Friday, February 29, 2008

Maryland: Home Sweet Home?

If you know me at all, you know that "home," for me, has always been back in Georgia. Since we moved here, almost five years ago, it's always been about getting back home. But recently that has been starting to change to the shock of literally everyone who knows me. To Neil, I think Maryland has always been comfortable. He has a job he likes, rivers to kayak on, plus he has that whole introvert thing going for him, so the need for friends isn't as pertinent.

For me, it wasn't so easy. The entire first year or so that we lived here, I slowly slipped into a slump I couldn't even drag myself out of, not even by spending time with God. I had no friends, no church, a job that left me feeling isolated, and my best friend was in France. It was a dark time for me, and as a result for our marriage. Thankfully Neil is a very patient and commited man, because most men would not have put up with me. Eventually, we found Grace Community Church and began to make friends. Then we got pregnant with Owen. On the day we found Owen was a boy, March 19 to be exact, I also found out that my dad had advanced renal cancer. Talk about a shock to your world. That, combined with my grandparents not getting any younger, made me feel like this place would always be temporary and all I wanted to do was get closer to family. And depending on how things were going down south, determined how I well assimilated here.

When we found out we were pregnant with Blake the urgency to move grew exponentially. All I could think about what making that happen. Just so you know, when you're a stay at home mom (for the most part), there are few things you can control when it comes to life changing moves like this one. I can't create a job for Neil or make anyone hire him. So the only thing I could do was complain. You can imagine how helpful that must have been for Neil. What pressure I must have put on him. Like he doesn't have enough to woory about as a provider, a husband, and a father. After almost two years of applying for the few jobs that came along, and nothing, we've decided to put the search on hold for now.

Of course we still would like to be closer to family, but in the past few months, I've began to realize that I've focused so hard on flying south that I never really thought about what that meant. The reality is that no matter where we went in the south, we probably would not be in the same town as any of our family, and we'd still have to start all over again; new friends, new church, new life. Seeing how well that went the last time we did that, I'm not sure it would be the best thing for me, Neil, or the kids. Granted, I could do it, but would it really accomplish anything more than closing the distance gap? In today's world of cell phones and computers, I sometimes forget that it's been months since I've seen someone because I talk to them all the time.

I can't say that I came to this conclusion on my own though. I had a little help from Above. Last July, I was spending a little time praying and felt like I needed to act on a vision I had, a vision I never thought I would be called to do here in Maryland...after all, this place is just temporary. But I knew what I was supposed to do, and I did it. I sent an email to one of the pastors at Grace about starting a day camp. That was 8 months ago, and we've already started registration for this summer. Wow. I'm still in awe of where we are today. The idea of not seeing camp, moving before it starts, killed me. And as I began to think about that, my heart began to change. Partly because I feel called to camp, and partly because feeling called to camp made me think about the reality of moving and what that would mean. You could say it took the blinders off. Ironically, Neil was starting to think the same thing, not so much about camp, but about not moving. He still has two applications in for Georgia, one for Savannah and one for Athens. But for now, we're moving forward. We're going to put the house on the market, and move towards finding another house here in Maryland, in a better school district with a little more square footage. If God intervenes, then I'm open to that. I have to be willing to let go of camp, if I'm asked.

I don't know what the future holds. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9. But I know that where ever we are, we'll be where God wants us to be. And I think this whole process, for me, has been less about the circumstances, and more about being open to what God has in store for my family and me. And whatever happens from here on out, my prayer is that Neil and I would continue to remain on the same page with God in the center of our marriage. And that Owen and Blake would grow up in a house where decisions weren't made on feelings, but on faith.

Let me just say, as a disclaimer, that if something were to happen with my dad or my grandparents, no amount of distance will stop me from going. It would just be a longer drive.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

5 Minutes til Bed

Yep, it's 9:30 and I am heading off to bed. Since this whole blogging thing is so new to me, I thought I'd try a nightcap blog to send me off to awaiting dreams. Today was good, not great, not bad, but good. I felt productive for the most part. Pilates, the once a week class that motivates me to get to the gym, kicked my butt. And believe me it needs to be kicked. Naptime also kicked my butt, but not in the good way. I was just so tired; I caught myself dosing off while watching One Tree Hill in sindication on SoapNet. You know you're beyond help when you even know what SoapNet is much less watch reruns of teany bopper shows in the middle of the day. I just could not motivate myself to do anything. Around 3, Owen starts banging on the door, "Mooommmyy, Whareu?" So being the merciful mom that I am , I get up and let the monster out of his cage. We had just enough time to get a snack before monster #2 started to stir. Actually I think Blake just wakes up in full stir because he can go from silent to demanding in literally no time. I don't even have to have a monitor in his room; you just know when he's awake.

After snack time...which, why is it that we have like 6 snack times a day but only one naptime? Shouldn't that be reversed? Anyways, after naptime, it was time for playdough. Owen loves "peedo." I actually use the Pampered Chef pastry mat as my play dough mat because we all know I don't bake, so this way I get some use out of the item. Play dough time didn't last long since Owen took off through the house flipping the flattened play dough like it was a pancake. I asked him to come back, giving him a choice, come back or no more "peedo." Apparently he was done with it since he ran to his room armed with the spatula and the tri-colored play dough, jumped on his bed and attemped to hide the play dough behind his pillow. Luckily I swooped in just before he smooshed it into the pillow. The only thing I could think in that moment was that I just saved myself a piece of laundry.

Neil arrived home a few minutes early...minutes I treasure. For some reason, I've just been so tired today. No, I'm not pregnant. Maybe I just haven't had my normal amount of caffeine, who knows? But I did manage to cook the same dinner I planned. Not a small thing to be overlooked. I love planning meals, but sometimes the follow through gets lost in translation, or more appropriately, my purse. I know I put my list in there, I just can't find it. Hmmm.

Lastly, after the boys were down, I worked. I spent an hour and a half making customer care calls for Pampered Chef. I always dread going into it, but feel refreshed and motivated after I make the first call. Isn't that funny how that happens, and so often, and not just with Pampered Chef? How many times do we dread doing something and then we find later that it was fun, or beneficial, or needed? Like working out, or spending time with God, or making Customer care calls for Pampered Chef. Anyways, I feel better. I have a headache, but I feel better about my business.

Until next time...Oh, and by the way, my five minutes to bed somehow turned into 15...must be my rambling.

Hence the Name

I've never been much of a blogger...tried MySpace and Facebook but quickly faded from upkeep due to the chaos I call life. However, recently I've had all these thoughts floating in my head that I just feel compelled to spill out onto paper, but I'm too lazy to get out the pen. So here I am blogging for the first time and hoping that it helps free my mind.

Recently Jo, my best friend, came to visit. Okay, it was Saturday, but recently seemed like a better descriptive word. Over a fabulous kid-free dinner, we discussed the possibilities of me writing a book. My husband, Neil, shares the same sentiments as Jo...I should do it. But seriously, what would I write about. Fiction or non-fiction? Short of long? Free verse or researched? And even if I were to figure out the answers to those questions, when would I find the time to write it. If I carved out 30 minutes of free time a day to write, it would probably take me 14 years 9 months to finish it, and by then most of what I would be writing would be irrelevant. I know what you're thinking..."if you really want to write Hillary, then you could easily carve out more than 30 minutes a day." Really? Allow me to introduce you to my life of chaos, and as a disclaimer, let me first say that I would not exchange my chaos for organization even on my roughest days.

Owen, my 2 1/2 year old just plopped himself down next to me and is continually trying to type his own blog. Oh wait, now he's off to the other room where I will shortly be following a loud crash or, even worse, a long period of silence. All the while, Blake, my 9 month old, is practicing his newest skill, crawling, which requires me to be on the move constantly. What about naptime, Hillary? If you're a mom, you know naptime lasts about an 1 hour and a half on a good day when you can get both children to overlap naptimes. Oops, Blakes right back. In that hour and a half, I have to cram in an entire day's worth of to do's plus the ones left over from yesterday (and the day before that). So nap time is out. Okay, Hills, what about after the kids are in bed? Good point. After 8 pm, yes, the house falls silent, and yes, the thoughts in my head are swarming. But let's not forget that I still have to make time for my biggest priority (one that I'm sure get's misplaced quite often) my husband. By the time we're winding down and ready for bed, (BRB Blake in the dog food) who has enough energy to organize thoughts on paper. So my only option is to take advantage of the few moments I have a day to attempt to rid my head of these tormenters aching to get out.

Yes, I am a wife. I am a mom of two. I am a Pampered Chef consultant. I am a camp director. I am a Friend. I am a Family member. But mostly, and the one I'm afraid most of losing sight of, I am Hillary. That's what this blog is's about me getting back to me, finding my identity again, an identity centered in Christ and what He thinks of me. Isn't it curious how often we look to others in our lives to shape our identity...our husbands, our kids, the other mom's around us, our mothers & fathers? That's reality, but somehow I have to find my way back to me. Maybe you'll join me on the journey.

Until my next 30 minutes or less...