Sunday, July 27, 2014

Apologies to Commentors!

I think an apology is in order for some of you who have commented over the past few years and may not have seen your comment be posted on my blog.  I apologize for that!  I just went to approve a comment today and saw that there were a few dozen comments going back a few years, that were never approved by me.  Mama D's Dozen, you get a personal apology!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Full Time Life

Seems like I start every blog post by mentioning how I never blog anymore, so I'll save us the time and not talk about it.  It is what it is.  =-)
A few days ago I was having an incredibly difficult time with life, and posted a sulky few sentences on facebook.  This incited lots of beautifully kind messages from my beautifully kind friends, along with recommendations for books and other readings.  My friends said to me exactly the kinds of things I would say to them in their moments of weakness.  To read the comments left on that post, you'd think that I had led a life similar to Mother Teresa!  And how could that not make me feel better?  It did.  The thing is, it those words didn't fix the problems I'm dealing with.
Writing is cheaper than therapy, so you're invited to my therapy session...


Ball #1:  Being a wife to my husband and a mom to four beautiful children is a full time job.  So over-said.  And so true.  Quality time with each child; and the husband.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Taking hubby to/from work.  Taking kids to/from everything.  Shopping for groceries and toiletries--doing forget to make them the cheapest available AND organic (not)! Home maintenance.  Haircuts.  Making sure nobody stinks.  Laundry (which should be a 4-letter word)!  The list goes on and on.  It never ends because when you get to the end of it you simply start at the beginning again.
Ball #2:  Homeschooling.  Homeschooling X 4.  Homeschooling special needs kids.  Homeschooling 4 on a budget of less than $200 per kid per year.  I know some moms have this homeschooling lots of children thing down pat, but I don't.  It was a lot easier when my littles where little; when my bigs were the only kids I really had to worry about.  Now I've got 4 kids in "real" grades, with real academic goals.  Three of four have real, verifiable academic differences that make their education much more complicated (at least for this mama).  And the budget.  Planning carefully for the next year takes up any "down time" the summer may otherwise promise.  Homeschooling.  Takes.  Time.
Ball #3:  The non-profit.  Sometimes I feel like I'd spend less time on this "job" if I were running a medium to large size non-profit rather than a small non-profit.  Then, I'm assuming, there would be a larger array of people on the team to call upon when there is a need within the organization.  And then, I assume, all positions may not actually be volunteer.  As it is, there are a very small number of very sweet volunteers that typically have full time jobs #1 and #2 above (or an actual traditional job!), and are therefore unable to always be there when a need arises.  The buck stops with me.  There is no limit to the number of hours I could spend on Eban Project each day.  When jobs #1 or #2 might otherwise be "light" on occasion, the time is quickly gulped up by the work the Lord has put in front of me in Ghana.
The 4th Ball:  It's this extra job that put me over the edge the other day.  Finances were too tight.  Something had to be done.  So Eric and I decided that we should both look for other ways we could contribute to the household income.  I could see the reason in this decision, and was in favor of this decision.  Then, I began to feel the crushing pressure in my chest!  As I delved more deeply into what would be required for me to build an online presence in order to do some freelance writing work, I realized it would be another fulltime job just preparing to hopefully add another fulltime job!  C.R.U.S.H.I.N.G.  P.R.E.S.S.U.R.E. 
The thing is, I love all of my jobs.  Well, parts of them anyway!  Each of them is fulfilling to me, in a different way.  After a day of being the best mom and wife I can be, I feel so very contented inside.  "This is what you've always wanted to do Anita.  And God has allowed you to do it."  After a day where we've rocked out our homeschooling goals, I feel accomplished.  "You have done right by your children today Anita.  Your sacrifice has allowed them to receive an education they wouldn't have received in the public school system."  After a day working on Eban Project stuff, I feel whole.  My calling to be an international missionary has been somehow fulfilled (albeit untraditionally).  I can feel the Lord's blessing, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  In ALL of these things, my goal is to faithfully serve those that the Lord has put in front of me to serve.  That makes it all the more painful when it becomes impossible to accomplish all of these things.
Maybe I am the odd duck.  Maybe most other moms really can be a mom/wife fulltime and add homeschooling, volunteering, and other things as well without any of it suffering.  But I'm not other moms.  I've carried so much guilt throughout the years when people have said, "How do you do it all?" and inside I'm thinking, "I don't.  I can't.  Something is always going undone."
I can survive.  I have learned to juggle life's duties so that most of the time nothing falls to the ground. Nothing totally falls, but I'm always on the edge of chaos.  I think this must be why the prospect of adding another thing (the side work) caused me to breakdown.  It would be adding another ball.  Juggling three balls is different from juggling four balls.  And really, I so love the idea of not juggling at all.  Is that even possible?

Sunday, March 09, 2014

13 Years of Motherhood and Mission

MOTHERHOOD:  Thirteen years ago today, I became a mother.  The most important purpose of my life, fulfilled.  [Feminists, roll your eyes if you must.]  I was created to be a mother.  I wasn't one of those girls who ever questioned whether I would have children; I only questioned how many, and through what means. 

I was ready to start creating our family as soon as we were married; the earlier the better!  So after two years when it hadn't happened, you can imagine my sadness and frustration.  Two years of the "young married" class at church.  ALL those baby showers to suffer through, trying to genuinely be happy for my friends but then crying myself to sleep at night because it wasn't "my turn." 
When we learned of our infertility, there was no question of whether we would try to go to extraordinary means to create life.  When the doctor told us we had a 5% chance through infertility measures, through tears we said, "That's okay.  We will adopt."  That was in our plan for family building anyway.  The big whammy was when the quack of a doctor told us that "Oh, nobody would allow you to adopt.  With your husband's health issues and you being overweight, you would never qualify."
THIS was a new concept.  Not being able to become a mother?  What?  No.  I had a very fearful next several hours, but was reassured QUICKLY by the new fangled internet-thingy that international adoption would be a great choice for us.  YES!  Motherhood, here I come!
And then it did.  Thirteen years ago today.  I met my daughter. And my heart grew two sizes bigger.  I felt it.  As I lay her on my chest for the first time, for that first nap together, I felt it.  A literal pain.  Whether it was my heart breaking or growing I cannot say for sure.  Maybe both.  That day motherhood began, and so did my mission.
MISSION:  I never realized I would hurt so badly for my daughter's biological family.  It never occurred to me that I would mourn the loss of country and culture for my daughter.  I was young and na├»ve and nobody mentioned even the remote possibility of these things to me.  But as she raged in my arms over all she was losing, I raged with her.  I remember crying with her on our fancy hotel room balcony.  And I think it was in that moment that the Lord God planted my life's mission within my heart.
When I was 17 years old I felt a call upon my life to be a Foreign Missionary.  It was as real a "call" and experience as I have ever felt.  I do not question it.  And then I married a Type I Diabetic that is legally blind with kidney issues.  How does that fit with foreign missions?  I didn't know, but I went on with life, and became a mom.  That seemed more important.  In becoming a mom, the "foreign" part came closer to me.
Cambodia was within me.  Cambodia's people plagued my soul.  At that time the term "family preservation" hadn't been coined (I don't think??) but certainly, that was at the heart of the matter.  It was at this time, 13 years ago, that my mind was opened to the realities of the developing world.  A passion like fire spread in me and I remember BEGGING God to open doors for me--the RIGHT doors.  He did.  And within the year I was helping others people adopt and involved in humanitarian aide for the first time.  Bulgaria.  Haiti.  Vietnam....the world became smaller again.
In 2006, Ghana entered my life.  Like Cambodia, Ghana and its people entered my heart in an all-encompassing way.  It wasn't just about adopting my child.  It was so much more.  How could the Lord use me to help the people there KEEP their children rather than lose them to conditions of poverty?  Oh, the burning in my heart!  It's now 8 years later and the passion continues.  Now, through Eban Project, the Lord has opened doors that are closer to the "foreign missions" call He put on me so many years ago.  Eventually, I believe I will stop being an "armchair missionary" and start being a true foreign missionary for Him.  But not now.  Not as long as He allows me to keep my dear husband.
Thirteen years.  Of motherhood, ever changing.  Of mission, ever growing.  Of family, ever filling.