Thursday, February 28, 2013

Churning and Meditating

Sometimes putting words to how I'm feeling or what I'm experiencing is nearly impossible. But here goes.

Everything is shifting right now. The waters are all being stirred. While I'm excited to see what this churning is all about, it's also a lot to process.

I've been working on training documentation for my day job, and I have realized how much of what I do resides in my own head. Sure, I can write instructions on how to operate a web management tool, I can create spreadsheets that clearly show what content needs to go where and for whom. But so much of what I do is just plain decision-making. You can't write an instruction manual on how to make decisions.

But I'm doing my best with it. I'm writing down everything I can think of, and that in itself is causing more and more to rise to the surface. All in all, this may be the most difficult training I've ever given in my career. And I've given a LOT of training in my career.

This may also be the most important exercise in my career, though, too. I've got a million ideas for books I want to write, videos I want to produce, articles I want to make available to people -- but the cerebral nature of my expertise has made it difficult to pin down outlines for any of it. Now, being forced to get my cerebral expertise down on paper at my day job, it's starting to crack open the door to writing this other material.

So I'm swimming in this world of performing my day-to-day tasks while preparing to pass them on and learn a new job. Meanwhile, lunch breaks, evenings and weekends are dedicated to doing the million other jobs I have. And in the midst of this whirlpool, I have found meditation again.

It's been years since I had a regular meditation practice. And I really don't know why. Next to exercise and eating right, it is the most crucial thing I could do for my health. This shifting happening in my life is actually pushing me into meditation now -- like God has had it with my resistance and is taking matters into His own hands. I find I crave that quiet time. In the afternoon, no matter how busy I have been, I have made the time to take a break and go meditate almost every day for two weeks. I've had severe bouts of insomnia off and on as well, which has forced me to meditate to get my mind to calm down and go to sleep.

But beyond those quiet moments, I find the more I practice, the more I can carry that meditative state into the active parts of my day. Anxieties are being overridden, stresses are not causing the knots between my shoulder blades they usually do, I'm more focused and conversations are flowing more naturally.

I can feel it, physically, when I'm losing that meditative state and the troubles of the world are flooding into my consciousness. It feels like... sinking. And given my still-fresh grief, sinking feels especially dangerous.

Coming back to meditation, I feel like things are starting to flow in my life again. This churning, shifting life of mine is just the chug of the engine that is going to move things along again, and move us back onto the path of miracles.

And that led me to handle the latest bad news with more grace than I thought I had in me.

I had a phone appointment with our fertility doctor on Tuesday. Long story short... he's essentially giving up on us. Until we're ready to pay $20,000 to do IVF, there's nothing more he can do. Given that in my last conversation with him, he had told me that if we're still not pregnant in another month, he'd like to go forward with more invasive testing -- well, I should have been devastated when he told me, "Well, this certainly isn't the scenario we were planning on when we started down this path. I can't justify testing when all of your x-rays and ultrasounds have shown nothing wrong. Take a break and consider IVF." And I was devastated -- but not because he's giving up. Because I felt like we wasted all that time, money and energy, and we put my body through hell, for nothing. But at the same time I felt... free. No more pills that give me hot flashes and migraines. No more driving into downtown Denver for painful procedures. It's just me and Jeremy again. And the two of us can move mountains.

I cried, yes, I admit it. When I got off the phone with the doctor and I had to relay this information to Jeremy, I was sad. I felt myself sinking -- but I buoyed myself back up. I can't afford to have doubts. Doubts, I'm sure, are what have prevented us from conceiving all this time. I clung to the hope that these doctors could help us, but after a while I started realizing that they didn't know any more than we do.

I feel family in my bones. I know that sounds weird, but I can't think of any other way to put how I feel about having children. Children are coming to us, I just know it. Jeremy and I have not had an easy path, in anything. Not in our marriage, our careers or our family. But I feel like that's just all experience points. We're gathering those points to put toward a grand prize.

I have this vision of posting a blog years from now, full of pictures of our growing family, and linking back to this one. The hyperlink will simply say, "I told you so."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Little Catch-Up and A Holy Spirit Moment

Whoa. Where'd today go? I guess I've had my head buried in training documentation. When I write training docs, I get so caught up. When I was younger, writing fiction did the same thing for me. It swept me away. And now I get swept up in training documentation. Ha! Boy how times have changed.

I got an email from the adoption coordinator at the Colorado Aussie Rescue yesterday. She said that Hero is doing fantastic, and only has one more round of shots to go, so he can come home with us on Friday. Jeremy ran out to the store today and picked up some potty pads, rope toys and puppy food. Gosh, it's been 8 years since we last had a puppy. I can't even remember housebreaking Tyr. Jeremy must have been in charge of that. This time, since I'm working at home I'm taking a more active role. Hero is already 3 months old, though, and he's paper trained -- so I don't think housebreaking will be a big leap for him.

I feel I should make a confession in this blog today. After much hemming and hawing, I finally started watching Downton Abbey on Netflix. And I love it. However, it's not Jeremy's cup of tea, so it's going to take me like a year to watch the first season. Typically if I'm watching TV, Jeremy is watching it with me.

After missing my Thirty-One meeting last week due to the snowstorm and being SUPER BUMMED that I missed out on the amenity, I got an email last week from the meeting coordinator telling me she got approval to give out the product to those who let her know they couldn't make it in the snowstorm. Since I have common courtesy in spades, I had emailed her about an hour before the meeting, telling her I couldn't get there in the storm. Fact is, I'm a chicken in the snow. But that common courtesy earned me a gorgeous Easy Breezy Tote in Island Damask. I picked it up on Friday and it's making me ache for the beach. So YAY for Thirty-One for making the situation right. This company has yet to let me down.

I started a new Bible reading plan last week, too. I'm re-reading the New Testament. The second time through feels very different. I'm more knowledgeable about the Bible, now, and about biblical history, so I'm picking up on different things in the text. And I'm making sure I read in my ESV Study Bible every night, rather than on my iPad, so I can dig into the material a little deeper.

So you all know that I pray every night before bed. When I turn the light out, I lie down in bed and look out the window. We live on a hill, so the view is a glistening sea of lights -- streetlights and stars. For some reason, looking at that makes me feel really connected to God. So that's how I pray every night. I look out the window and I talk to Him. And sometimes I listen, too. LOL. I know I should listen more than I should talk. But half the time when I finish my prayer and listen for an answer, I fall asleep.

Last night I didn't fall asleep after I prayed. I actually listened intently -- and I got a very clear message. Why the heck are you asking ME for miracles? I gave you the Comforter (Holy Spirit) for a reason. Talk to Him.

This woke me up. I got this sudden clarity that this distance I feel between myself and God sometimes is an illusion -- because God is always with me as the Holy Spirit. Gabrielle Bernstein calls it "ING," or Inner Guidance. And though her view isn't 100% the same as mine about the form of this energy, we agree on the function. It's there to guide you, and to usher miracles into your life and the lives of those around you.

This year is going to be a year of miracles. As A Course in Miracles states, "Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong." Last year was a year of healing -- but this year, this year I demand miracles.

So me and the Holy Spirit are going to have words. A lot.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Laugh At Me -- Go Ahead!

I get one of two reactions from people when I wear my owl hat. People either say something along the lines of, "OMG. I love your hat! Where did you get it?" or... they laugh hysterically.

I walked into Bible study last night wearing my owl hat and two of the women just started busting up. Of course I just smiled, stretched my neck and said "Like my hat, huh?" And talking to one of them after class, as she once again started laughing when I put my hat on, she said, "People would have me committed if I wore a hat like that." I said, "It makes people smile. I don't care if people laugh at it. Everyone should smile more."

When I was a kid, I would have never worn that hat again if someone had laughed at it. Now that laughter brings a smile to my face because I understand it's genuine -- they're not making fun of me, but laughing happily. Isn't it amazing how a little perspective can change your life? Instead of being offended now, I smile right along with the laughter.

It's so easy to take things personally. Especially for us women. I don't know what specific event caused me to grow a thicker skin, but I can tell you that I'm not so easily offended anymore. And that has freed me.

It's freed me to wear a funny owl hat. It's freed me to have more honest conversations with people. It's freed me to own my mistakes and then set them right.

As the saying goes, what other people think of me is none of my business. That doesn't give me the right to treat other people poorly, but it does give me the freedom to live my life for the right reasons. For God, for family, for the change I want to make in the world.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Overcoming This World

John 16:33 is popping up EVERYWHERE in my life: "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

This is the piece of scripture I memorized for the Siesta Scripture Memory challenge on Feb 1, and since then I can't get away from it. If it's not being quoted directly, someone refers to it indirectly ("Remember, God never promised that our earthly life would be fair.") And when something gets repeated in my life this often, I take note.

I'm a pretty open-minded girl. I have my spiritual belief system, yes, and I read the Bible every day. But I don't stop there. I read non-Christian books, blogs, articles, etc. that speak to my soul as well. And this message is being repeated everywhere -- along with a directive.

This directive is transforming my life. You are a spiritual being in the material world -- keep your head in the spiritual world to keep the material world from weighing you down. Or, Be in this world, but not of it.

I know all of you have entered what I call "The Flow" in your lifetime. Whether it's while you're running, or during a yoga class, or in a meditation, or in deep prayer, or in the middle of a concert, or in the middle of a really good book -- you tap into something outside of yourself.  Suddenly you are separate from all of your worldly issues. Anxiety disappears, you witness fear and anger from an outside vantage point, and you find deep peace.

This is the only way I got through the anniversary of our daughter's death. I didn't sink into the worldly pain of it. I kept the good memories forefront, and I let the worldly pain exist as separate from those good memories. That pain isn't my life. My daughter existed here, and now she exists as a memory and a promise. I will be with her again when my worldly life is done. The pain of loss is terrible -- but it is not me. I won't accept it as my identity. She was a gift, and she deserves to be remembered as such.

I sat with Jeremy last night and told him, For the first time in a year I feel excited. The future holds amazing gifts. Hero comes home this weekend (if the vet gives him a clear pass). My new business is full of promise. I'm attending Marie Forleo's B-School for 8 weeks to learn how to make this business all it can be -- and maybe to help others within my circle build their businesses too. My role with my day-job is transitioning into something that fits my skill-set and passions much better. It looks like Jeremy and I are going to Europe at the end of this summer. And I know, I just know, children are coming our way soon.

So I have a choice. I can adopt this material world and my problems within it as my identity -- making my grief, my anxiety over not getting pregnant, and the difficulty of building a new business the forefront of my waking thoughts. OR, I can stay in the spiritual flow of things and let my heart race in excitement for all the wonderful things coming my way.

In this world I will have trouble. But God has overcome this world -- and I want to be right there with Him. Overcoming.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

We Made It

We got through our "last first." Yesterday was the first anniversary of Scarlett's death -- and as of today we have no more firsts in our grieving experience. Well, at least until we're able to have more children -- then we'll have a whole new set of firsts.

Yesterday didn't go as planned. And I'm so glad about that. We had this grand plan to meet my parents for lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant, pass Tyr off to them for the weekend, and then head to a hotel. But God had other plans for us.

I got up around 8:30am and came downstairs to do my morning reading. I flipped on the new age music station on the TV, made my coffee, and curled up. Tyr knew I was in a delicate state, I think, because he was extra huggy.

After reading for a while, I decided to meditate. I've learned some new meditation techniques recently, and I thought it would be the best time to practice them. I'll write more at a later date about this -- but for the sake of this post, I'll say that I spent a good portion of my morning in meditation and it was so good for my state of mind.

Jeremy and I drove over to Jewel of India to meet my parents for lunch later that morning, and we got there about 15 minutes early.  We saw a sign for an adoption event at a pet store in the same shopping center, so we decided to pop in to waste some time before my family got there. Let me say this right now, I have been ADAMANT that I don't want any more pets. Especially not another dog. Tyr is such an easy dog, we're so spoiled with him, I just don't want to complicate our lives right now.

That said, I fell in love with a puppy at the adoption event. He had Tyr's same mellow personality, and his mother was a good size dog with an easygoing nature. But I walked away and told the adoption people that I would take another look at him after we had lunch, if he was still there.

Jeremy, Drew, my parents and I had an amazing buffet lunch at the Indian restaurant. It was the best Indian buffet any of us had ever had. Afterward we were all so stuffed, I told my family they should walk down to the pet store with us to work off some of the lunch. They obliged.

The puppy was still there. Argh!

I spent probably 45 minutes in that store, going back and forth about the dog. The woman who runs the rescue organization told me the story of this big group of dogs and puppies that was rescued from an abandoned farm in Texas, and she was nursing them all back to health. Oh great, a story of thriving against the odds -- I am SUCH A SUCKER for that. I kept waiting for someone to talk me out of it. Yes, I was drawn to this puppy -- but was getting another dog a smart decision? Probably not!

I finally decided I wanted a day to think about it. I took the rescue organization's card and we all went back to our house. Long story short, everyone thought I should get the dog. So I caved. I called the woman from the rescue organization and told her I'd like to adopt the puppy. She said he was being adopted by another family. I thought WHEW!

So my family packed Tyr up in the car and headed home, and Jeremy and I sat down to figure out where we were staying that night (especially given the incoming blizzard, we didn't want to wander too far). I went upstairs to get ready for our night out -- and collapsed into a heap on the recliner in our bedroom. All of a sudden I was so incredibly sad.

Jeremy came up a few minutes later and caught me crying. He sat at my feet, held my hands and said, "Honey, the woman said she had more puppies back at her house. Let's go look at them." I said, "No, that puppy was special. And I didn't even want another dog, so I don't know why I'm so sad." He said, "Let's just go look. If you don't find another dog you like, no big deal." I relented.

At 5pm, we went over to the house where the Colorado Aussie Rescue team was tending to the abandoned pups. They had a garage full of 13 Australian shepherd mixes, in all shapes and sizes. After telling the woman our home situation, she pulled out three little female pups for me to look at. They were so cute -- but I just didn't feel it. They were skittish, and you could tell their experience on the abandoned farm in Texas had made them wary. Jeremy fell for a little beige female, and I thought, Great. He's in love with this dog, and I'm going to have to be the bad guy and say I don't want her. I think the woman could tell I was hesitant, so she kept bringing out other pups for me to look at, all the while telling us their amazing story of survival and healing. She pointed out a big, handsome male in the kennel who was "the leader," and I didn't even want to look at him. An alpha male rescue dog? Yeah, not my cup of tea.

I was getting ready to tell Jeremy let's go home and think about it. I didn't bond with any of the pups. Obviously I was not meant to get a dog.

Then the woman let the "leader" out. He was drop-dead gorgeous, with intelligent eyes and long legs. He walked right up to us, more confident than any of the other dogs. But he didn't jump, he didn't bark. He just let us pet him, and he collapsed in that Aussie floppy-leg way as I scratched his chest. He wasn't "alpha," he was just confident. It was easy to see why the other dogs considered him the leader. Jeremy picked him up and he just went limp in his arms. He was mellow, but friendly and confident -- and I was falling in love.

The woman let the leader dog out into her back yard -- he had never been out there and never seen snow. He pranced to the snow, then pranced to the kennel in the back yard which held some Siberian huskies, then pranced back over to us. He didn't take off, didn't bark, didn't dig in the snow. He was just happy and having fun. And I thought, This dog has been through hell. And look at him. He's still capable of love and happiness. He's going to fit right in with us.

I put a hold on him right then and there. He's got one more week of treatments for the diseases he carried in from the Texas farm (he wasn't diseased, but was exposed to others who were), and then Hero is coming home with us.

We spent so much time at the rescue, and then so much money on adoption fees, we decided that we would not go to a hotel last night. Rather, we went out on a date. We saw Beautiful Creatures at our local dine-in theater, and got fried pickles and half-baked chocolate chip cookies. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, I was so excited about Hero.

As my dad keeps saying, "God guided us." I believe that. Nothing else would have distracted me from the pain of what yesterday meant for us. Nothing else would have cracked open my heart on such a sad day. And to find a dog who, like us, had been through unspeakable trauma and is still able to love with wild abandon -- that's God working.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Last Day

Well, this is it. The day I have been dreading. A year ago today, this was the last day we saw our daughter alive.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of her death, and we're planning to keep distracted. So don't be surprised if I don't blog.

Today, though, I'm working and I'm blogging. Because today a year ago she was still alive. And her life is a beautiful memory. 

Today I'm remembering the last day I spent with her. She had just come off of her first real sickness, some kind of stomach flu. I remember being so relieved that she no longer had a fever, and she was eating solid food again. Jeremy had to go out to Utah to help with the family business for a day, and I remember him kissing her on the head as she sat in her high-chair, eating lunch. He told her to be good for me, and then he drove to the airport.

I remember she didn't want to go to bed that night. And since she had been sick and sleeping frequently in the days prior, I didn't fight with her about it. I brought her into my bed and we snuggled and watched Face Off (the reality TV show). She was so goofy -- delirious. She was fighting sleep SO hard. She sang me the Spiderman song, and kept doing the little web-slinging motion with her hand and made the "fsst fsst" Spiderman web-shooting noise like her daddy taught her. The Spiderman song was their thing.

She finally fell asleep on the pillow next to me at 8:30pm. I picked up her sleeping body and put her into her own bed for the last time. I wanted to keep her in bed with me -- and sometimes I still beat myself up for not listening to that desire -- but we were sleep-training her. She had been waking up in the middle of the night lately, and we were trying to teach her that she needed to get herself back to sleep because Mommy wasn't going to bring her into her bed anymore. 

Because Mommy needed sleep too.

It's a common desire among mothers, isn't it? That desire for sleep? But every day since that day, I have hated myself just a little bit for putting my desire for sleep above my daughter's desire to share my bed.

Not that it would have saved her. But I would have had just a little more time in her presence. 

I don't want to write about the rest of the night here. The memories terrorize me. I had to learn coping techniques from our grief counselor so those memories wouldn't swallow me whole. But as terrible as they are, I'm glad Jeremy doesn't share them with me. He has his own set of terrible memories -- but I'm glad these ones don't haunt him the way they haunt me.

I wanted to write here how I'm doing okay. I'm still breathing. I have more peace today than I thought I would. But you can see the path my mind took -- toward memories.

When memories are all you have of someone, it's amazing how much you can cling to them.

But today, today, not the anniversary but the day, I'm okay. I've made it a year, and it's like letting out a held breath.

I finished the Bible last night, and YouVersion gave me this big "Congratulations!" message, showing that I had completed the entire reading plan in a year. I thought when that day finally came, I would be elated. And I was happy... but I felt a little lost by it too. Like I was in space, tethered to a ship to keep me from floating away, and I just reached the end of that tether and let go. Now I'm floating in outer space. But I think a large part of that is because it coincides with this anniversary. Reading the Bible has tethered me to God through this year of grieving. And I don't know what to do without a tether. 

I'm staring down the barrel of Year 2, and I'm wondering if it's a tetherless year. I'm wondering if this is my year to find my feet again, to float back to earth and put my feet in the dirt. Or if something else will tether me safely.

I wanted to make this a positive post. I had these plans to tell you how I'm at peace. But even in peace, I'm finding there is still pain. They are not mutually exclusive. As Paul wrote in Philippians, "...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." My circumstances will not determine my joy.

The last picture I took. She's singing the Spiderman song to me while we were snuggling in bed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Missed Meeting, Focus and Gushing

The roads were so slick yesterday evening when I went to the post office, and the visibility was so poor with the snow coming down, I decided not to drive to Brighton for my Thirty-One meeting. I'm actually really bummed that it was moved to Brighton in the first place. When I signed up, it was in Thornton. Brighton isn't THAT far from us, but it's still a much scarier drive in a snowstorm.

So Jeremy and I spent the night curled up on the double-recliner in the living room. He watched ghost hunter shows while I worked on my new business. I haven't been this excited about anything in a long time. I can't wait to announce it to the world.

With this training program I'm going through for the next couple of months, and with my new business, I may have to post a little less here. Of course, this is ME we're talking about. I probably won't post any less. This blog is always a good outlet for me.

I realized I'm going to have to tell my Monday night Bible study group that I can't attend the next session. I am dreading that conversation. But I've got to focus for a few months.

Changing gears, here, I just gushed over my hubby a bit. I asked him to cut my hair tonight (just straight across, get rid of my "duck tail"), and without hesitation he agreed. I realized as I walked back into my office that most men probably would have said heck no! Same with giving me a shot for our fertility treatments -- most men would have refused. But Jeremy cuts my hair and sticks me with needles without hesitation. Pretty amazing. Adding that to my Small Blessings list today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weird Week, Clairvoyant, and Sweet Ladies

This week has been... weird. Not sure why. I mean yes, I know that everything is leading up to Saturday, the first anniversary of Scarlett's death. But the weirdness doesn't seem to fit with that event.

A friend introduced me to her clairvoyant on Monday. I'm open-minded, and I've been to psychics, aura readers and the like before. Not recently, though. This woman is a Christian, and I felt absolutely pulled to talk to her. I didn't even hesitate to pick up the phone and make that appointment.

Long story short, I had a call with her early this morning. And I won't go into great detail here, but I can tell you that it was an incredibly reassuring conversation. I felt a weight lifted off of me. I got some direction. And I got my priorities straight. (I promise I will share as each "vision" comes to pass -- so don't shoot me just yet.)

The biggest blessing, out of the many blessings of that conversation, is that she reaffirmed that my daughter is happy and that her "very, very bright" spirit is very much still alive. Yes, I have always had absolute faith in that -- but the reassurance felt so good, I can't even tell you.

Monday night I went to Bible study, and I have to say that those women are really growing on me. I was a little apprehensive at first. They're not the normal kinds of women I choose to hang out with. But they have absolutely enveloped me in love. They pray their beautiful hearts out for me every session, and reassure me they're praying throughout the week. And God bless them, they asked to see a picture of Scarlett this week, and the entire room gathered around and cooed over my sweet little girl. That felt SO good. After 19 months of people gushing over my gorgeous, precious little girl, I didn't realize how much I would miss it when it stopped.

I was so freaking tired on Tuesday night, I actually went to bed early. I NEVER go to bed early. I mean NEVER. But I couldn't keep my eyes open! So I went to bed, did my reading, and got some extra sleep. I'm glad I did because today has put me through the ringer. Coming off of that call with the clairvoyant I was full of energy and renewed focus, and I'm trying not to let work stuff detract from that high.

I've got a Thirty-One meeting tonight. They always give us a new amenity when we attend these meetings. I'm excited to see what I get this time. I'm hoping the meeting is short so I can have some time to read tonight (other than my nightly Bible reading, that is) before I crash.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Phone Brain, New Biz and Comparing Relationships

I had more conference calls today than I've had in the last two weeks combined. I'm so used to working virtually (via email, instant messenger, etc.), that when I'm on the phone that long, I feel a little wacky in the head. Like I have to get my brain back to reality after I hang up the phone. Weird.

My day job is transitioning over the next couple of months, and I'll be taking on a more focused communications role within the company. I'm over the moon about it! Communication is my thang.

I was telling Jeremy on Sunday when we were driving home that I've noticed throughout my life that when I'm in a social situation and I'm not talking (because I don't know anybody, or I'm not comfortable, or for whatever reason), people perceive me as snobbish. Not shy, not quiet, but snobbish. So I always make a point to talk. Even just a little bit. It completely changes people's perception of me -- they see a little more of my true self when I communicate.

Needless to say, my day-job role change is very much aligned with my skills and passion. I look forward to making an impact.

So, switching gears, I have decided on a new consulting business I want to start. In addition to the million other things I do, yes. But this one would fit in with a lot of what I'm already doing, and with my newfound desire to lead workshops. I have been a freelancer for 15 years, but I've never really started a business business. So I am absolutely dying to attend Marie Forleo's B-School to kick-start it. Now to figure out where to get the dough for tuition...

(Note for my husband who is reading this right now and cringing -- if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. But a girl's gotta reach for the stars. Good thing you're the rock I tie my star to, baby!)

And switching gears again (told you my brain goes wacky when I'm on the phone too long), I saw this great video on Gabrielle Bernstein's blog feed that I thought every woman should watch, whether you're single or in a relationship: Do you compare your relationship status?

I was guilty of that for so long. Well HER husband cooks. And HER husband is Mr. Fix It. And HER husband brings her flowers every week. And HER husband goes to the gym with her. I'd have this ridiculous chatter in my head and forget to look at what I DO have. A husband who loves nothing more than spending time with me at home. A guy who can grill a mean salmon fillet. A man with the most amazing blue eyes of anyone on the planet -- with the single exception of our late daughter. A best friend who, during our mutual devastation last year, still put my needs above his own. Other people's relationships shouldn't matter a lick to me. I'm glad I learned that lesson -- I'm not planning on making that mistake ever again.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Three Day Weekend

I have three days to catch up on, I know. I blame it on Jeremy's family. Every time we visit them, I have so much fun playing with the kids and conversing with the adults, I don't have a moment to myself to write in this blog. Woe is me!


Jeremy and I actually went to the Springs late Friday night so we wouldn't have to wake up too early Saturday morning. We stayed at his parents' house, and got there in time to say goodnight to our darling twin nephews. Those boys own big hunks of my heart.

Saturday morning, I was up an at 'em with enough time to throw my clothes on, join Janet and David for a cup of coffee in the kitchen, and jump in Erin's car to head to the Women of Faith conference at New Life Church. The conference was AMAZING. The speakers were powerful and entertaining, and the worship band was inspiring. The conference did a good job keeping the energy level high -- the speakers changed frequently enough that I didn't get bored, and they kept the doses of music within my attention span. An all-day conference can be a daunting thing if it isn't handled right -- easy to fall asleep, or just plain get bored. But they did a great job. Those speakers gave me goosebumps and brought me to the edge of tears a dozen times each!

After the conference, I caught a ride with Jennifer and we met up with the rest of the family at Senor Manuel's. Jeremy and I virtually never get to drink together (we are verrrry careful about drinking and driving, so one of us is always designated), so we took advantage of not having to drive and indulged in some margaritas. Senor Manuel's Manny's Gold margaritas are dangerous. They actually limit you to two because they're so strong. It took me almost two hours to drink a single one!

Sunday morning Jeremy and I went over to the cemetery first thing in the morning to visit Scarlett's grave. That never gets easier. I unleashed a lot of tears over that rose quartz headstone. I wish we had had more time that day, because I would have also liked to walk over to Jeremy's cousin Rebecca's grave in a nearby section of that cemetery. Rebecca was a sick kid just like my nephew Nicky. In fact, when Janet showed me a picture of the sweet girl on Friday night, I was shocked at how much she and my nephew look alike. There were some similar facial features, yes, but I chalk the sense of similarity up to the energy their faces gave/give off -- an almost otherworldly quality, like they may not be physically healthy, but spiritually they are so far beyond us, so much more in tune with heaven.

We went back to Jeremy's parents' house and everyone had gathered for breakfast. Jacob and Maya, Kelsey and Cole, Emily and Jamal, and even "Moppy" (Grandma Alger) had shown up to indulge in Janet's fantastic cooking. I stuffed myself silly. There's nothing better than a big family breakfast on Sunday morning. It reminds me of my childhood, and my mom cooking "Big Breakfast" every Sunday.

After breakfast, we all sat around and talked for a couple of hours. Then Jeremy and I packed up the car and headed out. I dropped him off at Jacob and Maya's house and made my way to Brianna's house to facilitate her Thirty-One party. As I expected, the girls drooled over all the great new spring products. I do love watching women get excited over this stuff! I feel like I'm a fairy godmother sometimes. Hahaha

After the party, I went back over to Jacob and Maya's house. Jacob and Jeremy had taken Nadia up to Cripple Creek to drop her off at her grandma's house, so it was just Maya and I for a few hours. We almost NEVER get time with just the two of us -- either the boys are around, or her daughter is. I don't think we shut up once in the three hours that the boys were gone. It was so great! Girl talk is just the best, isn't it?

Maya made us a great dinner, and then Jacob, Jeremy and I went downstairs to watch Walking Dead. That is a seriously great show to watch with other people. It's one of those shows where you yell at the screen, which is way more fun with an audience. LOL.

When Jeremy and I got home at 11pm last night, I fell asleep within like five minutes of walking through the door. I don't even think I took off my makeup.

Needless to say I was very thankful I had Monday off of my day job. Of course, I have still worked a few hours today on Thirty-One and GlobalWrites stuff. A "real" day off is a rare treat for me. I did take the time to meet up with the awesome Kirby Kana of Kirby Ink for lunch, though. We met at Morning Glory Cafe in Lafayette, and OOH BOY is that place awesome. I can't believe I never knew it was there when we lived in that area! I got a fried egg sandwich that about knocked my socks off.

Kirby is one of those women who I hope I never lose touch with. She's just amazing. If you haven't checked out her artwork, you need to. She just illustrated a children's book and I am eagerly awaiting news on when it will hit the shelves. She was actually the Creative Director at a company I worked for in Houston a few years back, so it's pure fate that we both live in the same area of Colorado today. When God brings two people from vastly different parts of the country (me California, her Louisiana) together in not one but TWO locations, you know that friendship is an important one.

I'm trying to wrap this post up with enough time to finish my reading for my Bible study tonight. So off I go!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Almost There

I can't believe it's been almost a year.

The anniversary of Scarlett's death has been looming all month. It's one week away. That's driven some mixed feelings for me. In one way, I can't believe I've made it through this last year, and I'm relieved to have some space from that terrible event. In another way, it breaks my heart that it's been almost a year since I saw my daughter's smiling face.

Shortly after her death, I started reading the Bible. I got on a one-year reading plan and used YouVersion to keep track of my progress. At first it was just to give me some kind of routine as Jeremy and I sorted out our "new normal." But soon it became more than a comforting ritual. Soon it became a crucial part of my day.

I noticed that every time I cracked the spine of that book, or pulled it up on my iPad, I felt soothed. My pain eased. Maybe it was God hugging me through those verses, or maybe it was me tapping into humanity's universal consciousness through the vast history of those manuscripts, but reading it made me feel better.

As I was doing my reading last night before bed, I flipped through YouVersion to see what the next few days were going to bring. I was shocked to discover that today, Friday, February 15, was the last day of reading before starting the Book of Revelation -- the very last book of the Bible.

In a way, I feel like I'm coming up on the end of a year-long voyage. From the death of my little girl and the start of Genesis chapter 1, to the one-year anniversary of our devastating loss and the completion of Revelation. I have been considering what to do once I reach the end of the Bible -- I've thought maybe I'll deeply study a few specific books, or maybe I'll re-read the New Testament. But I feel pulled to start the whole thing over again, to be honest. Maybe it's just that I'm not ready to let go of the comfort that tome has brought me.

In the same heartbeat, I feel like this year is just the beginning of my overall journey. I'm not coming to the end of anything, but rather I'm getting ready to exhale after a year-long inhale. Each year will be a breath unto itself, culminating, somehow, into the journey of a life.

It's been difficult to fathom what this time would feel like. I have been dreading February for a year, while at the same time stretching desperately out to it. Here I am, and I still have no straight answer as to how it feels. My heart still hurts every single day, missing the child my own body brought into this world. I still sometimes feel like my infertility is some kind of a sick cosmic joke, or the devil messing with my head, or at least part of a really insanely difficult lesson that even Gandhi would crack under.

I can tell you with certainty, though, that my capacity for love has grown. My appreciation for friends and family has deepened. My walk with God has stretched my spirit and opened my mind. And if I can survive a year like this, I am unstoppable.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Budding Artist

My brother gave me permission to share this, and my heart is just bursting with love about it, so I thought Valentine's Day would be the perfect time to share it.

My brother, Drew, is an amazing artist. Those of you who attended the art show in Scarlett's memory last year will remember how gorgeous his work is. He's got this incredibly steady hand, and can do perfect geometric figures freehand. Amazing. I couldn't draw a straight line if you paid me a million dollars.

Recently he took his artistic skills and used them for the enjoyment of his 3-year-old son, Nicholas. He did a black-and-white drawing in pen, and then helped Nicky "color" it. As you can see, Nicky uses his hands AND feet to paint. Drew tells me that he will actually use his whole body to get paint on the canvas -- and that he'll use his body as a canvas, too!

I personally think Nicky is a budding artist, like his dad.

I dare you to tell me that this isn't the most awesome thing you have seen all week.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Showing Your Heart

The former acrobatic dancer from my yoga class brought in photos today. Black and white snapshots of her "doing tricks" when she was in her 20s, and a color photo of her doing splits against a door frame when she was in her 40s. Even now, in her 80s, she walks like she's floating through the air. She's a breathtaking woman.

That's what happens when you wear your heart on the outside, I think. When you live the truth that's inside you, when you let your true self shine forth, other people see your beauty.

I was a little embarrassed about crying in my Bible study on Monday. I don't know -- I guess I felt like enough time had passed that crying in public shouldn't happen anymore. But I let my truth out, I told those women that my daughter died just weeks after the first time I went to church, and I could have chosen to never go back. I told them I could have chosen to live in anger against God, but the pastor that did Scarlett's funeral guided me gently off of that path of anger. He was the only person who really got through to me in those early weeks. And that's what I held onto -- the love and wisdom that the pastor imparted. Moving forward in my walk with God wasn't a question after that. And as I told those women my truth, through my tears, I think they saw beauty. And that's nothing to be embarrassed about.

I'm not saying I want to walk around in tears all the time. I'm saying that holding my heart out for others to see can be a scary thing -- but it's the only way for the world to see the beautiful person you really are.

So be loud. Be silly. Be righteous. Be kind. Be sensitive. Be strong. Be YOU and the world will respond to your true beauty.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Anonymous Love

There is a women's church retreat in April that I have been wanting to go to. But we're so tightly budgeted, any trips need to be planned out and saved up for well in advance. As much as I wanted to go to this retreat, I didn't think I'd be able to get the money together before all of the spots were taken.

Last night in my Bible study group, I told the ladies about Scarlett for the first time. While I have been open about my experience with every other study group, I hadn't really had a good opening to talk about it in this one. I'm sure it stunned half the room. And I couldn't speak without crying this time.

I got an email this morning from the group leader that someone approached her after class, offering to pay my way to the women's retreat. They must have thought the same thing I did, that it would be good for my spirit.

After my initial ego responses cleared (Well, I might have found the money on my own; How can I accept such a generous gift from someone I don't know?; guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt), I realized that this gift was bigger than just registration fees to a retreat -- it was one woman reaching selflessly out to another in a time of need. And that is the kind of positive interaction we all need to encourage in this world, isn't it? So I graciously accepted.

While I love going to church every weekend, the services don't fulfill the deep need for connection with other women. Sermons don't provide me a person to call when I'm lost and alone. Small groups do that. Women's ministry groups do that. And I think women provide for each other in such a spectacularly beautiful way, that fellowship is irreplaceable.

My generous benefactor wishes to be anonymous -- but on the off chance she happens upon this blog, I wanted to shout THANK YOU!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The "D" Word

My church is doing a series on marriage, and last weekend and this upcoming weekend the topic was specifically divorce.


My parents are still married, and so are Jeremy's. Jeremy and I are each other's first marriage. I have no firsthand experience with divorce. But I understand from friends who have gone through it that it is excruciating. And after last weekend's sermon and the Facebook conversation on the Flatirons page this week, it looks absolutely horrifying.

Our marriage wasn't always easy, but we've persevered and found ways to support and love each other through the tough times. Jeremy and I agreed a long time ago that at the first sign of a rough patch, we would get right into marriage counseling. And we have done that religiously. Three rounds in five years, including the grief counseling, if you want to know the truth. We view counseling as the ultimate preventative medicine -- like taking Zicam or Airborne at the first sign of a cold. I realize that counseling doesn't always work for everyone, but it has kept the "D" word out of our vocabulary quite well.

In this moment I am feeling very proud of my friends who are in difficult marriages who are pushing through and fighting to keep their vows. And I know a lot of you look at Jeremy and I and wish you had what we have -- but you know the truth of it, don't you? I know you can see underneath the gushing blog posts. You were there when we separated after a year of marriage. You were there when we left Colorado Springs to focus on our newly mending marriage. You were there when we made the transition to Jeremy being a stay-at-home dad. You were there when we lost our daughter. You know some of the difficult times we made it through.

But you weren't there in the hours that I was sitting on the red wingback chair by our front window on Feb 23, 2012. When I was staring out the window, waiting for Jeremy to get home. You weren't there when he was walking to the door and my heart was beating out of my chest. When he opened that door, and I stood in front of him, and I wasn't sure if he was going to swing at me or hug me.

Right or wrong, any other man might have blamed me for Scarlett's death. I know it wasn't my fault -- the doctors, coroners, and counselors have all beat that into my head. But any other man may have looked at me and thought, She was your responsibility and she died.

Jeremy didn't. He chose love on that day.

Jeremy walked in the door that afternoon, threw his bags on the ground and hugged me tighter than he's ever hugged me. He sat with me on the couch and cried with me until we had no tears left to shed.

And he's been there for me every day since.

In the same way, right or wrong, I could have blamed him for not being there. But I was so thankful he wasn't there. I am, to this day, so thankful that the memory of finding her, and calling 911 and then having to call my spouse to tell him his only child died is mine to bear alone. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, much less the man who gave me my beautiful daughter. I chose to love him on February 23, 2012 -- and every day since.

A year ago, divorce wasn't in our vocabulary because we worked our butts off to keep it out. Now divorce is not an option because our souls have been laid bare. In our worst moment, we chose to love one another. And there is no breaking that bond.

With your partner or spouse, you always have the choice to love them or shut them out. Sometimes it may be that you are the only one expressing love, and your partner isn't. It may be difficult to express love to someone who has shut you out. But please, take that chance. You'll never be sorry you loved someone -- but you may be sorry if you didn't.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Early Valentine's Day

Jeremy and I thought it would be a better idea to go on a Valentine's Day date today instead of on Thursday to avoid the crowds.

We had a relaxing morning at home, to start. Jeremy gave me a set of Ninja Turtles Legos yesterday as an early gift, so I spent a couple of hours putting this together:

It's pretty cool how detailed the scene actually is. The sewer grate at the top opens with that wheel, there's a lever on the back that makes the back wall "explode," and there are several things you can hook the Ninja Turtles to to make them do tricks. There is "ooze" all over the set in the form of neon green pieces, a working pizza oven, and the drawers on the tool chest actually open and close. Lego sets are like 3D puzzles. It was really fun and incredibly relaxing to put together.

This afternoon we headed into Boulder and did some window shopping on the Pearl Street Mall. Jeremy convinced me to buy these from Earthwood Gallery:

And I blame him for my new owl hat too:

There's a new candy shop on Pearl Street called Rocket Fizz, and we spent a good half hour in there laughing at all the hilarious novelty candy and gag gifts. They have an entire wall of saltwater taffy, so we picked out about 25 flavors to take home and try. We almost brought home Black Widow, too:

We rounded out our date with dinner at Trattoria. The food was unbelievably good -- and the waiter was unbelievably bad.

And we got home just in time to watch the new episode of Walking Dead. All in all, a pretty successful day.

Admittedly, I got sad a few times, remembering our last Valentine's Day with Scarlett. But we're getting better at distracting ourselves on holidays. Jeremy and I know how to laugh together, and I think laughter is a great healing balm for our wounds.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Life Coach Movement

There's this whole movement happening right now that's very exciting to me. Gabrielle Bernstein says, "The women who used to want to be Carrie Bradshaw now want to be Wayne Dyer." It's a boom in authentic, spirit-driven living. And it's also a boom in the personal coaching/training industry.

I've always been drawn to coaching and training people. I've got a knack for it, or so I've been told. I have considered getting certified in some kind of coaching field -- but to be honest, I could never decide on a niche. I love too many different things. I love talking to people about creativity, God, career paths, relationships, and life purpose/passions. Plus, no matter how you slice me, I'm a writer through-and-through. I prefer being behind a computer screen than in face-to-face meetings all day. Though I suppose teaching a whole room full of people doesn't seem so bad.

So I'm just loving the charismatic new gurus that are popping up these days. People like Gabrielle Bernstein, Marie Forleo, and Kris Carr are the next generation of voices in the ilk of Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Martha Beck -- but they've got a business and social media savvy that is perfect for our technological age. It's really exciting to listen to them, and they make me want to get out and DO something with my life.

So once again I'm back to wanting to write a book. And once again I'm having trouble narrowing down my topic. I posted a survey on Facebook today to help clarify what my readers are actually interested in, and I'll post it again here for those of you coming directly to my blog: I would love it if you participated. It's only 3 tiny little questions!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Authentic Self

There is a lady in two of my yoga classes who is probably 80 years old. She's the most beautiful lady -- her body is slim and strong, and her movements are graceful and confident. I've secretly wondered what her story is. I thought at minimum she had been doing yoga for a long time. I came to find out yesterday that she is a former acrobatic dancer. Amazing.

Sometimes knowing someone's story is seeing their soul.

I watched a short talk from Gabrielle Bernstein yesterday that got me thinking about who I am. Her lecture was entitled Authentic Power, and she spoke about unblocking the power within yourself versus trying to gain power from outside yourself. I've long thought there was something inside me that was capable of changing the world -- specifically, helping women. And I've been waiting for just the right inspiration to know what direction to go in. As I predicted, things in my life are shifting in the new year. Energy is moving. Things are happening, especially in my career. But still no one is handing me direction on a silver platter. Gabrielle's talk was like a smack to the head -- no one is going to hand me the answers. The answers, the right direction, my purpose, they're all inside of me.

The most important thing I can do is to live my life authentically. To be the person I was born to be, and not try to be anyone else.

It never ceases to amaze me when I get a strong response to a blog post. I got a flood of responses to my post from Monday about expressing love to people. Emails, Facebook comments, and comments on the blog itself just kept flooding in. The comment from my coworker whose boyfriend just passed away brought me to my knees. I saw with crystal clarity that the words I write here -- even though they're off-the-cuff, straight from the heart, and sometimes a bit random -- matter. They make people feel less alone, they connect people, they sometimes inspire people and they always remind people that love is the most important thing.

That's me. That's my authentic self. This meandering blog, this peek inside the heart of a woman who lost the greatest love she's ever known and still continued to find love that inspires her every day, this is me.

A little more of me gets uncovered here every day, and a little more gets unblocked. I don't know what direction I'm heading. I don't know what I'll be doing in ten years. But I'm taking the wrapping off of my self bit by bit. I love what has emerged. And I'm excited to see what else I uncover.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Healing Service

My parents' church, The Rock, has a healing service two Tuesdays a month. When my dad told me about it, I knew I had to give it a try.

So yesterday at lunch I drove down to my parents' house in Castle Pines and worked from there for the afternoon. We went to The Rockyard for dinner, and then headed off to church.

The Rock is fantastically organized and efficient. Their staff is really top-notch. When we walked into the large building, it was obvious where to go. I put my name on the list for the healing service and the greeter handed me a sticker to put on my back and a questionnaire to fill out. After I turned the paperwork back in, my parents and I went into the sanctuary and waited for the prayer team to come get me.

In the sanctuary, the lights were low. There were two guitarists and a flute player on stage, playing soothing music. Women stood on either side of the stage and gently waved big, iridescent flags, adding to the soothing feeling of the place. We sat in there and just soaked in the energy for about 45 minutes, and then one of the prayer team members came and tapped me on the shoulder.

I was taken back to a private room, where a man and a woman waited to pray for me. They said they had read over my paperwork and prayed over my issues before they got me from the sanctuary.

One of the first things the woman said to me was, "I got a message from the Holy Spirit, and I'd like to share it with you. I was told about pain behind one of your eyes. Does that make any sense to you?" I smiled and nodded my head. I told her about my frequent migraines.

For the next half hour, we stood together and they prayed over me. Without prompting, they prayed over very specific issues I am having in relation to infertility and grieving. They had incredibly sharp intuition about what I needed.

I did cry a bit while I was in there, talking about what Jeremy and I have been through. But it wasn't the breakdown crying that I have experienced in the past in prayer situations -- the tears felt... well, healing.

I came away feeling like God heard us. Like energy was shifting in my direction. It was wonderful.

I went and got my parents from the sanctuary. They had been sitting there for so long, waiting for me. I knew they were probably anxious to get home. But in all honesty, I could have sat in that place, listened to that soothing music and soaked in the healing energy until they kicked me out.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Love and Goodbyes

I heard a song on the radio today that got me thinking about goodbyes.

You never know what moment will be your last with someone you love. I've heard many stories from people wracked with guilt because their last words to a loved one were angry. Sometimes the words weren't even angry, they just didn't express love. And when someone passes away, you want to know that your love was on their heart.

Most of the time you have the chance to say goodbye to someone. But sometimes you don't. And if there were ever a reason for expressing your love to someone, it's that sometimes you don't get to say goodbye.

You're going to fight with your loved ones. It happens to the best of us. You're going to go to bed angry, you're going to leave for work in a huff, you're going to hang up on people. But get pride out of the way. Pride is a nasty beast that has no place in a relationship. Even if you think your loved one is wrong or rude or ridiculous in that moment, don't let pride have the last word. Express your love before you part.

I can't tell you how many times I've gritted my teeth during a fight and told Jeremy I loved him when one of us was about to walk out the door, or go to bed, or hang up the phone. And he's probably done the same with me a hundred times more often. But when you live your life like we do, with the firsthand knowledge that your loved one might not be alive when you wake up in the morning, pride gets tossed out with the weekly trash.

In my Bible study group last night, the leader asked us who we would be willing to lay our lives down for. One of the women spoke up and said her children. The leader said, "Children, definitely. Probably not our spouses, though, right? Hahaha." The room erupted in laughter and everyone nodded in agreement -- except me. I spoke up over the roar and said, "I'd lay my life down for my husband. Absolutely." The leader said, "Really? You're a special woman." I just laughed and said, "He's a special man. And we believe strongly in marriage counseling."

A few years ago I probably would have been husband-bashing right along with those ladies. And I still laugh along with my girlfriends about how silly our husbands can be at times. But when I drove home last night, I realized that in the last year Jeremy and I both had taken pride completely out of our marriage and replaced it with love. And if one of us goes to heaven tonight, the one that is left on earth can rest assured that love went with them.

Sure, I still worry sometimes about losing my loved ones. With my experience, who wouldn't? But I never have to worry about them knowing how I feel about them. "I love you," spills off my lips easily and frequently. And if you asked me what the most important change has been for me since the loss of my daughter, I would answer this: I love harder, more openly, and with no pride.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Devil's Throwing a Fit

I'm staring at this screen with a swirling mind and not quite sure what to type. Lots happening, and none of it particularly exciting to share.

We went to my parents' house for the Superbowl yesterday. My parents always go all-out with the food on that day. Jeremy and I are still recovering from our food coma.

I didn't sleep well last night, so I slept a little later this morning than I like to. Which means I didn't have any spare time before I had to log into work -- which means I didn't do my normal spiritual practices before my work day started, and that is a recipe for a bad day. As soon as I booted up my PCs, I realized my spazzy modem had finally kicked the bucket. My connection was intermittent until Jeremy was able to get over to Best Buy and get me a new modem. Of course, the world was exploding in the meantime. One frantic email after another was coming in on both my work and personal accounts. And one of those emails said that someone in one of my coworker's lives died.

Seriously. Another death. Another day of scrambling to cover a friend/coworker's work to make sure at least their job stayed safe in the midst of their tragedy. It seems insignificant, but I can tell you from experience how important it is to have people to cover your work when you go through something like that. When I took time off to deal with my daughter's funeral, I knew my colleagues had my work covered and my job was safe, and it took some of the stress off of me. I'll never forget that.

I'm going to try to go to the healing service at my parents' church tomorrow night. Every other Tuesday they have trained prayer teams there to pray for you privately. Maybe it will help get some positive energy flowing in my direction.

Joyce Meyer says that when you let God into your life, the devil has a hissy fit and tries harder to unravel you. I keep thinking about that. If I really am under attack from negative forces, they obviously don't know who they're dealing with. I've already decided I'm going to persevere. My mind is made up. There is nothing that can make me give up.

And you know what? I know the longer it takes for good news to start coming my way, the bigger the good news will be. So bring it on.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Historical Gushing

The apologetics class I'm taking right now focused on the validity of the Bible in last night's session. Talking about the historical record of the manuscripts that make up the Bible got me so excited. There are more manuscripts in existence today from closer to the time of the original writing than any other document throughout history.

Homer's Iliad seems to be the closest in comparison -- and it still isn't in the same ballpark. There are 643 ancient copies of Homer's Iliad in existence, the earliest of which was written 500 years after the original. There are 24,000 ancient copies of the gospels, the earliest of which was written 25 years after the original. Doesn't that blow your mind?

Of course the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls came up as well. I remember learning about those in elementary school and being VERY excited. Funny, even when I was a young child I was fascinated by ancient writings. But I digress. The most interesting thing I learned last night was that scholars expected the Dead Sea Scrolls to contain variations from what we have today -- especially because the oldest document found in those caves in 1947 dated to 125 B.C. I mean, who wouldn't expect some differences? Human beings are prone to error -- things get copied wrong, mistakes happen, and people sometimes just seek to deceive others. There was a 5% variation from what we have today -- all of which were variations in SPELLING and did not change the meaning.

That kind of thing makes my heart beat faster. Knowing that the Bible I hold in my hands, the one with my name engraved on the cover, is the same thing that existed 2,000 years ago... oh my gosh I can't contain my excitement. I'm holding history in my hands.

I was lucky enough to see the Book of Kells in person in Dublin, Ireland back in 2008. That was literally a dream come true. I have wanted to see that document in person since I learned about it in college. I have the same feelings about the Dead Sea Scrolls. I would love to see them in person, to lay my eyes on history.

Okay, this entire blog post is making me want to travel.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Needed: Constant Reminders

God is bigger than my problems.
Jesus has overcome the world.
He is in me, and I in Him.
Fear not, for I am with you.

These phrases are some of the ones that have been sitting on my heart in the last week. Sometimes my problems feel so big, so overwhelming, like they're swallowing my life. I need to put them into perspective -- constantly.

I was listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast the other day in the shower. Yes, I listen to spiritual podcasts in the shower -- don't judge me. :p Don't you do some of your best thinking in the shower, too? And those podcasts keep me thinking about helpful things, rather than grocery lists and irritating coworkers.

Anyway, I was listening to Joyce Meyer the other day and she started talking about how God is always here with us, and how He is working in our lives even when the chips are down. It coincided with a book I'm reading called Hope Being Gone (Trusting God in the Tough Times), and reminding me how God has a bird's eye view of our lives. We might think because He's not giving us what we want when we want it, that He's not listening -- but in fact He's not only listening, but planning on giving us something perfect.

We think we know what's good for us, but we don't have a bird's eye view of our own lives -- so we don't know what's good for us in the grand scheme of things.

I remember being so frustrated and angry when Jeremy and I couldn't get pregnant the first time. It took a toll on us individually and as a married couple. But if I had gotten pregnant when I wanted to, it would have been a disaster. We conceived Scarlett at the perfect time in our lives and our marriage.

And even before then, I remember being frustrated when I wasn't given the promotion I was promised at work. And even worse, being put under someone who was hired from outside the company for the job I thought I was getting. But those events led to me leaving that job and that location and finding my way to Jeremy.

I could list a dozen more times when I didn't get what I was asking for, and it turned out to be a big blessing. Sometimes "no" is the perfect answer.

Why I need to be constantly reminded of how God plans everything perfectly for us, I'll never know. But I do need that reminding, so I am constantly filling my brain with material that reinforces that.

Maybe needing that constant reminder is a sign that something is incredibly important for us. Trusting God is incredibly important to me -- without that, I lose my hope. And hope is what keeps me ticking.

What do you need constant reminding of?