Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Dying Breed

Last night Clint and I attended the monthly bike club meeting. I am the current president and Clint is the ride director. However, we look forward to turning these positions over to other people, and luckily the club was able to scrounge up enough people to fill the next slate of officers for next year. Sadly, this club is dying.

When I first started riding with the Longview Bicycle Club way back in '02 it was a very active group! Monday night rides would average over 60 people, they had time trials and a 12 hour ride, get togethers for cookouts, prizes at the meetings, etc. etc. It was great! However, as the years have passed, less people come to events...then we stopped having events at all, no more time trials, no more 12 hour ride. We average about 15 at our meetings. Hardly anyone comes to the Christmas parties. While the group naturally divides into slower and faster groups, a riff of some sort has developed and Saturday rides now start in two different places.

All of this is really heartbreaking really. I love the bike, I love the people who bike. But the fact is, the older people have done their share and the newer (my) generation don't want to step up to the plate. I don't know how to change that. Our generation has kids etc., which the old people claim is no excuse because they still did it back in their younger years with kids. However, I was reminded by a fellow Leadership Longview classmate that todays world is so fast paced and we have much more commitments. Heck, we're over committed! People can't go without their cell phones; carrying work, etc. around with them at all times. All so true! It's hard to remember life before this technological age, but I do remember it...and I sometimes miss it. I miss how people used to actually TALK to each other, connect with each other. Seems like today is just thousands of short texted phrases to one another while dashing to the next commitment.

So, I understand people struggling to be active participants in things they care about. However, I don't see the bike club lasting much longer. The club has already divided into it's cliques anyway that send out texts of when, where, and who is showing up to ride. Eventually, I see it dissolving into a few just getting together to ride. I'm thankful of the people I have met though and I know I'll always have riding partners.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sharing the news

I have already spilled the beans to my mom and sister and of course they are super excited about our adoption decision. Clint felt it was time to share with his Dad. So, yesterday we went over to his house to eat and tell him about our plans.

I had no idea that Clint was going to go into detail about us trying to have kids for several months, yada yada. In retrospect, I wish that we had talked beforehand about how he was going to present it to his dad. Because of course, the first thing his dad says, "Well, you'll get pregnant as soon as you try to adopt." I don't think he truely understood that pregnancy is NOT our hope or ambition and that adoption is somehow a 'backup' plan. It's THE plan, the one we want and have prayed over! Of course, not to say that we'll be sad in anyway if we do get pregnant. I just wanted him to understand that adoption is what we want and that we are so very happy. And he seemed perfectly fine with it, but again, I guess I'm already turning into Mama Bear and don't want anyone to even think that this child(ren) is somehow second best.

At this time we are going the route of not trying/not preventing, but it's something I will be discussing with my doctor. I was on medication for years to prevent/slow the process of endometriosis because both my mom and sister have had issues with it. So, I may be going back to it if it will help keep me healthy and pain free, therefore, back to preventing and Clint and I are A-okay with that!

Anyway, back to his dad...we were surprised to hear that Clint's parents had gone through the licensing process to foster kids because they tried for three years to have kids. They even fostered a couple of kids! Clint's dad had the same issues Clint does so the cycling, while surely wasn't helping the situation, by not doing it, chances are it wouldn't have changed anything. Clint was a little upset that his dad never shared any of this with him. The whole conversation was akward really. Clint's dad is one of the nicest guys, but Clint doesn't have a very close relationship with him. His dad worked as much as possible just to try to make ends meet for them growing up and so was not around much. Plus, Clint's dad didn't have much of a relationship with his own father so I think he really didn't know how to be a father to his own kids. We hope that we can break that cycle! Clint so much wants to be an ACTIVE participant in his child's life and I know he'll be a great dad. And I dont say any of this in a mean spirited way towards his dad, there is so much more to the situation and his dad is a good, hard-working person. I just simply wish that Clint and he were closer. However, Clint has to do his part as well. All in all, I think his dad and step-mom are happy for us and Clint feels lighter having shared the news.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sad Statistics

Last night was the informational meeting on Hannah House. Most of the information I had heard when they came to speak to the board of our Homeowner's Association and close neighbors. However, I didn't mind hearing it again. I still think this is such a great ministry.

Something that I heard that was new was that 750,000 teen girls get pregnant EVERY year in the Unites States!! 28,000 in Texas alone. That is mind boggling to me. The worst part, 40% of that number choose to get an abortion. Just breaks my heart. I am obviously pro life, but I can't even imagine for those that are pro choice having to make such a difficult decision. And sadly, 1.1 million couples apply annually to adopt. Which is kind of scary when we think of our own journey to adopt. With so many people wanting to adopt, why do we feel we need to? There's not enough to go around! Well, actually, the sad fact is, so many of these couples are wanting a newborn, while children sit in foster care and orphanages. So, I pray that we will be doing a helpful thing by giving a child(ren) a loving home and removing them from a bad situation. Everyone deserves a chance.

After meetings like this I am so pumped up and rah rah sis boom-bah! But I am still unsure of how I can help. But I am putting my information on the volunteer list because I still want to be involved. They are putting on a golf tournament to raise funds at the end of October so I plan to volunteer at that, the very least. I'm trying to get Clint to organize a 4 man team to compete. He likes golf and never gets to play. However, his brother kind of took his clubs and lost/destroyed them so he'll have to see if he can borrow some. It's just not worth it right now to buy new ones when they are so expensive and he just doesn't get the chance to play that often.

Right now, Hannah House has found a house they love on Sam Page (right around the corner from us, lovely area) and the best part, no HOA to deal with! The problem, they need $20,000 for a down payment. I'll definitely be talking it up!

Change of subject, but somewhat related to the whole baby/family thing: After my 100 mile run, I was ready for a break, took the rest of 2009 off. At the beginning of 2010, it was about paying off debt and not doing anything too strenuous in case I became pregnant and not wanting to sign up for case I got pregnant. Well, sadly, I didn't eat less to correspond with my working out less. So, I need a game plan, something to work towards. Another downfall and the reason for my ultra 'sickness' to begin with is that I am terrified to compete at a distance I have already done because I am afraid I will have a slower time. Ridiculous, no?! I mean, even the same race is different from year to year due to weather, sickness, stress, etc. And the truth is, I AM getting older, the times ARE going to get slower. I need to learn how to focus on doing the best I can given the circumstances. I know it, I just need to believe it :) With all of that said, I came home yesterday evening and sat down and picked out an event! I love trail running so I picked out a trail marathon! I was hoping for a 50k, but Clint and I weighed travel distance to the race site, cost, the amount of loops (I don't want to do multiple loops, been there, done that! I want to GO somewhere!) and this particular race just had the best of all of our criteria. It's the Cross Timbers Trail Marathon out by Lake Texoma. They claim it's the 'hardest' trail in Texas. Looking at the pictures, it does look like a challenge and I am excited! So, next up, a training plan to execute!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Scarlet Letter 'A'

Our conversations on adoption have been interesting. It's all so new and something no one in either of our families have done. Our minds are going a million miles a minute with all sorts of questions. However, I think I am slightly more familiar with it since I know of those who were adopted, even dated a couple of guys who were adopted.

I think one fear that Clint has is that while he will no doubt love this child(ren) unconditionally, he feels that there will be some stigma about the child being adopted. As if, they will be branded with the letter 'A' for adopted across their chest! I tell him that this simply won't be the case. Yes, people will know that we adopted, but that's not going to be the focus when we walk in a room unless we ourselves make it the issue.

I think he's slowly coming around though. As we talk to more people about adoption on our journey to learn all that we can, Clint is amazed at those we know who have adopted or are adopted. He/We had no idea! Hence the reason he shouldn't have this fear of his child being branded as adopted and therefore somehow indirectly supposed to be of less quality or 'different'. In my opinion, this child will be the opposite! He/She will be handpicked for US. Pretty awesome in my book.

I know he is still nervous about telling his parents. In the end, it doesn't matter how our families will feel (my family is already excited for us) because this is our decision. I keep stressing to Clint that the ONLY difference this child will have than one of our own is genetics. That's it! And not to be mean, but neither of us exactly come from quality. We're not royalty. We come from families of abuse in all of it's forms, divorced families, hate, etc. And the reality is, everyone has those issues in their families somewhere. No one is perfect. Besides, I'll be so glad that my child won't be dealing with my complexion or out of control curly hair! :)

Anyway, regardless of the worries of the unknown Clint and I are both still so very excited about adoption. I keep stressing to him that we are going to have to be patient, which can be difficult. However, we know that the time will come when God is ready for us to have a child. We are looking at the long wait time as a blessing because in this time, we can learn, prepare, and get our finances even more secure before we bring a child into our home.

And just because we both found this pretty interesting. Did you know that these famous people were adopted? Aristotle; Nancy Reagan, PRESIDENT General Ford, PRESIDENT William Clinton, Scott Hamilton, Tim McGraw, Edgar Allen Poe, John Hancock, and one of the most famous of them all: Moses. Of course, there are a ton more, I just picked out a few. So, who knows, we could be raising the future president of the United States! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leadership Longview Retreat

I made it into this year's Leadership Longview Class. I'll admit that I knew nothing of this program and was told about it by my boss at about 1:30 pm on a Friday afternoon when the application deadline was 5 pm that day. However, this is such a neat program! The mission of the program is to strengthen and transform the community of Longview through a program of leadership development, community study and involvement. Our class of 25 will meet once a month for 'classes' where we will learn about the different areas of community such as education, criminal justice, health care, etc. In April, we have to complete a class project that benefits the community. A past example is raise funds and construct a playground. However, looking at past projects, 90% of them are playgrounds of some sort. I hope our class can 'think outside the box' (something we heard over and over on our retreat) and do something else for the community. Not that playgrounds for underpriviledged children is not important, but I feel like we are tight-casting ourselves when we could reach others/more in the community. Regardless of the project, I hope that I can be vital participant in bringing it to completion.

So, enough side-tracking on the project. The program kicks off with a retreat at the Lakeview Methodist Conference Center down in Palestine, TX. It was a two day event where we had lots of team building exercises, activities on the ropes course, and getting to know one another. I was excited about going. I had never been to LMCC, but did do a ropes course in Buffalo Gap in college and had a good time. However, I admit to being apprehensive going in. I wouldn't classify myself as a leader. A good worker bee, yes! Tell me what to do and I'm on it and won't stop till I drop. However, I am an introvert, which is not exactly conducive to being a leader. I can sometimes struggle with being thrown into a new crowd and building connections. Especially, when so many times there are always those people who have very, ummm, strong personalities so to speak. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this group. I adored everyone there! True, I didn't get to know some of the people as well as others, but we all seemed to get along so well.

On Friday, we started the day with learning everyone's names. Our facilitator had a great game of going around a circle, saying your name, a descriptor word with the name, and an action to go along with it. I was Jumping Gina! It really did help to learn everyone's name so as silly as it was, I was so glad we did it. The remainder of the day was mainly spent in the classroom doing activities to learn about leadership skills, etc. We also did the DISC behavioral analysis. No news there on my behavior. I'm dependable, responsible, patient, slow to change, and kind, but hate conflict and will do anything to avoid it or tolerate it.

It was interesting going through all of the different exercises. We'd be give a set of guidelines to complete a task and then we had to complete it. I am so NOT an outside of the box thinker and it's amazing how I get in my head what the rules mean and when someone wants to do something differently than what 'I' think the rules mean, it was quite an inner struggle. I kept thinking, 'you can't do that! That's not allowed!' But in reality, the rules didn't say we couldn't do something a certain way, I just interpreted them that way. So while I struggled with many of the activities, it was so good for me. Although, in the end, I still wanted 'the answer.' What's the answer to do this task the best, quickest possible way. That's the engineer in me :) Overall, it was great to be reminded that my way is not the only way and that there is more than one way to accomplish something.

Friday evening, we got to go to the Texas Winery. This is a tiny little winery outside of Palestine owned by the Hernandez'. Such a cute, interesting couple who bought the land when they retired and have slowly built it up. We sat outside on a large 'porch' tasting wines, eating cheese and fruit, and chips and salsa and having a great time. It was really a nice evening, but boy was I happy to hit the sack at the hotel. I was out!

Saturday was ropes course day! We did low ropes in the morning in which many of the activities I had done before...but differently of course. Then, high ropes in the afternoon!! Ugh! I had been staring at those cables all morning. 28 feet IN. THE. AIR. Have I mentioned that I am NOT a heights person?! All of this was optional, we were not pushed into anything we didn't want to do. However, we were encouraged to step safely beyond our comfort levels and try something new. I put on my harness and helmet and thought that was a pretty good start! There were a couple different options to get to the top: rock wall or cargo net and then a series of tight rope walking across logs, wooden ladder, and cables. I opted for cargo net. I kept letting others go before me while I tried to pep talk myself. Once it was my turn, I started up the cargo net. Once about half way, things started feeling high and I began to tremble. I just kept telling myself, one step further, just make it to the top.

Once at the top, I had a BIG decision to make, come back down or go through the next three series of obstacles before making it to the tower. If I decided to go on, well then, you were commited since there was no more dynamic cables to get you down. I desperately didn't want to be a chicken so I somehow talked myself into it. The logs terrified me, the ladder I felt a little better, and by the last calbe, I felt fine. Funny how that worked! However, at the tower, I still chickened out at the zip line. Sigh. Maybe someday. I'm disappointed in myself for not following through all the way, but I did go further than I thought possible. Baby Steps!

All in all, it was a great weekend. Loved the activities, loved the people, loved the idea of this program altogether. It's refreshing to be a part of a group that wants to be involved and make a difference. The many other organizations I am a part of are dying because no one wants to step up and take responsibility. I'm anxious to see how the remainder of our year goes and what project we plan to take on. I definitely think we have the potential to be the best class yet!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back on the Bike...

and time to revive the blog! Our poor pitiful blog has been neglected now for about a year and a half. I'm envious of those who can document their lives with almost daily posts. Anyway, so I've decided to delete the few posts I did have and start fresh and clean!

This fresh, clean slate will also have a new focus...well, I still want to document our lives, but we are entering a new stage in our lives: PARENTHOOD. However, this is not to share that I'll soon be sporting a baby bump. Not that I won't ever have one, but we've decided to adopt instead.

When we began 'trying' back in February of this year, we always said, we'll adopt if we can't have one naturally. For us, we were going to take it as God's way of saying we weren't meant to have our own. I in no way, look down on or judge those who do decide to go the IVF route, etc., but it just wasn't for me/us. So, saying that, everyone must think that we are infertile. Well, we don't know for 100% sure, but we have discovered some issues that would if nothing else, make it difficult to conceive on our own without some type of intervention.

Over the past several weeks, our small group had been praying for the ministry Hannah's House. This is a great ministry that takes in young, pregnant women that need shelter and support. They take these women in and provide medical, schooling, take them to church, everything! Their goal is to prepare these women to either give their child up for adoption or learn how to take care of the child/themselves if they choose to keep their baby. If you'd like to read more about the program, you can visit their website at The reason we were praying is because Hannah's House is looking to come to Longview and a couple in our small group is in the process of selling their house (two houses down from us!) and they thought it would be perfect.

To make a long, slightly ugly story short, it didn't work out. Hannah's House is still coming to Longview, just not our neighborhood. However, Clint and I never expected it to have an effect on us. Clint came to me one day saying that he couldn't stop thinking about adoption. It was like he was reading my mind because I had the exact same thoughts! Over the next few weeks, adoption just kept popping up, on TV, in conversations with friends, etc. The more we thought and prayed about it, the more we feel that is the direction we should go, regardless if we can have a biological child or not. We are both ecstatic and scared at the same time. We know nothing about adoption, or parenting for that matter! But, we plan to jump in and do our best!

So, back to the title of this post: Clint's back in the saddle on his bike since we are no longer worried about temperatures and pressures and all that other fun stuff. We went on the bike club's Wednesday night ride last night and it was nice to have my best friend back enjoying our favorite past time.

I hope to keep up with this blog on a somewhat regular basis (it will probably be greatly lacking in pictures since that seems to be my hang up in getting posts out) to document our journey through adoption. We know it's a long and often difficult road. We've got our seatbelts on! Through the end of this year, we plan to study, do our research, talk to as many people as possible, and do anything else necessary to become as knowledgeable as we can on adoption. Then, after the first of the year, we plan to start the application process and begin taking our classes and then go from there!