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Starting Each Day Right

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Each day begins with a single thought.  The Alarm!  Turn it off!  Or Oh great, I have to go to the bathroom.  Or Oh how pretty – birds!  Or  Oh how annoying – birds!  

Within moments of waking thoughts begin to flow in succession as your brain begins to process what day it is.  A work day?  A day off?  What’s the plan today?  A flurry of activity can bombard your brain as the contents of your memories and information once again begin to process.  If you do not literally control what is the second and third thought of your morning, your mind and emotions that are sure to follow will lead the way into your day.  It isn’t a reality that is necessarily a good thing.  Negative morning thoughts can spiral down to some negative emotions and the grumps.  Who wants to start their day that way?

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6 to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”  The first focus of our day needs to be God’s Kingdom and how right or justifiable He is.  Often we seek first what we want.  Our life, what we will eat, or drink, about our body, what we will wear ( and the money to purchase them) are specifics of the various things we can tend to worry about as humans.

Humans are the only species that worry.  The birds don’t worry about feather loss. The flowers don’t stress about their attire.  The grass doesn’t get too concerned about it’s hue changing with age.  They are all well provided for in nature designed by God.  These things are the essentials of life, something our Heavenly Father knows we need and lovingly provides.

“…All these things shall be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it’s own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6: 33-34

In my own waking moments I have begun this practice to put my first, or at least second thoughts upon the Lord, chatting with Him about how great  a day it’s going to be, and then I smile.  Understand that this is done regardless of how I feel.  Start each day with the positive, the reality of all that is good in  your life.  It all comes down to a choice of what you put in your mind!  I wish I had practic ed this in my own struggle with infertility:  a simple choice of thinking and putting God first in my day.  It’s made all the difference!

 

 

Its a bouncing baby…book!?

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Here it is!  My bouncing baby book!  Empty Hands to Open Arms has been conceived in the womb of my imagination and brought to life and knit lovingly together with every blog post and the jot notes of my scribble journal.  It’s my story, launched this past week.

One year ago, I had high hopes of entering the publishing world.  Now here at the end, I realize that publishing a book seems very much like a pregnancy term.  Ironically from the beginnings of putting material to print to its fresh-off-the-press date, this book was birthed after just nine months.

Allow me to explain,

The conception of the idea of actually putting a for-real manuscript together came through my husband.  Dario was on a shopping trip when he happened upon a contest information card for Word Alive Press.  He knew my desire to publish and encouraged me to enter the contest for free publishing which closed June 15, 2015.

Then I did nothing.  I really didn’t discover I was seriously pregnant with the desire to write my book until the beginning of April.  It was at that moment that inspiration, possibility and the challenge hit me all at once.  I was going to write a book!

In my first trimester: April, May and June, writing just seemed like a lot of work with not a lot to show for it.  There was the exception of mood swings and crazy cravings for endless snacks as I wrote page after page.  Soon my ‘baby’ began to take shape and form and on June 15th, I submitted my manuscript and synopsis of the story.

My second trimester: July, August and September, I surely showed signs of growth.  My manuscript was accepted and I discovered I had been shortlisted in the non-fiction category.  It was during this time that the book adventure was becoming more real as I completed preliminary editing and the short synopsis and author’s biography for the back of the book. I could feel a quickening as I realize the dream of publishing was going to actually happen.

The third trimester:  October, November, December seemed to take forever.  Will this book ever come out!  Back aches from all that computer time, and a tired feeling made me know that I was ready for the whole process to be completed. During this period the process of editing, rewriting, correcting and fine tuning of cover design, and the final typesetting of the book would determine what this creation would actually look like.

Finally, birth! The moment arrived by mid-December and the books were hot off the press.  The delivery was accomplished with a whole lot of labor.  Especially as we had to get the books up our steps and into our home!

Parenting our new bundle of books has been a joy.  At nearly two months, we have already seen “her” gain much attention.  Friends are congratulatory and others want to hold and admire.

Something is gnawing at me though.  There is a stirring inside of me – an idea, a thought, and a possibility.  Is it another dream?  I think there might be a sibling!

  • Today, together we launch Empty Hands to Open Arms, treat her kindly as she enters the world and help her to find her home in the empty hands that need her the most.

To order go to http://www.emtyhandsopenarms.com; amazon.com; wordalivepress.com; and Indigo as well as wherever Christian books are sold.

Dust Bunnies be Gone!

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Photo courtesy of Bing Images

I have waged an all out war on dust bunnies!!!

At first I let them just you know hang around the furniture legs.  They looked so cute, so fuzzy so warm. so I let them move in under the furniture. No problem. After all who looks under the furniture? I made friends with them and we lived in peace for a good long while.

Well no one told me that those little critters multiply!!! Before long I had families of dust bunnies under dressers, in corners of closets,under couches and then boldly living in corners of all my rooms in clear view!

So….. friends no longer….. I grabbed a broom, vacuum, mops and sponges and rid my home of the little critters forever.

So beware my friends and family…. they may start out cute and cuddly, but it doesn’t take long for them to totally take over.

Ask yourself: Have you dusted today?

Our thoughts can be like this.  We can be thinking peaceful thoughts in one moment and then we allow a little thought of anxiety or fear push its way in.  It’s just a small one so you can let it sit for a bit, it won’t really hurt you will it?  Possibly you were thinking something innocent, like, “what will I do with all the baby furnishings, if I never can conceive.”  It is too much to think about so you just push it into a corner.  No time to deal with it now.  Later while you are folding laundry, another thought hits your brain, “You know you may never have baby clothes to wash and fold.”  Where did that thought come from?  You push that one aside as well.  Then you are watching television and you see a commercial on diapers and it has gripped you right in the throat.  You change the channel. On and on it goes and before you know it these thought ‘dust bunnies’ have invited friends for a sleepover.

Then it happens, your husband mentions that money is a little tight this month and he doesn’t know how he can continue to pay for all the organic food and supplements!  You are thrown into a rage and the thoughts of the days and possibly weeks come pouring out on your poor unsuspecting husband.  He has no idea that you have been allowing these thought bunnies to take over your mind.

Wait!  Rewind the scene before the big explosion.  Before it all goes downhill, take a moment.  Let’s do some housecleaning!  You need a mental break!

Take a moment right now!  Yes, right now.  Go and get a pencil and paper.  It’s okay, I’ll wait.

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Photo courtesy of Bing Images

Now I want you to write down every thought that is troubling you right now.  Make a list and after you are sure you have gotten it all written down, stop.  Now take your paper and wad it up so it fits in your fist.

Throw it away… just give it a good heave-ho (Now not at your husband, he is not the enemy!).

I wanted you to have this very mental and physical picture of what it is like to cast away your anxieties.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your care on Him (Jesus) for He cares for you.”  Collecting the negative thoughts, cleaning out your mental dust bunny closet is healthy and calming to your soul, (your mind, will and emotions).  A little salt water tear or two might help the cleansing process along with some deep breaths.  It’s okay, God loves you and many others do too.

Replace those thoughts with words that bring brightness back in.  “I’m doing my best and I’ll be fine”  “I know I can do this, God gives me strength.”  “I’m taking one step at a time”   Just take moments like this to bring hope back in your heart.  If you haven’t had the opportunity, ask Jesus to be the Lord of your broken heart and heal it and lead you in your journey.  He wants to.

I have found that there are moments where I need to stop, take stock, and rid myself of emotional dust bunnies from time to time.  To allow myself the pleasure of dusting the negative away and enjoying the entrance of peace.  Don’t we all long for that?  This process is “casting your care.”  Do it today.

So grab your brooms.  Let’s unite for a dust bunny-free life, both mentally, and emotionally!

I Had Time.

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Photo courtesy of Bing Images

Infertility does not define who I am.    It is a journey I have traveled through a large portion of my life, however it is not me.  

The bizarre thing is that living with IF is a process unto itself.  It’s not just about the discovery, diagnosis and then the medical process.  Or if you have chosen to engage in all the requirements of adoption, the paperwork, interviews and waiting involved.  Infertility has been a journey that has brought me full face to myself.

You see, in the past I have struggled with the full need to be in control.  I have needed to know the information in advance, (inquiring minds need to know).  I needed to understand how things work and why they do, or why they do not.  I needed to know the implication of every decision and then decide accordingly.  I need to control so I could change a deep unhappiness inside me.

When IF came into my world at nineteen, I still had a lot of wait left in me.  I had to wait to be married for at least 21 years so the frustration of my body not working properly seemed difficult, but I had time.  Yet as I aged I always felt as though I was running out of time.  Just before I was married I had looked at medical options and hoped for a healing.  When I actually married I thought surely I would get pregnant on my honeymoon.  I actually had maternity clothing and baby clothes.  Furnishings came later in my wait.

The longing for a child was insatiable.  In all my praying and waiting, and testing I didn’t find any peace.  I had time, I thought.  After all I was only 41, 42, 43, etc. The frustration mounted as I fought with the issues of being unable to control what my body wasn’t doing regardless of how much I’d command it to change.  I certainly knew I wasn’t in control.  One could almost hear the clock ticking softly.

My personal “clock” stopped ticking suddenly, the day I discovered I could not qualify for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatments.  I had to be ushered into a side examination room in order to gain emotional control.  I had to stay in control.  When that avenue closed I threw myself into painful prayer.  If I prayed exactly right and prayed the right scriptures repeatedly, then God would ‘owe’ me a baby.  I would pace and pray, speak aloud to God EXACTLY what I expected Him to do.

After a  full year of this futility of unbelieving prayer, I called the adoption agency and we began what was an eight year process.  My renewed hope that surely this was the reason we couldn’t have children.  We were called to adopt!  The enthusiasm didn’t last long when after only a year of paperwork and meetings we were put on hold.  In a few years we would be called to begin the process of classes and Home Study, but there was time for that.  We waited.  More hoops and we waited again.

When spring came, a new announcement from the adoption agency brought me into a place of renewed strength and a determination that this time I could take control by surrender.   We could decide when enough was enough.

Keyboard and page cannot possibly put down all that my husband and I have invested and after years of this emotional and physical and pain-filled attempt to conceive or adopt a child.   I was exhausted and ready to let the dream completely go.  I was ready to surrender, not just the dream, but my need to control. I was ready to let God take over.

He did!  I have found in letting go, I have found a new sense of peace.  It has been an incredible relief to be free of the torment.  No I haven’t found a baby on my doorstep or snatched a toddler at the mall.  I am learning and living free.  Child-Friendly Free.  Knowing that I am already a mother in the lives of many little ones, I can rest in that knowing I am walking in God’s design for ‘a mother in place of another’.

From the time of diagnosis at age 19 to the day of surrender, I have been trading time and effort in a bargain with God.  He patiently waited and gave me the time to discover that He has always been in control.  This for me was a moment of release.

This journey may not be over, I do not know what tomorrow will bring or what the future will hold.  This is a journey I’ve traveled.  It’s not who I am.

When We Become a Mother or Father

I am very pleased to re-blog this post for the purpose of sharing with others that there is hope in IF and there is recovery and finally yes RESOLUTION. The details and experiences of the above differs as much as there are differences of experiences with infertility. I have much respect for Justine and her message of hope in the midst of pain and the continued effort she puts forth daily to continue “Ever Upward” Well written, well shared and well lived!

Ever Upward™

A deep knowing breath.

The warmth of a soul scar healing just a bit more.

A sense of truth, understanding and validation.

This is just a tiny sense of what I felt when I read these words from Lindsey Henke in her Still Standing post.

“But in my opinion a mother isn’t born when a child is born. A mother and father are born when the dream of a child is conceived.”

There are times when I allow my comparison, scarcity and shame to dim my light and I am fearful of sharing my story. This fear is born out of the messages I tell myself. The messages that have actually been said out loud to me. And, the messages that society drills into me.

There will be some who will never ever consider me a mother. The ones who say I didn’t try enough. The ones who judge…

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Living Child-free with No Regrets

How can I really feel fulfilled in my life? How do I fill my life with what I really love and enjoy?

This you tube workshop with Fertility Planit discusses child free living and the process of embracing this decision that is for some… touched a chord in me. Enjoy.

Whom am I to Become?

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

Living Child Friendly has given me much to think about.  In one way or another I find myself grateful for the extra time, and the freedom to choose.  I find that my mind is no longer overcome by fears and what ifs and the when and the hows.  I am in the throes of living a quiet contented life.   Living in peace of the stresses of pre-adoption or wondering why my body won’t obey the simple command to multiply and replenish the earth is something I had only hoped for in the past.

This was certainly the time to put all that behind me as I turned 50 this year.  The pain of being called a Grandma when I held the hand of my two-year old charge, or waiting and waiting for yet another delay in the adoption process, are almost forgotten.  I almost wonder if I will forget.

As I am finding new peace in this surrender, I am finding my God.  He is my greatest Friend.  In this process another question rises to the surface of my soul.

Who am I now?

In the past, I was infertile.  Since I am not attempting to conceive, does this condition stick?  I was also pre-adoptive.  Since I am not attempting to adopt, who is this person emerging?

I can live, and I can love, but I am not defined.  I can be whom God is creating me to be and the latter half of my life is full of the potential of anything.

A new identity?  Child Friendly?  This describes my outlook and my way of reaching out from the inside of who I am.

Who am I?  I am His.  The great God-Jehovah holds my hand.