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28 is (not so) great!

I dated a guy a few years ago who came up with themes for every year of his life.  When I turned 28 last year, my theme was, “28 is great!”  11 months in, that turned out to not really be the case. Although I did get to do quite a few cool and interesting things, much of my 28th year was spent getting knocked down, kicked around, and for continuance of the metaphor, generally getting completely beat up.

For the morbidly curious here’s a general breakdown of each month of my 28th year:

October: Normal Life. Normal Life.

Lee County Hysterical Society

Syrup Soppin’ in Loachapoka, Alabama.

Pam & I pretending to be sad at the wedding, but really we weren't.  Also, I have no eyebrows.

Getting Smidge ready for the big event.

Awesome Wedding (Congrats Smidge & Swaff!!  I can’t wait to have you guys back in the ‘Burn!).

November: Finished adoption paperwork. Paid the last $11,100.  So far, so good.  Check, check, double check.


Come Join The Feast

Fed some people on a bridge with some friends (mostly I just mingled, but not always with my hands on my head).

Picture 2

Incredible 1st part of a trip to India, followed by terrible, terrible sickness and a flippin’ terrorist attack at the hotel I was supposed to go to two days later.

Morning Paper on Thanksgiving Day

Got out of the country by midnight thanks to my incredible father, lots of phone calls, and a little under $2,000.  Harrowing trip home.  Safety.  Love.  Lots of exhausted hugs.

December: Recovery.  Met a new friend (Hi Kellie!).

Reception fiesta with sweet friends

Another Awesome Wedding (Congrats Big Sam & Whitney!!).

Christmas Paradise

Family vacation (Cruise to Mexico . . . on Christmas).  Was very glad to get out of the country again so quickly.

January: More recovery (this time with counseling).  Finally get over India Stomach Parasites.  Nightmares become a problem. Good thing I’m in counseling. Begin moving toward health . . . sleeping better, eating better, getting my emotions in order . . . and then Bam! The flu (but not of the swine sort). Definitely don’t remember about a week.

February: GET REFERRAL FOR A SON.  Life seems to be sorting out and looking up.  Panic Attack?  Now that’s a new problem.  Begin conquering terrorist-induced fears. #1: sleeping.  #2: flying.  #3: lack of control.  Flew to Cincinnati for work & was brave for the flight and snowstorm.

Favorite Bookstore in DC

INCREDIBLE trip to DC with Steve (SO FUN).  Cross fear #2 off of the list.

March: ½ of my students decide that plagiarism is OK and I learn how to deal with that erroneous decision, which is complicated by the fact that ½ of my students is about 150 people.  Creativity and an awesome mentor get me through the situation.  Difficult realignment of core relationships & establishment of new boundaries. SPRING BREAK (spent at home, writing, resting, gardening, and generally recovering from the previous two weeks).

April: Started to get really good feedback on my dissertation.  Encouraged. Moving in the right direction.  Got published in a book. Found a new counselor who had some experience with PTSD and also loves Jesus. Begin working on fears # 1 & 3. Felt a little discombobulated because the adoption was going slow.  Started a community garden with my friends.  Had some great friends visit (Hi Jeremy K!, Hi Joshua & Mandy!).  FINALLY GOT A COURT DATE FOR THE BABY.

May: School ended on an OK note.  Had another sweet friend visit (Hi Jeremy S!).  New counselor didn’t work out so well.  Apparently I make things too complicated? Baby got moved to Addis for the final leg of the adoption.

too cute. And also, I stole this from Sib's facebook. . .

Yet ANOTHER Awesome Wedding, this time in Florida (Congrats Laura & Perk!).

I totally stole this picture from her facebook.

Spent some sweet time with a sweet friend in San Antonio, FL (Hi Anna!). Sent off my first finalized manuscript (WHEW!).

June: Summer School!  Teaching, teaching, writing, writing.  Mom visits. 1st court date comes and goes . . . still no baby.  Minor glitch in the paperwork.  New court date, 2 weeks hence.  Minor glitch turns into major glitch and things get postponed.  Looks bad.  Looks really, really bad. Mom comes again.  Tears come readily. Devastating blow: the baby is tied up in a legal mess and cannot be adopted. This was followed the next day by a “but wait, there’s ONE more thing we will try” and a warning to not get my hopes up.  Begin hedging bets on slim chances.  Also begin distracting myself from the pain, knowing that the worst is probably eminent: Pot Luck Extravaganza,  Family vacation (Hi Turnboogie!), and lots of pretending to be normal, hoping beyond hope that this will work out.  Friends tell me I’m strong, but I know that I am broken and weak.  This is not good.

July: Visit friends in SC (Hi Sarah & Charlie!, Hi Tullie!, Hi Joshua & Mandy!).  Driving back to Alabama and I got the call. Everything falls apart. Baby is declared officially, legally un-adoptable. Nothing you can do. Nothing we can do. Breathing becomes an issue. Lots and lots and lots of tears. Lots and lots and lots of runs. Lots and lots and lots of hugs. More tears. More runs. More hugs. Completely in survival mode.  Mechanical living becomes the norm.  Got on an airplane and went to Greece with Jerrod for work and for fun.

Me at the Acropolis

Pretended to be OK most of the time.  Generally enjoyed myself & all things Greek. Minor freak out when 50 riot police rushed into the square at the parliament building where we were hanging out, but fortunately we were able to get to the hotel quickly & stayed put. Got home and realized that I am not OK at all.  Mom came to take care of me.  I love my mom.

August: Realized that I can embrace the grieving process and still work toward my future. Realized (again) that I have incredible friends.  Realized (again) that I have an incredible family.   Started with an old, new counselor.  Finally making progress.  Finally learning how to surrender.  Big breakthrough:  I can give myself the freedom to compartmentalize the tragedies and responsibilities of the past year.  It’s OK.  I don’t have to deal with all of these at the same time. I can deal with them as I am ready.  BIG LOAD OFF OF MY SHOULDERS. Went to Chicago for work and for fun (Hi John!, Hi Jeremy S!). Oriented MBAs & excited about the new class. Pot Luck! Started teaching again. Really enjoying the new classes.  Good crew of students. Generally beginning to be excited about the future again.

September: TBD


So that’s where I’m at.  It’s the beginning of September and the month long count down to the next year of my birth has begun.  I’m not sure what the theme will be for my 29th year, but hopefully it won’t be nearly as opposite of what I imagined 28 would be.  It will for sure be a year of changes.  Of that, I am certain—because if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past year, it is that life is change.  I am slowly trying to learn to live not expecting the next change to be another tragedy, while knowing that my life will certainly have plenty more of those too.  I was encouraged by this verse on my dad’s blog the other day:

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

This is why I can rest in the future and also how I can enjoy the present. This is why I know I will over come the current fears in my life.  The fears are not of God, but my story is. He knows what He is doing. I am eager to learn how the trials and tribulations of this 28th year will weave their way into my story of God’s care, claiming, and hope.