Keeping Faith

Erin moved to Florida yesterday.  She left around 8:30 in the morning as I took our kids to their appointments.  I hugged her tight while she cried and I bit back my own tears.  We can’t both cry at the same time.  This time, it was my turn to be the rock.

I kissed her.  She said she didn’t want to go.  I told her it was going to be awesome.  We hugged again.

I will probably not see her until the weekend after next.

This is, by far, the biggest test of our relationship.  Honestly, I don’t think there’s a test bigger than this.

In between running around and doing all the things, I’ve been doing a lot of praying.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is a good move for our family.  My faith in this matter is unshakable.  The fear and the anxiety is still trying to creep in, but in the process of making sure I got my to do list completed today, I suddenly had a moment of clarity and peace.

This is good.  It may be difficult and hard, but it is still good.  You are taken care of and loved, and everything will work out the way it is supposed to.

I’ve been holding on to that ever since.

And things are working out.  She’s not even full time yet and already making more than I did, and I feel she’ll be full time quickly.  She’s quick to pick up on stuff and she’s super smart and organized, so I have no doubts on her ability or her dedication or drive.

And in the mean time, we’ll watch Netflix over the phone together.

Time for Faith and Strength

So, as it usually happens, life gets the best of me.  I haven’t been able to continue on with the 30 Days Challenge, but I plan on doing it over and completely once this school year is over.  I just haven’t had time between working, the kids, and everything else that’s going on…

But now that everyone that needed to know has been notified, I can actually start talking about it.

The last three months have been a roller coaster of ups and downs.  In March, we found out I was pregnant.  Almost immediately afterwards, Erin lost her job.  Then almost immediately after that, the kids’ adoptions were finalized.  Then, a couple weeks later, Erin found out that she passed her national board exams and would be able to start job hunting.

She took a couple of weeks to let everything sink it, but then contacted her friend who lives in Tennessee, who is in the same line of work.  He mentioned the would be hiring in the next month or so, so we went up there in April to explore the area.  It was really nice and we found some good and affordable housing options, so we updated Erin’s resume and she sent it off to them.

In the mean time, we were a family of four living off of my teacher’s salary, and it wasn’t getting any easier.  We took money out of savings and paid it back when we were able, only to pull it back out again.  At one point, we had to borrow money from my parents to buy groceries and pay for Erin’s car.

We somehow snaked by the next month, but this month, our church is paying for our mortgage so we could buy groceries.  Unfortunately, we don’t qualify for any kind of assistance because I apparently “make too much money,” even though things are a big struggle right now.

Then, at the end of April, we found out I’d suffered a missed miscarriage.  The baby I was carrying didn’t make it past 8 weeks and 5 days, but my body didn’t realize it and held on the three weeks until the ultrasound.  I had a D&E the next day.

That very same day, Erin was offered a job.

Her friend in Tennessee got a call from a company in Florida asking if he was interested in relocating.  He said no, but gave them Erin’s contact information.  They contacted her, the told him yes, and they set up an interview.

She had the phone interview while I drove us to the OB that morning.  She was offered the job while I was waiting in the waiting room of the OB.

This is, essentially, her dream job.  They offered her two positions in Florida, depending on where she wanted to live, and she said she’d go down to check out the areas first before deciding.  They paid for her hotel rooms.  They’re giving her relocation money to help us move.

And they’re paying her over double what I made as a teacher and over three times what she made at her previous job.  I, essentially, will not have to work if I don’t want to.  I will probably focus on the home for the first few months and then get into subbing.  Maybe go back to the classroom the year following, depending on what our family looks like at that point.

She went down, explored both areas, picked one, found a home with our agent, and put an offer on it.  The offer was accepted, but then we got the call that we couldn’t get a loan because of the way that Erin’s job is structured.  We still haven’t secured housing.

She leaves in a couple weeks, and I will stay behind with the kids until we can secure housing.

In the mean time, I resigned my position at my school in a huge leap of faith.  This was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve worked at that position for the last six years, and it’s all I’ve ever known as far as my career… and now my days there are literally numbered.  My last pay check is June 30th.

I told my church about the move, but also said I would continue to work there until we have a move date listed.

I have literally never been so scared about such a huge change in all my life.  And while I am super excited for what our future holds, I’m also anxious to get all the details ironed out.

There’s been many days the last few weeks where I’ve been grieving the loss of our pregnancy, while simultaneously stressing about our future.

Moving is just picking the two of us up and going.  It’s transferring the kids’ IEPs and schools.  It’s selling the house that we currently live in.

It’s me giving up all the control I’ve ever had to rely completely on another person for my well being and safety.

I have literally had panic attacks about this for the last few weeks, and mixing those with the grief has made me a miserable blah.  Yesterday, when I placed my resignation, I cried as I handed over the paper.  The secretary who accepted it hugged me and told me everything would work out.  They’d miss me, but this was a good move for us.  I cried more.

“You aren’t worried about the move, and you aren’t going to miss the school as much as you think.”  My coworker said.  “You’re mostly upset about your loss of control.”

He’s right, of course.  It’s scary for me.

Then, yesterday, as I heard a song on the radio that was exactly what I needed to hear.  I hadn’t heard it before and I haven’t heard it since.  This happens to me sometimes where I’ll hear songs one time when I need to hear them, but then never again.

This one was about not giving up and the road being long and hard for a reason.

Since then, this song has been my anthem, and it’s given me a lot of strength.  I have my fighting spirit back because I have to.  I don’t have the option of returning to my old job, so this is basically it: panic and break down or fight and make things happen.

I have chosen the second of the two options.

TaTa, South Carolina!  Hello, Florida!

30 Days of Brave: Day 5

My wife Erin got home yesterday from a business trip, and we’re moving forward on big things, so I didn’t have time to update.  Here’s the blog from yesterday.

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Today’s challenge was to listen to our voices of “not enough.”  We were instructed to write down all the ways we felt like we were not enough.

  • I feel as though I do not do enough around the house.
  • I feel as though I do not do enough with work.
  • I feel as though I do not do enough with my family or my friends.
  • I feel as though I do not do enough in taking care of myself.

But I am enough, and I do enough.  I get overwhelmed so easy when my anxiety sometimes that the feelings of failure creep up into my life and try to strangle out all the truth: I am enough.  I do enough.

Sometimes, I can be lazy and not do what I need to do, but these little failures and set backs do not mean that I am not enough.  I am exactly what I need to be, and that is enough.

Moving forward towards my goals doesn’t mean that I’m trying to be “enough” or “more” than what I am now.  It simply means that I have a goal, and I can move towards that goal because I am enough.

Today’s journal prompt says, “How would I define feeling ‘enough’ as it relates to me personally, and how can I grow by spending time listening to these voices that tell me I am not enough?”

To me, enough means that I am doing what I can, when I can, and letting the rest of everything else go.  Enough means I am where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there.  It means that, to the best of my ability, I follow through with the goals I set for myself, and understand that if I fail or don’t reach whatever goal I have set for myself that it’s not because I didn’t try and do my best.

The voices in my head tell me that I’m not enough when I have too much coming at me at once.  They tell me I’m not enough when I have 10 things to do, but I only manage to complete 5 of them.

When it comes to growing, I think it’s important for me to remember that the voice in my head sees the finish line as the be all end all for being enough, and this isn’t the case.  The truth is that I’m enough because I do my best.  I’m enough because I give every day 100% even if the 100% isn’t the same from day to day or what others would see as 100%.

I am enough because I do the best I can.

30 Days of Brave: Day 4

day4

Today’s challenge was a meditation.  I tried to complete it TWICE, but I kept getting interrupted (yay, kids!), but now that the kids are in bed, I should have a better chance of doing it.  In the parts that I got completed, I felt good about it.

I felt calmer, less stressed.  I felt more peaceful.

Today’s Journal Prompt is: What is a past experience that left you feeling powerless and afraid, and how can you let go of it knowing what you know now?

My past experience would be my miscarriage.  When I saw the ultrasound, and saw the baby hadn’t grown in weeks, I felt completely powerless.  I knew what this meant, and I knew what was going to happen next, and I was terrified.

What if I couldn’t carry a child to full term?  What if I was never able to get pregnant again?  What if the procedure in the hospital damaged my body in some way?

So many what ifs played through my head while the doctor talked about my options.  We decided on the D&E because there was no telling how long it would have taken my body to realize that the body inside me had died.

That was when I felt powerless and afraid.  Afraid of all the possible outcomes, both good and bad.  Powerless to make anything go my way.  I couldn’t bring back a dead body.  There was a heartbeat, and then there wasn’t one, and there hadn’t been one for three and a half weeks.

I know now that deaths at that early stage are caused by chromosomal abnormalities.  I know that my body wanted that baby because it held on for so long.  I know that I can get pregnant and I will get pregnant again.

But none of that has really helped me move past the worst part of it all: never being able to meet the child that was growing inside of me.

That is, until a friend told me something so powerful that it has literally changed my entire point of view: The soul of that child was never in that body.

How much would it suck to be created, but never get to be born?  That’s what miscarriage though is: “I’ll see this child again some day… happy, healthy, and whole in heaven.”

But what if that wasn’t the case?  What if the soul of the child is still out there, waiting to be born?

I think that’s the case.  Ever since that moment, I’ve felt a presence around me.  Most of the time, it feels male.  Sometimes it feels female.  Who knows, maybe it is two different energies.  They’re filled with love and with peace, and it has been so calming to me.

I told this to my minister and his wife, and he told me they had a similar experience with a similar situation involving a miscarriage they suffered.

So for now, I have two beside me and one (maybe two) above me.  Someday, I’ll have three (maybe four) beside me, and none above me.

The loss of the body wasn’t the loss of the child.  We are not the bodies we reside in.  We are the energy, the soul, inside the body that carries us.  That body wasn’t able to carry the soul that was destined for it, so some day… another body will be made… and maybe that time, the soul of our future child/ren will be able to inhabit it.

30 Days of Brave: Day 3

My wife is out of town this week, so I’ve been a solo-parent.  Yesterday was a long day, and then my dinner plans didn’t go as planned, which made it longer.  Here’s my blog for yesterday.  I’ll write the Day 4 one a little later.

day3

Today’s challenge was to ask someone close to us what our greatest strength and our greatest weakness was.  I asked three people: My wife (Erin), my best friend (Amy), and another really good friend (Becky).

My wife Erin said, “You’re driven.  When you set to get a task done, you get it done.  That would be your greatest strength.  You’re greatest weakness would be your will power.  When it comes to eating healthy and that kind of thing, if you have a craving, you give in to it pretty quickly.”

My best friend Amy said, “Empathy is your greatest strength.  It’s also a weakness because you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders at time.  You’re a fixer.  It causes you a lot of stress.”

My other really good friend Becky said, “I’d say a strength would be that you are very caring and open.  A weakness, I would say, is that you’re very sensitive.”

I would agree with all of the above.

Personally, I think my greatest strength would be my drive, like Erin said.  Any time I have put my mind to something, I have completed my goal.  When it comes to the important things, to me, I will complete everything I decide to do.

My greatest weakness?  I tend to overthink things and stress too much.  A lot of this has to do with my anxiety that I control without medication and can sometimes become overwhelming to me, but in terms of my goal, I think I should focus the most on the willpower weakness that I have that Erin mentioned.

It’s a huge problem for me.  I have such a hard time telling myself no to things I want (like food that isn’t the healthiest or sweets).

Here’s to awareness and hopefully to conquering!

30 Days of Brave: Day 2

day2

Today’s challenge was to find a way to hold ourselves accountable for our goal.  It gave us some suggestions, and without really knowing it, I ended up doing a couple of them already.

I could make a public announcement: check.

Or I could recruit a friend to join me: check.  (I convinced my wife to get in on this, and she’s been doing stuff sooner than me.)

But neither of those are near as motivated at what we actually did today: raised our stakes.  What happens if we don’t meet our goal?  What happens if we don’t maintain our goal?

Well, our goal is to work out for 30 minutes, 3 times a week (at least).

And here’s our consequences:

Mine: If I don’t work out for the amount in our goal, I lose all sugary treats permanently until I’m able to work out three times a week for a month straight.

Erin: If she doesn’t work out for the amount of time given, she can only play her switch for one hour once a month until she is able to work out three times a week for a month straight.

Those are some pretty motivating factors for us, so here’s to hoping we can hold ourselves accountable.

Today’s journal prompt is: Staying committed to my 30-day goal is important to me because…

It means that I will be a healthier and happier and more peaceful person.  It means that when it comes time to start trying to expand our family again, I will be in a healthier position to do so.

Not that my body was the actual problem in my pregnancy.  In fact, my body wanted to have that baby so bad that even after it died, my body held onto it for three and a half weeks and would have continued to hold on to it for who knows how long if we hadn’t had the D&E.

But I can always be healthier, and I can always be more active, and I can be more ready for IVF so that when it comes time for that in August, we won’t have to wait as long for things to take if I am in the best health I can be at the time.

It also means that I’ll be better able to take care of my family if I’m taking care of myself.  There’s big changes around the corner, and to make things move smoothly, I need to be the best that I can be.  Taking the best care of myself as possible is the number one way to make that happen.

30 Days of Brave: Day 1

While this isn’t the big update that I was planning to do, I came across a friend who was doing this “challenge” via Instagram, so I looked into it and decided it would be a good way to start getting back into my spiritual blogging.

In the last few months, I’ve been so insanely busy that I’ve let my spiritual life sorta fall to the wayside, and now it’s time to stop doing that and get back my peace.  With so many changes coming up soon for my family, this would definitely be a good time to start focusing on peace (because the chaos is going to be all around).

The 30 Days of Brave Challenge was created by Intention Inspired.  The idea is that you pick a goal, and then they send you daily e-mails with helpful hints and inspiration to help you reach your goal.  There’s also a blog/journal prompt, and I figure here would be the best place for it.

My goal is to change my diet into one that is healthy, with 75% being plant based, and also to increase my activity level to a minimum of 30 minutes a day.  There are so many things happening right now that I have to be brave about, but I think the above will prove to be the most challenging of them all.

day1

Today’s brave act was to choose a physical object to remind us of why we decided to commit to this challenge.  I am choosing the tiny hippoimg_9367 charm I have on my necklace.  It’s my idol image of the Goddess Taweret.  She is the protective Goddess of childbirth and fertility.

She was hanging above my heart when I found out I was pregnant, and she was hanging above my heart the day we learned our baby’s heart had stopped beating.  She was above my heart when I felt like it was breaking.  I carried her in my purse when I had my D&E a week and a half ago.

She’s my reminder that I can become pregnant and the hope I have of carrying a child to full term, even if we have to wait a few months to allow my body to “reset” from everything we’ve been through.  She is the reminder of why i have the goals I have: I have a drive to carry a child of my own, and I have the knowledge that I am able to carry.  I can spend this time I have been given to focus on becoming a healthier, more active, and more peaceful version of myself so that when we begin again, I will be even more ready to accept the gifts I have been given.

Today’s journal prompt is: What was the seed that inspired you to start this 30-day challenge?

The answer to this question is easy: My miscarriage and my desire to expand my family through pregnancy and child birth.

My wife and I have two children through adoption, but we also want children of our own.  My pregnancy was the first steps towards that goal, but sadly, I suffered from a missed miscarriage.

A missed miscarriage is where the embryo dies, but your body doesn’t realize it.  Your pregnancy continues to move forward without hitch.  There’s no cramping, no bleeding, nothing.  Our baby died at eight and a half weeks, but it wasn’t until three and a half weeks later that we found out at our ultrasound: there was no growth and no heartbeat.  I had my D&E the next day.

We’ve now been instructed to wait two months before attempting to try again, and with so much happening in the next two months, this was a good time for me to get back on track with my healthy lifestyle stuff, so here’s to the challenge, with my baby in my mind as the goal.

 

Endings and Beginnings

Hey everyone!

No idea if anyone still reads this blog, but with the school year coming to an end, I’m about to start revitalizing this blog as I start down a new path and walk of life.

Expect a major update in about a week, but if you’re interested in what has been going on in my life since this blog went on hiatus and you just can’t wait one more week, e-mail me at kel.henry85@gmail.com, and I’ll get you the hook up for my other blog, which is updated almost daily.

OR you can follow me on instagram at kelmh85.

See you soon!

Kel

Looking For Me?

Hey!

This blog is on hiatus, but my other blog is very active, and it’s all about our family.

If you came here looking for it, send me an e-mail at kel.henry85@gmail.com, let me know who you are and what your blog is (if you have one) and I’ll give you the link!

Thanks so much,

Kel

Thankful

I’m not back from hiatus, not really.

I just felt so overwhelmed that I felt I needed to blog about it. 

In the sanctuary of our church, there is a banner that reads, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that would suffice.” I can’t remember who said it. 

Today, Erin walked down the stairs with her arms held up in the air triumphantly.  She just finished her last class of graduate school. Ever. She passed her big test and her final presentation with flying colors and now all that is left is to get her degree. 

She’s done, and she only made one B in the entire two years. I can’t believe her journey is ending already, but I’m so proud of her for making a commitment to her education and sticking to it. Education is so so so important to me, so I’m happy it is for her too. 

Now, she gets to start her training for the next phase of her career, which includes, at some point in the relatively near future, a substantial pay raise. She’d technically make enough to support the entire family, but I want to continue teaching, at least for now. 

And since both our kids are older, I can do that without any problem or added expenses at all.

I am so thankful for the way the Gods have worked everything out in perfect timing to the benefit of all. 

  • Our daughter and our son were placed with us almost two weeks ago and will get to start the school year with us. 
  • We were able to get out son into a better-for-him school that is closer to where I work. 
  • Because of the way that the placement occurred, our kids were placed as “foster kids” so we get the benefits from the state to help them transition. 
  • I have enough graduate school hours to get my next pay bump. 
  • Erin is graduating and will be able to advance in her career. 

Being a family of four has been so awesome, and sometime either this year or next, we’ll start trying for #3, but that will happen when it happens. 

I. Am. So. So. So. Thankful for all the blessings. The happiness that my heart feels right now with having two kids is indescribable. And now with Erin done with school… I want to hug my heart. 

All that’s left is for me to finish school and then we’ll be, I guess, living that stereotypical “American Dream.”

Personally, I feel like I’m already there. 

But I wanted to share because I felt like I could burst from excitement and happiness if I didn’t write it out.

Now to bed. The we and the kids have a busy day tomorrow.