2.26.2010

I Feel So Lucky


i feel so lucky.
there's so much love around here.
we're not perfect. i'm not a perfect mom.
but, you know what? no one is.
i feel so lucky to have a little girl
named natalie kate
who is very very tall, and has long eyelashes
and likes to make hearts with her hands and peek through at me
from the backseat.
i feel so lucky to have a bigger little girl
named hannah elizabeth
who loves to be a helper, and be a big sister

i feel so lucky to have a little red house
that shelters the four of us from wind & rain & cold
and that fits us.

i feel so lucky to be sitting next to a man who loves me,
without condition.
a man who knows not to take it personally if i'm not thrilled with much
first thing in the morning,
and knows when i need quiet,
and to put on the teakettle after the girls are snug in their beds at night.
a man who has demonstrated over the years, so well, how to love.

i feel so lucky.

2.24.2010

My Miscarriage Story -- Part III

Over a month after my D&C, I was still having pain and was sent for an ultrasound. The test showed an ovarian cyst. I was prescribed painkillers and referred to another doctor. The day before my appointment with the new doctor, I was sitting down to dinner with Jonathan & Hannah when I began feeling worse. In addition to the pain, I felt lightheaded and icky. I couldn’t get comfortable. The pain heated up and soon I was on the floor in the living room. The first of the two excruciating episodes I had that night lasted for 30 minutes. The pain felt like a horrible contraction that would not subside. I had no idea what was happening. My mom called the ER who had her call the hospital’s on-call OB/GYN. When he called back, the pain had subsided. He said that I could wait to see my new doctor the next day unless the pain became unbearable, or I developed nausea. A couple hours later, episode #2 hit and I was again on the floor, in tears, with nausea. This time the horrible pain did not subside for 90 minutes.

Jonathan took me to the ER. I had another ultrasound which showed the cyst the same size as before. The doctor admitted me overnight for pain control. I spent that night on pain killers and when that wasn’t enough, I had a shot of hardcore pain medicine. The new doctor came to see me in the hospital the next morning, diagnosed me with an infection, and after discussing our options, sent me home for five days of bed rest, antibiotics, stronger painkillers, and lots of fluids. I was to come back if the pain got worse, but the doctor thought the cyst would shrink and go away on its own soon.

I spent the next five days in a recliner at my mom’s house, as she looked after Hannah and me. A few days after easing back into my regular routine, still in pain, I went to see the new doctor for a follow-up appointment. He said the cyst felt bigger, and my infection was gone. I was sent for another ultrasound which showed the cyst to be significantly larger, so large that the ovary was now four times the size of my ‘good’ ovary; my uterus had been shoved over to a different place.

Just as my swollen ovary and large cyst had shoved my uterus out of the way, so the pain and physical complications had shoved my grief out of the way. I simply had no capacity to continue grieving while managing the ongoing physical complications of the miscarriage.

Surgery was scheduled to drain the cyst and remove it, and lab work was sent off to test for cancer markers. I spent the next few days drugged to handle the pain, nervous about the surgery and anxious about the lab results.

The lab results came back negative for cancer, and the surgery went smoothly. The surgeon did a laparoscopic procedure, where they made three small incisions, one in my belly button for the scope, and two lower on my abdomen. They found that the weight of the cyst and the enlarged ovary had caused my ovary to torse (literally twist) twice. Now I knew the cause of the excruciating pain episodes. Ovarian torsion is dangerous as blood flow to the ovary can be compromised when the ovary twists. I was told in recovery that I was lucky my ovary had not strangulated and died. I came out of the surgery sore, but hopeful that the pain would now resolve, and I could get on with living my life. I was kept in the hospital for the next 24 hours, sleeping with my hospital bed inclined, so the ovary would not twist again before the swelling from the surgery could go down. If it twisted again, that would mean another surgery. I wrote in my journal that day:

“When I first woke up from the surgery I felt really bad. My throat was extremely dry and sore from the tube, and it took me quite a while to be able to swallow and talk. I got emotional and cried because I didn’t want to have to stay overnight and have Hanny worry.”

I went home again to recover. A blur of sleeping upright in the recliner for five nights (as ordered), potato soup, milk shakes, pajamas, naps, my mom once again taking care of Hannah, sore incisions, and getting bored. I could not wait to get back to normal life. Whatever that was.

Exactly two weeks from the date of my surgery, I wrote a small p.s. in my journal: “I’m having pain again, and I’m worried. :-(” The next night I was again on pain medication, and went to bed with a heating pad. When I woke up, it was Hannah’s 2nd birthday. I confided in my mom that I was having pain again and she, immediately concerned, volunteered to watch Hannah while I went in to see the doctor. He ordered an ultrasound but it could not be done for several days, due to a busy radiology schedule. That evening we had pizza and cupcakes for Hannah with Daddy, Grammy & Papa, and watched a movie about monkeys. At bedtime I read her a story and we sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain”, which Hannah called “Bears Mountain See Monkeys”, had prayers with Daddy and put my little 2 year-old to bed.

The pain got worse over the next few days; I had the ultrasound which revealed nothing impressive. That night I recorded feeling worse, limping and queasy, and again on prescription painkillers to deal with the pain. The following day we had a big birthday party for Hannah, with her little friends from church and their families. It was the first of her birthday parties I would host in pain and medicated, but it would not be the last...

2.22.2010

My Miscarriage Story -- Part II


Just days before that fateful ultrasound, the future looked bright for our family. We had signed papers on our first house, moved out of the house we were renting, and settled the three of us and minimal possessions into a mobile home while we got the new house ready – the new red house that we had bought for the backyard, the safe neighborhood, and the 3rd bedroom for the new baby… I had even already purchased Winnie the Pooh crib bedding and nursery d├ęcor for that 3rd bedroom for Benjamin or Sierrah.

Now we returned home from the D&C to a “home” that was not ours, considerable work to be done on the new house, a toddler to try to explain the loss of her sibling to, recovery, and grief.

In those first few weeks, Jonathan & I spent a lot of time talking and crying together. We discussed so many things we had never considered before, especially regarding faith and theological beliefs. We set out on the road to processing and grieving our loss, all the dreams we had for our family and this greatly-desired second child, at the same time that we began remodeling our newly-purchased house so that we could move into it.

The support we received from friends and family was such a gift – I received flowers from my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and from a former pastor and his wife. Cards appeared in the new house’s mailbox that said people loved us, were praying for us, and were so sorry we had to go through this. My sister called in tears over the news, and many of my friends emailed me their condolences. One card in particular sticks out in my memory:
“We shared with you as you dreamed about and anticipated the birth of your baby… and now that your hopes and dreams have ended with the loss of your baby, we want you to know that we share with you in your grief, too. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”
The thing that helped the most though, I think, was when people cried with us and for us. One card we got said, “After I told our family your sad news, we all cried together. We are so sorry for your loss.”

We continued on with our lives – Jonathan working during the day and then working on the house at night, while I cared for Hannah and our home. I ate Dove milk chocolates and journaled. Late at night, after Jonathan returned from working on the new house with my dad, and after Hannah was sleeping soundly in her travel crib in her room, we would sit on the couch together and talk. I wanted to heal and time to pass so we could try for another baby, but it was also important to me that we not forget this baby. Little did I know at the time that forgetting would be impossible. I didn’t want to feel we had replaced this baby or that he didn’t matter, so Jonathan & I chose a name. We picked a name that worked for a boy or a girl, since I wasn’t far enough along to know the gender. The origin of the name was from Hebrew, just like ‘Hannah.’ We also chose a middle name. It was a sad time, but I was coping and I still had great hope for the future.

Little did I know what was yet to come…

Reverse Journaling

I had a fun idea today. Take some time to journal the day you'd like to have. If you have time in the morning and am awake then, take some time early in the day. If you have more time &/or brain function at night, take some time the night before.

Write a journal entry as if it has already all happened. Things that are possible (not "Today I flew to Tahiti... wow, is it gorgeous here!") Include things you would like to be able to write about tonight or tomorrow night. Maybe you'd like to have a conversation with a friend or family member, maybe you'd like to finish planting a section of your garden, maybe you'd like to go shopping and have lunch with a girlfriend you haven't seen in a while, maybe you'd like to clean out your girls' playroom (oh, um, oops that's mine....)

Fun or not, if you'd like to include it as a reality in your next journal entry, write it down.

Now use that as inspiration and focus to live the day you imagined.

If you try this, I'd love to hear about it!

2.19.2010

My Miscarriage Story -- Part I

It is November and the rain has come again. My stomach has begun to bloat with a much-desired second child. The boxes of maternity clothes I wore while expecting my first have been dragged out of the dusty stacks in the garage. I’ve been feeling fairly well. Not as nauseated as with my first, when after every dinner I found myself in the bathroom. I’m proud to be starting to show. I love this part, where it becomes obvious that there’s a baby growing within me. I am a creature of comfort, and have been wearing a new pair of grey athletic pants with double pink stripes up the pant legs. When I go out, I look the part of “put-together-stay-at-home-mom,” but once at home I am quick to shed these classy garments, and cozy back into my comfy pants.

I’ve taken to eating fruit in the evenings, while my husband and I watch our television show. Canned peaches are the current favorite. Pears and pineapple have had their turn too. We have been talking about this baby for so long that we’ve already settled on names: Benjamin for a boy (of course I’ll call him Ben), and Sierrah for a girl (the ‘h’ just makes it look more balanced I think, more finished. And of course that way it will go with our first daughter’s name – Hannah, also with an ‘h’ on the end.)

My little Hannah... Our firstborn, first known, first loved. She is nearly two and full of life. Pink elastics gathering her corn silk hair into pigtails (“pretties” as she calls them.) She’s blue-eyed and wide-eyed and curious about everything. She never stops moving, our little toddler tornado. We’re open with her about what’s going on, as much as you can explain to someone so young, we’ve explained.

“A new baby is growing in mommy’s tummy,” we say. “You’ll be a big sister, just like Mommy is a big sister to Auntie Sissy.”

At night when we tuck her in, Hannah tells the new baby “nigh-night” and kisses my tummy through my tee shirt. I love that she’s as excited as I am, and I can’t wait for our gender ultrasound to determine whether she’s getting a brother or a sister.

At ten weeks I go in for my first OB appointment. The doctor says my uterus is a bit small for ten weeks and he doesn’t find a heartbeat with the Doppler. “It’s a bit on the early side to hear it anyway,” he reassures me. Still, he says we’ll do an ultrasound to see how far along I really am, “check my dates.” I go in a couple days later with my husband, excited to see our baby, and not at all concerned. I’m sure our little Benjamin or Sierrah is just a tad small and will catch up in time. In the waiting room I say to Jonathan, “If it’s twins we’ll find out today!” Both of our families have a history of twins. He grins and flashes me a double thumbs up gesture. I wait impatiently for the ultrasound technician to come get us from the waiting room. My bladder is full with the required water. Finally a man comes out with a clipboard and calls my name.

In the room the tech chats with us about our new baby, is this our first baby? “No, we have a two year-old daughter.” The tech has a couple of kids too, he says. As he moves the wand around on my gelled belly, he grows quiet. Finally he says, “Jennifer, I’m going to go get our radiologist, because something’s not right here.” He tells me I can go empty my bladder now. While I’m gone, I feel numb. I know when we conceived. I know I’m ten weeks along. What isn’t right? When I return to the ultrasound room the tech is gone, and Jonathan says to me gently, “I think we need to prepare ourselves that this may not be a good pregnancy.” I nod and feel a lump in my throat, but am still numb. What’s going on?

The tech returns with the radiologist, who wears a cell phone clipped to his belt like my dad. He introduces himself, shakes Jonathan’s hand, and pats my knee, then turns to looks at the ultrasound picture frozen on the computer screen. After what feels like forever, he turns back to us with compassion in his eyes. “I wish I didn’t have to be the one to tell you this, but it’s always best to be honest,” he starts. He goes on to say that there are two sacs, but only one baby, and the baby has stopped growing and has no heartbeat. He tells us how sorry he is, and that they will need to send us over to see my OB doctor, just across the parking lot. “We’ll call over and tell him what’s happening.” I feel my chin start to quiver and I turn towards the wall, trying not to break down in front of these men I don’t know. If I can stay strong, I’ll be okay. I can cry in the car...just not here, not now.

We go across the parking lot to the medical offices, and I sit in the waiting room for less than sixty seconds, the tears streaming down my cheeks despite my best efforts to contain them, before the nurse comes to escort us back to a private exam room. The doctor comes in, a man I’ve known for years, “The nurse said you were in tears.”

“I’m sorry, I’m just in shock.”

The doctor explains to us that probably our baby had a chromosomal abnormality and was “incompatible with life.” He says that since my body has shown no signs of expelling the pregnancy (already we’ve stopped referring to it as a baby) we’ll need to schedule a D&C procedure for the next day, in order to prevent infection. I nod, and try not to come apart at the seams. Finally we’re allowed to leave, and the welcome privacy of the car brings more tears.

The rest of the day is spent on the phone with close friends and family. Since we didn’t expect any problems, they’ve all known for weeks that we’re expecting, all been excited for us. I call my best friend and tell her. She’s silent. When I say her name she lets out a sob and it’s then that I realize she’s crying. Other friends cry too. I go through the rest of the day trying to wrap my mind around what’s happening. Trying to stay strong and take care of Hannah. Friends call and invite us over for pizza and a movie – are we up for that? We go, knowing we’ll be sad and shocked wherever we are. We watch a comedy and it feels good to laugh, even though inside I still feel numb. Everything seems off-kilter.

We go home and put Hannah to bed. I make arrangements for my mom to come over and be at our house early in the morning so we can go to the hospital, without having to wake up Hannah. I get into bed and set my alarm clock for an hour I’m still usually sleeping.

When my alarm sounds, I immediately remember the events of yesterday, and pry myself from my safe bed and get into the shower. In just a few hours I’ll be back home and no longer pregnant. We’re going to the hospital to get the baby out, but we won’t be coming home with it. We’ll never get to hold it or know it. This is it.

I walk into the hospital, into the same waiting room I waited in yesterday for my ultrasound. Such a difference in my mood from then. My hands are damp with nervousness and I wipe them on the legs of my grey pants with the pink stripes. It is quiet and still. It’s still very early and the normal hustle and busyness of the hospital has not yet begun. Jonathan reaches for my clammy hand and holds it between his.

My doctor and a scrub nurse appear and take us back to pre-op. They ask me questions about my medical history – is this my first pregnancy? first miscarriage? first surgery? No, Yes, No. They get me changed into a gown, and get my IV started, which seems to take forever. I hate IVs. I ask if I can keep my wedding ring on and they decide I can, as long as I put surgical tape over it. I have to go in now -- in to a shiny, sterile, cold environment where my baby will be taken from me. I need to feel my husband’s presence. If I can’t have him with me, I at least want my ring. As they wheel me into the operating room, I finger my wedding ring with my thumb. I am glad to have it, but the tape over it is pulling on my skin and covering the smooth band. It feels medical and artificial, just like this whole day so far.

“Okay Jennifer, just relax and count back from 10 for me,” says the anesthesiologist. I close my eyes and try to think of a more comforting place while I count, “Ten…Nine…Eight…Seven…Six….”


I wake up in post op, hearing voices talking around me. They mention medications and one of them mentions my husband. I don’t open my eyes just yet. I swallow and know it is really over. My throat feels shredded from the tube. I can feel that I am bleeding and am cramping severely. I force my eyes open and ask for a sip of water. A nurse in scrubs brings a Dixie cup of water and holds a straw to my lips. I sip a bit of icy water and swallow hard again. They ask if I’m in pain. I tell them about the cramping. They say that is normal and that they will give me more pain medication in my IV. I thank them. Every cramp reminds me of what is different now. I am groggy and sore and emotional. My baby isn’t inside of me anymore. I feel a hand in mine, and I look to my left to see one of my best friends, who is an ER nurse. It’s her day off and I didn’t expect to see her, but here she is, dressed in scrubs and hospital ID tag clipped to her pocket. “Hey…” she says sympathetically, and squeezes my hand as a tear slips down her cheek. “How ya doin’?”

Soon I am a bit more alert and my nurse friend goes to get Jonathan from the waiting room. When they come back he looks serious. He asks how I’m doing and I shrug, “The cramps are pretty bad.” I know that’s not what he’s referring to, but he just smoothes my hair off my forehead and smiles sadly. When I can stand up without feeling like I will faint or vomit, they have me use the restroom. I am startled by the amount of blood and Jonathan steps out to get a pad from the nurse. When I try to stand up the room starts to go black and Jonathan steps closer to hold onto my arm. There is a little bench in the bathroom and he helps me sit down on it and tells me to put my head down. I wait like that until I can see the tile floor again with no stars, and then we go back out. They get me back in my clothes – those grey and pink maternity pants that I love and a tee shirt with a sweatshirt over top – and into a wheelchair, and someone pushes me out while Jonathan drives the car up to the sliding front doors of the hospital entrance.

On the way home we stop at the pharmacy, where Jonathan dashes in to fill my pain med prescription, just as we did on the way home with brand-new baby Hannah. We drive home to find my mom and our little blondie, not yet two years old. I’ve been gone only 5 hours, but I am altered – not pregnant any longer.

2.17.2010

One Spring-like Winter Afternoon at the Playground...


I have two daughters. They are 6 and 3 years old. My younger daughter is afraid of dogs, just as her sister was at this age. One time we went to the playground. The athletic field there is bordered by residential houses and backyards. From behind a fence came a ferocious-sounding bark. Natalie ran to me in fear, even younger than she is now, and as I lifted her into my arms, she asked, wide-eyed, "Is it a dog, or a giraffe?"

Skip forward to today. We were back at the same playground, taking advantage of natural Vitamin D on an astoundingly gorgeous February day. A man and a woman were at the playground with two large dogs. They began to run closer to us so I called for Natalie to come to me, as I knew she would be terrified of the dogs. I again lifted her into my arms and held her close.

Natalie: "Why do they have dogs?"

Me: "They like dogs."

Natalie: Well, I don't."

Me: "I know you don't. But someday you might."

Natalie, breaking into a huge smile: "When I'm a big girl? And I'll say, 'Look, Mommy! A dog's coming! I LOVE DOGS!!'"

It occurred to me that we could all take a lesson from my little 3 year-old. So often we think that fear is permanent; that things that seem unchanging can't be altered. But sometimes, with time and personal growth, fear dissipates into understanding, and then maybe even joy.

Perhaps real courage is being open to change, and to looking fear in the face and asking, "Are you a dog or a giraffe?"

What are you afraid of?

Writing for Healing Prompts

Here are the prompts I wrote for the Live Art.fully Journaling Retreat. I hope they're helpful to you:

For Physical Healing:
The pain is like...
Being pain-free would be...
If I am never pain-free, I will...
Living with pain has altered me...
Being sick is...

For Emotional Healing:
I still can't believe it happened...
I am still bothered by...
Perhaps before I wasn't ready to deal with...
Today I am strong enough to say that...
I resolve that the person I am today can...
[Unsent Letter] I forgive you for...
[Unsent Letter] It hurt me deeply when you...

For Grief Healing:
I can't believe I lost my...
Living without [     ] is like...
Grief feels like...
I didn't think I'd have to say goodbye...
I remember feeling stunned when I heard the news...
There's a hole...
I can't let go...

-------
Prompts are original. Please do not claim them as your own.

Retreat Recap

This past weekend, eight women gathered on the Oregon Coast for a weekend of journaling. We had yummy breakfasts of quiche and crepes and oatmeal, laughed and laughed, wrote & stamped in our journals, talked, reminisced, and shared some of our personal journeys.

Overall, I think the retreat was a big success. Some things can only be learned by experience, though, and I now know better how to be an effective host and leader. I'm so thankful for the seven ladies who joined me in being, to quote Holly, "The Original Eight."

To the seven ladies who were gracious with my veteran attempt at leading a journaling retreat: for your encouragement, excitement to learn, and support of my dreams, I thank you.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was Saturday evening, when we gathered around a large table and talked about using writing to process and heal loss, trauma, relationship difficulties, and our own damaging perceptions. I had prepared writing prompts for emotional, physical and grief healing. We set a timer for 20 minutes and each chose a prompt to write from. When the timer rang, we shared what we had written. It was a powerful exercise and I'd like to thank everyone for being vulnerable with your feelings. For those of you who weren't there, I'll post the prompts we wrote from in my next blog.

It was incredible to watch healing begin, and inspiring to witness these women be open to releasing damaging perceptions, forgiving those who had hurt them, and processing their traumas. I love journaling -- the creativity, the expression, documenting life -- but the aspect I feel most passionately about is that it can heal us. Thank you, members of the Original Eight, for letting me be a part of your journey.



This journal cover was made by Kezia during the weekend. Oh, and before you think the words on the cover were pre-printed on the paper, she hand-wrote them.... The talent and creativity of these ladies was so inspiring!

Gillian

Holly & her journal
Verna & her journal

Thanks again for everything, ladies! It was a weekend to remember...

2.11.2010

Retreat

Tomorrow begins the long-anticipated, first ever, Live Art.fully journaling retreat. 8 women gathering for a weekend of rest, journaling, good food, hot drinks, laughter, creativity, inspiration, and reflection. I can't wait!

I believe so strongly in the benefits of journaling. There are so many positive aspects:

  • goal-setting and tracking your progress

  • recording the moments -- big and small -- of your life

  • writing your life story

  • dreaming, and watching those dreams take shape

  • resolving unfinished business, perhaps after a complicated relationship has ended, whether by separation, break-up, death or divorce

  • creative expression

  • leaving a legacy for your children or future generations (wouldn't you be interested in reading your great-great grandmother's life story?)

  • decreasing blood pressure

  • reducing stress levels

  • documenting your impressions, perspective and insights

  • recording meaningful conversations

  • and the list goes on and on...
I am a peculiar breed of person who simply thinks best by writing. I like to say I do my best thinking in ink. Many famous writers and journal-keepers have been quoted saying that they write to discover what they think. That certainly rings true for me. I always feel more calm and centered after writing.

So tomorrow, we retreat.

For those of you who aren't attending, take some time this weekend to journal. It will be great to meet up here again on Monday and talk about it.

2.08.2010

Possibilities & Potential...

I was excited today to step on the scale and find I have made more progress on my goal to shed some extra pounds this year.

In 4 days, I am leading a journaling retreat for 7 ladies and we are going to spend the weekend laughing, reflecting, writing, sipping hot drinks, and "retreating" from our normal, busy lives. I can't wait to spend time with these women, and to focus on journaling for a couple of days.

When I started this blog last September, it was my dream that maybe someday it would be a foundation for things like journaling retreats. I can't believe this dream is already becoming reality.

The sunshine today (for the 2nd day in a row!) reminded me of Spring, and sure enough, even on the calendar, it is just around the corner. I heard the sound of lawn mowers in my neighborhood all afternoon, and wondered, on the way to pick up my Kindergartener, where my sunglasses are. The whole day seemed to be a reminder that there is always hope, there is always possibility and potential and promise.

Do you have goals for the year? Do you have dreams? Are you making any progress? What's one small step you could take this week to begin, or continue?

Writing for Healing

Something close to my heart is the desire to help people heal. I am not a doctor or a nurse or a surgeon. I am not a pastor or spiritual leader. I am not a therapist.

I am a writer.

One of the incredible aspects of the art of journal writing is its healing properties. Studies have shown that journaling reduces stress levels and lowers blood pressure. People have used writing to help rid their bodies of physical pain (for more on this, check out Pain Free for Life by Scott Brady, M.D.) Writing is invaluable, when used with therapy or by itself, to process loss and trauma.

So how do we do that?

The first step, as so often said, is identifying the problem.
The second step is to say it aloud or write it down. This makes it more real.

Now that it's written down or verbalized, the mind can begin to work on processing it.

A book I highly recommend is Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo. A couple years ago, I used an idea I found in her book to journal out an issue I had. It was a big enough problem that it was bogging me down. I didn't know how to heal from it, but wished I could so that my life could be more functional and I could be more free.

So I decided to write about it. I took a pen and a journal and I began to write as quickly as I could without paying much attention to what I was writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote until my hand cramped and my body had stopped shaking. A few days or a couple of weeks later, I wrote about it again, in the same fashion, trying not to think between sentences, trying not to self-edit or "correct" my own thoughts.

It worked.

Today I consider myself to be significantly healed on this issue, which was something that had been effecting me negatively for many years.

Writing it down gave me new perspectives I hadn't thought of. Having it down on paper gave me a way to have it separate from myself. Transforming my pain into words, written down in black and white, dejumbled things. It was more manageable somehow.

I believe everyone has baggage (issues from their past or present), and that everyone deserves to live a functional, joyful life. If we can flush out some of the toxins from our traumas, they will just be a part of our past, and won't continue to harm us as much. We can go forward without the extra load.

2.05.2010

Thoughts Going into the Weekend

Taking a break to chill on the couch with a precious 3 year-old. This girl has long eyelashes, long hair, long fingers & long legs. She is looking like such a big girl.

Lots on my mind today. First of all, I'm enjoying the sunshine (a rarity here in the rainy Northwest), and looking forward to family time and a change of pace this weekend.

I'd also like to warmly welcome those of you who have found my blog via Bonita's Encouraging Words for Writer's blog. It's great to have you here!


Using some sea life stamps made by Cavallini in my journal today. I have three sets of Cavallini stamps. They come in tin boxes, and I love them. If you've never tried using stamping in your journal, I encourage you to try it. I prefer brush markers over stamp pads.

I am praying for a friend of mine who is in the hospital right now, and wishing I could ease her pain.

What are your plans for the weekend?

2.04.2010

Encouraging Words for Writers: Revelations of a Fresh Journal Page

Encouraging Words for Writers: Revelations of a Fresh Journal Page

I just have to share a blog post with you from Bonita at Encouraging Words for Writers. Her post echoes my thoughts exactly.

I challenge you (and me, too) to pick up a pen and write today. It's amazing how quickly the pages of our lives slip through the gaps in memory like sand through fingers. Write it down!

2.03.2010

Thoughts on Journaling


Looking back, I think it happened in college: the knowledge that journaling isn’t just a hobby for growing up, but for growing. I knew then that I never wanted to live my life without incorporating journaling.

When my first daughter was born, I didn’t write much until she was nearly a year and a half. I began again then, recording taking my toddler to the ocean on an uncommonly warm May day, my fears that I would lose my grandfather when he was admitted to the ICU after an operation, and when my friend’s mother was diagnosed with a serious medical condition and died not long after.

Writing is how I process my experiences, how I (attempt to) stay calm and engaged in my life, how I remember, and how I express myself creatively. Writing is also how I heal. There really is no way to sum up the tremendous value journaling holds for me.

I never view my past writing as a waste of time. On the contrary, I find inspiration and joy in going back and rereading the pages of my past. I love that by opening a notebook, I can relive almost any part of my life that I choose. I can be a newlywed again, a college student, pregnant with my first, a mother of a toddler and a newborn, or, if I want to be embarrassed, a teenager. The times that I have loved most in my life, challenged me, and even the times that have been the most painful are all there – like grapes or cheese they are aging into something better – life lessons, wisdom, experience.

Why do you journal? What keeps you writing?
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