I met with fellow blogger and author Lindsay Fischer last week for lunch. Two hours later I walked away with a new friend, the knowing of a fellow warrior and a comrade in the trenches of being an author and blogger.

In other words, I think I may have just met my best friend…even if she doesn’t realize it yet.

We exchanged our books, including Lindsay’s soon to be released The Two Week Wait Challenge: A Sassy Girl’s Guide to Surviving the TWW. I was excited to read this little guide for the arduous TWW that I see so many clients through, and survived myself a couple of times.

I loved it and have added it to the Ever Upward Resource page. Please see my review below that I will also be posting to Amazon once the book officially comes out.

~~~

lindsaystwwAs a survivor of a couple TWWs myself and a therapist helping countless clients through the process of TTC, infertility and loss I found Lindsay’s survival guide to be a truth salve to my soul. This guide is refreshing, engaging and full of helpful ideas and resources. Lindsay is sharing what I have been teaching my clients for years and so much of what I am finding helpful in guiding women through the TTC, infertility and loss journey. The tools she shares are part of how we will all thrive and not only survive this  journey. Lindsay’s humor makes you feel like you have a nonjudgmental best friend by your side through the arduous wait of the days leading up to testing. Her daily challenges and assignments provide a easy and tangible framework for the reader to wrap both their heads, hearts and hands around in order to prevent being completely consumed by worry, anxiety, anger and anything else that pops up in the clomid crazy train of infertility treatments.  I highly recommend this book to anyone going through the TTC journey, no matter where they are in it. This guide combined with speaking your story and seeking help will help you to define your own happy ending, no matter what you get from the journey. Lindsay and her work are great examples of the Ever Upward life.

I knew a few months ago when I was interviewed by Mel of Momscast I knew it was my best interview to date. To get words like great vulnerability, humor and wisdom to describe my messages from some of my fellow bloggers and friends is the sparkle on top. 

I’m so proud of this interview and excited to share some of my new messages. Please share far and wide. Thanks so much! 

Click here to listen

Today’s writing prompt felt like it needed to be shared.

What if you stopped asking permission to be yourself and stopped apologizing for who that person is?

~~~

Chin up. Chill out. Calm down. You’re so intense. Don’t be so dramatic.

The messages from life, society and sometimes, even people I love.

Sometimes meant to shame, other times meant for love.

I am a lot.

And, I love all of her.

I feel. I love. I fight.

Hard.

I am everything of wholehearted.

Fully and completely sincere. Enthusiastic. Energetic. Hearty. Earnest.

I am pure energy. I am whole love.

I love loud. I live full. I am mighty.

I am a lot.

I am everythingof wholehearted.

 

I stand on my brick patio looking up at the churning sky. My lush butterfly gardens, all four of them, surround me with all the shades of green you can imagine and the sweetest scents to ever fill my nose.

I force the deep breath in through my nose in an attempt to not allow the sobs to escape and tears to roll.

I look up, God I need something. Take this away if it isn’t for Your good or Your plan. Give me something, show me what I need to keep going, that I am on the right track. Please give me the strength either way.

Three pleads. Three requests.

Three.

And, there they are again.

I release the deep breath from my mouth which only seems to give permission for the tears to come.

I breath in again, breathing in how much my soul longs for my three, Have you forgotten me?

I make myself pause with my exhale; stopping to listen.

The birds are chirping and the wind is blowing through my milkweed plants and all the trees.

In the breath of the wind and churning of the sky I hear, I am here child. I’ve got it. I am good. Trust me.

I feel a new and slight sense of peace and my lingering frustration. Once again, I am reminded of the complicated gray I feel everyday without my children here on earth.

The complicated gray of the longing joy and the childless mother.

With eyes and heart wide open to receive and the courage to ask, the next two weeks He fills my life with example after example of the complicated gray. As if He is saying, Make the time, this is your path, write it, share it, shine it.

The client who is about to deliver her sons after years of trying; feeling happy and scared.

My team who battles the fear of what others think and their belief and bravery to help others and share something they believe in.

The client who loves and must let go of people she really cares about.

The reader who is finally pregnant after years of trying only to realize her fear is stealing her joy.

The muck between knowing we are worthy, lovable, enough and the old stories our head tells us that we aren’t.

The acquaintance who desperately wants and needs to make a change in her life and feels comfortable even if it is in her known misery.

The client who is very early in a pregnancy after a miscarriage and a stillbirth, feeling the pull to protect the memory of her sons while also loving and hoping for this new baby.

My pride in a growing business and the frustration in it not happening fast enough.

All of it the complicated gray and what I am learning is my gift for this world.

The complicated gray is the permission to change the but to an and.Because the complicated gray is the permission to change the but to an and.

Giving ourselves permission to feel it all, all at the same time; the anger and acceptance, the  joy and the longing, the fear and the hope.

The permission to walk into the muck of the gray between the certainties of life; allowing ourselves to hold both truths, as difficult and uncomfortable as that is, we will awaken to life in color.

The anxious hope. The doubting worth. The frustrated belief. The boundaried love. The yearning acceptance.

The longing joy as the childless mother.

So, I will continue to fight for this next book because it is needed, I see the power in it every day in my life and He seems to be reminding me of it more and more.

Thank you for your patience as I continue my advocacy work, my jobs that actually pay the bills and working on the follow up to Ever Upward. And, I’ll take whatever prayers, positive sparkles, love and shares/tweets/likes you’ve got.

Her scraped up knee is bright red with fresh blood. Plump tears roll down her rosy cheeks.

“Okay, ready? It is going to burn but mama will blow on it to help.”

“Okay,” she gets out in the midst of a sob.

The mother armed with the breath of healing and a Strawberry Shortcake bandage.I pour the clear peroxide over the freshly scraped up knee so rightfully and bravely earned from her first go around without training wheels. The familiar white bubbles appear as her leg jumps out of reflex and an audible whine escapes her mouth.

“Okay, blow on it with me,” I coax her.

We both gently blow a steady stream of what has to feel like healing cool air onto the foaming and now clean injury.

“How’s that?’

“Better,” she musters through the slightest of smirks.

We sing a song while we wait for the boo boo to air dry.

“My Little Pony or Strawberry Shortcake bandage?” I ask.

“Strawberry,” she answers with the faintest little girl accent.

That’s my girl, I think back to my own Strawberry Shortcake curtains and bedding as a kid her age.

I gently place the pink and red bandage over the scrape.

“Kiss?”

“Yes.”

The simplest of moments between a mother and a daughter. A moment I am sure most parents never give a second thought to. For me, a moment in my forever longing and wondering imagination. Yet, I got some semblance of it this weekend when one of my clients texted me for help. She was off visiting where she is going to continue her college education far, far away from the city limits of St. Louis and in the mountains where she spent the last couple of days hiking much to the chagrin of her heels.

A picture of the biggest blister I have ever seen came through on my phone with a message of, “Please tell me what to do. Do I clean it? Cover it? Help. Please.”

Not the normal text I get as a mental health therapist, yet one I wasn’t surprised by.

I talked her through cleaning her blisters and taking care of them but at first forgot to tell her about blowing on the foaming peroxide! My self-talk was not much unlike what I hear in my office from mothers who hardly ever give themselves credit for the brilliant jobs they are doing, Crap! God, I suck.

I circled back and let her know to blow on the bubbles to help with the sting. I then told her that I was sorry she was never taught this growing up and that she deserved better. Her mother died when she was young and she grew up without a mother like figure to teach her these kinds of things.

And, I am growing old without my own children to teach them to.

God’s plan in something as simple as a boo boo.

Much of what we do as therapists is re-parenting our clients. I teach, I coach, I push, I hold space for healing, I keep accountable and I deeply care. Actually, this is also what I do if you are my friend or family. It is kind of impossible to shut off.

It was there before the infertility journey. Only, made stronger by becoming a mother to my three. And, something I am thankful for every single day.

The bossy, pushy, loving mother I am. The mother they made me. The mother armed with the breath of healing and a Strawberry Shortcake bandage.

 

I sit scrunched in the church pew by Chad’s cousin in the second row. I have a decent view of Chad’s grandma’s profile but I cannot see Chad at all on the other side of the church in the front pew. He is sitting with his cousins serving as a pallbearer.

We have all spent the last seven days together. The first several waiting for Chad’s grandpa to pass after suffering a stroke he never woke up from. The last couple for services.

We were all together as grandpa Biddie took is last breath.

It was the ultimate complicated gray; loss and peace.

The grief of losing a great man of 88 years, a husband of almost 68 years, a kind and faithful father and the quiet and loving grandfather.

The peace of his passing, of no more pain or suffering, and being welcomed into the arms of his savior Jesus Christ.

Sitting in the pew next to Jenny, both of us attempting to sing the right note alongside the organ player for the hymn and holding back sobs, I feel my eyes fill with tears.

Tears of grief and tears of peace.

Pastor Pam closes from the pulpit, “God never watches His children die. He welcomes them home.”

Home to no pain and never not feeling good again.

Home to the glory of eternity.

I glance back over to look at Chad and I can’t help but think, home with our babies.

This brutal and beautiful life is all of it, all at once, and always.

The more I get to know this complicated gray, the discomfort and the permission of the space of holding two truths, the more enamored and grateful I am for it.

Friends, take a breath, look at your loved ones, feel your history, hope for your future and choose to love.

Life is hard. God is good.

And, it’s all amazing.

~~~

It felt very fitting that I also discovered Hillary Scott’s new song Thy Will today.

 We only have 4 more days in the final funding campaign for the documentary Don’t Talk About the Baby. In support of the campaign Chad and I wrote companion posts and here is mine (you can read his here). Please share far and wide and contribute to the film if you can. Thank you!

The Missed Goal

I sit on the hard bench in the warm sun watching two of our chosen children run the field in the 5 year old soccer game. Lane is running down the field with his arms pumping with a might I’ve never seen before. His little brother Evan trails behind the whole team seeming a bit lost as he is technically a year too young to be playing. Both of them smile the whole game shining pure joy everywhere.

I snap a few pictures with my nice camera to be able to send to my friend Sam later that day. I enjoy watching the boys play for an hour but am also slightly distracted. We attend many of their events; games, concerts and plays. It is an honor and joy to be such an active part of their lives, it is something I am beyond thankful to their parents, our friends, for letting us be.

But there are always the whispers in my heart.

They would have turned four years old later this summer and early fall.

Click here to continue reading.

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