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.

And yet, we see seashells every day.DSC_1658

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.

DSC_1659Our 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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

A Quick Lesson in Forgiveness for LeBron and Dan

I say it often in my office with clients. And, I know I have written it before. But, some words of wisdom don’t really need to change much to continue to hold the power they do for us.

We all do the very best we know how in any given moment of our lives. If we had known better, we would have chosen better. Even when we are really making a mistake or hurting ourselves or others, we are doing the very best we know how in that given moment.*

Just as the late and amazing light Maya Angelou wrote, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

iStock_000037208162SmallThis is where we can find our power in forgiving ourselves and others.

This is where we can find our power in truly learning, improving and changing.

This is where we can find our power in trusting our stories, every single part of them.

For me, this is how I’ve let go of regret and resentment. This does not mean I haven’t made many mistakes in my life, it simply means I refuse to be defined by them. Letting go of regret and resentment also does not mean I haven’t learned many, many lessons from these mistakes.

Just as both LeBron James and Dan Gilbert are needing to forgive one another and themselves for how things have played out over the last four years. We do the best we know how in that given moment; learning to forgive ourselves and others, letting go and learning to never define ourselves and our relationships in our regrets and resentments is how we wash away our shame, guilt and embarrassment.alg_knicks2

It is how we move forward to even more amazing times.

For me, this work and my faith help in this letting go of regrets because I know and trust His way.

Learning to forgive and to let go takes power away from regret. I believe, many times, our regrets only fester into resentments. And, resentments, well, they eat us from the inside out; stealing our light, shaming our spirit and suffocating our stories.

We must forgive. We must accept and embrace. And, we must own every part of our stories. These are choices, I think, we must make to save ourselves and to change our lives, to be happier and healthier versions of ourselves.

These are the choices, the practices and the work of recovery, of life.

Hopefully, these are the choices that LeBron and Dan can make. The choice to forgive and move forward. The choice to acknowledge that the scars may never go away. But, by practicing the work of forgiveness and letting go they can truly get another chance together.

It is only through this ever upward work and recovery that any of us can trust in ourselves and our stories and truly forgive ourselves and others through to no regret.

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

*Outside of the extreme case of a sociopath of course.*

My Story with Amateur Nester

My interview with Lisa at Amateur Nester is an excellent sneak peek into my book, Ever Upward. A huge, wholehearted thank to Lisa. Thank you for being a friend in this big amazing world of infertility blogging. Thank you for being a fellow warrior in sharing my message. Thank you for being you!.

To read the full story, click here!

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