Chasing Contentment

Monday, January 29

[  posted by Chel on Monday, January 29, 2007  ]

I'm uploading photos tonight - I admit I still haven't even uploaded our Christmas pictures yet - and I thought I'd post a few of the fun ones.

Here's Eliza with her little friends at the princess birthday party we attended on Saturday. It would have been more fun if any of the other moms had chatted with me or if we hadn't had to go straight to the walk-in clinic with my sick princess.

And here's one of the first camellia bloom on the new plant Mike bought me last fall. We had this huge, lovely camellia tree at our home in Louisiana, and Mike bought this one for me to remind me of the home where we first fell in love and started a family. It bloomed for the first time last week. I wasn't sure that it would bloom at all this season, so I'm delighted by this reminder of God's faithfulness, of the fact that we are where we need to be for this season of our lives.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, January 29, 2007  ]

Sunday, January 28

It's a dreary, rainy Sunday morning here, and dreary doesn't happen often here in Central Florida. Mike got a wild hair to go to the Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast for us, and Eliza, as always, insisted on going along.

When they left here, she was carrying a book, a movie and her Pinky, the pink bear she made at the Build-A-Bear place here in town. And she was wearing her My Little Pony bike helmet. She's certainly got things going... I'm just not sure where.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, January 28, 2007  ]

Wednesday, January 24

My friend, Linda, works for a non-profit and sent me a link to GoodSearch, a search engine powered by Yahoo that donates a portion of its advertising profits to charities across the country. All you have to do is go to their website, download the search toolbar and select your charity. What a fabulous way to make a difference while doing nothing out of the ordinary!

So pick your charity... or pick a few. (Try the Food Bank of Central Louisiana.)

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, January 24, 2007  ]

Wednesday, January 17

I find that just about the time I'm feeling like things are going better, something happens to challenge that feeling. And I'm reminded yet again that so much of this life is what I make of it. I can choose the way I respond to what is happening around me, and I have to make a specific choice to respond positively.

My sister-in-law said the other day that it must have been hard to leave Sunday. And in some ways, it was. I'll always miss those dear friends deeply. (It's obvious by how I talk to each of them several times a week.) But the leaving this time wasn't as agonizing as it was back in the fall. And, to me, that means that I'm adapting to life here and that I'm accepting the changes and moving forward with my life, which is a very good thing.

And then, the day after, Griff came down with the flu and had to stay home from school for the rest of the week, as per doctor's orders. And my corporate job won't allow me any time off for the first six months of my employment there (some say, even after that, time off is discouraged). And it rips my heart out to not be here at home when one of them is sick. I have all of this guilt about not being the kind of mama I'd like to be... or that I was previously.

Now, I can't imagine that I'll ever find a job that will afford me the same flexibility or amount of time off that my previous job did. I also can't imagine working for an institution that could make us as miserable as a family as that one did, so the pros are far outweighing the cons with this corporate job.

I spent a good portion of my morning today trying not to cry at my computer screen in my little cubby area at work. My sweet co-workers were aware and were just uniformly sympathetic and supportive, and I am humbled by that. I am also aware - now that the tears have dried and Mike's come to the rescue by arranging competent child care for the rest of the week - that my response at this point is my choice.

In the end, I simply have to choose to say that this is what it is and that it isn't forever and that I just need to stick it out a little while longer. I just need to keep walking this particular path with hope... and gratitude... trusting that I really am the good mother Mike says I am.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, January 17, 2007  ]

Monday, January 15

It was a fabulous trip, even if I am exhausted now. Olivia was precious and a delight. And, as always, it was good to be in the presence of trusted friends.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, January 15, 2007  ]

Thursday, January 11

Tomorrow, I fly out of Tampa and back to a little town in Central Louisiana to hold a precious baby. And I get to see Mandy, Josh, Linda, and Aleece. I can hardly wait.

If only I could get packed. But we're busy watching NBC comedy night, and I'm not anywhere near done. We're laughing now because on "30 Rock," they're making fun of people not being able to pronounce the word 'rural.' It's especially funny for us because I, myself, cannot say that word at all. For which, my people all make fun of me. You gotta love family, right?

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, January 11, 2007  ]

Monday, January 8

I have a long history of falling in love with the sitters who care for my children. I invite them in and make them part of our family.

Our Mandy was Griff's first babysitter. He scared off her crappy boyfriend and instantly adored the man who is now her husband. When she called this afternoon, Griff asked to speak to Mandy. There is love there.

Stephanie was our favorite evening sitter because she loved the kids so well. I was never worried to leave town for dinner with her in charge. And I never worried that the kids wouldn't get enough attention from her. She and I left town about the same time last summer, and I'm still missing her.

When Griff began kindergarten, Dena picked him up from school every afternoon and brought him home. When Eliza arrived early, Dena adjusted her schedule to help us by staying with Griff while Mike and I went to the hospital to see Eliza. And for the next three years, Dena was our on-again, off-again, but always-loved afternoon sitter.

In the first semester that Dena couldn't arrange her classes to keep Griff, Patrick stepped into the sitter role. While Patrick couldn't be convinced to help Griff with his homework, he did teach him to climb a tree.

And when Patrick graduated and left, Landon was our new afternoon sitter. Landon, as it turns out, is Griffin, just a dozen or so years in the future. The two of them are like mirrors of one another, and Griff loved hanging out with Landon. We were blessed to have Godly young men to watch over our son.

In our last semester in Louisiana, the circle was completed as Dena resumed her sitter duties. I miss chatting with her in the afternoons and hearing about her daily life. We still exchange emails, and I'm delighted with the woman she has become.

These people have been important to me because of who they are, as well as because they were important to my children. At lunch today, I heard a snippet of an interview with Lisa Belkins on the Satellite Sisters XM show. She was talking about her article in yesterday's New York Times Magazine about how she never really knew her nanny.

It's an intriquing article, one that makes me miss those sitters I loved while also giving me a knot in my stomach as I consider the new sitters who are staying with Griff in the afternoons this semester.

Trust is such a fragile thing.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, January 08, 2007  ]

Saturday, January 6

In the latest issue of "Today's Christian Woman," (which I alternately like and dislike) there were a couple of quotes that I really liked and wanted to remember.

"Today I can say with certainty God's best doorways often resemble unwelcome, even forbidding, challenges." Virelle Kidder

"Hope smiles on the threshold of the year to come, whispering that it will be happier." Alfred Lord Tennyson

[  posted by Chel on Saturday, January 06, 2007  ]

Friday, January 5

I haven't written anything since the new year. It isn't that it isn't going well. Thus far, 2007 is treating us very well. I just can't quite seem to think of anything worth recording. So I'll think of the little things... that are probably bigger than I think.

Mandy and Olivia are home and doing well. Mandy's under a cardiologist's care, and little Olivia went to her first visit with our favorite pediatrician.

My raise from last month kicks in with this pay period, thus helping us as we work toward a goal of paying off some debts from the move.

I'm doing better with my job these days, giving me hope that at some point, I really will get the hang of it.

We are genuinely blessed.

[  posted by Chel on Friday, January 05, 2007  ]