April 11, 2017

What Character are You Creating?

It is funny to me how many people are not okay with change.

And perhaps it is a little of my own lack of understanding.

But, when I look at me before and me now, I want to see change.

Progress made in becoming all that I was created to be.

Changes made to live healthier.

Attitudes adjusted to love more.

Habits broken to grow.

My husband was a very, very public person for years.

I often would get to know him through his daily blog, just as the world did.

He would give all his emotions to writing it out, only to find a false sense of security in a world that loved his character.

When it benefited them.

When it got them ahead of others.

When it helped their cause.

When it made them feel good because they could relate.

But when his world shattered, where was everyone?

It's an oddly interesting life to be immersed in a time and place of what was.

I recently met someone who knew my husband before.

She commented how he was a "party animal."

I laughed thinking of the man I kissed goodbye that morning, who was snuggling with our baby.

Yes, I knew that old character too.

A representative of a person who wrote with truth behind the words.

Emotionally charged writings bleeding a broken soul, with applause of acceptance.

How wonderful it is when we find our people, whom we no longer need to pretend for.

When it is okay to be authentically raw and accepted in love.

"You have stopped writing Micheal?" I read a lot.

Maybe to an extent some.

Definitely not as much publicly.

But, he hasn't really.

He is just channeling all that he gave away to more of what matters for him in this time and place.

Into writing and composing several new songs.

Into playing the guitar again.

Into a church in a bar filled with people he loves.

Into telling stories to a 5 month old who adores her Daddy.

Change.

I look at this man I knew 18 years ago and who I was 18 years ago and marvel at how us then would have never worked.

But us now....WOW!

As we both learn to be true to ourselves for the first time surrounded in a safe loving relationship.

Stripping away our own insecurities and demons.

So, why the world doesn't get to read all about it every day, it's not for lack of stories.

But learning to invest those emotions into cultivating a marriage that will last.

Discovering the joys of raising a baby, again.

Loving seven children and their seven different personalities.

Setting aside the computer for the beauty of the outdoors.

Learning to hear the true applause of a few.

Giving, but not running on empty.

Authentically creating that which our heart desires, instead of out of habit for others.

Learning to say no without feeling guilty.

What do you need to give up that others want, so that you can have time for what you want?

What habit are you hiding behind that keeps you from moving forward?

How have you grown?

May you find the strength to let things go, the courage to move forward, and the love of yourself to celebrate.

January 24, 2017

Being Okay with Why?

Sometimes, often, we cannot find the right words to say.

Today marks one of those days.

A year ago, I woke up to discover that I was having a miscarriage.

Actually I was unsure...so I went about attending the work event I had that day.

This was after my husband rushed home in glee from church, where he had announced to everyone that we were having a baby.

I can still see his face and feel the weight of sadness from that moment.

I hear the car pull into the driveway.

Hear the car door shut.

He walks up the steps.

I am lying in bed.

He literally bops around the door into our room and doesn't see me.

He is too excited.

"I told everyone that we were having a baby!!!" he yells.

I look at him, "WHY?"

"Well.....I was excited....and I guess it got the best of me," he continues.

Tears pour from my eyes.

"I think I am having a miscarriage," I manage to say.

It is as though he has passed out, but remains standing.

He fumbles for words, I fumble for breaths.

We embrace. We cry.

We did indeed lose our first baby.

Yet, somehow, perhaps she was there too or it was another pregnancy...we were pregnant just a few weeks later.

Clare Hope wrote her own scary story throughout the first trimester.

Yet every day, I kiss 10 little fingers and toes.

And I stroke her growing hair.

And I tickle her belly and pinch her butt.

And I sing to her, and tell her stories, and whisper her secrets.

Every day I marvel at the miracle of her.

Yet, today I remember a loss.

No words.

Perhaps the most wondered thought, is Why?

Why do we have to go through sadness, losses, trials?

And sometimes it seems like the most undeserving people get hailed on with those type of things.

Why?

I would like to think there is answer, but what the last year has shown me is that it's okay to not know.

I can sit and wonder why and try to figure it out.

Which is my nature, but without that loss, I would not have this life.

A little girl who looks at me with eyes in which I see her Daddy and I.

A little mouth that makes the sweetest noises in delight.

A face that smiles in pure love.

So these rambling words are just bubbling emotions of all that I hold in my heart right now.

I still shed a tear about our loss, but I also smile.

I could not have one without the other.

And I honestly would not trade the shitty, sad, scared, angry what was, for what is.

All that it took to get to here, to her, was worth it.

Every single moment.

Inadequate words, for the most extraordinary journey of hope.

August 12, 2016

To Our CHE


With every passing day it becomes more and more of a reality that you...well that you will be here soon.

You have taken me on a journey I thought I was done with ten years ago.


And you have already written a crazy unbelievable beginning to your story.

In our kitchen hangs a picture your sister painted which says "every ending is a new beginning."

When your Dad and I were first thrown into shock of our first pregnancy together, it ended before we could fully grasp the reality.

But what that short lived blessing did, was open our hearts to a greater reality.

I still cry the loss of what might have been.

It's a weird feeling because without that part in our journey, we wouldn't have you.

You. 

Miraculous, surprise, of you!

And just like your Dad does on a daily basis, you kept life interesting and scary, and us guessing.

But at 12 weeks, you became this strong little dancing baby and we were declared "normal."

That's not a word that will be used to describe our family often.

But the sweetness of it meant so much at that point.

Dear Clare Hope Elliott.

You are loved beyond a thousand years.

Your younger sisters marvel at you and play with you as you kick them back. They are already fighting over who is going to be your favorite.

And you have two older sisters who I think will spoil you rotten.

And your brother. Well he is delighting in your nephew, but will shower you in immense love. Along with your sister Terenca and your nieces. 

Recently we received  a beautiful pair of booties from our friends Linda and Mitch.

I sat there holding the booties imaging you. 

Your little feet and legs.

Your hands.

Your eyes.

Your smile.

Your heart.

And what your life will be.

All I know is that your journey will not be normal, but you will be loved.

And parts of your journey will be tough, but you will be loved.

And you may not always be happy, but you will be loved.

And you may not always understand, but you will be loved.

And we may do a thousand things wrong as parents, but you will be loved.

Love is something we have found and continue to grow.

And you Che are a reminder of that love.

A truly unexpected blessing in the midst of a crazy love story.

So, my daughter. 

May you create the most beautiful life.

For you have revolutionized our world.

February 11, 2016

What Should Have Been Today

I went for my first two mile run in many, many, many weeks today. 

I had planned to start the new year aiming to run a local half marathon and another one in Myrtle Beach soon after.

Micheal was starting a new job and we would be able to pay off some things and get back to where we wanted to be financially. 

Life as we planned was moving forward blissfully and positive. 

It got even more wonderful as we learned that finally after a year of not preventing having a baby we were expecting. 

Actually that is not completely true.

It took a week for the shock to set in. 

We told our family and some friends, but were waiting to tell it to the world until today. 

Well I was. 

Micheal got through the shock faster and embraced the excitement and announced it during a church service. 

Today was the day we would have seen our little blessing for the first time. 

The scribbled out appointment across the page of my calendar for today just sucks as a reminder. 

As Micheal was traveling for his new job the car broke down. 

This was as I was learning that I was indeed having a miscarriage. 

I still cannot put words into what a horrible week that was. 

Knowing my body was saying goodbye to someone I already loved. 

Most days I really am okay. 

I am able to lovingly joke with Micheal that "Well, I almost had your baby."

I don't question God or lose faith.

But sometimes, like what should have been a celebratory day filled with our ultrasound picture, just carry some pain. 

Some numbness.

A friend who lost her husband in a tragic accident a few years ago posted this quote last night. 

"Grief is brutally painful. Grief does not only occur when someone dies. When relationships fall apart, you grieve. When opportunities are shattered, you grieve. When dreams die, you grieve. When illnesses wreck you, you grieve. Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried."

So I ran today after finally feeling like my body is ready. 

Trying to get back into a routine. 

The first mile I struggled to find my stride and breathing. 

The second mile I just cried and cried and cried.

I am still processing the pendulum swing of utter joyful disbelief to utter sadness. 

Sadness doesn't correctly describe the emotion really. 

There are no words. 

I have carried this secret around with me for weeks. 

But running today it all came out. 

And I felt I wanted to tell the world. 

Because that was my original plan. 

Most of the time we share the happy moments in our life and shy away from the pain. 

Pain often scares people. 

They don't know what to say or do.

They don't know how to respond. 

And that's okay. 

There are no right words or correct responses. 

I am not sharing this for sympathy, but with hope that someone feels less alone.

And that we can journey together as we learn to carry that which we cannot fix.