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Sunday, March 29, 2009

One simple truth

A few weeks ago, while driving in the car and having a serious conversation with Marc, I had a very strong impression come to me. I will share just part of that impression... it was that at some point (whether in this life or in the next) I would look back on this precise period and feel one of two things. Either regret that I let grief overcome me for longer than necessary (and turn me into a bitter, angry, prematurely-aged-old-woman) ... or relief that I was able to allow myself to grieve long enough and healthily enough to find true joy again.

I decided in that moment that I wanted to look back and know that I grieved deliberately and fully... knowing that going through the process of grief would actually make me free from my pain. While I've at times resisted the anguish and yearned for a pain-free life, I've trusted that somewhere along the way I would find a way to live again, a way to again find joy in beautiful things, and to still love being with those I love. It hasn't been easy to find the balance between healthy grieving and healthy enjoyment... but, little by little some is going and some is coming. 

And, little by little, true moments of joy are replacing the raw pain and heartache that have caused such a heavy burden. I may not ever fully understand the reasons for some of the events in my life, but in quiet moments I'm gaining understanding and seeing things from new perspectives that weren't available even a few months ago. I'm grateful for answers that have come in their own time, and for the loving hand of a Provident God.

The older I get and the more experiences I have, the more this one simple truth rings louder and truer:  

God is good.

Friday, March 27, 2009


For the last nine and a half days I've been spending most of my waking hours with my parents, (who finally returned from a long, two-month road trip to visit the rest of our family) and with two of my favorite girls: my Little Sister and her Little Miss Sweetness.

As you can see, the weather has allowed for diaper-only, dandelion-picking afternoons. 

We've been busy planting a garden in my parents' backyard, going on walks, eating lunch in my new backyard, making gravy pitchers on my dad's pottery wheel, going on more walks, getting boxes unpacked, building bookcases, filling those bookcases with all our favorite books, and so much more. My parents invited a friend of theirs from Sydney to come stay with them for a while - she arrived on Wednesday. I hope she's enjoying all of our little adventures.

Today we did a little shopping - found some cute fabric to add a little {persimmon-like} color to our life in the form of new curtains, some new curtain rods on which to hang those curtains, a large chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano (since I just ran out yesterday... and it's a staple in our house), and a few other random items. We ended the day with gelato at this Sweet Shoppe. Afterall, gelato is also an important staple in our life.

Tomorrow we are all headed to the coast... a place that has been a source of healing. I'm looking forward to another day with those I love, in a place I dearly love. These staples of my life keep me going. My day with them surely will not disappoint. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Newness of Spring

image info: the product of my labors last October

I woke up very early this morning and couldn't fall back asleep. It reminded me of the immediate days following the birth (or death, however you want to put it) of our twins when I'd wake up with thoughts of them waking me before the light of morning could do its job. It was extra dark this morning, with rain clouds hiding the moon and stars. I sat in silence for a while, soothed by the ticking of a clock. I wandered through the feelings in my heart, finding gratitude for the deepness of emotion that it now knows, while slowly watching morning arrive. It's amazing, really, to watch the very gradual change as the darkness of night dissipates with the power and reach of the sun.

This time of year has brought with it a wide range of emotions, most of them I have been anticipating. Many of the emotions have surrounded flashbacks to a year ago - the joyful tears of finding out our miracle had come, the anticipation of our dream of having a family together was coming true, the dawn was finally marking the end of a long, dark night of waiting. I wish that reminiscning back to those early moments of pregnancy still produced joyful tears... how could they though? It's hard to separate the feelings of joy and pain. I will never lose hope that one day we'll feel that overwhelming joy again... knowing it will run deeper, filling the deep crevasses of pain that have carved their way through my heart.

My thoughts have turned to the ever-constant reminders of the beauty and newness of Spring. There is evidence all around me that life continues, that winter has an end, that blossoms always find a way to bloom again. I've been especially intrigued by the bulbs I planted last October, those potential flowers laid deep in the earth, surviving the harsh, frozen ground, being so gently encouraged to bloom by the warmth of the sun. I've found joy in watching those bright daffodils bloom. And, I've found courage in the process of their growth.

Christmas has always been The Big Holiday of the year. The birth of the Son of God is a big deal, afterall. My celebrations of Easter haven't ever been as big or meaningful. But, I want that to change. I want Easter, with emphasis on its true meaning, to be just as celebrated as Christmas. To focus on the perfect Christ-child who grew into a perfect man, completing His life's missions, leading to the culminating events of His life that fulfilled The Plan. He was the only one able to overcome the two deaths that we are subject to as mortals - spiritual death and physical death. He suffered. He died. And just like He promised - three days later he broke the bands of death.

That bitter death that seems so cold and lonely and endless. He took that away. He did that for you. He did it for those you love who have died. He did that for me; for my little girls - Elliana and Emmaline. Because of Him I will be with them again. His resurrection has never meant more to me than it now does.

There is still pain, but there is also a purpose in that. As we have navigated through the last eight months, I have learned the lengths that the Savior will go to reach us in our darkest hours. Just like the sun's rays reach far and wide to break the darkness of night, the Son of God has reached us in our deepest moments of pain; He has gone into those dark corners of our hearts. I've learned confidence in His concern for me, and in His ability to bring comfort and healing to my heart. His love and perfect understanding of my pain fills my heart with warmth.   

While I've always loved this time of year, words cannot adequately express what it means to me this year.

New life.



All because of Him. 

Why weepest thou - by Simon Dewey

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Change is good. Depending on the degree and type, change can be really, really hard. But no matter the change, there always seems to be a wide range of conflicting emotions that come with change. The upside is the invitation for a new beginning. A chance to start anew. A new perspective. An opportunity to get up and try again.

We are in the middle of some changes. For right now life has been simplified down to milk, cereal and all the variety of things you can do with whole wheat bread and strawberry jam. Among all of the boxes of things to be unpacked, it also feels like we have new little packages of hope, begging to be opened.

Somewhere in the process of moving - getting rid of excess, unnecessary items and finding old treasures that I thought had been lost - I feel like it has been a good physical exercise in helping me to mentally and emotionally sort through all the thoughts and feelings I've been having lately. I've felt strengthened and inspired in knowing what things need to be thrown out and how to get rid of them in a healthy way. It is a blessing that amid all the junk there are sweet treasures that I have carefully wrapped up to keep in a corner of my heart forever.

I spent most of this morning observing how differently our cats are adjusting to our new environment. Einstein, our curious explorer, is wandering from room to room, making sure to inspect every square inch of our new surroundings. From all I can tell, he approves.

Watson, on the other hand, is our shy cuddler. He is currently huddled in the tightest ball he can get himself into, under the covers on our bed. When the internet guy came this morning, I went under-covers with Watson, to give him a little extra comfort. In a different, strange way, I totally understood his need to be there; his fears and insecurities. Funny how I probably needed that time hiding under the blankets even more. In fact, I wish I would have given myself permission to do that months ago. It ended up being a very revelatory moment for me. Understanding flowed, answers came, comfort filled my heart.

So, Mr. Change, though you make life uncomfortable and scary enough to want to hide under the covers, I appreciate this new beginning. New memories to be made, new hopes to realize, new dreams to fulfill.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Honesty is the Best Policy

After writing that last blog entry, I hesitated a lot before publishing it. Then, I almost took it all back once I did make it public. Thanks to those who responded, either publicly or privately, with such love and understanding... your words have helped more than you know. I feel a mixture of embarrassment, shame, and guilt for the feelings that I've felt, only some of which I've shared here. But, they are real and as much as I hate feeling these very ugly feelings, it has been a huge relief to admit to having them and start to be healed from them. I'm just sorry to give a glimpse for everyone to see such an ugly side of my heart. Even so, I feel like it was incredibly liberating.

Before I left to live in Italy for a year and a half, I went through two months of intense language training. The six years before that were spent learning Spanish, which was my declared focus of study at the time. I was so afraid of forgetting the Spanish I had worked so hard to learn, that every time I learned something new in Italian, I would automatically translate it back into Spanish, hoping that I could somehow hang onto my Spanish language skills and learn this new language at the same time.

Well, it was not easy. In fact, it was terribly difficult... and the more time passed the more overwhelming it became. But, I would not admit that to anyone. I was afraid that I would be looked down on, I was afraid that I would be a big disappointment to those I loved the most, I was afraid of admitting that I wasn't smart enough or strong enough. Everyone else seemed to be doing just fine... what was wrong with me?

Then, one night I found myself laying in my bottom bunkbed, sharing a room with three other girls, and very quietly having a little breakdown. I couldn't sleep. The stress of the situation had gotten to be too heavy. Three weeks of faking it to everyone, three weeks of pretending that I was understanding everything, three weeks of speaking "Span-talian"... saying things like "muy bene." I was making a total fool of myself, all because I was too proud to ask for help, too proud to even admit that I was struggling.

That dark night, with silent tears wetting my cheeks, I had reached my limit. Somehow I found the courage to entrust my fears and my failures with God. I admitted that I was struggling, I acknowledged the overwhelming situation I found myself in. I told Him I was having a hard time and I pleaded for His help. It was so hard to express those feelings... I didn't want to disappoint Him. That was my biggest fear. If I admitted it was hard, then maybe He would regret having confidence in me.

But, that lonely dark night ended up being a turning point. The hardest part - admitting it was hard - was out of the way. From that point on, the language seemed to come easier, partly because I was honest with myself and with others about a burden that had become too heavy. 

As simple as that experience was, it has helped me to remember the important lesson I learned - that being true to the feelings I feel and honest with where I need help, only puts me in a position to receive the help that I need. It is a huge relief to be reassured in those painfully honest moments that I am not a disappointment. And, if I'm not yet a disappointment to God, then maybe I'm still doing okay. 

He has not abandoned me, even in my most ugly and awfully embarrassing moments. I've made sure to let Him know how deeply sorry I am for the feelings I've been having, and I can feel Him helping me through them in a healthy way. I'm being honest with my feelings and in response, He is blessing me with healing. He truly "healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalms 147:3)

So, maybe that phrase "honesty is the best policy" even - and, maybe especially - applies to our prayers.