All Gone

All gone.

Those were the words of finality that were expressed today at the loss of my daughter’s new pregnancy.

All gone

This would have been her and her husband’s third child. This would have been Babyman and Dr. Evil’s new sibling. This would have been my sixth grandbaby.

It won’t be though, because … well I don’t know why.

Miscarriage has been one of the things I feared the most when it comes to my girls having children. I have not personally faced the loss of a hoped for pregnancy. I was not sure how or if I’d be able to help or even know what to say. Yet when the time came, we just talked, we cried, and we even laughed, because that is what we do.

The reality is that miscarriage is hard. There aren’t good words for it. Sure we talked about how several decades back you would not have even known you were pregnant yet. We talked about how they could try again as soon as she wanted. The trouble is that in the days leading up to the loss, we had talked about how the boys would handle it and what the sex would be and possible names. We got attached…just that quick.

There are also the feelings. Joy, excitement, wonder, love, and anticipation, now followed by sadness, disappointment, questioning, despair, and helplessness. And those are just my feelings. My daughter’s feelings trump mine completely. She is handling the whole thing amazingly. For her, a little dark humor goes a long way, and today she allowed herself to really feel the feelings, ultimately breaking down and crying it out. After I got the picture, I did the same.

I am truly sorry for anyone who has suffered miscarriage, as well as for the loss of a child at any stage. As mothers these losses feel as if a piece of the soul is ripped away forever.

I’ll tell you a secret; as a believer in a good good Father and Heaven, in addition to being a believer that life begins at conception, I suspect Heaven to be a place in which these children eagerly await the arrival of their parents. (I will not get into a philosophical or religious conversation about who does or does not get to go to heaven. This post is not about that.) I believe God feels every bit of grief a mother (and father and other family members) feels at the loss of a child. He lost one, and knows firsthand how it felt. Honestly he feels it every time someone chooses to not accept his love, but that is also another post altogether.

If you’ve suffered loss, you aren’t alone. There are those who will grieve with you. Today when I told my daughter I broke down and cried, her response was “I am so glad I have you to grieve with me.”.

I  melted.

In that moment I knew I had done the best I could to help her go through this thing, this horrible, horrible thing. I will keep doing the best I can and she (and I, and her husband and the boys) will get through.

 

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The Lost Package of Maturity

Have you ever had a package get lost?

I have.

Today. My package was not on my front porch, even though UPS and Amazon said it was. I got frustrated and I felt a little crazy. I looked everywhere they’ve ever left a package. Nothing.

I called 1-800-PICK-UPS. I had to talk to a faux sympathetic automatic operator. I found myself using a tone with “her”. I suddenly thought “calm down, it’s not the end of the world, and you don’t have to be rude when a representative comes on the line.”

I took a deep breath and changed my attitude. The woman I talked to was very helpful. Cath, I believe was her name. Within a relatively short time, about 30 minutes, she’d contacted my local UPS, they contacted me and the driver, and now he was going to call me.

He didn’t.

No, instead he went and got my package from where ever he accidentally delivered it and brought it to me. He’d read the number wrong. He apologized. I got my package.

The whole process too about half an hour. I could have gotten more upset. I could have stomped around, left bad reviews everywhere, and posted all about it on social media.

Instead I acted like a grown up.

I made a choice to handle my business before losing my cool. That’s what maturity does. It’s not because I’m 47 that I can do this. Anyone can exercise self control over their emotions and attitudes. Trust me, I have plenty of emotions right now. I’m peri-menopausal along with some other personal issues that keep me on edge.

I chose to not act impetuous, hostile, or immature. I chose to remain calm, polite, and mature. You can too.

Perhaps you’re asking, “why would anyone get upset over a silly package?”. Well have you been online lately? People everywhere seem to be upset about everything, from the simplest to the greatest of reasons. It’s hard to tell what’s truly important because of all the yelling, complaining, and name-calling. And quite honestly if you spend money on an item, and it doesn’t get delivered, well that’s just wrong.

If you have a bad experience and things simply get handled badly, then by all means leave a bad review… in the proper place.

First though, consider whether or not you handled things badly to start with. Did you handle things at all, or did you jump the gun and rush to the internet to complain about something that was fixable? Too often we react instead of act. Anger and frustration have become our default settings in today’s world; therefore, anytime a thing happens we fly off the handle in a rage, or fall into a pit of despair.

These things ought not be.

So next time someone loses your package, ask yourself ” is getting upset over this worth my sanity, peace, or maturity?”. My guess is that if you’re honest the answer will be “no”.

Rainbow Platitudes

Not every storm produces a rainbow. Not every rain shower yeilds flowers. 

Sometimes it just rains. 

Storms come. Floods happen. Rain falls. That’s life. 

Too often we settle for platitudes when we should acknowledge and accept that crap happened. We can learn and grow, or we can keep passing off Pinterest quotes and out of context Bible verses as actual help; ultimately going nowhere. 

I get it, really I do, sometimes you just want to hear happy, fluttery fluff. The reality is you need to hear the truth in order to move forward. 

The truth is a rainbow is a natural phenomenon that can be reproduced with a little water, light and the right angle. Flowers grow because of the natural cycle of spring warmth, sunshine and rain. 

God absolutely can and will use his creation to speak to you, but he’ll also tell you to get up, dry, yourself off, and keep going, simply by sending people like me to remind you of the truth…

Sometimes it just rains. 

Three Little Birds … In My Garage

Do you believe in signs? Do you believe God talks to us, sending little or maybe not so little messages?

I do.

I do because it has happened a lot in my lifetime.

Tonight I came home, opened my garage door, and pulled my van in just like normal. Tonight though, there was a bird flying around in the garage, bumping into the walls because the noise of the garage door and my engine were probably a tiny bit overwhelming. As I parked, I realized there was also a second bird, and by the time I got out, there was in fact a third bird which flew just inside the door of the van onto the floor.

Three little birds… in my garage.

I swooshed the one out of the van, and then spent the next 15 or 20 minutes trying to get all of them outside, gently with a broom, because I did not want them to be trapped. Once they were all safely outside, I closed the garage door and went into the house. I walked to the kitchen sink to wash my hands, and wondered what in the world were three little birds doing in my garage? That’s when the obvious hit me… three little birds!

They were there to tell me not to worry ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright.

I could not help but to chuckle at the somewhat absurdity of the whole thing. What a wonderful and comical God that cares so much to send three little birds to my garage with a message, and in a moment I really needed to be reminded that things are going to be alright.

Tonight I am sharing this with you, I’m sharing those three little birds, so you too will know not to worry ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright for you too!

 

Three Little Birds – by Bob Marley – 1977

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying’, (this is my message to you)
Singing’ don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Why Listen to Another?

You keep going to Facebook, Twitter, other medias. You look to the people to tell you who you are, to approve of who you are. You listen to the voices try to dictate and define you. You search for validation and reason for you, your life, your calling. You wait for a like, a view, an answer.

 

But there is only one who really knows. One Voice. One Approver. One Definer. One Validator.

The one who always listens.

This one, designed you. This one, formed you.

 

You are an individual, yet it is easier to compare with others, to compete with others, to listen their voices that scream so loudly.

 

How can they know you, when they barely know themselves?

How can they define you, when they don’t know the definition of you?

How can they approve of you, while they are searching for their own approval?

 

Who then is this one who knows?

 

*whispered… “I am.”

 

It’s as simple as that. God knows. Jesus approves. Holy Spirit listens. You were formed by the Creator in your mother’s womb. You were designed with validation in you. You were formed with a voice that defines you. You have all that you need in him.

 

Why listen to another?

 

Eavesdropping

 

 

Eavesdrop

Merriam-Webster.com defines eavesdrop as: to listen secretly to what is said in private. The origin had to do with literally standing under an eave as water dropped on the listener.

Nosey by Nature

I am, by nature, a nosey person; in fact I think more people are than are not. In my maturity though, I have learned a few things, not the least of which is that some things are just not my business. This is a lesson that would undoubtedly make a lot of people much happier in life.

Fly on the Wall

Needless to say, many of you are not going to change your nosey ways. It is understandable; you walk up on a conversation that is happening around the corner or just inside the next room and your ears perk up to the juicy tidbits of information being discussed. Your heart quickens and your mind whirrs at the chance to gain knowledge that you would not have been given otherwise; so you listen.

You Know You’re Listening

Now don’t even act like it is not true, because we know it is. Very few people have the willpower or wisdom to just walk away or at least make their presence known. My kids used to do this and would inevitably give themselves away later, usually because they could not keep their mouths shut about what they thought they heard.

Rules of Engagement

I found myself giving them rules for eavesdropping, and now I am going to share them with you.

  1. If you are going to listen, make sure you hear everything, or don’t listen at all.
  2. Try to make sure you have understood the context in which the overheard words were spoken.
  3. Do not lie about “accidently” overhearing. We all know you stood there on purpose.
  4. Do not enter a conversation without being invited just because you think you have a good grasp of what is being discussed, and/or you believe you have valuable input. If someone had wanted your input, they would have asked you.
  5. Keep your dang mouth shut.

Zip It

Number 5 is key. You were not a member of the conversation to which you were eavesdropping. I do not care how loud someone was talking or what they were talking about, IT IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS until someone makes it your business. No matter what you think you know, you don’t know. So if you heard something, at the very least keep it to yourself (you doubtfully have the details right anyway).

Does this bug others as much as it does me, or am I just fighting human nature? Sound off with your rules and opinions about eavesdropping in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts, but I won’t stand on the other side of the door to get them!

This Too Shall Pass

Recently I was watching Talking with Chris Hardwick (AMC and The Nerdist Podcast) with Michelle Monaghan as the guest. She shared a story about how Kevin Bacon had once told her “this too shall pass” during a conversation in which she was talking about something good in her life.

Now I grew up in church circles where this was/is common advice for when you are going through something crappy or tough. (It is after all from the story of Esther in the Bible.) Kevin Bacon was however making the point that Continue reading

The Problem with Rearview Mirrors

I heard a speaker* say 2 different things tonight that I cannot shake.

  1. You can only get so far looking at the problem.

    There is so much truth in this statement. Years ago I was playing Donkey Kong Country on Nintendo, and occasionally I would hit a snag that I simply could not figure out. I really wanted to complete the game, but I really wanted to throw it out the window. I got mad and just went to sleep. There in my dreams, the answer would appear to work itself out, a place where I wasn’t stressing out while consciously looking at the problem. My mind looked past the hang up and toward the solution. I know this is a weird example, but seriously, how often do we finally, in frustration, just move onto something else only to have the solution “magically” appear before us? No matter how big or small the problem, staring at/focusing on it is doubtfully going to solve it.

  2. There is only so much information in the rearview mirror.

    This statement really got me because I am a visual thinker. I suddenly imagined driving a car while staring into the rearview mirror. It was terrifying. I saw myself ending up in all kinds of messes, the least of which involved smashing into the cars in front of me. We spend far too much time looking behind us, staring longingly or regrettably into the past. There is not enough information there to successfully drive us into the future. Yes there is some helpful information, when used as a tool to glance into while making the journey, but it is impossible to complete that journey if it is the only tool we use or even the one we use most. We must learn how to revere the past but move on from it, no matter how good or bad it was. The fact is “it was”, and it is not anymore. Look forward to the direction in which you hope to go, and that is where you will end up.

If you did not read the paragraphs, at least read the statements, and let them sink deep into you. Let them apply where they will. I guarantee they will speak deeply to you if you let them. If you did read my commentary, I thank you for spending your time with me. Either way, you are amazing just because you are you, and if everyone else forgets to remind you of that fact, I am here reminding you!

*The speaker is Rod Williams. I do not know if these are his original quotes, but he is the one I heard say them and deserves the credit as such.

Trampoline O’ Success

Sometimes I feel like a trampoline.

Because of who I am, people regularly “leap” from my support straight into their success. I do not think this is a bad thing, per se, but it often leaves me wondering “where is my trampoline o’ success?” or at the very least “where is the credit for catapulting them forward?”. Oh that sounds self-centered, doesn’t it?! So sue me, I am being honest. We all want and need acknowledgment.

I cannot and will not change who I am in the very depths of my being. I simply won’t. I will continue to support, encourage, uplift, challenge, grow and bounce others into who they are meant to be. That is who I am. Period.

In a lot of ways, that is my success, though often a silent one.

I am not complaining, just thinking via keyboard, and I am sorry but my springs sometimes get a little tired and squeaky.

 

The Point:

If you have a trampoline in your life, someone who perhaps has been more instrumental in your successes than you realized, make sure they know how much you appreciate them. There are heights you simply could not have reached without the leverage they have given you, and they need to be reminded of that fact. It will be like oil to their tired, squeaky springs and maybe just maybe will put an even higher bounce in play for your next leap to success.

 

We Will Cross That Bridge When We Get To It

bridge-movement

Bridge Crossing by Nonie

 

Have you ever tried to cross a bridge before you got to it? Wait… don’t answer that so quickly.

Have you ever tried to live tomorrow today? Nope… don’t answer that either.

Have you ever tried to finish a project before you started it? Hey… I said to stop answering.

See I am asking because I would have to answer yes, if I am being honest, and I bet you would too. No? Really? You think these are silly notions. Okay well, congratulations and you can quit reading now. As for anyone curious enough to keep reading, here’s my point: stop trying to cross that bridge you have not even gotten to yet.

Bridges are meant to join two sections of land over an obstacle of some sort. If you are driving, it is physically impossible to cross a bridge before you get to it. Let that sink in a little. Even though we know it is ridiculous to try to drive across a bridge we cannot see, in our “thinking” lives we often try to cross that bridge, that thing (whatever it may be)  before we are any where near it. Are you starting to understand the analogy?

We let the premature crossing steal space in our minds. We spend excessive amounts of time worrying and asking: what is coming next, what does the future hold, what if this, what if that, how did we do it last time, how did someone else do it? We either obsess over planning, processing, questioning to the point of insanity (both ours and others around us) OR we get so overwhelmed by the vastness that we just shut down and do nothing (my tendency is the latter). Either way we forget to enjoy today, this hour, this moment, and before we know it time/life/people/health has slipped away from us. Gone. Poof. Bye.

Now the bridge is under us and what do we have? An ulcer? High blood pressure? Anxiety meds? No friends? A cluttered house? A mass of unfinished projects? An extra 30 pounds of fat? All because we tried to cross too early. Often the bridge is not even what we expected or feared. Sometimes we never even get to the bridge. Directions change. Roads diverge. We get rerouted. Thinking too far ahead will leave us confused and frustrated.

Yes plan, dream, hope, but first LIVE in the today. Be present. Be patient. Stop worrying about things too far away to really see. Stop driving yourself and others crazy. Today matters.

The bridge can wait until we get to it.

I will leave you with this thought:

“We so idolize and glamorize the past, and we have all these fantasies about the future, that it makes us despair in the present.” – Tony Seigh