Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Club - Here I Go Again

Throughout our lives, every decision and action leads us down a certain path.  Sometimes we’re on that same path for a while and other times the path is constantly changing.  Either way, the impact is not always clear until we’ve arrived at our next choice, which is sometimes too late.  In Jen Lancaster’s latest book HereI Go Again, the main character, Lissy Ryder, has the chance to undo some of her wrongs in hopes that it might make everyone’s lives a little better.

In high school, Lissy was the “mean girl” that everyone hated, but wanted to be.  While she was beautiful on the outside, inside she didn’t care about anyone but herself and therefore pointed out everyone else's flaws to make herself feel better.  And at her 20 year reunion, her actions finally caught up to her and her life was not turning out how she expected it to.

Through the help of an unexpected ally (and a magic concoction), Lissy is able to go back in time to make right all of her past wrongs.  It might take a few tries to find out what’s most important, but in the end, Lissy finds that being happy doesn’t have to come at everyone else’s expense.

As a previous fan of Jen Lancaster’s work, I would encourage you to check out the BlogHer Book Club page for more reviews on Here I Go Again and join in on some of discussions, because I’m sure most of us can relate to some part of this book.

While I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, all opinions expressed above are my own.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Bullets

A friend of mine (hi Rhi!) frequently posts 'Friday Bullets' on her blog and since I have (sometimes random) things I'd like to post about, I thought I'd follow her lead.

  • While time feels like it's been standing still lately, I'm a little surprised it is Friday already.
  • Maybe it flew by because of the shorter work week.
  • Or maybe there was more going on than usual.
  • I went to my last appointment up at Legacy this week, which was hard on a number of levels.
  • For one, returning to the place where I met and said good bye to my daughter will probably never be easy.
  • Either is reliving what happened to her (even though I long to talk about her as a person all the time...)
  • Our reminders of Charlotte come in many forms and I felt comfort & hope in reading this post from someone who has walked a similar path as the one we are currently on.
  • While I couldn't help but wonder where we'll be five years from now, I was reassured once again that Charlotte will forever be a part of our lives.
  • I was also reminded how important it is to treasure my marriage this week via this post.
  • To be honest, I haven't done a lot to take care of it over the last couple months which makes me sad.
  • I want to change that!
  • Lately, most of my focus has been on my spiritual & emotional self, so I gave Pilates a try for the first time this week (thanks to a recommendation from my SIL) to help take care of my physical self.
  • Let's just say my strength isn't what it used to be... ouch! 
  • Tonight I am getting together with some of my girlfriends for dinner.
  • These girls have been there for me through out this current stage of life and seen me at my worst.
  • I hope to keep my tears to a minimum and try to laugh & enjoy myself again.

What are your plans this weekend?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reminders of Charlotte

Yesterday marked one month since we said goodbye to our precious Charlotte. 

As someone who prides herself on remembering dates & their significance, I am trying to accept that the 12th & 21st of each month just might be harder days for us --- they remind us of both the happiest & saddest times we have ever experienced and make us long to see our baby girl again.

Because I am the type of person who needs something to hold on to (not just physically, but emotionally & spiritually as well), I have found some reminders that help me get out of bed each morning, put one foot in front of the other, and get through another day without her.

One of the biggest reminders I have found comfort in are the photos we have of Charlotte.  Over her 9 days of life, Sam & I managed to take more than a thousand pictures (thank goodness for our iPhones).  At least once a day, I find myself scrolling through my phone looking at pictures of her and while they show the problems she constantly faced, they also remind me of the little details I loved about her – her fingers & toes, her beautiful eyes, and head full of hair for example.

Another reminder is the stories I hear from those who had the privilege of meeting her.  Sadly, we weren’t able to have everyone come and meet her before she passed away, but did make sure both of our families had a chance to spend some one-on-one time with the newest family member.  The remembrances they have of their time with her fill me with pride knowing the lives she touched in such a short amount of time.

The last reminder I hold close to me is the tangible objects that were with her in her hospital room.  From blankets to stuffed animals, I have found comfort in knowing these items were close to her in her time of need.  While navigating this new path of grief, I have found that I have what they call “empty arm syndrome” and having these items to hold, specifically a bear we refer to as Charlie, takes away some of the longing I have to hold her when I no longer can.

By no means do these reminders take away all the pain that we’re experiencing, but they do help make it not as hard.  I would give everything I have in this world to hold her in my arms again, but since that’s not an option, I will have to hold on to these reminders until we see her again someday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Bullets

A friend of mine (hi Rhi!) frequently posts 'Friday Bullets' on her blog and since I have (sometimes random) things I'd like to post about, I thought I'd follow her lead.

  • Well it's Friday, which means I made it through my first week back at work.
  • For most, this wouldn't seem like a big deal, but when you've lost your only child less than a month prior (as well as undergone major abdominal surgery), this is a big accomplishment in my book.
  • And it wasn't easy... let's just say that majority of Tuesday was spent in tears.
  • However, I would like it to be known that I'm hanging in there.
  • Other than work, I've been trying to keep myself busy when I get home in the evenings.
  • Sometimes that involves working out (or at least trying to...) and sometimes that involves getting caught up on television shows.
  • The shows usually win.
  • Because of people want to help us during this time, we've been receiving some amazing dinners, without much work.
  • Thank you to all those who have fed us over the last couple weeks!
  • This weekend, we're going up to see Sam's family and celebrate his grandparent's 80th & 85th birthdays.
  • I pray I can be as active & upbeat as they are at their age.
  • And Sam is also meeting with a couple who would like to talk to him about photographing their wedding!!!
  • That last bullet deserves three explanation points because that's a big deal for this new photographer (Sam!) and his biggest fan/PR rep (me!).
  • Which reminds me... I should showcase his new site on here soon.
  • Anyone in Oregon looking for a photographer, let me know!

What are your plans this weekend?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Never Forget

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen this post last week:

And to top it all off, I started back at work yesterday too...  

Sure, I could have taken more time off, but sitting at home wasn’t doing me much good {read: lots of tears & very lonely} and even though it's been hard to get out of bed each morning, I am hoping the distractions at work will help me get through these early days/weeks/months of this new life God has laid out for us.  

While the last month had some of the best moments of our lives, it was also the worst either of us have ever had: we said hello AND goodbye to our precious baby girl, celebrated her {too-short} life with a beautiful memorial service, and now we are trying to get through the days without her, after spending the last nine months preparing to spend it with her.  Who wants to ever experience this?  No one!

Of course there isn’t a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought of her big brown eyes or tiny little toes and longed to hold her in my arms again, but one of my biggest fears is whether these constant memories will continue now that everything is “done” and will she be forgotten, especially if people aren’t hearing her name as much {which makes me cry just thinking about it...}.

Fortunately, many people have shared with me how Charlotte and her story has touched their lives in one way or another.  I am amazed how such a small person, who was only here on Earth for little amount of time, has made such a big impact on people’s lives, even those who never had the chance to meet her.  And thankfully, that gives me enough peace to continue on this new journey at this time.

In no way is this the path either of us ever imagined we’d be walking, but this is our new reality and I just pray we can continue putting one foot in front of another and more importantly never forget our little Charlotte.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

One Month Ago

One month ago, we were sitting in a hospital room waiting to meet you.

One month ago, we were holding our breath as we were waiting to see if you'd take one yourself.

One month ago, we never knew how much we would love you until the moment we saw you.

And looking back, even though things didn't go as we had prayed for, I hope you always know how much of an impact you have made on our lives.

We love & miss you Charlotte and we always will!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Once we knew Charlotte's days were numbered, the most important thing for us was to spend as much time with our little girl as we could.  Thankfully Sam's sister stepped up and helped us take care of a lot of the details we couldn't handle, including lining up a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep to come take family pictures of the three of us before it was too late.

I'm not sure how many people are aware of this non-profit, but NILMDTS "trains, educates, and mobilizes professional quality photographers to provide beautiful heirloom portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant."  I recall hearing about them when Megan of In This Wonderful Life mentioned having them done when her son passed away, but I didn't think I would ever need their services.  However, I am so thankful someone else thought of them for us.

 On Friday, December 21st, our NILMDTS photographer, Jamie Forsythe, came in quietly and left us alone to cherish our last moments with Charlotte and although we were in the worst situation of our lives, Jamie was able to snap some beautiful pictures that we'll now cherish forever.

I sincerely pray that no one is ever faced with being in a situation like ours, but if someday someone you know is facing their last days with their precious baby, please remember NILMDTS for them because they will thank you later.

I was not compensated for my thoughts, just wanted to share some of the beautiful pictures we have to remember our beautiful Charlotte.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year

With a week of 2013 already behind us, I thought I'd better share a couple of my goals for the year (for accountability sake) before the newness wears off.

Last year, I created a Leap List with ten goals that I wanted to complete before our next big life change (starting a family). This year, I decided to try to shorten my list and focus on fewer things in hopes that I might accomplish more.

So in 2013, I'd like to:

*Read through the Bible at least once
*Pay off my student loans
*Run a 5K

None of these goals have a specific deadline, but I think that's what I like most about them. With just getting through the most emotional & trying year of my life, I'm hoping to not put too much expectation on this upcoming year (easier said than done, right?) and instead focus on myself and putting my trust in what God has already planned for us.

Do you have goals or resolutions for this year?