My List

There was a point in 2015 when this journey was just beginning that my life coach had tasked me with writing down what I thought a healthy marriage looked like; what I wanted in a relationship/marriage.  I gave this assignment careful thought and attention.  Once I came up with the list we reviewed it in session and the next step was to communicate that to my husband, at the time.  We were just a few months into our separation and we were both vacillating back and forth.  I was hopeful that this would start the conversation for us to determine what direction we were going.  I carefully wrote a loving email, one which wasn’t accusatory but factual and included my list of what I wanted in a marriage.

He responded, then I responded and then we sent a couple more emails back and forth.  Reading those today I still feel the same as I did when I received them – like I was in the twilight zone.  Was he even reading the same email that I sent?????  His answers weren’t even relevant to the email that he was responding to – it was bizarre.

Now almost 4 years into my singleness I still have MY LIST.  The list has always been a guideline for me, a beacon so to speak, to keep me focused on what it is I really wanted in a relationship.  And I have had moments in my life where I started to lose sight of these things I so painstakingly thought through and wrote down and so desperately wanted.

Before we go any further in this post, let me share the list.

Healthy marriage/relationship looks like having:

Someone that is committed to being faithful through the good times and bad times. Someone that I can trust no matter what.

Someone that makes me feel good about myself. Who’s Eye does not wander and look at other girls in my presence and flirt with them.

That I am allowed to have friendships and do girl things with my friends.

To be with someone that believes marriage is a partnership and that will help with the kids and our obligations with the kids

To be with someone who enjoys supporting me or even joining me in activities I’m passionate about, like athletic activities such as running, triathlons, biking, adoption mission trips, whatever the case may be I want someone there to cheer me on.

To have someone to enjoy my life with. Which includes adult activities, ( having adult things to look forward to) going out with friends, trips etc.  as well as having someone that will be present and enjoy attending my children’s events and activities.

To have someone that wants to come home and enjoy the simple things in life. Watching a TV show doing homework cooking supper.

To be with someone who can enjoy drinking socially.

Being with someone who is open to meeting new friends and nurturing friendships existing.

Being with someone who is respectful of me and does not call me names

Being with someone who cares about being with us and he puts us in front of other people. Makes me and my family priority

Living without being under constant suspicion that I’m doing something wrong.

Someone that is genuinely interested in me and how my day went and can discuss the things that are important to me

Being with someone who takes care of themselves and their body. Proactively seeks to remedy conditions that ails them

Being with someone that has compassion for me. Allowing me to be sick, etc

Being with someone who supports my faith, is by my side at church and who has a personal relationship with God

Being with someone who can say they are sorry for doing wrong and truly mean it

I have had some heart to heart conversations with GOD about this list and if there was a man that checked all these boxes out there for me.  And if there was could he just hurry and reveal him.  But again you learn at times like these that “It’s in the waiting”.  God tells us in John 13:7 “You may not understand NOW what I am doing but SOMEDAY you will.

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My SOMEDAY has arrived….. and so has the man that checks all of those boxes on MY LIST and so many more.

A list penned years before….. my heart’s desire spelled out and known by an all-knowing GOD, a lesson in patience, obedience, forgiveness, humility and trust.  A journey of tears, laughter, friendship, and healing that ends (really begins) with happiness.

 

 

 

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One last trip for 2018

My travel is complete for 2018.  What a year!  I have had so many fun adventures and got to see places and things some will only see in pictures.  I am certainly a blessed girl.  My travel adventures were rounded out with a Cruise up the East Coast with one of my best girlfriends of 20+ years.  What I thought would just be an OK trip turned out to be a fabulous one!  I joked when we arrived that I was definitely on the wrong cruise ship – as they made announcements to ensure that all medication were kept with you as you board and where you could find the wheelchairs.  I was definitely the youngest by 20 years or so – lol.

In the moment of experiencing new things, I always like to think deeply and take it all in and hopefully take away something from the experience.  Here is what I came away with:

– I applaud all of those older folks that took that cruise.  They did not let anything stop them from traveling and seeing some amazing things – illness, physical limitations, etc.  They rocked on…. with wheelchair, scooters, oxygen tanks, canes, etc.

– I was patient with all those sweet old people (which is not my strong suit) because one day that will be me and my tribe – in a wheelchair or stretcher for that matter – traveling and seeing the sights – letting nothing STOP us!

– I saw and met some beautiful couples that had MANY years together and saw that LOVE still exists after that many years.  It adapts and looks different than it did when they were younger (I am sure) but its there and it prevails.

This trip was at the top of my list of amazing trips!  The ports of call were beautiful and my running buddy made the adventure easy, fun and full of laughs!  GOD’s creation is beautiful……  FUN TIMES!

 

More than a concert…

Recently my 10 year old daughter shared with me her struggles with friends as a 5th grade girl.  We all know girls can be very mean and we have all walked that walked through 5th grade and middle school girl issues.  Its tough – it was then and it is even more so now with technology and social media. Fast forward a few days after that conversation to this past Friday night.  Our conversation was heavy on my heart.  My oldest daughter and I had tickets to go see Taylor Swift (it was a Christmas present from the year before) and it hit me – Maddie needs to come and hang with Me and her sister – have a little “big girl” time.  Maybe that would do her some good.  So I jumped through hoops getting her a ticket and we were off to Houston.

My whole intention was just for Maddie to come to the concert, hang out with us and hopefully let loose a little.  (Maddie is quite a serious soul and is very self conscience in some respects – so acting silly and letting loose isn’t the norm for her).  What I didn’t know was that this outing was more than just getting to see a concert.

This was Maddie’s first concert experience ever – and what better artist to see than Taylor Swift who is so humble and real.  Mid way through the concert Taylor takes a few moments to talk about why she wrote the album/song Reputation.  In her speech she talks about the mean girls trying to discredit and ruin your reputation and how staying true to yourself is the path to happiness – not that the road would be easy but so worth it when we focus on being a good person and connecting with people in an authentic way.  Then she played “Shake it off”.  I saw the look in Maddie’s face when Taylor was talking – like she got it – and then pure childlike joy when we all danced and sang along to the song.  I knew in that moment that this experience was bigger than me – that GOD was working all things to the good.  Her older sister being there and being an example that its ok to have fun and let loose certainly helped Maddie feel comfortable in doing so. The relationship with the bigs are so important to my littles, beyond just being siblings – they are true role models.

The drive home was just an meaningful when we got to chat the entire car ride home about everything from school, to soccer … family to her birthday party.  Taking the opportunity to impart a little momma wisdom upon her.  I find that I am sharing the same momma wisdom I did and still do with my bigs.  Guiding principles, morals and values are timeless.

SO my friends here’s a bit of my wisdom for this post…… its the small moments that sometimes we miss that we must pay attention to and capitalize on…. the moments where people are moved and impacted the most by a conversation, by someone listening to them or just treating them like they matter.  The moments that seem like its one thing (like just a concert) when in actuality its something bigger that’s happening – its moments that touch your soul. @taylorswift

Summer Travels

School is back in session and summer has ended as have my summer travels.  Ahhh summer…..  it was sweet this year.  I cannot think of a summer in my entire life where I had as much fun and covered as much ground as I did.  From May until August I have had maybe 2 weekends that I actually spent in my home – otherwise I was on the GO.  And it felt good to go.  It felt good to have the freedom to make my own decisions about where to go, when to go and how long to go for.  My travels were purposeful trips meant to see my dearest friends, my children, trips for work, family vacation, birthday celebration trips and mixed in all that travel was MANY weekend trips to my camp with lots of river fun.

I saw the most amazing Cirque de Solei show in Vegas, at the Wynn, hiked Mary Jane Falls and spent some face to face time with one of my besties.  Boated on the Ouchita Lake in Arkansas, road horses,  mined for Diamonds and had the funnest time playing Family Feud with my Bigs and Littles.  I explored historic Savannah and Tybee Island and reconnected with one of my favorite places – The Riverwalk in San Antonio. I laughed til I almost cried at an Improv club in St. Louis as well as spent some much needed one on one time with my son and even got to meet his Girlfriends beautiful family.   Jetted over to Nashville for the Kenny Chesney Concert and a little downtown Nashville weekend fun and rounded out my travels with an amazing adventure to Santorini Greece with my oldest daughter.  We hiked, boated, beached it and enjoyed beautiful scenery and amazing food.  What a whirlwind of a summer.  Mixed into all my actual travels were weekday dinners in Houston with my Daughter, who was interning there for the summer, and loads of river time on the boat with my many wonderful friends.

After all that travel the most profound thing I have to say is…. I am tired.  Yes tired.  I am glad I did it and have wonderful memories but I was ready for a little slower pace for the fall.  I have one more trip in October to round out the year – a cruise up the east coast.

Travel has always been a passion of mine.  The adventure of new sights, trying new things has forever called my name and will continue to do so.  I am grateful that I have children who have the same adventurous spirit and friends that do too.  2019’s travel line up will take me to some amazing places with a pretty amazing travel companion too! #excitedaboutthefuture

 

Chosen for Greatness

So as if I haven’t already bared my soul enough, here is a little more insight of what I struggle with.  My heart has been so heavy since my marriage ended when I think about my 2 youngest daughters – adopted from China.  Those precious babies that I am so blessed to have in my life but yet I have felt that I did them such a disservice adopting them and bringing them into our family.  With the chaos of the divorce my mind has told me that inevitably there was another beautiful family standing in line behind us that would have gladly adopted them and provided them a beautiful life with an INTACT family.  Its guilt talking as I feel terrible that they are now thrust into the complicated land of divorced children, dealing with issues I wanted to save them from.  Its something I never wanted for them.

BUT!  there is always a but in my stories…..

I recently read a book about adoption called Chosen for Greatness.  It highlighted prominent people from history that were adopted such as Steve Jobs, Nancy Reagan, Nelson Mandela, Scott Hamilton, Dave Thomas and the list continues.  All of these people accomplished great things in their lives.  The book highlights their accomplishments and the stories of their adoptions.  One thing they all have in common though is that they didn’t have this shiny story of being a baby adopted at birth and going home to the “Beaver Cleaver” Household where everything was rainbows and unicorns until the time that they accomplished great things.  That was not the resounding theme of their life stories.  It was quite the opposite.  It was through the beautiful trauma of adoption that they found strength and the tenacity to succeed.  The people that GOD so eloquently positioned in their lives at different times – and not just their adoptive parents.  Friends, other families members, mentors, teachers, coaches, etc that shaped who they were and opened the doors of possibilities of who they each would become.

What does this have to do with my story – my girls?  Well, it changed my thinking.  I always knew that GOD did not place my girls in my life by chance.  The sadness I felt because what I wanted to give them was destroyed by Divorce washed away when I realized that – its not because these notable adoptees had a charmed life – it was the struggle – it was the people that came into their lives because of their circumstances that made the difference – that propelled them to greatness.  And I look around at the village of people that are in my girls lives that impact them every day .  The BIGS, my network of friends, my parents and extended family, teachers, coaches, etc.  And I think of all the people we haven’t yet met but will, in the course of their lifetime.  People that will also impact them and propel them to their GREATNESS!  Again another picture of Beauty from Ashes….

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Humble Pie

The last few weeks I have slowed down a bit from what has proven to be a busy summer (Stay tuned for a post about all my summer adventures).  I needed to rest and gather my thoughts.  I was again left struggling with my redefined relationship with my ex.  That delicate dance of getting along is tricky and has proven to be hot and cold – really no middle ground.  There is no tolerance level at all between the 2 of us – that quality has “left the building” so to speak.  When I finally stopped running around and had a chance to collect my thoughts and my feelings on how we have derailed ourselves again, I am surprised what GOD is teaching me through these moments.

I have been beating my self righteous drum for quite a while now – Keeping account of all his wrong doings and keeping that commentary present in dialogues with others.  But how does that get me anywhere?  Repeating his flaws and faults while failing to mention my own pridefulness wasn’t pleasing to GOD nor was it helping us move into a stable co-parenting relationship.  When an interaction with him presented itself I cloaked myself in that same self-righteous armor and went on attack – wanting to be right and WIN the argument, instead of approaching the situation with Humility.  Stepping back and re-evaluating what wasn’t working for me and my ex, I took some time to pray.  I could stay in that place that kept me frustrated and constantly battling OR I can take a different path.  A path of Humility and Humbleness.

What I am learning is that approaching a situation with Humility does not equal defeat.  THAT… is powerful my friends!.  And look, I thought patience was tough to learn (still learning btw) – Humility is proving to be just as tough but worth it.  When my children look at me and the way I have handled this entire situation  – I want them to say – My mom handled one of the most difficult times in her life with Grace, Love, Forgiveness and most importantly Humility.

In this day and age Humility is an underrated quality, and I think misunderstood – at least it was by me.  Humility is different than forgiveness.  I forgive my ex for what he did – and I thought that would be enough.  It was enough to free me from the bondage that came from my unforgiveness.  But my ex is still present in my life and I must deal with him for many more years to come and so despite forgiving him – I was still stuck, which is where humility steps in.  Humility is choosing to Honor GOD rather than arguing about what I deserve or focusing on how angry I am.  Its being obedient to GOD and staying true to HIS teachings – ALL OF THEM.

So once again GOD revealed things that I didn’t necessarily think I would hear.  Every time… when I focus on trying to fix someone else – GOD steps right in and shines that spotlight right back on me – encouraging me to fix the situation starting with fixing myself and this time with a little piece of humble pie.

The BIGS and their people

Lately I have been focusing my blog posts on myself and my friendships, but this post I wanted to write about my BIGS and their people – the special people in their lives that make them smile.  I recently had the opportunity over the summer to spend time with both of the Bigs. Now in their 20’s, they come along with a significant other.  And although I blissfully enjoy the moments I spend with them –  I am keenly watching.  What struck me as I watched how they interact with each other during each of our visits was that these people really love my children.  The small gestures, ones that most would miss, I pick up on and celebrate that my longstanding prayers for loving partners for my children were heard.

Christopher has a beautiful girlfriend – inside and out.  She is everything I always thought he would choose.  Intelligent, creative, witty, down to earth and much more.  She loves him with the purest of hearts – even beyond his flaws.  She loves his flaws and embraces them.  She is kind and thoughtful, going the extra mile to make him feel special.  I witnessed her take care of him when he cut himself playing with the little girls and thought that was my role for so long and now as a man he has found someone who loves him as much as I do (that’s hard to do) and I am glad to take a back seat to this.

Lizzy has had a  boyfriend for a little over two years now.  He is patient, loving, driven, intelligent and so much more.  Over time I have seen the little things that to me, speak volumes about how much He loves my little girl. (and I have written about him before in my blog – http://portieadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/2016/10/love-in-text-message.html )   He is thoughtful of her, values her opinion, champions her abilities and is protective of her. He is the balance in her life and is quite funny too.   I witnessed probably an every day moment between the 2 of them during our last vacation together where he was asking her if she liked a particular shirt for him and getting her opinion on which one he should buy.  That seems like nothing folks but to me the fact that he values her opinion and input means he values her.

And I must add, our family dynamic is not like most.  Most adult children do not have elementary age siblings, especially not those that are adopted.  And yet these 2 newcomers to our family recognize how important it is for the Bigs to continue to bond with the Littles and they foster that relationship and are ok with the time that it takes to do so.  They play silly games and make concessions in our activities to accommodate even the youngest of our group.  Another simplistic gesture they extend that probably is done without thought or effort but speaks volumes to this mom about their character.

Its the things I recognize that was missing in my marriage for so many years that I see my children have it “right” with who they have chosen.  I have put a lot of knee time in prayer specifically for who will eventually be my children’s spouses.  Are these my children’s life partners – that has yet to be seen but I celebrate the 2 that are in their lives right now for who they are and what they bring to the table and how authentically they love the greatest loves of my life.

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