The Journey

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I am sorry, my friends, for once again being delinquent in my posting. I have been thinking lots of blog-worthy thoughts I just haven’t taken the time to write them down and post them. I feel like saying life here has been crazy but that really goes without saying. By this point, it’s a given.

My little girl is growing. She can sit up on her own which is fantastically helpful when I’m doing laundry or other chores and she is getting curious about the world around her. Everything is new and wonderful to her. She lights up a room. I, on the other hand, have been hiding from the world around me (especially the cold!). We fell behind when I lost my job and my daughter’s birth cost more than we expected but I have another job now and we are making headway again…just not as quickly as I would like. I have always been the person who misses the journey trying to get to the destination. It is possible for me to enjoy the journey but it is difficult for me to get out of my head, my plans, my impatience and enjoy it.

Sometimes I just need to close my eyes and forget about the end goal and the obstacles holding me back. I just need to staple my feet to today and focus on where I am. Not where I was. Not where I wish I was. Just where I am. I heard the coolest quote about fighting our troubles with joy. “We need to poke holes in the darkness until it bleeds light.” No matter how bad we feel we need to be a bright spot because we may be the only light for someone else who is struggling. And if we have to force the darkness to recognize our light, so be it. Keep trucking on, all.

What Life May Hold

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This past Sunday my church celebrated Sanctity of Life Sunday. This on again of again National holiday is a reminder to those of us who take life for granted. I have always been pro life in that I believe life begins before we even know we are pregnant and that life is precious. I realize pro life has come to mean a certain set of political agendas just as non-denominational has become a denomination. I try to stay out of politics as best I can because they tend to obscure my point. My point being that life (all human life in every stage) is precious.

I believe this even more so now that I have a child, now that I have had the pleasure and the privilege of growing life inside me. Was it always fun, comfortable, and pleasant? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Was it a miracle? I believe so. I don’t think science and God have to be mutually exclusive. I think something like growing a whole human being who knows how to breathe and move from a few cells is scientifically explainable but no less of a miracle. It boggles the mind. Shouldn’t we protect the miracle of life?

Some people believe that a fetus isn’t alive; they convince themselves of this, because you can’t kill something that isn’t alive, right? We prefer to ignore what is difficult. We want to rationalize and justify our decisions to make ourselves feel better. It’s not murder if we decide it isn’t alive. You can’t murder a chair for example. But a fetus is a baby. It has brainwaves and a heartbeat. Any mother who has made it to the second and third trimesters knows the weird and wonderful feeling of having something—no, someone—moving inside you.

In the beginning I couldn’t tell the difference between baby movement and gas but as she grew her movements became more definitive. I could feel her little hands and feet. I could feel her turning summersaults. She was more than a lifeless bundle of cells, she responded to my movements and loud noises. I remember going to an IMAX movie when I was about six months pregnant and it was so loud my daughter was doing back-flips for the whole two and a half hour movie. As soon as the movie ended she calmed down.

I’m having a difficult time saying what is on my mind and in my heart. How do I communicate my thoughts without misrepresenting them? This post is meant to be less of a condemnation of wrong actions and more of reaffirmation of what is important. Life is precious. I can’t tell you how to live your life. I can only give you one writing mother’s opinion. Who knows what that unborn life may hold? That life may unlock secrets as old as time or may find new roads of exploration and discovery. What if Thomas Edison had never been born? Or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Or Einstein? No one thought these people would amount to anything but they changed the world. Florence Nightingale was only one woman but she changed the definition of nursing. What might that little unborn, untested life become if given the chance?

What Keeps You Up at Night?

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I love stories like A Walk to Remember, If I Stay, and The Fault in Our Stars. These stories show that life can be sad, miserable, and unbearably painful and yet, somehow, beautiful. I love them because I believe there is more out there, that pain doesn’t have to be for no reason. I’m one of those freakish people who instead of running and hiding from pain, holds on to it, finds beauty in it. I have felt searing pain and loss and stared deep into the darkness wishing it would swallow me whole.

In my few, but growing number of years I have also learned that nothing is “the big whammy.” There is always the potential of something worse and as depressing as that may sound I take hope in that. Do you want to know why? I’m going to tell you regardless. It’s because I have survived what always, in the moment, felt like the end of the world. And I know with a track record like mine I will continue to survive the end of the world until it literally ends and God takes me home. Pain, loss, sadness…they are difficult to process but they make the beauty of this world, of this life, all the more obvious.
There will always be darkness and pain but we don’t have to be lost in it. We can let it lead us to the little things we would have missed: the infinite blueness of the sky, the sound of a loved one’s voice, the warmth of a hug or the weight of a sleeping child in your arms. These stories remind me to live like I’m dying, before I actually am wishing I had more time.

There is much to fear in this world and I’m very good at being afraid but it is no way to live. That is why I choose instead to be a creature of hope no matter how stupid or foolish or naive it may seem to some. I may care too much about what others think but in the end I’m me and I’ll say and do and be whatever I want to. I will not let pain and fear change who I am. I will not let them define me. Pain demands to be felt and I will feel it. But I will also impose my hope upon it and cram it down its throat.

Return of the Blogger

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I have returned! Sorry my absence was so long. It certainly was longer than I meant it to be. My beautiful baby girl was actually born 7 days after my last post. She has been a lesson that nothing I do will ever go as planned ever again. My in-laws came up from SC the weekend before she was born for a wedding. They had only been home for, I think, 10 hours when I went into labor two weeks early and they had to turn around and come right back. I was in labor (trying to do natural birth) for 9 hours when I had to have an emergency c-section because my cervix stalled at 4cm and refused to dilate any farther. That was definitely not my plan.

I wanted a natural birth and I got a c-section instead but I got a beautiful healthy baby out of the deal so I’m happy. The delivery was a piece of cake; I couldn’t feel a thing. Recovery was the killer. I couldn’t move without pain and I was force to sleep on my back (I never sleep on my back) for almost two weeks before I could roll over without feeling like I was going to pop stitches. I had great family taking care of me the first three weeks. For an independent person such as myself being laid up that long was…frustrating. I wanted to breast feed and that didn’t go as planned either.

The big trick to succeeding in life is the ability to roll with change. I don’t seem to do that well. I got down on myself pretty hard because of how nothing was going to plan. What I had to be reminded of was the end goal. I had a beautiful healthy daughter who is now (after much work) getting almost all breast milk instead of mostly formula even if I have to pump it because she decided she liked the bottle better. Loss of job, loss of sleep, loss of sanity. They say having kids changes everything and I knew it would. I just had no idea how much everything would change.

I am losing my mind with home concerns but I have never been happier. I was born to be a mommy. I have to keep believing that God gave me a child so He will help me be what she needs. When she smiles, it is like the sun rising. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that I wasn’t able to sleep more than two consecutive hours at a time for two months. Watching her sleeping in my arms made me forget how much she screamed and hated diaper changes. My life will never be the same but I wouldn’t want it to be. Still unemployed, to my husband’s dismay, I told him being a mommy was by far the worst paying job I have ever held but absolutely the most rewarding. I know God has a good plan for our lives. If I can find a way to get the bills paid and stay home with my daughter that would be ideal. I have an idea! How about I actually use my writing degree? Novel concept, I know.

I will endeavor to be more consistent in my blogging along with other writing projects. While I figure this all out and mostly make stuff up as I go along I hope you will once again join me for the journey. Keep life in perspective, roll with change, and be encouraged.

Ready

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Sorry to be an irresponsible blogger but I’m going to take another break from posting until my daughter is born. Things are getting a bit crazy and days come and go without telling me they have. I’ll try and get back to posting as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience and thank you for joining me on this adventure.
I’ve gotten used to being pregnant, pretty soon everything will change again and the real fun begins. She is a healthy baby and she is primed and ready to meet the world. We’re just waiting for her final decision. It is all very exciting. I think children make us better people because we have to be. I know that God is with my husband and me all the way and we will move heaven and earth to be what our daughter needs us to be. See you all on the flip side.

What Destination?

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My husband and I went to our first parenting class last Saturday. Our hospital offers them for free if you deliver there. We learned all about diaper changing, safe sleeping, feeding, infant and toddler CPR, car seat safety, and what products you should avoid using even though they are widely marketed for babies. It was a lot to take in but it was also very interesting.

I had heard that crib bumpers were dangerous but I thought the mesh ones were ok but I guess not. I was also surprised to find out that you shouldn’t use baby powder…ever. Apparently the talc in it is even dangerous to adults but especially for babies because the fine powder makes it hard for them to breathe. Good to know. I know medical advice changes from year to year on what is good and safe and what isn’t but it makes logical sense to me so I’ll go with it. I guess corn starch is the substitute.

Less is more with babies. They don’t need all this fancy, fluffy, extra stuff that we enjoy until they get to be older. I suppose that makes sense. Not much use for blankets and pillows in utero. There is so much to learn and a lot of it is trial and error. That’s encouraging… But guess what? Our parents raised us the same way and we turned out fine. I figure God put life in my body and preprogrammed mommy and baby with instincts so He’ll take care of our little growing family and we’ll all figure it out together.

There is no destination in life where we get to say, “We have arrived.” Life is an adventure, a journey that you look back on and hopefully say, “That was awesome! Let’s go again.”

Journey of Baby Steps

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Both baby showers are done. There was a lot of good fellowship with family and friends, some we haven’t seen in far too long. I know one thing for sure. This child will never want for love or attention. She’s a show stopper and she’s not even born yet! Thanks to everyone who contributed to the baby showers I nearly have the nursery done. We are all getting excited about (and a little impatient for) our new arrival. No matter how badly we want to meet and hold her we keep telling her to stay in there as long as she needs to because we don’t want her coming three weeks early and causing a bunch of problems and worry like mommy did.

Part of me is totally cool about all this. “We’re almost ready. This is going to be good. We got this.” And part of me is like, “holy cow, six weeks. What are we going to do?” Welcome to my life. Everyone has been really helpful telling me the things I should know and dispelling some of the horror stories. I’m discovering that there is a lot more to pregnancy than you learn on TV (and it’s different too), go figure.

Ultimately, I am immensely grateful for the friends and family God has surrounded me with and the fact that I don’t have to do this alone. If I did, I would be freaking out a lot more right now but I think I’m handling these changes pretty well. Never underestimate the importance of your family no matter how much they drive you nuts. Their support and the things you learn from them are invaluable. Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

Adapting to the Journey

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As we close in on my due date I find my list of limitations growing. Limitations have never been something I let slow me down before but this time is different. This time I have someone else to think about. So my pride takes the hit and I have to slow down, rest often, and have my husband help me put my shoes on when I bother to wear real shoes. My flip-flops and slip-ons have become my best friends. Even the way I move has changed to accommodate this new growth that has changed my center of gravity.

Every time I get frustrated with something I can’t do or can’t eat because I’m pregnant I just remind myself that I did this on purpose, I chose this, and she is absolutely worth it. I may be a little freaked out about her becoming external and what changes that will bring but I look forward to having my body back, at least my full range of motion. She is worth it though. I was attached to her the moment I found out I was pregnant. I just want her to be healthy and happy. Her dad and I want to give her the world and we’re prepared to work however hard to make sure she has what she needs.

Despite the challenges this life change has thrown (and continues to throw) at us we are over the moon excited about meeting our little daughter and watching her grow up. Life will never be the same but when does it ever stay the same? It will be a learning experience for all three of us. Feel free to join us on the journey.

Counting Down…to What? I’m Not Sure.

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It’s Tuesday again…already. Funny how time flies when you’re not looking. Nine weeks (or so) until I get to meet my daughter. About 10 days until my first baby shower. Next emotional breakdown imminent. Next state of euphoria probably sharing a time slot with my emotional breakdown. My emotions have never contained themselves to one at a time or even the same category so I’m as likely to be happy and pull-my-hair-out stressed at the same time as I am to wake up blonde….oh yeah, I am blonde.

I’m an emotional person. It is a fact of life. My solution, just ride it out and never let myself sulk for more a few hours at a time. Avoiding large quantities of caffeine helps too. Good stress is a foreign concept to me. I used to always associate stress with being purely bad. As we count down to the many events leading up to the big event in August I am filling with anticipation. Some days it is difficult to tell whether I’m freaking out over becoming a new parent and having no idea (well some idea) what I’m doing or whether I’m excited because this is going to be so much fun. So I figure why choose. I’ll be both at once. If I can’t block or control the negative emotions running haphazard through my hormone hijacked body than I may as well try to balance it with a good emotion.

I’m sorry if I sound like a crazy person today. Last week was a hectic and I’m still winding down. My daughter is most definitely getting stronger and by consequence more distracting as she moves and grows. This is a path I’ve chosen and as usual it is nothing like I expected but it is strange and fascinating and I can’t wait to see where it leads. Until next week, keep your head up and your mind positive. If you are above ground it is all good.

More Than Just a Day to Grill Out

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Happy Memorial Day! This is a day to remember those who have not only served this country full of flaws and hope but who never made it back to see the difference they had made. I may not agree with or like the way this country is being run or the direction it is headed but I absolutely support the men and women who fight to protect it, who fight to protect me and the people I love most.

I try to look past the flaws and the failing of this country, my home. I try not to be the person so focused on what is wrong that I miss how good I’ve got it until it is taken from me. I will admit that because of how this country is being run I’m less confident in our continued security. How long can we remain the most powerful country on Earth when we are stretching our resources so thin, when we are so well hated?

But though I may not trust the leadership I love and admire, all the more, the men and women who still believe this country, my home, is worth protecting. It makes me admire their dedication, bravery, sacrifice, and hope. It makes me admire their faith. I may not trust the leadership but the followers still represent all the qualities I believe in.

So if you lost someone who served this country, remember them and thank God for their sacrifice. Then find someone, still living, either a veteran or active duty and bless them, even if it is just a handshake and a thank you. What they do can be thankless and it shouldn’t be. A thank you can go a long way. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who has served or is serving this country.

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