Tag Archives: birthday

Annual Contemplation

This month is when my year starts again, even though it has felt like I have lived many years since January.  But here in the month of June, my birth is celebrated by those closest to me.  And it puts me in a deeply contemplative mood.

Looking Back

This last year was almost evenly divided between growth and stepping back.  Last summer, we did a lot of travel as a family.  We went to a wedding, visited family, and toured New York City.  All things that are more difficult to do this summer.  Last fall, I joined a mom group, a second book club, and found socialization opportunities for my son.  By the end of the year, I had a small village of people who loved on my family and encouraged me as a mom. 

Then, everything seemed to fall apart.  While the very beginning of this year promised a continued growth of that village, COVID-19 spread all over the world and this country bringing uncertainty and stopping pretty much everything.  So, after a few weeks of adjustment, I had new goals to focus on, primarily keeping my son engaged without leaving our house.

And in just the last few weeks, protests of police brutality and all of the conversations around racism and privilege have been brought to the forefront.  Every discussion over breakfast or dinner between Michael and me have been about the things our city and our country are going through, and the action steps we plan to take.

One of my personal goals is to teach my son and make him aware of what is going on at his level.  He’s only two so our conversations are more focused on the beauty in every person and the value that everyone inherently has.  But I know as he grows, we will have more in depth conversations about privileges we have and the honest history of our country.

Looking Forward

It is kind of odd this year.  Usually, I make my birthday a sort of New Year’s Day with its own goals and plans.  And while I have been making some plans this month (particularly in the blogging and writing categories), I don’t’ actually know much about what will happen in the next year.  COVID-19 is still spreading through our community.  Dallas has experienced higher rates of hospitalization and ER visits connected with this virus. 

Plus, this is an election year.  I do plan to research at an even deeper level what is on my ballot, not just the president choices, but everyone up for a place in local, state, and national positions.  But I don’t know what that outcome will be.

So, that makes it difficult to make specific plans.  I do know that I want to continue focusing on the things I’m passionate about while balancing self-care and the needs of my family.  I want to embrace slowing down and taking moments to reflect as well as to look ahead, making thoughtful decisions without worrying about pleasing other people.  Ultimately, I want to do things that honor God and encourage others around me to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

I am thankful for the last year and its many, many lessons.  I sort of hope that next year will be a little lighter on the challenges. But whatever may come, this last year has taught me even more that I can lean on God and my family. Life is hard, but we can definitely do hard things. And I look forward to the adventures that are ahead.

Happy Birthday, Teddy!

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that we celebrated our pup’s birthday on Monday.  He has been a part of our family for almost a year, and it has been so wonderful to watch him grow and learn.20180205_084531.jpg

We adopted Teddy from the SPCA.  He was in a group of dogs who came from a hoarding situation, meaning that the owner had too many dogs to be able to care for all of them.  He was unsure of a lot of human social interaction but was very comfortable around other dogs.  He knows the rules of play with dogs, but the rules when interacting with humans were completely foreign.

Over the last year, he has learned so much.  We have game nights at our house that are so helpful with Teddy meeting and interacting with new people.  He has learned, for the most part, to calm down when coming in from outside.  I mean, he’s still only two and a puppy for the most part.

For our dogs’ birthdays, we have a tradition of taking them to Petco (not sponsored) and letting them walk around the store.  They get to sniff all the toys and go home with a toy and treat.  This was the first time Michael and I can remember actually taking Teddy to a store like this, so I was interested to see how this would play out.

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He was a bit unsure, with his tail tucked and his back legs shaking.  There were so many sights and smells and sounds.  We decided to take him closer to the end of the day when the store wouldn’t be as crowded.  I think the experience overwhelmed him at first, but gradually he seemed to adjust.

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We walked around the store a few times.  But my favorite part was when two of the employees got down to approach him.  He went right up to them and let them pet him.  It was an amazing moment, that I, of course, forgot to take a picture because I was part of the interaction.  I wanted to be in the moment for him in case he was unsure.  But he was actually braver during those interactions than he was just walking through the store, itself!

Later this month, he will go to the vet for the second time since he has been a part of our family so he will have more opportunities to interact in unfamiliar settings.  I’m so proud of our pup, and I look forward to seeing how much he will grow and learn this year!

My Birthday

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Next week, I will turn another year older.

When I entered my 30s, I was excited.  I felt like I was leaving so much of the pressure to perform, to meet the expectations of society as a 20-something.  And I did.  But now that I’m well into my 30s, I realize that I merely swapped those expectations for new ones.  However, I’m definitely more sure of myself than I was in my 20s.  And I know what I like and I don’t like, and I’m not afraid to try something new without having that need to do it perfectly the first time.  I’m learning how to switch off the people pleasing filter in my brain when making decisions.  It doesn’t work every time, but I am learning and I am okay that I’m learning.

A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me that next week, I will be ten years older than my mom when she had me.  Now, to be fair, when I was ten years younger than I am now, I was engaged to be married, and I would only be married for six months, and I’m really glad that I didn’t get pregnant that first year of marriage because I had way too much growing up to do.

But the idea is not lost on me that time is slowly ticking away.  I will soon reach the “every pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy” age.  Though to be fair, considering my history, every pregnancy already is a high-risk one, but there are just so many statistics out there that get scary.  On the other hand, I haven’t really been living up to the regular statistics anyway, so who is to say I’m going to start doing that anytime soon?

And even though I feel more in tune with myself, I have acquired more of a hesitation and filter on the things I want to say.  Partially, because in the moment, my brain is usually just jumbled with an incoherent word knot that only unravels as I leave a situation.  Partially, because I realize that motivations and intentions of others are always more complicated than I thought they were.  Things have become grayer to me.  I am slower to judge a situation or a person because I know I will never have all of the facts.

And even though these first years of my 30s have been wrought with pain and loss, there is so much I’m grateful for.  I am grateful for the friendships that have developed here in Dallas, and here in the blogosphere.  I am grateful that I have a husband who has become the breadwinner so that I can heal and hopefully someday get pregnant again.  I am thankful for the tasks God has given me – with the Alzheimer Walk, the SPCA, Hope Mommies.  I am thankful that he turned my sorrow and grief into a ministry, a place I can shine His love and joy into the dark nooks and crannies of infertility and pregnancy loss.

And it’s not perfect, and never will be this side of eternity.  I’m learning to lean on God when I feel isolated and alone.  I am learning that I don’t have to be the best or have all the attention or be first to have value.  I am learning that I don’t have to have a lot of feedback in order to make a difference in someone’s life.   I’m learning to embrace my limitations and live within boundaries, and that neither one of these things makes me less than anyone else.  And even if someone wants to think of me as lower than them, I am learning not to feed that comparative attitude within myself.

I have no idea what this next year will bring me.  I’ll be honest, I’m not as excited as I was when I turned thirty.  But I know that God is here, present in my life.  So whatever this year brings – heartache or overwhelming joy, or both…

Bring it on.

Happy Birthday, Loco!

Today is this one’s birthday.

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We love our Loco-bear.  He gives the best snuggles.IMG_9498.JPG

Loco is a champion.  When we adopted him, he had heartworms, and we couldn’t afford the surgery, so we had to put him on Heartguard and hope for the best.  This is a very risky way to treat heartworms, but he managed to beat heartworms last July!

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Also, he is a boxer.  Well, a boxer mix, but that breed has a life expectancy of at most 12.  He turned 13 today!  He beat another set of odds in his life!  We celebrate every day that we get to spend with this pup, but this day is super special.  I can’t wait to spend some time with him after work!

How do you celebrate doggie birthdays?

Have you ever had a dog that beat the odds in something?