Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very-Inspiring-Blogger-AwardI have been recognized for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by my fellow warriors Elisha at Waiting for Baby Bird and My Perfect Breakdown. I am filled with gratitude, love and light with this recognition, especially as I have so much admiration for both of these women. Gratitude for their courage in sharing their stories and for how much they both have taught me. 9 months ago when I started Ever Upward I never could have imagined the amazing people I would meet through this blogging world or how much I would learn from them. Thank you is simply not sufficient enough.

To accept this award, here are the things I need to do:

1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.

3. Share seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated. (I am going to list them and leave their participation optional, as I know things can be really crazy for people, but I just couldn’t not list you all).

5.  Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Fun Facts About Me:

  1. I love the show New Girl. I literally have most of season 1 memorized, it just makes me laugh out loud from the belly with pure joy.
  2. If the therapy and the writing thing doesn’t work out my backup career is to become a makeup artist, I am a master at eye makeup…I think ;).
  3. I have two tattoos and totally have the itch for two more. But I also have a weird tattoo rule for myself: if I want the same thing on the same part of my body for six months then I can really get it.
  4. I am a book whore, I literally have at least 5 books I am reading at a time. I am drowning in the stack of books on my nightstand, and I love it.
  5. I try really hard, all of the the time, sometimes too hard and too much and too fast, which is therefore why I tend to break a lot of things, trip and hurt myself a lot and spill everything.
  6. I love to laugh, I love to learn and I love to connect and I think that is done best with people who love us, get us and are also willing to do the same.
  7. My parents have temporarily moved in with us due to my dad’s accident back in March. And, I am probably enjoying it way too much! But, their help with the dogs, the house and the yard is immensely appreciated and so needed right now with work and the book.

I had to participate in this when I saw both of my friends nominated me but also because I love finding new blogs and friends though this big, amazing blogging world. So here is my top 15 list, I think ;), and in no particular order.

Waiting for Baby Bird

My Perfect Breakdown

A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy

Blooming Spiders

Considerings

Everything Reminds Me of You

In Case I’m Gone

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Momsicle

Oh For the Love of…Me

Postcards from Heaven

Red Thread Broken

Someday Starts Today

Searching and Fearless

The Frozen Moon

Loss is Loss and Comparison Only Leaves Us Alone In It

The loss of an eight cell embryo.

The loss of miscarriage at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, however many weeks.

The loss of stillbirth at any week.

The loss of a toddler.

The loss of any child.

Loss.

Loss is loss.

I had the honor to process this lesson of life with a client on the same day that my fellow warrior at My Perfect Breakdown wrote a beautiful, kind of rebuttal, piece to my piece Our Infertility Rap Sheets.

And, again I am reminded that there simply are no mistakes made in this life or coincidences. And, that I have amazing people around me in this journey.

In her post My Perfect Breakdown discussed how her numbers are important to her because they are her children lost to miscarriage. In my piece, I wrote about taking my numbers out because, for me, they came from a place of shame, scarcity and comparison.

It is simply impossible for me to live a wholehearted life with courage, compassion and connection when I live from a place of shame, scarcity and comparison. I believe this to be true for all of us. And, I challenged those of us with the struggles of infertility to ask themselves where their count, their infertility rap sheet, was truly coming from.

What I did not write in Our Infertility Rap Sheets was the number I will never remove.

Three.

To the general population they may have just been three eight cell embryos.

To me they are my three babies.

My three babies who never had the chance to take a breath of earth’s fresh air.

My three babies who never grew.

My three babies I can parent only from this side of eternity.

My three soul scars.

My three.

Three will never be taken out of my story. It is within these three lost souls that I have been found and have found myself.

I see three everywhere I go. I feel my three every single day. I dream of my three and mourn the what ifs. I heal from my three always.

Loss is loss.

Being able to process this difficult lesson of life with my clients; women who have had miscarriages, women who have given up their child for adoption, clients who have lost their child beyond way too early to tragedy is something I feel honored with and thankful for.

Does is hurt less that I lost mine before they could grow?

Does it hurt less that she didn’t suffer?

Does it hurt less that she was only in the first trimester?

Does it hurt less that I have lost three but she has lost five?

Does it hurt less that you at least got a couple of years with him?

Does it hurt less that she lived a longer life and mine never grew?

Loss Comparison

This comparison; this my pain is worse than yours, or even my pain could still be worse, is heartbreaking, soul crushing comparison.

And, it keeps us alone.

All alone with only our losses.

If we can embrace that loss is loss; if I can sit across from my clients in the presence of their loss, with their loss, rather than comparing our losses then we are simply two mothers who have lost.

People who have lost.

And, that it is all just really fucking horrible.

But, we’re in it together.

And, at least, we are not sitting in it all alone with only shame, scarcity and comparison as our comrades.

In this, is the ever upward recovery.

And, I choose that.

*To read more about my recovery make sure to pick up a copy of the soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating  ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

A Buried Treasure of Emerging Seashells

The house had a seashell room.

The entire ceiling of a bedroom was decorated with a mosaic of seashells and mirrors.

Picture frames made of shells.

Lamps filled with more shells.

Glass tabletops filled with even more shells.

Then we found the moldy boxes full of seashells, at least four of them, buried in the basement.

They loved seashells.

As we cleaned out the house, we threw them all out, along with their years of painful hoarding and our years of three lost babies and a lifelong dream.

Reminders of the Past

And yet, we see seashells every day.

And, I feel my lost babies every day.

The shells continue to come up in a certain part of the yard.

And, my scarred heart and soul ache and yet, feel whole every second of every single day.

Both like a buried treasure, that isn’t worth much and yet is a constant reminder of the past.

Just like every day moments or comments in my life that are constant reminders that I will never be a mother; will never quite fit in, will always be considered not whole, will always be judged and pitied.

Because, I am not a mother with living children.

And yet, I am more whole than I have ever been through my recovery from infertility.

Just like the every day reminders that I must practice my recovery: working on self care every day, reaching out and asking for help, doing the things that help keep me healthy and practicing courage, compassion and connection. Because, I am recovering from infertility, scarcity, comparison, anxiety and depression.

And yet, I am whole in my practicing recovery from these, and from myself.
Our buried treasures of our past, of our losses, traumas and tragedies, will never stay buried forever. We will always have emerging seashells in our lives.

Embracing Our Past

I guess this is where practice comes in. We must practice to use these reminders for us rather than against us. That they are not there to haunt us forever. But, rather to remind us of where we’ve been and how far we have come.

Within the buried treasure we can find our whole.

Within the buried treasure we can embrace it all.

Within the buried treasure we can be found.

Because, the buried treasure of losses, junk, gold, seashells and all, is our story.

Our story of the work of recovery.

Our story of the work and practice of our ever upward.

*To read more about my story, my recovery and Mason House make sure to pick up a copy of the soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating  ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

Start Again, Not Over: Ever Upward Book Cover Reveal

Stop starting over, start again.

I’ve said these words to clients many times over.

I’ve reminded myself of these words many times over.

These words have also been at the core of the creation of the book cover of Ever Upward.

At the heart of it all, they are the true spirit and essence of ever upward.

But, this week they have seemed to be significantly powerful. Especially in giving a few of my clients the permission to more forward.

Starting Again Instead

Every time we start over we also attempt to erase us or at least parts of us. I know many of us are struggling to forgive ourselves of our past mistakes or struggles or regrets. Or we wish we had been or done differently in the past. But when we look to erase these parts of our story or completely start over, we don’t honor who we are today.

I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person without my past.

I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person without my mistakes.

I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person without the previous unhappy, unhealthy, suffering person I was before.

Therefore, I would not be this happier, healthier, healing person if I had started over.

My work in my ever upward recovery has been in the spirit of starting again.

Putting one foot in front of the other and choosing the best next step.

Not the right step or the perfect step or the reset start over step.

The best start again step.

Ever Upward Book Cover

And true to my life, this was also the case for the cover of my first book. My cover designer, Kristen Ashley designed an initial concept. It was stunning. We fell in love with that first cover. The story behind it was amazingly parallel to my ever upward journey.

It was perfect.

Until, it wasn’t.

We couldn’t get the rights to the image.

We started again with the amazing help and teamwork of several people who care a lot about me and believe in Ever Upward.

We started again, not over.

Within this starting again, we’ve developed the best version possible of the cover.

Not right.

Not even perfect.

But, the best version.

Much like my continually healing self.

Because, it is only in owning all the parts of our story; mistakes, struggles and all and practicing our recovery that we become the always growing, the always healing, the ever upward best version of ourselves.

~~~~

So without any further ado…

Here is the cover of my first book (yes, there are plans for others, three more actually…for now ;) ).Froelker-EverUpward CVR-LG

I hope you love it as much as I do.

I hope you find hope, healing and power within it. I hope you see the struggle and the recovery within it. I hope you sense the brokenness and healing within it. I hope you breathe in the light and love from it.

And, of course don’t forget the chance to win a giveaway of a free signed copy of Ever Upward (expected late fall/early winter) and the chance of artwork by the amazing Jen of Daring Happiness!

Blog giveaways
FB giveaways
  • 400th like on Ever Upward’s FB – free signed copy of the book

*To read more about my story make sure to pick up a copy of the soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating  ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

Book Cover Reveal Sneak Peek #2

Here’s your 2nd sneak peek of the book cover of Ever Upward!

Froelker-EverUpward CVR-LG reveal2

And your reminders for some cool giveaways!

My dear friend and fellow vulnerability warrior Jen at Daring Happiness has lovingly heard my cry for help in building the platform. She is an amazing artist and will be doing a few pieces of art for me to use as giveaways to some of my supporters.

So here are your guidelines  ;)

Blog giveaways
FB giveaways
  • 1st share on Ever Upward’s FB of book cover reveal – free signed copy of the book
  • 20th share on FB of the full cover reveal – free signed copy of the book and artwork
  • 400th like on FB – free signed copy of the book

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating  ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

Book Cover Reveal Sneak Peek

After much work, effort and help from many people the book cover of Ever Upward is ready!

I am so amazed at how it came out. And I hope you all love it as much as I do. I will post the full cover tomorrow some time. Make sure you like the Ever Upward Facebook page and follow here at the blog so you don’t miss any updates or giveaways!

My dear friend and fellow vulnerability warrior Jen at Daring Happiness has lovingly heard my cry for help in building the platform. She is an amazing artist and will be doing a few pieces of art for me to use as giveaways to some of my supporters.

So here are your guidelines ;)

Blog giveaways
FB giveaways
  • 1st share on Ever Upward’s FB of book cover reveal – free signed copy of the book
  • 20th share on FB of the reveal – free signed copy of the book and artwork
  • 400th like on FB – free signed copy of the book

And, here is your first sneak peek:

Froelker-EverUpward CVR-LG reveal1

 

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating  ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

Defining Our Enoughs and Everythings

Amy Klein‘s post You’ve Done Everything You Can for the New York Times was the first spark I needed to write something about our enoughs.

Our everythings.

Then I wrote Our Infertility Rap Sheets, even though I was scared to death of putting it out there. But, the feedback I received was the second spark I needed to write something about our enoughs.

Our everythings.

Igniting the third spark, a fellow warrior and blogger messaged me today. Her bravery in reaching out was enough for me to pull this post from drafts, assign my own photo and share. As, she is in the midst of defining her enough is enough.

Her everything.

As I have written, I’ve taken out my counts; how many rounds of IVF I tried because I have found I included them only out of my own shame. Out of this need to prove to the world, and maybe to myself on some days, that I too have suffered and lost.

Infertility or not, we all must define our own enoughs and everythings.

What is enough? What is everything?

Have you done everything you can? Have you done everything you need to? 

Have you done enough? Have you lost enough? Have you suffered enough?

Defining our everything and our enoughs in order to let go, embrace and move forward.

I think we can apply these questions to many areas of our lives that we are struggling with.

Infertility. Recovery. Relationships. Dreams. This list goes on and on.

I think what we all must remember is that only we can define what is everything and when enough is enough. When we define these through others’ expectations or society or because it is “what we are supposed to do” it only comes from this place of shame; a place of not honoring ourselves. Our everythings and our enoughs can, and need to, only be defined within ourselves.

If I don’t hold on to this, I can very easily get wrapped up in the shamed silence that surrounds my infertility journey and my recovery. Because, technically, I suppose, we could have kept trying. Technically, science has provided many options for us to keep trying. Technically, there are also other options.

But to not listen to myself, my husband and our light and truth would have been the biggest disservice to me, our marriage and, in reality, to the world. For us to go above and beyond what we know is our enough and our everything would have destroyed us because it simply would not have been our truth.

DSC_1690

Thank you dad for being my photographer. Letting it go, embracing it all, defining my enough and everything; this is ever upward and the legacy of my three babies.

We tried. We tried more than we had planned to. But, we tried again because our losses felt that crushing. We tried again because we knew that our everything wasn’t met yet. Only we could make that decision. We need to explain it only to each other.

Only we define our enough and everything.

And, our ever upward.

To let go of comparison, especially in our sufferings and recovery, is to find our truth.

Because we all suffer. We all lose. Hard is just hard.

And, we all must practice our recovery.

Trust in your truth. Trust in your everything. Trust in your enough.

Because, within that trust you will be found.

*To read more about how we defined our everything and how I have practiced my recovery make sure to pick up a copy of the soon to be published Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating  ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

The cover of Ever Upward is done! I am so excited to share later this week along with a giveaway!

Thank you also to the designer of my book cover, Kristen Ashley, for this beautiful version of the photo!

Thank you also to the designer of my book cover (sneak peek coming this week), Kristen Ashley, for this beautiful version of the photo!