Thank You!

So….I have several bloggers to give a big shout out and thank you to for the multiple blog awards I have been nominated for.  Please do not take my delay in following up as anything but having quite the busy household right now!  I really appreciate all that you have shared with me through your comments, and for taking the time to read my ramblings.

I need to thank the following bloggers:

Letters to Chace and Harper and Overflow – Liebster Award Nomination

Fictional Machines – Blog of the Year Award 2012

See.Speak.Hear.MaMa – Super Sweet Blogger Award

Thank you all so much for the nominations!  I hope this summer brings to each of you lovely memories, fantastic stories, and lots and lots of great blog posts! 🙂

Blessings!

 

One Year Ago

bridge-photo-2.jpgOne year ago, I pushed the publish button and my very first blog post went off into the world.  One year ago, I was up until 3:00 a.m. fretting over what I had just done.  One year ago, I started this little adventure called blogging.

Just about a year before starting this blog, I shared my testimony at a conference on infertility.  Afterward, women and men were coming up to me thanking me, and letting me know that my story touched them.  On the drive home, I was filled with the kind of elation that only comes from the joy of knowing the Lord’s calling and presence.  The peace of this experience, despite my nerves, and the realization that I could use my story not only to comfort others, but to shed His light into the darkness of infertility, left me nearly speechless and in awe of a mighty God’s penmanship of our lives.  I knew that I was not meant to keep my testimony to myself anymore.

For about a month or two before starting this blog, I had this nagging feeling that would not go away.  I felt led to start a blog, but was wrought with the worry of not having anything to say.  My fear was that once I shared my personal story of infertility, I would not be able to write about anything else.  I have learned through the year to not force topics just because I need to fill the space.  I have learned to listen and look for those moments that are filled with nuggets of wisdom, joy, sadness, and clarity.

From behind the computer screen, we all get peaks into the lives of others.  We get to visit other countries, share in special moments, revel in celebrations, deliberate in political issues, and shed tears; all of which reminds us of our humanity.  Sharing in the human experience reveals that we are all basically the same. We want freedom, love, companionship, health, family, and to attain our dreams.  We want to be comforted through our pain, and to shout with glee in our successes.  People do care, people are interested in each other, and life stories can be used in a way to build someone else up.

Since I started this blog a year ago, I have also welcomed a third child into our home.  Through heartbreak and tough decisions, I became a mother to a baby whose mother I carried around and watched grow up through the years.  At times I am completely overwhelmed by the Lord and His provision in my life, and yet, I know His heart must break for the mothers of the children I so love.

My story continues to unfold as the years go by, and with age, it seems that I am always being refined and renewed.  I really can’t complain at all about the life the Lord has given me.  I’ve been a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, granddaughter, wife, and mother.  I’ve felt the wrath of a devastating illness.  I’ve had to regain my strength physically and emotionally step-by-step.  I’ve had to let go of what would have been.  I’ve embraced what has been, and choose to embrace what will be.

I think I’m more in love with writing than I’ve ever been.  I do not want to write, I need to write.  That is one of the blessings that has come out of this blog.  I have learned to worry less about who reads it, and instead, focus on writing life experiences that will spread a little hope, give encouragement, embrace humility, and speak of grace.  If only one person reads my blog, but that one person is comforted, then that is all that matters.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and your encouragement.  Thank you for getting to know me a little through my words.

In case you missed them. I’ve linked my first few posts written one year ago:

Hello World!

I thought of you today birth mother

Mother’s Resilience

Glass Door

The Wonder of You

 Here’s to another year of discovering new people, places, and purpose!  I woke up with this Scripture on my heart today:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

God bless you!

New Year’s Road

Taken with my iphone as I rode my bike in a 150 mile ride.

This past year was one full of discovery for me.  Through blogging, I have been reminded that everyone truly has a story to tell.  We are all story-tellers in our own ways.  Art, in its purest form, also speaks volumes of insight and revelations about the world we are living in.  Some speak through poetic ramblings and short-stories.  For others, the lens of a camera captures images that their eyes first took notice of.  Each photograph tells a story.  Writing really has become my therapeutic release, my story-teller, my window to the world, my humbling remembrance of how blessed I am, and an extension of the yearning to live out my faith in Christ.

I continue to learn that  parenting is an art form.  Like most artists, parents don’t just figure it out with one stroke of a brush.  Mistakes are made, and often, we are our own worst critics,  Parenting is also something that love and passion is poured into.  I have yet to meet an artist who is not passionate about his or her masterpieces.  Children are the masterpiece that we are always working on, and for that, I am grateful for “do-overs”, grace, and the simplistic forgiveness of children.

Throughout this year,I have been made keenly aware of the tightrope we all walk when it comes to protecting children in our own backyards, and around the world.  Not to sound cliché, but they really are our greatest resource for the future.  Through this blog, I have been able to express my deepest desires for my children, and for others as well.  I have also been able to connect to the child I once was.

I began this road of writing because I felt I had a story to tell.  I felt I needed to speak of infertility.  I knew there were others out there suffering from the sadness that comes when the desire for children is not fulfilled.  I also felt that my story of barrenness includes the incredible journey that is adoptive parenting.  I may stray from time to time from the topic of infertility with the posts I write, but it is never too far from my thoughts and my heart.  I am deeply compassionate about others who continue to search for answers, and who live daily with the unfulfilled longing for children.  I hope my words will encourage each of them to believe in joyful beginnings and happy endings.

I am not sure what the Lord has in store for the road I will walk in 2013.  Will I be inspired to venture into other areas of writing?  Will there be heartbreak and heart-joy in this next year?  Will some doors open while others shut?  There is no way to tell what is destined to happen, but my faith in the Script-Writer of our lives is greater than the unknowns of the future.

May this New Year’s Road lead you all to delightful discoveries, faith-building experiences, and life-affirming moments that bless your sojourn in the world.

Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here’s my top ten list of things I’m thankful for:

  1. Grace – the Lord knows I’m a mess, but He loves me anyway.
  2. Love – my husband knows I’m a mess, but he loves me anyway.
  3. Adoption of my children – my life is much more colorful because of them.
  4. My job – I’m blessed to work for a child welfare agency that understands that our own families come before those we work with.
  5. Freedom – to get an education, to go to church, to live without fear.
  6. Salvation – Jesus chose us over His life.  What a beautiful Savior!
  7. My parents – for their support & for never allowing me to be a victim of my own set of circumstances.  I cannot imagine how painful my hysterectomy must have been on them.
  8. Revelation – the Lord has spoken His will into my life and has shown me that His plan had a purpose & for that I am so grateful for.
  9. Friendships – my friends also know I’m a mess, but they love me anyway
  10. Reading/writing & fellow bloggers – I’m so glad I stumbled onto writing.  I always knew I enjoyed it, but never realized how much of an outlet it is.  Thank you all for reading my blog, and thank you for sharing your worlds through writing your blogs.

Oh yeah, I’m also thankful for moments like these, and so many more!!

Barren to Blessed (meaning behind the name)

The first night I started this blog, I had no idea really what the heck I was doing.  I just felt the urge to write.  It started when I began to journal about my hysterectomy a few years ago.  I guess I held so much in over the past 25+ years that once I started writing, there was not an end in sight.  I do not want to stop.  Writing is therapeutic, and each time I write, I learn from it.  I am pretty sure most bloggers can relate to this.

I know I am not the best writer and often make grammatical mistakes, but writing is not about perfection anyway (at least in my opinion).  Writing, like life, has moments of grit, sorrow, heroism, and laughter.  Writing has given voice to the imperfections of my life and to the yearning to be understood in the world.  Writing releases the words my heart wants to say.

I have to be honest, I really did not spend a lot of time coming up with my blog name.  Growing up knowing I would not be able to have biological children caused me to think of my barren self as being cursed.  I do not mean cursed in the witch-crafty, voodoo kind of way necessarily; although I wondered that from time to time soon after it happened. For whatever reason I felt that I was intentionally blocked from having a “normal” life.  Of course, now that I am an adult, I do not know of anyone who has had a “normal” life.

Adding children to my life has given me a taste of living a life outside of my own.  Parenting children continues to bring meaning and sense to life and the things that have happened.  But, the meaning behind my blog name is more than just about the children.  I walked a long and difficult road to see the Lord for who He is in my life.  I was void (barren) of listening to His will, reading His word, and leaning on His hope.  I did not see a purpose for what happened.  I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel…until I saw the Light that is Him.

The Lord was calling me back to Him long before I even gave a thought about becoming a foster/adoptive parent.  My blog name obviously represents the blessings that come from children.  If my life ended up without children, there would have been sadness of course.  I know that.  However, I also know that life in Christ is a life worth living and for that I am truly blessed.

Thank You

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Learning My Path Towards God for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I appreciate it very much!  The blog is an honest and insightful portrayal of one’s walk towards God.  It is a great blog and I highly recommend that you check it out.  Thank you again for acknowledging my blog!

I am going to skip out on nominating blogs (I know…I’m not playing by the rules).  Instead I want to say that it is an encouragement to see so many people sharing their lives through the written word.  I have been amused by the stories of parents trying to navigate the world of toddlers and/or teenagers.  I have been reminded of my own blessed life when reading stories of those who are literally starving.  I have been challenged to do more when reading blogs from missionaries who are across the world or in their own backyards.  My eyes have been delighted by amazing works of photography.  I have shared in the pain when reading how infertility is affecting so many.  I have been presented with issues to ponder and refine in my own walk with the Lord.  I have also been reminded of the greatness of our Heavenly Father.

Thank you to all who write their lives out and share their talents.

May God bless each of you!

Visions of Pregnancy

Before the adoption of my children filled my home and my heart, and before the Lord’s revelation in my life, I used to wonder what I would look like if I were pregnant.  Here is another excerpt from my memoir in a chapter where I talk about the deep longing that existed when walking around with the feeling of emptiness.  I cannot believe I am admitting this, but…deep breath…here it is:

I secretly envied my pregnant friends.  I wanted what they had.  The joy, excitement, and love they shared with their spouses throughout their pregnancies were clearly obvious and I was jealous of it.  It felt really childish for me to think “why can’t I be like that?”  Or, “why does she get to have more children when I cannot even have one?”  It was almost shameful for me to think that way, or at least I felt ashamed of having those thoughts about them.  I love my friends and I love their children and I know it is wrong for us to covet what others have, but I honestly did.

Just once I wanted to know what it would feel like to carry a baby in my body, or hold a baby and believe that he or she was mine.  Every so often, I dreamed about being pregnant.  I do not know what made me feel worse – the dream itself or waking up.  Often, I stuck a ball under my shirt, stood in front of the mirror, and just stared at myself.  I surveyed the shape from every angle.  This was the closest I would ever come to seeing my “pregnant” belly.  I always thought I would have made a cute mom-to-be.

It is a mistake to assume that women who cannot have biological children never wonder what their pregnancies would feel like.  Most of us, although sympathetic to those going through it, would give anything to know what morning sickness was like, or to have the moment when a slight kick is felt from the inside.  We would give nearly anything to have an ultrasound done that reveals the life growing inside of us.

Most of us have dreamed about pregnancy.  Most of us have had visions of ourselves pregnant.  Many of us still do.

I never, ever told anyone close to me that I used to stand in front of the mirror daydreaming of being pregnant.  It was embarrassing and I felt as though I should not have even considered it.  But, why not?  Why not wonder what it would feel like to be pregnant?  This is not wrong, silly, or senseless.  It makes perfect sense to me.

If your path to pregnancy is jagged right now and you find yourself hiding away in front of a mirror staring at your belly, it is okay.  Do not be embarrassed.  Do not feel as though you should not be doing this.  Give yourself a break and daydream all you need to.  I get it, and my guess is that nearly every one else who is struggling with infertility or barrenness gets it to.

May His vision of you fill your life with love, peace, and understanding.

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Two Blog Awards

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much to Steve at Words to Love By for nominating my blog for the Traffic Raiser Blog Award and the Super Sweet Blogging Award.  The “nod” is very nice and I really do appreciate it!  The name of his blog basically says it all.  We could all use many words to LOVE by!  I encourage each of you to check it out.

I’m going to cheat a little though…hope that is okay.  Instead of nominating what would be a total of 28 blogs for these two awards, I just want to say thank you for taking a little bit of time out of your days to read my blog posts.  I also want to encourage fellow bloggers to keep up the great work of writing.  I’ve read so many wonderful blogs and continue to be inspired by people, their lives, their stories, their missions, their grief, their creativity, and their faith.

Just this week during a conversation with a co-worker, I reported that it has been really good to see how many people are “out there” in the blog world sharing their stories, encouraging each other in their faith, reaching out to the least of these, and walking towards a life that is closer to God and gratitude.  I am also amused by the wonder of creativity and ability as evidenced by the incredible writing, drawing, and photography that has crossed my path through these past few months of blogging.

Thanks again to Words to Love By for nominating me for two awards.  I sincerely appreciate it!

Blessings to all!

Writing My Story

A few years ago I felt the urge to write.  It seemed as though the Lord was telling me to write my story down; although, I had no clue how to start the process.  The last writing class I took was in 1992 or so when I was in college.  My friend knew my desire, or perhaps the Lord’s calling on my heart, to start writing so she bought me some journals.  I carried them everywhere and would write down different thoughts or words that sparked my memories or pertained to my history.  I even used my iPhone to record thoughts that came to me when writing was not possible.  Gotta love technology!

I had no idea as to where this project was going or if there was really anything important to say.  The fact is that everyone has a story.  All of us have a uniquely designed existence that is of no greater matter or significance than the other.  We are all significant in the eyes of the Lord.  I personally feel that the most inspiring stories are those told from people who come from the most humble situations.

As I started writing, it felt as though my heart and my mind were pricked.  Suddenly, there was this release of all of the captive moments, long forgotten thoughts, and stifled persuasions that I had carried around for nearly my entire life; or at least, my life after age eleven.  Words were pouring out of me that brought me to tears.

Soon, I turned to my computer to start writing.  I craved it.  Early mornings and late evenings were often accompanied by the patter of my fingertips on the keyboard as I delved into my solitary world of infertility.  I had to reach out to others during this time for feedback, their memories of my story, and just plain old support.  However, for the most part, it was me, my computer, my memories, and the Lord’s prodding.

I finished the manuscript within a few months.  Once I started writing, I could not stop until I got it all out.  I grieved for the child I was who became so ill.  I fretted for the teenager who, despite seeming and acting like every other teen girl, held within her dark glimpses of despair.  I felt the anger of a young woman in her twenties who was torn between wondering if her future career would be her “baby” or if she was ever going to have a baby to call her own.  I celebrated the woman who ran to the Lord after years of ignoring Him.  Lastly, I shed tears of joy for the foster-mother whose life was impacted for the better by the humbling refinement that is foster care and adoption.

I still have the manuscript on my computer.  I do not know where it is going or what it is supposed to be.  That is okay though.  There is great cleansing in writing one’s life story even if no one reads it.  Writing my story down has brought about a desire to continue to bring to life the words my heart feels but often my lips cannot form.  Writing my story has also revealed the incredible essence of survival, faith, mercy, grace, and hope.

I would like to share an excerpt from it if you don’t mind.  I have already inserted a few lines  from the manuscript from time to time into previous blog posts.  Even though this is just a glimpse, I welcome any comments.  I may share more as I feel the need…

I do not remember much about the week I was in the hospital prior to the doctors discovering what was ravaging my body.  My memories are more like flashing images from a movie.  I do however remember waking up at one point with my dad and a doctor looking over me.  My dad simply and courageously stated “You can always make love, but you will never be able to have children.”  Or, did he say that?  I remember hearing it, but not sure if it was said to me or about me.  Nevertheless, in my hazy mind, I tried to comprehend what he was saying.  Make love?  What does that mean?  I had not even kissed a boy yet.  Have children? It really had not crossed my mind much.  But, I heard him loud and clear.  I knew something big had happened.  This event that occurred forever changed who I was and the path my life would take.  There was not a choice – it was either my life or my organs.  Oh, the agony my parents were feeling.  What irony really…the organs with which life begins had nearly destroyed mine.  I was eleven years old, I had never had a period, and now I was forever infertile.  I had just been thrust in to the world of infertility.  Trapped in a little girl’s body was a pre-menopausal woman.

One Lovely Blog Award

I got a message earlier this week from Arlene at Armoured Up that she nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award!  Please head over to her blog and check it out.  You will not be disappointed.  Arlene’s blog covers a variety of topics about everyday life.  Through all of it she glorifies God in a thought-provoking and encouraging way.  Thank you Arlene for this nomination!

There is no award money or golden statue.  I don’t get to make a speech in front of others.  There is not an acknowledgement on any news outlets.  Instead, these blogging “awards” are a way for fellow bloggers to give each other a pat on the back and to highlight works that are inspiring, creative, and encouraging.

For this nomination, I have to let you know seven things about myself.  I have found this to be a little difficult even though I can write about infertility and other rather personal matters.  So here I go…..

1)  I have several unfinished stories for children and adults saved on my computer.  I visit the characters about once every five months or so.  I am most definitely a neglectful mother to these fictional beings!

2)  I absolutely believe that I had an encounter with an angel following the death of  close relative in 1996. This occurred before I was fully engaged in my faith life.  I plan to write about this experience soon.

3)  Sometimes I sneak candy into my house and hide it from my children.  I eat after it they go to bed or when they are not looking.  I have only been caught with a mouthful of chocolate a couple of times by my five-year-old, but I know he is on to me.

4)  I just got a cell phone three years ago, and set up my Facebook page last year….seriously.

5)  I find it incredible that the words I write on my laptop here in the Ozarks are being read by people in Singapore, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, and various other countries.

6)  I really like ketchup on my spaghetti and mustard on my roast and potatoes. I know that is a random thought, sorry.

7)  I hope my focus on wanting to write for His glory never becomes bigger than my desire to live for His glory.

Here are fifteen blogs I have selected for this award.  I enjoy reading these blogs because each of them give me “food for thought” and I find them to be unique, creative, honest, and engaging.  Go over and check them out.

overflow

Rod Arters Blog

Ebs and Flows

a tale of puddin, tigger, & the blessing

butmostlymommy

Blurbs of Grace

SunshineLittleOne

Unashamed Growth

Settled In Heaven

master of life in earth, sky, and sea

Integrity Dad

I am. Because of You.

Being Someone’s Mum

Why Don’t You Adopt

the muse is working

Thanks again to Arlene for this nomination.  I appreciate everyone for reading my blog.  God Bless!