Sunday, September 30, 2012

Turn the Other Cheek

It felt good to go to church this morning. Even though I only missed one weekend of it, I missed it. Going to church sets the tone for my week.

Pastor Matt spoke on the "turn the other cheek" portion of the Sermon on the Mount. He said the Mosaic, "eye for an eye" rule was given to us to govern society -- so the rich wouldn't be able to take advantage of the poor, and so the poor were assured that their issues would have a fair turn in court. In the New Covenant, Jesus told us to "turn the other cheek" so our personal relationships would blossom. And also so we could be an example to the world of how to live in love. It was a nice sermon.

And this very morning I was sent an email from a friend talking about my forgiving nature. He said it was amazing how easily I forgave, and it inspired him to try harder. As flattering as that was, I was born with a forgiving nature. I don't have to try as hard as some. To make up for it, I was also given a worrying nature. I have to try much harder not to project into the future and imagine possible negative outcomes. God balanced me well.

I know that some people don't understand my healing process. I know some have said behind my back that I should have reacted this way or that way. That I should be more of a mess. Or less of one. But honestly I don't give any thought to it. Maybe it is that forgiving nature of mine, or maybe I just deeply understand that none of that will matter when I take my last breath.

I hope over time everyone understands that I'm trying to take a truly awful situation and create something good out of it. I hope my openness here in my blog is met with a lot of "amens" and "oh yeses." Because it's my goal to lead you farther into love. I want you to hold your spouse tighter, appreciate your kids more, and feel blessed for everything you have.

And along the way, if someone speaks negatively about me or what I'm expressing here... okay. I forgive you. I still love you. We're all broken in our own way. And I'm going to keep writing for myself, for my family, for those of you who choose to read -- and to honor my daughter.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rest

Jeremy isn't feeling well today, and I'm still exhausted from St. Louis, so we had a day full of nothing. It was just what the doctor ordered.

I've read more today than I have in two weeks. I went for a run. I had a long, leisurely shower. I drank tea out on the deck. My mind is at peace and my heart is full. I didn't realize how much I needed a day of rest.

It's been a crazy week at work, so I don't have anything really profound to say today. Tomorrow I get to go to church, which I've been looking forward to all week. Life is good.



Friday, September 28, 2012

Peace in My Bones

Aaahhh. That is the sound my heart is making this week.

I have had such peace since I got back from the Love Life conference. And such anticipation. I left my anxiety in St. Louis.

At my Bible study group last night, I got even more peace of mind. Not just from the study we're doing, but from the other ladies there. One lady was able to ease my mind about something I didn't even realize I was that worried about.

And that is why I keep going back. Not just for the accountability of studying the Bible as it applies to my life, but because sometimes only other women can really understand a woman's heart.

I'm doing two Bible studies right now -- one Beth Moore study on The Law of Love in Deuteronomy (!) and one Linda Dillow study on Calm My Anxious Heart. Oddly enough, they work together really well for me -- they seem to support each other in the message that they are impressing into my very bones.

Love trumps all. That's the message, at its core.

I worry about what kind of mother I'm going to be with my next child. Love God, love your child, love your husband and everything else will follow. I wonder when I'm going to get pregnant. God loves you enough to give you a child at the perfect time. I regret not bringing Scarlett into my bed, and insisting she stay in her own bed the night she passed away. You loved her enough not to give her everything she demanded, as God loves you enough not to give you everything you demand. Sometimes what we want is not what we should have -- you knew that as a mother, and God knows that as your Heavenly Father.

I still have healing to go through. I still have regrets and worries to hand over to God. But I took a big leap forward this week. And when I dreamed of Scarlett last night, while it was sad to wake up, for the first time I actually felt a little bit happy that I got to see her again, if only in a dream.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stop the Noise and Listen

I went for a run yesterday at lunch. My usual path is I walk two blocks down to the trailhead, walk another half a mile along the creek, then I run on the track behind the Thornton Rec Center.

After I got done with the track portion, I was walking back on the creek trail, listening to a podcast on my iPhone. All of a sudden the podcast was nearly drowned out by the sound of birds chirping. I turned the podcast off and listened to the natural world around me as I walked. It was an overcast day, and the birds were so happy about it. With the sound of the creek rushing by and the birds in the trees, it reminded me of the rainforest exhibit at the Denver Zoo.

I kept my podcast turned off for the rest of my walk home. I admit I normally get bored walking or running by myself, so I usually need some form of entertainment -- but yesterday the natural world reached into my heart and made me listen.

And as I walked up the hill toward my street, I had a vision. Clear as day, in my mind's eye I saw my daughter run up and throw her arms around me. And without words, she impressed upon me these thoughts: Mom, I'm just stopping in to say hi for a moment. I'm much too distracted playing with everyone here in heaven. I love you, but go away. I'll see you later.

You see, Scarlett never in her life had separation anxiety. She's the only kid I've ever known who hasn't gone through that phase. I never had to worry about leaving her with friends or family members because as soon as she saw someone new to play with, she was off like a rocket and she never looked back. Now, she was always happy to see me when I came back for her, but while I was gone she was perfectly content to play with someone else.

Maybe that was purposeful on God's part. Maybe he designed her that way so she would have an easy transition to heaven, and so I wouldn't worry about her while we were apart. As much as I miss her, I don't worry about her missing me. I know she's happy up there without me, and she'll be happy when I join her too.

I wouldn't have gotten this God-sent message yesterday if my mind had been focused on that podcast. This is a lesson to me that sometimes I need to stop the noise and just listen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lessons from a Super Spy

The Avengers movie came out on DVD yesterday. We pre-ordered it over a month ago, so it was on our doorstep at about 6:45pm. I don't remember the last time I was THAT excited about a movie I had already seen twice.

As you know, my husband is a comic book fanatic. Specifically he is a Marvel comic book fanatic. And over the years, I have come to share that passion with him. Maybe not at the same intensity -- but then who could be as intense about comic books as Jeremy?

The Avengers was just as good the third time as it was the first. And every time I see it, I discover more little things that make it great. Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay and directed it, and he is our all-time favorite screenwriter. He did not disappoint. He dug into these characters in a way only a true comic fan could -- with an understanding of their back-stories, their personalities and their purposes -- and yet put them on screen in a way non-comic fans could relate to.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know my favorite comic book character is the Black Widow. She is not a superhero -- she has no special powers other than she was dosed with a serum that makes her age slowly, thus she lives much longer than the average human. She is a Russian-turned-American super spy, trained from a very early age. And with her experiences as a spy combined with an extra long life, she lost many people she loved over the years. But even with this pain as a part of her existence, she still loves and she still trusts -- and THAT is why I think she's great.

Watching the movie last night, I realized something about her character. I noticed from the first time I saw Avengers that the only thing that really shook the Black Widow was encountering the Hulk. He's a terrifying character, for sure, but I kept trying to figure out why Joss would write the movie in just this way. He obviously had a purpose in it, knowing the characters as well as he does. Why would the Hulk make Black Widow literally shake in fear when she could battle demigods without batting an eyelash?

I realized last night it's because she can't control, manipulate or persuade the Hulk.

Every other character in the movie, Black Widow could manipulate. That's her "power," after all. She is the ultimate spy. She can get information from people without them ever knowing they're giving it up. She can take on the persona of other people to work her way into situations, she can use her powers of persuasion to crack the most powerful men. And when she faced the Hulk, she knew there was no way to win.

How many of you have been the Black Widow facing the Hulk? I know I have. There have been situations and people in my life that I have faced knowing full-well there was nothing I could do to change them. All the talking in the world, all the tears, all the effort, all the begging would be beating my tiny fists against a big green monster.

It leaves you feeling absolutely helpless. And the only thing you can do is accept it.

Acceptance may be the most difficult lesson of all. It leaves you feeling weak, powerless and vulnerable. And yet we all have to go through this at some time in our lives. All of us encounter that situation or that person that just won't budge.

In Avengers, just as the Hulk was about to crush the Black Widow, who was crumpled up waiting for the death blow, Thor flew into the Hulk and distracted the big green beast with a different fight. And I think that's profound when you look at it from the perspective of acceptance. Your friends, your family, the people that you love will save your life when you are facing that lesson of acceptance.

Did you ever think I'd give you a life lesson from a comic book character? Surprise!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Partnership Against the Norm

This week, the reality of having three jobs (day job, freelance and Thirty-One) hit me square on the head.

Normally I can juggle quite well. I have my processes, methods, routines, shortcuts and efficiencies down pat. But coming back from four days off, my head is a little swirly with all the things I need to catch up on.

In addition to working these jobs, I also manage our household finances. Not because Jeremy is incapable (in fact, my husband is a walking calculator), but because I am obsessed with details and I want to know where everything is coming from and going to. And this morning before I started my day job, I created a new budget for us in an effort to get our debt paid off.

Having an at-home husband right now is the only thing keeping my head from spinning off my body. You'd think the extra income of him working would help my stress level more than him being at home, but you'd be mistaken. He's the one who gets things done around here while my eyeballs are on the computer screen. Got an issue with the insurance company paying the roofers? Jeremy makes the call. Patch of lawn dying? Jeremy's out there fertilizing. My brain melting? Jeremy is en route to Starbucks before I can yell, "Caffeine! Stat!"

You see, no matter our income situation, I will always be busy. It's my nature. If I don't have a project to work on or a child to raise, I have a hard time appreciating the down time. And you know what that leads to? Depression. So to avoid becoming a depressed couch potato, I work. This makes working from home with Jeremy here extra sweet, because I get to spend time on the two things that make my life worth living -- using my God-given talents to make a difference in the world and spending quality time with my family.

Penelope Trunk absolutely nailed my personality type with the following statement on her blog: The personality type that will have the most difficult time managing kids and a career is ENFJ because you are ambitious and also very committed, so you will struggle between commitment to work and commitment to kids and you’ll have a very hard time giving up either or feeling like you ever got it right.

How many of us women are actually like this, but don't want to admit it? Most of us want to be known as the ambitious business-woman or the stellar full-time mom -- but I think some of us actually won't be satisfied unless we're a little bit of both.

And that's where a good partner comes in. A spouse can make or break a personality type like mine. Jeremy and I made our family lifestyle decisions with my personality type in mind. He balances my days quite nicely by simply being himself. He was an awesome full-time dad, while I worked from home and got to enjoy my family as I held my place in the workforce -- and our goal is to get back there again. For now, while we're re-starting our family, he's supporting me at home and looking for either a work-from-home job, or a part-time job outside the house.

We're at a point in history where cultural norms are breaking marriages and families apart. Our culture tells women that we don't need men, and tells men that women are to be used and replaced as desired. Our culture tells us that money means more than time. It tells us that a relationship should be about mutual gain instead of equal partnership.

I say screw cultural norms. Life is short. You have no idea HOW short. Make your days and your relationships count.

For those of you who aren't married, mark my words. Choose your partner carefully. Don't choose them based on temporary criteria -- the butterflies in your tummy, the high-powered job, the great haircut. If you want your marriage to last -- and who doesn't? -- choose someone who understands you and supports you, and who you can understand and support in return. Choose the one who you can picture in the wheelchair next to you at the old folks' home.

Jeremy and I will see you there.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Lens

I'm home. And I carried with me not the motivation and inspiration I thought I would get -- but rather a peace of mind I didn't know I needed.

The trip to St. Louis for the Love Life Women's Conference was absolutely exhausting. Erin and I survived on Starbucks since Thursday. But the conference touched our hearts and made it totally worth the exhaustion.

I thought I would leave there with renewed vigor. I thought I would come home with new-found brilliance and an energy to push my life to the next level. This did not happen -- but something even better did.

I hadn't realized how low I had sunk, emotionally. I didn't know that I was putting due dates on God's due seasons. If this doesn't happen by then, I'm going to do that.

It's a mistake I have made before. Trying to take control of uncontrollable circumstances. I have a hard time knowing where to draw the line between doing my due diligence and trying to make something happen.

This weekend I learned where that line is. Once I start putting due dates on God's plans, or what I think his plans are, I have crossed into the control zone.

I have witnessed this before -- many, many times with BIG situations -- and you'd think I wouldn't continue to make this mistake. And yet I do. I try to control the direction my life is going, or try to control a situation to cause an outcome that I want -- and God steps in and does his thing, and the results go in a direction I never saw coming. A direction that was a million times better than I could have planned.

I went to college for Environmental Studies and I ended up with a degree in European History. I got a temp job as an RMA processor at Compaq and ended up discovering I have a knack for tech and worked my way into a job as a website manager for HP. I moved to Houston thinking I would create a big life for myself in this metropolitan city, and got driven back to Colorado where I then married my amazing husband. The stress of not being able to conceive a child contributed to Jeremy and I separating -- and what I was SURE was going to be divorce -- but God guided us back together and we conceived the perfect child immediately.

Time after time, I witnessed God's plan in action. No matter how much I think I know what's best for me, HE knows better. He's never let me down.

He won't let me down this time either.

So I'm going to try to do what Joyce Meyer suggested to us this weekend. When I wake up in the morning, I'm going to try to think, "I am excited to see what God does with me today." It's a shift in perception for me, for sure. I hadn't realized until this weekend, but I have been looking at everything through the lens of my loss. I'm putting that lens down. Scarlett is in my heart forever -- my spirit is connected to hers forever -- I don't need to hold her in front of my eyes to honor her.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The End

The conference ended with a bang. Joyce spoke about being anchored to hope, and that hope keeping us from drifting too far into discouragement and "pity parties". Christine Caine spoke about how God starts with the impossible. And the finale was this heart-thumping drum concert with balloons falling all around.

After the conference ended, we went to Angelo's for lunch, then ventured into the park at the Gateway Arch. The arch is breathtaking up close! We also walked down to the Mississippi River for a few.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Conference Update

Erin and I walked 7 blocks to a little place called the London Tea Room this afternoon. That little restaurant was definitely worth walking in heels. The waitress was just as sweet as pie. She said when we walked in, "Today is International Peace Day, and I'm giving out free hugs. Would you like one?" How could I say no? When we settled in, I ordered a brie & apple sandwich and a pot of Moroccan mint tea. Divine.

The conference has been inspiring. Amazing. Full of love and grace.

I am going to go home with a full heart, for sure.

Joyce brought out some of the journals she had kept over her lifetime. She shared some of the entries from the 1970s and 80s, and it was pretty amazing what God has done in her life since then. It made me thankful for this blog and my ability to chronicle my life here. But it also made me want to write more private journal entries about the little miracles I experience each day, the blessings, the guidance, the providence.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pics from Love Life Women's Conference

Love Life Conference

Well, I made it safely to St. Louis. The Love Life Women's Conference starts in less than 2 hours. Blogging may be spotty the next few days, but I'll do my best!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mature Mom

After a great conversation with a long-time colleague and friend yesterday, I realized I have been struggling with something I wasn't aware of. I haven't yet accepted that I'm going to be an older mom.

Having a child at age 30 was perfect for me. But starting over again at 33 has, for some reason, been really hard to get my head around.

So after work last night, I went downstairs to join Jeremy and I told him this realization. I told him I need to find the bright side of being an older mom.

Here's what he came up with:

1) Maturity. Comparing our parenting skills today versus ten years ago, there is a BIG difference in our patience levels, our desire to spend time at home, our communication skills, etc.

2) Finances. We are way more financially stable than most people starting a family.

3) Our friends' kids will be able to babysit our kids. Ha!  Love that one.

I also came up with two more, myself:

1) Appreciation. We understand what gifts children really are.

2) A natural end time. Many of my friends have struggled with the decision to stop having more children. That line will be drawn for Jeremy and I -- we will stop when my body can't do it anymore. And then hopefully we'll keep adding to our family by adoption. Jeremy tells me I can't adopt from China, though, or I'll be arrested for child abuse because I will pinch our kid's cheeks too much.

I didn't plan on waiting this long to have kids. But these are the cards Jeremy and I have been dealt, and I am trying my best not to get discouraged. There is a plan, here. God has got this timed just right for us. He timed Scarlett's conception and birth just right, and he'll do it for the rest of our kids, too.

I had a dream the other night that Scarlett and her sister were playing in heaven. I asked God why He hadn't sent her sister to us yet. He told me, "She is a soul in her own right, and she has free will. She says she isn't ready yet."

The next soul to join our family isn't ready yet. Okay. We're here waiting, dear one. And we're excited for you to join us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Favor and Fish

God did me a favor. I have this blog set up to post to Facebook each time I publish -- but yesterday's Birthday post never showed up on my FB timeline. THANK GOODNESS. Because that was a really depressing post.  Obviously it was written more for me than for you dear readers, because I probably depressed the heck out of anyone who read it.

So I guess God really did YOU a favor. LOL

I'm leaving on Thursday to go to St. Louis for Joyce Meyer's Love Life Women's Conference. I am over the moon about it. I've heard such great things, and that people come away completely inspired. I hope to come back with some great things to share.

I love Joyce Meyer for a lot of reasons, but especially because she calls us out. She says, "If you're going to park in a handicapped spot, and you're not handicapped, take that fish bumper sticker off your car right now." Essentially, the cross around your neck and the fish on your bumper do not make you a good Christian. Telling everyone you're a Christian does not make you a good Christian.

As you know, language is so important to me. I really hesitate to ever use the word "Christian" to describe myself. Although by any definition, I am one. It makes more sense to me to tell people I follow Jesus. The word "Christian" comes with a whole history and connotations that I don't fit into or buy into. I simply love God, am entranced by His Word, and appreciate the Son for everything He stands for and for dying so my daughter could have a place in heaven.

I don't wear a cross around my neck. I don't have a fish bumper sticker on my car (and Jeremy would give it devil horns if I did). But I do try to love. And I do try to forgive. And I do strive to be the best person I can be in the short time I'm here on this planet.

And I can honestly say I don't park in handicapped spots.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday

Well, today I turned 33 years old.

Jeremy did a great job of celebrating my birthday with me. He already gave me those necklaces on Saturday, but today he surprised me with Fringe Season 4 on DVD as well. And he brought me Starbucks. Mmmm.

I wish I could tell you that today was awesome. But it's my first birthday without Scarlett. And as with every other special day since she passed away, the sadness welled up in me and surprised me at its strength.

Years from now I know I will feel different on this day. I know this is just part of my season of grief. But even armed with that knowledge, I'm angry at the unfairness of it all.

I've had to do a lot of praying lately. I pray every day, no matter what -- but I've been praying beyond the norm for various reasons. And I've been trying to listen harder. When I really listen, I do hear God whispering to me. The message I've been getting lately when I pray about having more children is loud and clear. God tells me, I don't need your help. And, Having more children will not ease the ache you feel. Only time will do that.

They aren't necessarily the answers I want to hear. But I know they're the right answers. As a human being, when you're in pain, you want to stop that pain. I want to stop this pain. Not just the pain of the loss I suffered, but the pain of a house without children in it at all. The silence here is deafening. We keep the TV on all day long, just for the noise.

I know this is a season, and seasons change. I know we will have more children. I know our steps will be directed the right way, toward joy and prosperity. I know all of these things and I trust that God has the end of this season planned for us. It's already in the works. What I don't know is why I can't keep my head in that space. Or why I have to write in this blog to remind myself I won't feel like this forever.

I have to remind myself, constantly, that God is looking out for me. You guys see the positive talk here in this blog, or you see the smile on my face when you meet me in person -- and you tell me I'm strong, you tell me I inspire you. And I'm so grateful for that. Because what you are seeing is a manifestation of self-talk. I have a record on repeat in my brain, saying, Keep your eyes on God, keep your thoughts as positive as you can, and you will get through this.

I have always wanted this blog to be a guidepost for people. I want people to see that they can come through any problem, through any difficulty, if they just keep a positive attitude. Well, it's a guidepost for me too.

Andy Stanley preached on living comfortably inside the tension between reality and the ideal -- striving for the ideal while forgiving ourselves and each other when we fall short. I am a perfectionist, but I am learning to live inside that tension, one day at a time. I'm not going to beat myself up for not being super happy on my birthday. I'm going to instead realize that, considering the gaping hole in my heart, my 33rd birthday was pretty darn good.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where'd the Weekend Go?

I have literally not had a moment to breathe to write a post this weekend. But it started out in a really amazing way that I have to share right off the bat, here.

Saturday morning I woke up at 7am and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I noticed something hanging from the mirror over my side of the sink -- and on further examination I found it was an antique rose cameo necklace with a little note attached to it. The note had a clue on it, written in Jeremy's handwriting, leading to another item. So I followed Jeremy's clues throughout the house -- each time I found one, I found another antique necklace with a clue to the next one on it. By the time I was done, I had 11 antique necklaces -- all unique, all beautiful, and all thoughtful gifts from Jeremy as early birthday presents. He had stayed up late and put the whole thing together for me to find when I awoke.

I love that man.

Shortly after my treasure hunt, we loaded up the car and headed south. We stopped by Jeremy's parents' house, dropped off my Thirty-One supplies, and played with the twins for a few minutes. Then I went to the cemetery.

Visiting Scarlett's grave never gets easier. I don't imagine it ever will.

After I got my face cleaned up, I went to the salon. Eric worked his magic, freshened my hair color and gave me a trim. Then I was ready for the party.

There were already a couple of guests when I arrived at my in-laws' house to get Janet's party set up. So I gave them a catalog and chit-chatted as I put everything out. As always, Janet was the perfect hostess. Even though there were just seven people attending the party, she put out a feast.

I'm very pleased with how well the presentation went. I didn't feel nervous at all. I think I did a good job representing the company and talking about the products. Of course, come order time, things got a bit complicated. With these products, you have to make a lot of choices (style, fabric, thread color for personalization, etc.) and then also calculate in the monthly deal pricing, tax and shipping. I did well with it (for the most part), but I'm getting on the phone with my director tonight to see if she's got some tips for me to make the process faster.

After the party, Jeremy's family took us out to dinner for my (early) birthday. We went to On the Border because I love their fish tacos, and we don't have that restaurant near where we live. I stuffed myself silly.

I about died laughing at dinner. There was a balloon artist at the restaurant, and Anthony had him make a Hulk balloon for him. Well, the Hulk came complete with purple balloon "pants" -- and halfway through dinner, after much playing, those pants came off. Anthony walked over to Jeremy and handed him the pants in an attempt to get Jeremy to fix the situation. Jeremy, like the rest of us, couldn't figure out how to get the balloon put back together. Anthony took the Hulk and left the balloon pants with Uncle Jeremy. So I tried to get Anthony to tease his uncle, telling him "Tell Uncle, 'I see London, I see France, I see Uncle's underpants!'" Anthony thought that was hilarious, but when he repeated it to Jeremy, it came out as "I see unclepants!" I was in tears laughing. And yes, I called Jeremy "unclepants" for the rest of the night.

Of course I had to play with the twins for a while after dinner, to work off the food. Heehee. So the boys took turns dancing with me while the other "played" the piano. I love those kids to the ends of the earth.

We got home really late, so I went straight to bed. I did my Bible reading, and I'm into Ecclesiastes now. The passage about "there is a season for all things" was in last night's pages -- and I thought that was apt.

This morning when I woke up at 7 to get ready for my volunteer work, I felt a breakdown coming on. I was just overwhelmingly sad. I drove to Flatirons Church and checked in with the volunteer leaders, and was assigned to greet folks at one of the front entrances. I was stationed near where the young family and expectant mothers parking area is, so most people coming through my door were toting little kids and babies. The ache I had awakened with grew deeper -- but I warmly greeted each person.

When the worship music was over and the sermon began, I closed the front doors and went in to listen to Pastor Jim speak. Of course today was the day he announced the birth of his new grandson -- and they put a picture of the dear baby boy up on the screen. Again, a hit to my heart. It was a great sermon, though.

After service, I drove up to my friend Tam's house. She couldn't make it to my Thirty-One viewing party a couple of weekends ago, so I figured I would take my stuff up to her and spend some time visiting her and her family. I know I shouldn't need an excuse to visit my friends, but Thirty-One is a great excuse, nonetheless. I just adore Tam, her kids and her husband. Such a great family. Her daughter, Evie, drew me some beautiful pictures while I was there.

After my visit, I made it home just in time. My walls were crumbling. I felt the breakdown impending. I walked into the kitchen, I put my stuff down, Jeremy walked into the room from downstairs -- and I burst out crying. It all just came flooding out. There was no trigger. Nothing happened to make me upset. The grief just builds up in me sometimes, and the only way to process it is to let it out in the form of tears. So Jeremy sat me down on the couch and held me while I let it all loose. I felt better afterward. I hate that Jeremy has to witness that -- but I'm glad he's strong enough to deal with it when it happens, and patient enough to know it needs to happen sometimes. And that doesn't mean either one of us is failing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Color Changes

We're having our house painted right now.  We bought a fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood in Northglenn a year ago, and have been fixing it up bit by bit over time. The paint job couldn't wait any longer.

Our house was pale pink. Chipped and worn, it was actually kind of sad looking. It's now a stormy shade of blue, and the painters are putting an off-white trim on the edges as I type this. The house feels completely different when you pull into the driveway. In fact, when I was coming home last night in the dark, I noticed I couldn't see the house when I rounded the corner -- it blended in with the night, without the front light on, whereas the pink used to reflect the light from the neighbors' houses and the streetlamp.

Our house isn't the only thing to recently undergo a color change. I was born blond, and have always had some shade of blond hair -- but after Scarlett passed away, I dyed my hair dark red. It just felt right at the time. And many people over the last six months have remarked about how natural it looks on me. There is nothing natural about me with red hair -- but I think it fits me emotionally right now and that is what is reflecting to others.

It's amazing what a simple change of color can do.

This was our thinking when we asked Jeremy's mom and sister to help us paint Scarlett's room a couple of months ago. We thought the color change would make us feel differently about that space. I have to tell you, that is one color change that didn't make a lick of difference. Even though the walls are now stark white, I still see pink and yellow when I walk in there. It's burned into my brain.

But our hearts and minds were in the right place. Our grief counselor really pushed us to make that change, and we are glad we did. If even it was just to make some effort to move forward.

I'm keeping my red hair for now. In fact, I've decided I'm not going back to blond until I am pregnant again. My red hair is a reflection of who I am right now -- but I won't always be this person. Someday I'll be blond again. Someday Scarlett's bedroom walls will not be stark white. This is a season of color changes, but seasons pass.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Words

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." (Prov. 18:21)

Words have power. I've known this from an early age. As a writer, I live and breathe words. Words have the power to tell a story, to encourage and inspire, to tear down walls, or to make a mess of a situation.

In my Wednesday night Bible study, we're doing a Beth Moore study of Deuteronomy. The Hebrew title of that book means, These Are the Words. Literally we are studying the book of words.

When I read Deuteronomy several months ago, it was a difficult book to get through. At the time, it felt like a retelling of Leviticus. But now looking at it from a scholarly perspective, I see the importance of it. And somehow in studying this book of Moses' words to the people of Israel, Beth Moore expects us to rediscover our vision. These words may dig me out of this pile of questions.

Jeremy and I got into an argument last night. The reason for it was quite ridiculous, but tensions are high right now. We have our discussion and argument techniques from our days in marital counseling, and we do our best to use those -- so we are typically able to resolve things respectfully. I'm thankful for that. But last night, the resolution of the argument hinged on a single word. Jeremy was using a word to describe something, and I disagreed with the meaning. By changing a single word to something we could both agree on, we resolved the argument to both of our satisfaction.

In a comic book, poor writing can ruin beautiful art. In a poem, a single misplaced word can ruin the flow of an entire piece. In a conversation, the right words can heal.

I have recently claimed the word "inspire" as my own. This is the guiding word of my life. This is the word that best describes my purpose in all things -- in each blog post, in each interaction with another human being. Even when I argue with Jeremy, I find my deep-seated goal is to inspire him to something. Once I realized this word was a central theme in my life, I claimed it with gusto. I have a Thirty-One purse coming in the mail with the word "Inspire" embroidered on it. The bag I use for my books for study groups, a gift from a truly insightful friend, has the word "Inspiration" written on it.

My mother has claimed two words recently as well, to guide her as she plans the next phase of her life. She is retiring from the company she has been with for over a decade. These words have deep meaning for her and align with and clarify her goals. She is using them as guideposts.

How have words changed or guided your life? Do you have "power words" of your own?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chin Up

I don't know if most women are like this, but I really need to talk out (or text/email out) my issues to work through them. It's amazing to me the answers that emerge when I simply put my concerns into words.

I was texting with a friend yesterday, telling her how hard this infertility thing has been on me. I told her how it's exacerbating things that weren't previously problems. It's making me miss my daughter more. It's taking a toll on our marriage. It's taking a toll on my optimism. It's making me more stressed about finances. It's making me obsess over what God's plan could possibly be from all of this.

And as I hit the "send" button, I winced. All of that, all of that, is my own darn fault. If I trusted God's plan as much as I tell people I do, if I knew without a doubt that things were being set up for my advantage the way I think they are, none of those things I just listed would be concerns.

Honestly it's not possible to miss my daughter more. I can concentrate more on missing her, yes, but I miss her with every fiber of my being -- nothing will ever dent that or grow it. None of this is Jeremy's fault -- so feeling resentful just harms me and my marriage. My optimism is a matter of focusing on gratitude -- no one and nothing has the power to make me become pessimistic. Our finances are a result of decisions that Jeremy and I have made together -- and together we need to make a new plan. And obsessing over God's plan is fruitless too. Because the fact is there IS a plan. And it's for my good. So what does obsessing accomplish?

My friend told me I don't always have to be strong. And she's right, I don't. But I do have to keep my chin up. Not just for me, but for my husband. Wallowing won't help anything. Feeling sorry for myself won't help anything. Blaming my own heart/mind issues on infertility won't help anything.

I am experiencing circumstances that I have no control over. But here is what I DO have control over: I can spend time writing instead of watching mindless TV after work. I can make our date nights more special by planning treats for my brokenhearted husband. I can get exercise. I can keep up on my Bible studies. And I can keep my mind on God and off of my disappointments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Schedule of Ups and Downs

I had another dream last night where Scarlett was sick. She was lying on top of me, her head on my chest, like she used to do when she was really little. Like before she was mobile, because once she was able to move around, that position made it too tempting to lift her head and plant kisses on my nose.

I awoke disoriented when the alarm went off. But this time there was no temptation to go back to bed. I never wanted to dream about her, you know. I never wanted one more minute -- because one more minute would never be enough. These dreams are starting to make me angry.

God's schedule of ups and downs has never failed me. When I went through hard times, I could always count on something really good coming around the next corner. I still count on that. My view of how life works is based on my experience, and my experience is for every bad thing that happens, ten good things come my way.

I have to keep thinking like that.

I know two other women who are struggling to have children right now. We three often get together and vent about the difficulty of infertility. It took Jeremy and me well over a year to conceive Scarlett, and I remember appreciating the pregnancy so much because of it. While my girlfriends whined and moaned through their 40-week ordeals, I loved every second of my 40-week incubation. Nothing got me down. Jeremy said I was the happiest pregnant woman he had ever known. So these are the things I try to share with my friends struggling to get pregnant. That it will happen, and when it does they will be the happiest pregnant ladies.

I sometimes think the point of struggle is to make us appreciate the things we have and the things we get.

My mom tells me she knows other women her age who are never going to have grandkids -- and my mom is so thankful she had the one, however brief. My dad tells me he never expected to love being a grandpa so much, and he loves that he had that experience. Jeremy tells me those 19 months we had Scarlett were the best days of his whole life. And these are the stories I need to keep hearing. It's too easy to get sucked into the sadness.

Good things are coming. Because good things always come after bad.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Honest Smile

My brother Drew and I are alike in so many ways. Creative drive is the one thing that stands out to people who meet us for the first time.

While I am a professional writer and an amateur artist, he is a professional artist and an amateur writer. And while we respectfully admire each other's skill-sets, we also respectfully envy each other's unique talents. While I can draw quite well from life or photo reference, my brother can draw out of his imagination. While I couldn't draw a straight line if my life depended on it, Drew can draw perfect freehand Celtic knots that the ancient masters used compasses and rulers to complete. While I can write in a client's voice with ease, making myself a writing chameleon, Drew's writing style is incredibly unique but inflexible.

Drew has a penchant for poetry. Often the theme of falsehood emerges in his writing. Specifically he writes a lot about people hiding pain or anger behind a fake smile. In fact, he posted a poem on Facebook last night that said something along those lines.

That poem was on my mind when I walked out of the bank this morning. I had taken a couple of checks over to deposit them in my account, and there was an adorable little boy, probably a year and a half old, there with his dad. The little boy shyly waved at me as I walked in. And as I was getting my business taken care of with the teller, I was absolutely dying inside. That little boy made me ache for my daughter something fierce. But I kept a smile on my face and told that cashier to have a great day. I waved at the little boy on the way out.

Is smiling when I'm in pain being fake? To me it feels like the only way to keep moving forward in my life. I can't be crying all the time -- especially not out in public. That's not going to get me anywhere. But when I have that smile plastered on my face, it doesn't give me the opportunity to be honest about how I'm feeling, either. It's impossible to be honest when a friend asks me how I'm doing, when I have a smile on my face. Could you imagine me saying, "Well, I'm about to collapse into a sobbing heap because I miss my daughter so much," while smiling?

So I guess I'm of the opinion that there has to be a balance. Sometimes you DO have to put a smile on your face when you're collapsing on the inside. Especially around people you don't know. But I think I swing too much in that direction, and maybe I need to be a little more honest with my friends and family about how I'm feeling.

And the honest truth is one minute I'm a mess and the next I'm strong again.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Breaking Bad and the Research Bug

Yes, I'm writing this post very late today. I blame Breaking Bad. And this is going to be a rambling post, so heads up.

I spent my morning lazily drinking coffee and watching Super Soul Sunday. Then I went to the second service at Crossroads Church. Pastor Kim preached on being the "salt of the earth" -- salt being a preservative during the time the books of the Bible were written, so the term actually means something quite different than we think today. As "salt", those of us pursuing a spiritual life are meant to staunch the decay of those around us. I like to think my words here keep decay at bay for someone every day -- if just one reader could be reached here a day, I would be happy. So yes, the sermon hit home.

After church, I swung by the house and picked up Jeremy. We headed up to Erie for the Flatirons volunteer picnic. I'm so new to the volunteer crew, I didn't recognize anyone there. And the catered food all had meat in it (remember I'm a vegetarian) -- even the beans and salad. I asked the server if the beans were vegetarian and he said yes -- but just as I was about to take a bite, Jeremy told me to stop. He had found a big hunk of ham in his beans. I wonder if that server understands that vegetarians don't eat meat. :| But they did have an ice cream truck. So it wasn't a total bust. But we didn't stay long.

After doing some GlobalWrites work this afternoon, Jeremy and I settled in to watch the rest of Season 4 of Breaking Bad. Yeah, that's it for my day -- I spent it on my butt after we hit play on Netflix.

Jeremy was gone all day yesterday helping his dad with a project in Colorado Springs. So last night I had some time to explore Netflix without my husband's opinion being a factor. I watched The Secret the other day, which was very thought-provoking, so I looked at the spiritual documentaries genre page to see if anything else struck my fancy. Sure enough, I found The Case for Christ. Oh it was so good! It was an atheist's exploration of the life of Jesus Christ. Considering the documentation itself, the various translations, and the culture at the time the Bible was written and the centuries that followed; interviewing scholars; and digging into this material in a very hands-on way, this journalist found some fascinating things.

Sigh... when I was in college getting my degree in History, that is the kind of research I envisioned doing. There is a special collections room at Norlin Library that I was privileged to enter one time in my academic career. There was an original copy of the Nuremberg Chronicles there, under glass. Oh how I itched to put my hands on its pages. Years later, when Jeremy and I were in Dublin, I felt the same way when I saw the Book of Kells. There is nothing more exciting to me than an ancient manuscript.

That overwhelming desire to research things has not faded for me today. Though now it has a different application. Now my research is focused on various work projects, hobbies and personal passions, but all for the pleasure of just learning something new. For example, I can tell you more about the life of the Apostle Paul than many lifelong Christians can, because when I started reading the Bible a few months ago, I also started studying and researching it. And I find Paul extremely interesting. So I decided to learn all I can about him, literally cramming my brain with as much info as I can absorb.

As a lifelong learner and researcher, I should have written a dozen books by now. My problem? I can't stop studying long enough to write about it!

I can thank my parents for my thirst for knowledge, by the way. I'm the product of two Berkeley grads. It's in my genes on both sides. I know they're both laughing reading this blog post.

Jeremy has a passion for knowledge, too, but it's pretty focused on the comic industry. That kind of focus is pretty amazing, though. He's the guy you would come to to get a comic appraised -- and he'd tell you the entire history of both the writer and artist, what the publishing company was going through at the time it was released, and probably the molecular structure of the paper it's printed on (I may be exaggerating on that last one). I may be knowledgeable about a lot of things, but Jeremy is a full-blown expert.

So I'd say our future kids have a pretty good chance of turning out to be researchers too. Awesome.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Sisterhood

I grew up with brothers. As a kid I always felt more comfortable around boys. I knew how to handle them. I knew what to expect.

Going off to college at age 17, I learned very quickly that female friendships were going to be important in my new adult life and I'd better learn how to manage them. When I arrived I was placed in a "triple" dorm, so I shared a room with two other girls. One was a punk-rocker with confidence to spare, the other was an over-achieving (and parentally rebellious) Japanese girl. I felt so out of place -- I didn't know how to connect with these people I was supposed to be living with.  I lasted about a month before I requested a transfer.

The University of Colorado then placed me in a dorm with Erin. We hit it off immediately. For all of her black clothes, glamorous makeup, The Cure posters and Ani DiFranco music, we got along like sisters. I didn't even throw anything at her when she snored (you're welcome, Erin).

After college I moved around a lot, but I still made an effort to cultivate female friendships. They were more meaningful, more lasting and less complicated than trying to be friends with guys.

And now, today, at almost 33 years old, I think women rock. Our sisterhood is something to be held dear.

I went to a Women's Ministry breakfast at Flatirons Church this morning. I met a woman there who told me an inspiring story about adopting a 6-year-old little girl from the Ukraine. I listened to two women speak about going on an all-woman mission trip to Afghanistan, and being blown away that the women in such an oppressive culture could not only smile, but laugh together -- and how even though they didn't speak the same language, when all the women got together in a room all the boundaries fell away.

When I came home today, my mom arrived shortly after with a lemon-blueberry bundt cake for my Thirty-One viewing party. Later on she gave me the opportunity to practice taking party orders by ordering a few items for herself and patiently waiting as I entered it online to make sure it matched up with the order form I had filled out for her. (BTW, she ordered three of the products that I am absolutely crazy about and that I have also ordered for myself -- she's got good taste!). And I realized how crazy, abundantly, exuberantly lucky I am to have a mom like her.

I could literally write a hundred blog posts about the awesome women I know or have met, and what they have meant to me throughout the years. I look back at my early years, when I felt that I couldn't connect to women because they were too complicated, and I feel silly for ever thinking that. Because a sisterhood is one of the most uncomplicated things. We share, we support, we love. What's simpler than that?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Gospel Truth

I have said this before and I'll say it again. Reading the Bible for myself has been a life-altering experience.

I never cracked the spine of a Bible before February, 2012. I am a new Christian, and it never seemed important to read the scripture for myself before this time. This year-long plan to read the Bible from cover to cover started as a project to get my mind OFF of my pain and ONTO God.

But then it became so much more.

Reading it for myself rather than having others interpret it for me, I see different things in the text. Having read half of the Bible now, I understand a good portion of the sermons I listen to in a different way because I have read the text beforehand. Quotes I have heard throughout my life and that have been meaningful to me, I am learning actually come from the Bible. Characters that used to be two-dimensional, such as Samson, are now in 3D, complete with human motives and mistakes.

And as I read each book, I am constantly surprised at the ones that hit me in the heart and the ones that I struggle with. I plan to study sections more in-depth when I have finished one complete read-through, and the books on my "to study" list are very different than what I thought they would be.

I thought Psalms would be number one on my list to study further. But no, Proverbs is speaking to me on a much deeper level than Psalms did. I thought Genesis and Exodus would be dry, and yet I found such significant meaning there. I thought Samuel and Kings would be a struggle to get through, but I found I devoured them. I thought Ruth would be powerful, and yet I found it comforting instead. And so on. I am constantly surprised.

And I feel like a fool, too, to have taken other people's interpretations as gospel all this time, rather than reading the real gospel myself.

There is a story in 2 Samuel 12 where the first baby of Bathsheba and King David dies. I had never heard of it before. When I came across it in my reading, I sobbed my eyes out. But beyond the tears, it left me feeling less alone. And David's reaction to the loss left me feeling like my particular process of grieving is indeed a healthy one -- and I will press on, just as he did. I made every Christian within my circle read that story because I felt like it would help them understand me.

I am certainly reading the Bible for the first time at the right time. It is more meaningful to me now than it would have been in my past. And when my friends ask me how I am managing to get so much reading done, I tell them it is just ten minutes a day using the Canonical reading plan on YouVersion -- and it is always the most powerful, meaningful, comforting ten minutes a day I have.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Definition of a Good Husband

This is a shout out to my HOT husband. HOT standing for "husband of Thirty-One", of course.

Jeremy is handing out my Thirty-One business cards and mini catalogs left and right. Literally approaching women in grocery stores and going into nail salons to pass out my bright pink cards and promote purse sales.

If that's not sexy, I don't know what is.

This is the guy who brought me cup after cup of coffee as I was writing my first novel. The guy who makes sure I eat meals when I'm deep into a freelance project. The guy who cleans the house when I'm gone in meetings or on business trips.

A good husband isn't defined by spending his spare time improving his muscle tone. He's not defined by bringing home enough bacon so you never have to work a day in your life. He's not defined by letting you win every argument, cooking like a world-class chef, or buying you diamonds. Those are all great things, but a good husband is defined by his character.

It takes character to support someone, rain or shine. It takes character to see what your partner needs and give it to them before they have to ask for it. It takes character for a man who is searching for his purpose in life to get behind his wife's new business with unbridled gusto.

So thank you, Jeremy, for being a character -- and for having character. I married you because I foresaw us at 90 years old, together in the nursing home, still holding hands. And after four years of marriage, and ups and downs that most couples don't recover from, I still foresee us teaching the rest of those old cronies how it's done.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Full Spiritual Recovery

I am recovering from a week-long depression. Though I know to expect these kinds of down-slides when grieving, they still take me by surprise every time.

It's easy to give in when these down times happen. It's easy to let my routines slip. It's easy to stop praying. It's easy to let minor annoyances chip away at my marriage. Maintaining my day-to-day life takes much more effort.

But the further I get down the slope, the harder it is to pull myself back up the hill. For all the pain I'm going through right now, I still have a good life.  Destroying that life isn't going to do me or my loved ones any good. And it certainly won't honor my daughter.

So difficult as it is, I dig in my heels to stop slipping, and then climb back up the hill.

Most of the time, I find something to give me a boost up the hill once I start climbing. Sometimes it's simply getting out of the house to meet a friend for coffee. Sometimes it's a yoga class that gives me a boost. Sometimes it's reading a book that really speaks to me. And sometimes it's reconnecting to God.

That last one is often a "duh" moment for me. When I start to feel down, my spiritual life often starts to slip away. My daily readings become rote. The sermons I listen to in the morning become background noise. My prayers become checklists or simply repeated poetry. And for some reason it doesn't dawn on me right away that I'm pulling away from God. When it DOES dawn on me, and I make an effort to reconnect, I immediately start feeling better. Reconnecting myself to God, reopening myself to the Holy Spirit that I have shut out, becomes less of a boost up the hill and more of a rope pulling me up that hill.

It dawned on me last night that I had inadvertently shut Him out. So I let Him back in. And lo and behold, today I feel a million times better.

So I don't say this facetiously: Thank God. I'll be okay.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Not a Cook

My family had a barbecue brunch at my parents' house yesterday for Labor Day. I was thankful for the distraction, as I am still reeling from those dreams about Scarlett.

I am always impressed at the spreads my mom is able to put together. Veggies with dip, cheese and crackers, fruit, mini omelets, berry cobbler, potato salad and sandwich fixings covered the table by 11am. And as the piece de resistance, my dad grilled some salmon.

I have to resist comparing myself to my mom in these circumstances. She is always ready and willing to teach me her cooking techniques -- and I have learned a lot from her through the years -- but I still don't have the desire to cook like she does. I'd rather buy pre-made stuff from the grocery. Try as I might, I can't get out of that mindset.

I started trying harder when Scarlett got to the age when she could eat normal, solid foods. I experimented in the kitchen a bit, on the evenings where I had the energy after work. And on holidays, I asked my mom to teach me some of the family traditions (like the Christmas cookie tree). I thought I could pass that knowledge down to Scarlett as she got older.

But now, well, I have no reason to cook. Jeremy could care less if we eat frozen burritos for dinner. And cooking is the last thing on my mind when I get off of a long day of working multiple jobs. I realize all my desire to cook was wrapped up in my daughter.

I battle the guilt of that sometimes. Because my mom taught me that cooking is love. She tells me she doesn't necessarily enjoy it, but my dad enjoys eating it, so she still cooks every night even though it's just the two of them now.

That's where I have to stop myself from comparing. Jeremy and I are not my parents. Jeremy would rather I spend the time watching Breaking Bad with him than sweating in the kitchen. He'd rather eat a microwave quesadilla than have me spend all my time after work at the stove. So I get over my guilt when I put that all into perspective.

Sure, when I have more children I will teach them what my mom has taught me. And if they are interested in cooking and baking I will be more than willing to spend that time in the kitchen. But right now, it's just me and Jeremy. And right now, spending time together is the most important thing.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Acceptance

I had three separate dreams last night that Scarlett wasn't really dead. That she just needed to rest, but she was starting to feel better and would be fine in no time. In one of the dreams, I had spread out blankets on her bedroom floor and I was going to sleep in there with her until she was better.

This morning, when I awoke at about 6:50, I lay there unsure if I wanted to get out of bed. Part of me wanted to go back to sleep so I could dream about her again -- but part of me was terrified of entertaining that fantasy.

I got out of bed.

Acceptance is a difficult lesson sometimes. It's the lesson I'm experiencing right now, and it's not easy. To accept that I'll never again hear her say "Hand!" while she grabs my hand and walks me around the kitchen for ten minutes, or never again see those mischievous blue eyes smile up at me from the changing table -- it's something no mother should be asked to accept. And yet I'm being asked to accept it. This isn't a cross to bear. This isn't a lesson to grow from. This is a living nightmare.

But I have to accept it. It's the only way to keep going.

Jeremy and I watched several episodes of Hoarders yesterday. I was getting so mad at those people, I was yelling at the TV screen. Jeremy accused me of being judgmental. And yeah, maybe I was being judgmental, but I couldn't feel empathy toward them. I just couldn't. They all had a sob story, Oh poor me, my husband left me so I started collecting trash. Or, Oh poor me I have an illness so I am raising my child in a house filled with cockroaches and excrement. And my sensitivity just didn't kick in. They weren't accepting reality, they were making excuses for behavior they KNEW was bad. They were putting their loved ones at risk. I kept thinking, I lost a child and I am still functioning. Yes, it takes effort. Yes, I have to take measures to maintain my mental health. Yes, there is nothing easy about it. But I carried on. And these people have no excuse.

They say that accepting you have a problem is the first step. So okay -- first step complete. I accept that there is a big, gaping hole in my heart, in a shape only my daughter can fill -- and I am terrified. I am terrified that I won't be able to have more children. I am terrified if months continue to pass by with no pregnancy, I will give up and give in to this pain. I am terrified that if I do have more children, I'll be a paranoid and fearful mother. I am terrified of thinking too much about Scarlett and getting so lost in the memories that I stop being able to function.

I accept that she's gone, and life will never be the same.

But I think acceptance is like forgiveness. I think sometimes you have to keep doing it, over and over, until it sticks.

I got out of bed this morning. I could have gotten lost in those dreams, but I got out of bed. I'd like to think acceptance is starting to stick.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Weekend

I launched my first Thirty-One online party yesterday. I'm excited to see how it goes, since so many people are excited about the new catalog.

Yesterday afternoon, Jeremy and I drove around for a bit, looking for garage sales. Then we headed to our local dine-in theater and saw ParaNorman while eating fried pickles (mmm!). We have been kinda doing our own things lately, other than evenings on the couch or our weekly date nights, so it was nice to spend a day together off the couch and out of the house.

I volunteered as a greeter for the first time at Flatirons Church this morning. I was so excited to contribute to this wonderful organization, but now I'm even more stoked. The people there are really something special. They have such open hearts. I feel very connected and cared for there, and I hope I can return the favor.

After church, I met Lindsey and Jennifer for brunch. I was introduced to them at one of my Bible study groups, and I am really enjoying getting to know them. They are such positive people, and so genuine.

I feel my life shifting in the direction of positive energy and heartfelt connections. I'm being drawn to people and situations with an energetic exchange -- where I can both give and get. It's a revelation. A really lovely revelation.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Anger is a Poison

I have always considered myself a forgiving person. I don't tend to hold grudges. So when something causes a previously-unrealized anger to rise in me and come out in my mind as vicious thoughts -- well, it's startling.

The last six months of my life have made me restructure my priorities and redesign how I spend my time and energy. I strategically invest in productive pursuits and relationships. I'm rebuilding my life from the ground up.

Little did I know there was anger slumbering in the foundation.

Some things occurred in the wake of my daughter's death that made me furious. But I thought I had forgiven and moved on. This week, however, one little reminder of it triggered an anger I didn't know was still so sharp and alive.

Jeremy tells me I have a right to be angry right now. But feeling entitled to anger doesn't make the anger right. Nor does it negate the effects of that anger.

Anger is a poison. Once you let it in, it seeps into your bloodstream and suddenly you are walking around with it all the time. Not just the times when you're thinking about the person or event that made you angry, but all the time.

Thanks to this blog, I have chronicled enough about my life that I see patterns quite clearly. And always, the day after I let anger take a hold of me, I hit a brick wall. You can call it a slump, a funk, a low-point, or a depression -- but it always hits the day after I get really riled up about something. It's the poison.

One of my anxiety-calming techniques is to say out loud (or in my head if other people are around), "I choose not to be anxious." It's a psychological checkpoint for me. When I feel anxiety rising, I verbally make the choice to not choose it. I think I'm going to try this with anger and see how it works. When I feel anger rising, I will make the choice not to choose it.

I hope it works. Pray for me.