it was rather uncomfortable sleeping on a blow up mattress, having no lamps, furniture, or Nintendo to play with. But we were brimming with happiness and joy at seeing more progress on the student loans. It became like a game to sacrifice more and more so we could see the debt fall quicker…so we happily played board games under a light bulb on a string in the closet.

With this continued surge of momentum, we saw the debt fall below the $10,000 mark in early May 2012!!

To keep the gazelle-like intensity up, we decided to sell my car and drop down to a one car family. It sounds harder than it was, since we actually work together. The times we actually needed two cars was far and few between. This got us some extra cash to throw at the debt and lowered our car insurance bills and gas costs.

To top it all off, we had unusual circumstances that summer. We moved out of our apartment in May but didn’t find a place in Denver to live straight away so we put all our belongings in a storage unit. We traveled that summer working on our fundraising and staying with family. Upon moving to Colorado, a family invited us to stay with them while we searched for housing. With those circumstances, we didn’t have any rent and minimal food expenses from June through August, which was a MASSIVE help in our debt snowball.

In late July, we saw the numbers really plummeting and we were just ITCHING to get it all paid off the next month. We received a few special donations in larger lump sums which gave us the extra cash flow to pay the loans off earlier than we ever anticipated. We kept living on a bare bones budget and scraping money our of thin air, hoping we could have an August debt-free date.

On August 15, 2012 we had finally scrounged up enough to sink our last loan and become 100% debt-free!!!!

Wahoooo!! 🙂

To celebrate, we made doughnuts and started forming a plan for the next baby step, the fully-funded emergency fund! A few months later, we traveled to Nashville and did our Debt-Free Scream on the Dave Ramsey Show. Someday we will tell our “post-debt-free story” and the unique challanges and freedoms that come with each baby step.

Until then, here’s wishing financial peace for everyone reading this! You can enter our Financial Peace University Giveaway to jump start your journey!