October 31, 2012

Day 31: Hope. Truth. Gratitude.

31 days ago, I began this challenge among more than a thousand others. I am not sure why I did, or that I was remotely qualified to do so, but I'm glad I did. I don't know if many are out there reading, or just a few, but that's not what matters most. I am on a journey. A crazy, rollercoaster journey.  This little blog is helping me sort through it a little easier, and doing anything difficult is often much less overwhelming when not done alone.

So, because these three things are what brought me to this challenge in the first place...

Oh, hope! I am in awe of you. Hope can lift the curtain on the dreariest day to let in a tiny ray of sunlight. My heart is filled with hope. With every ounce of my being, I have faith that we will bring our babies home. I have faith that while we are already parents, we will rebuild our family here on Earth and will hold the babies we've longed for so deeply in our arms. I have faith that our hearts will mend, though scars will always be with us. I have hope that we will find our spark. Through everything we've been through and for all that we will endure in the future, I have HOPE.

The truth is, I am scared. I don't know what the future holds and I want to know so badly that it's all going to work out. I don't know for sure, but that doesn't stop me from trusting that it will. Truthfully, I have more to worry about now than I ever did before, and yet I somehow worry less. The truth? I still get angry, sad, and frustrated. I just try to focus on those things less on the positive things more. I am flawed in many, many ways. Embracing those imperfections has helped me to accept the things I cannot change. I pray for the courage to change those that I can, and I long for the wisdom to know the difference.  


31 Reasons to be Grateful:
1.Life. period.
2. My husband. My heart.
3. The best family we could ever ask for.
4. The sweetest, most supportive friends.
5. God's unyielding love.
6. Guardian Angels. All of them.
7. A roof over our heads.
8. Cozy bed to sleep in.
9. Food in abundance.
10. Clothes on our backs.
11. Sadie.
12. Bailey.
13. Our sweet nieces.
14. Jobs. With all imperfections included.
15. Laughter.
16. Rainbows.
17. Strength.
18. Dreams.
19. Weekends.
20. Freedom.
21. Autumn.
22. Winter. Spring. Summer.
23. Today.
24. Encouragement.
25. Prayer.
26. Love. In all its powerful forms.
27. Mistakes.
28. Learning. In all its powerful forms.
29. Truth.
30. Hope.
31. YOU.

I want to keep writing. I want to grow and be better and achieve the dreams and goals we've made. I want you to follow along. I want to hear from you and learn from you and be inspired by you. I covet your prayers and seek your positive thoughts all along the way and am grateful beyond words for every single one. Thank you for taking this challenge with me!

October 30, 2012

Day 30: Listen

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ~Shel Silverstein
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” 
~Emily Dickinson
"They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world; someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for."


October 29, 2012

Day 29: Living Gratitude

Can't say it better than JFK. This is what  I needed to see and remember today.

October 28, 2012

Day 28: Weekend Wrap-Up

I truly believe weekends are for resting. The Hubs and I have been working super long hours recently and by the time the weekend arrives, we are spent and just want to refresh.
This weekend was so great because we did a lot of relaxing but were also incredibly productive around the house. As mentioned yesterday, we did the fall swap and laundry tons of laundry and cleaning. We also finally got moving on some painting we've been wanting to do for some time.
Painting is one of those projects that we had on the list of things we'd like to do when we had a free weekend, but really never just got around to it. I was having one of those moments where I needed to update/change some things in the house and painting is one of the best ways to do it for the most bang for your buck. It makes a huge difference in the way your house looks but isn't a huge investment, especially if you do it yourself.
So, anyways, we painted today and are planning to paint tomorrow, as well. We LOVE the way our living room turned out!
We also went to the Zac Brown Band on Thursday and had a  blast.

And, I caught this incredible sunset on the way out of school on Friday. Love.
Hope you had a wonderful weekend, too!

October 27, 2012

Day 27: Saturday Happenings

Hello, Friends!
My Saturday posts are pathetic. I can't miss a day of the 31 day challenge so here's what we're up today:
1) Fall closet clean-out and clothes swap. {I dislike this chore in a big way. Anybody else?}
2) Loads, and loads, and more loads of laundry.
3) Fun, relaxing late lunch after said chores.
4) Errands around town.
5) A little painting prep and inspiration below. We are getting ready to paint our living room and dining room and are testing out colors. We already have our eye on the palette we're working with but will have to try some more colors out before we get it right. Exciting stuff!

6) Margherita pizza and a movie with my love.
See you tomorrow! :D

October 26, 2012

Day 26: Sustained Joy

I love this one. I feel like joy is sometimes seen as a destination, not a journey.So, if we are so focused on how happy we will be when {fill in blank with your hopes here}happens...what are we doing during our journey to that destination? Do we ever really arrive? Are we supposed to just hold on tight and close our eyes until the ride is over?
This month, focusing on being intentionally grateful has been really, really good for me. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes wish I could hit the fast-forward button and get on over to the "finish" line where my hubby and I are holding our crying baby or babies in our arms. And, truth be told, if I had the option of not enduring the pain and frustration we have felt along the way, I would choose that. But, I don't have that option so I have to figure something else out.
I kind of wished that I could hibernate for a season or two and could just emerge to a new day, new season, new life. I see now that doing that is a waste of my time, literally. I guess the thought initially was to put my head down and charge forward towards our goals. That's all well and good except for one main thing. If your head is down, you lose track of what's in front of you, above you, around you. You don't see the sun's light shining on things you may never otherwise stop and notice.
How much have I missed? When I stop and look up, I am always amazed what I see. Sure, we are desperate to rebuild our family. Will do anything and that hasn't changed. But, in the mean time, how I spend my time and energy will drastically impact my daily life.  I cannot live in a bubble. There is not a fast-forward button for me to push. If I can slow my mind down enough to recognize that, I can open my heart up to being grateful for the here and now. The present. The place I subconciously refer to as a pitstop as I make my way do my precious destination.
 Being grateful is the antitode. Sustained joy is obtained not by those who are perfect, but those who are grateful for the imperfections.  

October 24, 2012

Day 24: What I'm Loving Wednesday

Hey There! I know this is not a "glass is half full statement", but I am loving that Wednesday means one day closer to the weekend. Just being honest. ;]
Kids say the darndest things. I love hearing what they come up with on a daily basis. Recently I learned that Benjamin Franklin had a mistress, bigfoot is really real, and fourth graders know the words to gangnam style {and the moves to boot}. Now if that's not education, I don't know what is!
I am also loving all of the PINK products in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I love this chicken pot pie soup that I tried on a whim last night. We decided it would be even better served with biscuits, so that's on the menu for this evening. You can find the recipe here. 
I love this song. I heard it on pandora this week and it just makes me happy. Take a listen...
What are you loving this Wednesday?

October 23, 2012

Day 23:Ordinary Blessings

Ordinary Blessings:
1) Doing the dishes after dinner. Grateful we have an abundance of food, much more than we need.
2)A safe car.{currently with a flat tire}
3) A job and a chance to be someone's "favorite teacher" when they remember their childhood.
4) More clothes than I could ever need. {And yet I stand in the closet many days claiming I have nothing to wear!}
5) Laundry to watch said clothes.
6) Dinners at the table, and a husband to share them with.
7) Hot showers.
8) Blogging.
9) Sunday paper.
10) The freedom to vote for whomever I choose. {Even though I am up to my ears in{observing, not taking part in} political bickering on facebook. Whatever happened to respecting the opinion of others, even though it may differ from your own?Whatever happened to keeping political views to yourself? Sheesh. Drives me bananas.}
11) Sunshine.Cloudy days. Rainy days. Just waking up.
What ordinary blessings are thankful for today?

October 22, 2012

Day 22: Seeking Out the Storms

I am trying my best to focus on the positive and not seek out the storms which accentuate the negative.
Besides daily thanking God and stopping to appreciate the small moments and things around me, I don't know that I am effectively doing this. I tend to get fixed on something that is bugging me or not going smoothly in my day which leads me to stay in the clouds when I could be spending perfectly good moments in the sunlight.
Everyone could benefit from a little more positive sunshine and a lot less negative storms. What are some ways you try to live this daily?

October 21, 2012

Day 21: Weekend Wrap-Up

We had a great weekend! It was very low key for the most part, which is so needed after a busy week. A couple of movies and some ordering in were definitely in order.
Today, we went to the Panthers game which was so much fun. They didn't win, sigh, but it was a beautiful day and I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather spend it with.

Things I'm looking forward to this week: Zac Brown Brand, a 5k race, and pumpkin carving.
What did you do this weekend? Hope it was a good one!

October 20, 2012

Day 20: Cozy Saturday

We are having one of those pj-wearin', couch sittin', movie watchin' kind of nights. Hope yours is just as lovely!

October 19, 2012

Day 19: Rekindling the Spark

When I began this little blog, my spark had been extinguished. It's ironic and appropriate as I think about that time now and how the name of this blog came to be. My sister gave me a book called The Mourner's Book of Hope: 30 Days of Inspiration. I read it each day for thirty days, and in the book I read about the role hope can play in the loss of your divine spark. There was that word again: spark. I realized what I had to do. I was beginning a journey, not the one I had prayed for, but one I never wanted to begin in the first place. I was beginning my journey to find and rekindle my spark.
I never imagined how much writing about my journey would inch me, slowly, closer to my coveted spark. But, you see, I'm not alone on my journey. Not by a long shot. And, I'm not "there" yet. May never be. Isn't that the nature of a journey?
As Hota Kotb said, don't hog your journey.  I am accompanied by many, many others on this journey. My family, friends, co-workers, aquaintances, and even those I had never met carried me through those darkest days when my flame was no where to be found. The amount of gratitude I feel for those who prayed for us, encouraged us, and cried with us is indescribable. Those people who decided to follow along with us even though our story is not always pretty and my words are not always positive helped us immeasurably.
And, one of the greatest and most unexpected gifts of all has come of this. The fact that anyone takes the time to read this blog amazes and inspires me. The greatest gift of this blog and deciding to share our story outloud is that it is reaching others. I am in awe of the number of women who have so bravely shared their story with me, as well, and have said that mine has inspired them or touched them in some way. Time and time again I have been brought to tears through reading about such sweet mamas sharing their pain with me. I want to reach through the computer and give them each a hug and tell them that they are not alone in their painful journey, either. That there will be okay days, really bad days, and even, eventually, good days. My heart is not, nor ever will be, healed. I want to tell them that they can learn to really live through the pain. That they will survive.  The fact that hope can be ignited in others in part by reading my story is unreal. Then again, I needed that, and still do on my journey. Connecting with others and seeing the light at the end of a dark tunnel moves me forward. YOU move me forward.
So, I want to say thank you. If you are here reading and praying and hoping right along with me, thank you. If I look very closely and sit very quietly, I can almost see the tiny spark of a flame igniting within my soul.
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