Saturday, July 30, 2016

Again, it happened again. Just a few short weeks ago and only 15 months after suffering my first miscarriage, it happened again.

My first miscarriage was shockingly abrupt and over so quickly. I was in denial about it for a week before I finally acknowledged it and went to see the doctor. Not this time. I struggled for weeks and the end was finally confirmed with an ultrasound. Where I had once seen a beautiful beating heart, there was nothing. Empty. Deserted. I’ve always been a curvy girl, my whole life, and yet in those moments staring at that screen and for days afterwards, I felt small and hollow.

All the excitement and planning and dreaming ended, and more than I anticipated had to be undone. We had to tell our daughter that, once again, she would have to wait until heaven to meet her sibling. We had to tell our family and close friends that our baby was no longer growing in my tummy. In my excitement, I had already pulled out my old maternity clothes, borrowed some from my sister, and had even ordered a couple pieces that were waiting to be worn; all of that had to be packed away. And there were other details I had to attend to, none of which do I wish to expound upon here.

And now, all that is left is the recovery. Physically, I’m better. Now, it’s just the battlefield of the mind and emotions where I must make my stand, where we, my wonderful Chris and I, must press on. Fighting against the sadness and ponderings of “what if” and “if only.”

And that’s where the struggle meets our faith. Without faith, without hope – the kind of hope that is an “anchor of the soul” – I would not be able to make it (Hebrews 6:19). I wouldn’t be able to get up each day and to move forward believing that God really does love me and has “a hope and a future" for me and our family (Jeremiah 29:11). The first time I stayed silent for a long time and fell into a physically excruciating depression, until I finally turned to Jesus and truly took to heart the scripture “casting your care on Him, for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7).” This time will be different. Sure, there are hard moments and tears and questions, but I am, we are, choosing to lean in hard on our faith, on our Jesus, where comfort and the “peace that passes all understanding” can be found (Philippians 4:7).

Prayers appreciated – more than I can even begin to express.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sing It and Mean It - Part 2

Just a few extra thoughts since my last post....

Since the movie Frozen was released, it has been such big influence on my little girl's activities and, thus, been on my mind quite a bit. There's no doubt that the movie is a grand hit. People are talking about it, discussing it's meaning in depth and coming up with quite a few ideas for what agenda it may or may not be pushing. While I, as a Christian, find traces of my own beliefs displayed through the sacrificial love shown by Anna, I in no way believe there to be a Christian agenda secretly woven into the film. I also don't believe that Frozen is trying to influence our children to find hidden powers they might possess, to embrace finding oneself and embracing independence at all costs, or to pursue a homosexual lifestyle -- all things I've heard/read others argue. What I do think it promotes is waiting for true love, consequences for one's actions, and the importance and power of love.

While I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie all three times I saw it, there are certainly behaviors I don't want my daughter to emulate. However, that's where I, as the parent and guide, come in.

In the song I touched on in my last post, "Let It Go," I dealt only with the idea of letting go of things that are harming us. Does that mean that we should let everything go? No. Certainly there are things to which we should hold - our family, our faith, our convictions. Elsa started letting go of fear (a good thing to do) but went too far when she abandoned her sister and others. When Elsa sings, "No right, no wrong, no rules for me," we're not meant to blindly accept that. As we find later, she cannot live by that stance without seriously harming herself and others. These are the things I discuss with my own daughter when we talk about the movie or she sings the song.

We have the soundtrack in our car, and I often giggle when I catch a glimpse of my sweet girl in the rear view mirror clutching her fists, chin upraised, and singing with such emotion in her face. After she belts out a tune like "Love is an Open Door," I sometimes pause the CD and talk with her. The characters in the movie go from meeting to getting engaged in one evening, obviously not a wise choice. We talk about that and about what good choices they could have made.

Children's entertainment is not going to fit inside my own brand of perfect. Sometimes I roll my eyes when I see the way a parent handles a situation on on one of the programs Willow Grace watches. That's another opportunity for my girl and me to talk. While I do put boundaries on the types of things she does watch and read and listen to and try to keep them age (and morally) appropriate, I'm not going to keep her in the preschool world of entertainment with nothing but easy solutions and blissfully happy people.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Sing It and Mean It

I've now seen Frozen three times in the theater, all three times with Willow Grace. I had the privilege this last time to see it with my parents; my sister, Eva Joy; and my three year old nephew, Frazier. On Tuesday, we went to see the singalong version. So much fun!

What a delight to sit there in our tiny theater surrounded by children singing joyfully and laughing boisterously! For weeks now, ever since we saw the movie around Thanksgiving, my own sweet girl has been belting out the songs from the movie. My baby can sing!

Each time I hear the amazingly talented Idina Menzel sing "Let It Go" (or watch Willow Grace perform her own dramatic rendition and, of course, sing along with her) I can't help but think about the things in my own life that I've held on to for far too long or the things that are holding me back. Do I have any fears that I've allowed to take root in my soul? What habits, beliefs, thoughts, or behaviors do I allow to continue that are keeping me from the freedom to be who God has created me to be? Do I see my life clearly, or am I mistaking my blessings for curses or vice versa?

I want to sing about letting things go and really mean it.

So, here I sit, pondering these things, formulating a plan. I started this post a few days ago, and I've revised and erased and rewritten and stared at it. Honestly, sometimes it's really hard to let go... until you do, and then there's freedom. And so here I am -- dreaming of the freedom and plotting my journey to get there.

Monday, February 03, 2014


Just some thoughts running around in my head....

All my life I've pursued beauty - in one form or another. Sometimes it was in looking for the richest of words to add color and flavor to my writing; at other times it was in seeking out just the right object to freshen up my home. I've gone wandering in nature in search of a breathtaking view or a quiet hollow. However, most of the time, it's been the exhausting pursuit of trying to make myself look and feel beautiful.

When I think about the moments in my life that I've felt the most beautiful, they are always simple moments. Even on my wedding day, surrounded with all the trappings of modern beauty (perfectly manicured nails, carefully applied makeup, my fairy tale dress), I did not really feel beautiful. Later, during the honeymoon, wandering around Gatlinburg in my regular clothes and hanging on my new husband's arm; that's when I felt it. If it's in those simple moments like being cuddled up with my daughter, the both of us in pj's; hugging my husband while he makes me laugh; or hanging out with my mom and just chatting that I feel the beauty of life and myself beautiful in it, then why do I search for more than that?

I think it's because the search for beauty within and outside of ourselves is a universal endeavor that never ends. Even once it's been found, the search continues. I suppose it's something like looking for the next drink of water or meal or breath. We need beauty. It nourishes our souls as food does the body. I truly believe that's why God created so much beauty in the this world for us to behold.

(As as aside: My reference to the soul is defined as a person's mind, will, and emotions.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pen to Paper - Or Something Like It

As I drove into work this morning, the roads and not the grass were covered in a light layer of snow. Strange. I scanned the ground searching for even the slightest trace of snow, and yet there was none. I don't think I've ever seen snow on the road and not the fields.

I have such a pretty drive to work. A great deal of my drive is through a park. Wide open fields mixed with densely crowded woods. I peered deep into those woods this morning, feeling an intense desire to visit them once again. It's been too long since I wandered around in the trees and wrapped myself up in the land. I miss it. However, winter is not for wandering - at least not in the frigid temps we've been having lately and certainly not with a six year old in tow.

But I need to find some way to clear out the clutter in my head, to quiet the noise, and to release all the words swirling around there. I need time and space to write and maybe even a stinging shot of inspiration.

Why must all of the richest of my ideas come while I'm driving or in the shower and then seep away into oblivion before my fingers touch a keyboard or my pen to paper? The busyness of life and the lure of entertainment has stifled the gift I know God put inside of me. As I drove here this morning, I prayed that He would keep it from atrophying or evaporating since I've neglected to use it for so long.

Write. Write every day. I know this is a must, and yet I lie in bed every night drained of energy and wishing that I had written just one line. I'm sitting here with twelve students as they serve their time in Saturday school copying pages out of the dictionary - certainly not fun for them and not something I looked forward to overseeing either, but it has allowed me this small space in which to gather some of my thoughts. I'm determined to improve, to write more, and hopefully, to write a bit every day. Maybe, just maybe, this is a start.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hodge Podge

It's about 11 PM, and everyone in my house, including the dog, is asleep, except me. I just have too much going on in my head. Really, a hodge podge of stuff... thus the title of this little entry. I started out by typing my packing list for my upcoming trip. Yes, typing it. I always make a packing list and generally go through several drafts. That sounds high maintenance, I know, but I'm only high maintenance for me. I try not to levy my burdensome quirks on others.

Anyway, preparing for this trip only serves to remind me that it's been quite a while since I was away from my little family, and never both of them at once for this length of time. I'll miss kissing them both goodnight and snuggling in both physically and metaphorically to this cozy little life we've built for ourselves. Instead, I'll be in a cabin with ten seventh grade girls on a trip with 113 seventh grade students - fun and wild and adventurous but not quite cozy.

Also on my mind? The stories of the three books I've been reading as of late are swirling around in my mind mixing their plots and characters in strange and intriguing ways. Also in the mix are the three different books that are in different stages of being written by me. And then there's the personal stuff - my sister's son who has been ill and for whom I've been praying for constantly, my need to get in better shape, a half a dozen dreams I have for the future of my family, all the ways I've erred as of late, and so on. Doesn't it sound like I lack focus? I don't really. There's just always a lot going on in my head. My husband, Chris, is often amused when I track backwards from a seemingly random thought and follow the train from caboose to engine

This reminds me of a little scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Yes, I'm a Potter nerd!) Harry, Hermione, and Ron are all talking about Harry's recent first kiss and all the stuff that might have been going through Cho Chang's mind when he kissed her, and Ron said, " One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode.” To which Hermione replied, "Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have." So, I wonder what we'd have to use to measure my emotional range?

Somehow I'm going to have to quiet all these thoughts and find some rest myself tonight. I thought maybe writing about them would help, but it seems to me that it's even more jumbled than before. So, I'll choose between my two tried and true ways to calm my brain - praying myself to sleep or a little game I play. I've been playing this game for years and it actually works quite well. Hmmm, déjà vu... have I written about this before? It's a little alphabet game. I choose a category, and I go through the alphabet listing things having that are relevant to that topic. (Christmas - advent, Bethlehem, Claus, and so on; home - armoire, buffet, candlestick, etc.)

Guess we'll see how it goes....

Monday, March 18, 2013


I remember a time when I felt that my thoughts were so private. I fiercely guarded my secrets. Some I still do. But lately, hardly a day goes by when I don’t berate myself for over-sharing. When did that start happening?

I’m really hard on myself. Ask my husband. Ask my mom. Really, I should cut myself some slack, lay off a bit. I know the things that I’ve raked myself over the coals about my entire life. Over-sharing was never a problem. Until recently.

I blame Facebook.

No, really, I do. I am one of those people who checks in a few times a day and actually enjoys other people’s mundane reports on what they’re doing. However, often I find that there are plenty of people who seem to be having the most glorious day of their lives and know just how to turn a phrase when briefly describing their latest undertaking, even if all they’re doing is hanging out with family or running an errand. Adventure seems to pursue them on every wind.

And, yes, I do it, too. I think my life is beautiful and funny and crazy and, well, LIFE. And it’s fun to report the little amusing anecdotes and oddities and even the little things that are so blandly normal that just make me feel human. It’s even nice to be able to put a “have you ever” moment out there and receive a half a dozen responses indicating that you’re not the only one to have gone through something so hard or tragic or just weird.

Yet still, somewhere in there, I began to notice myself over-sharing. And not just on Facebook; it bled into my everyday life – standing at the coffee maker at work just waiting for that last drip so I can grab a mugful and hurry back to my to-do list and I babble to a passing acquaintance a little too much about my recent struggle with… whatever. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking in status updates.

But, Facebook isn’t the only problem.

I have a theory that some of this over-sharing also started when I stopped writing… and I mean really writing. I used to write all the time – journals, blogs, plays, short stories, attempts at a book or two, and so on. A few years ago, I stopped writing in my journal, something I had previously done since the age of 12. I also stopped writing here. I’m naturally a communicative person. I love to talk. Once again, just ask my husband or my mom. However, for most of my life, a lot of my communication came out in the form of writing. And I just stopped. All those excess thoughts, feelings, opinions, dreams, ideas, stories, ponderings, and just words had to come out somewhere. If you were the “somewhere” it got spilled (and sometimes spewed), I’m sorry.

My solution: I must write. And so, write I will. Here. There. And everywhere.