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16 August 2014

Blessings in Disguise

I've been quiet. Far too distant. Retreating into my broken heart. Selfish. Healing. Broke. Alone.

We were so sure that our little firework was a keeper. We had committed to three IUIs and this would be our charm. I prayed earnestly and with excitement. But it again, was not His will.

And so I've been going through the motions every since.

Wake up. Work. Smile. Sleep - a lot. Repeat.

It wasn't too long ago that I was on the brink of where I now stand. When a happy song made me turn the channel. When I resented the successes of others. When I allowed my heart to go cold.

My husband, my rock with whom I lean on so heavily, also seems to be in a dark place.

Wake up. Work. No smile. Sleep - barely. Repeat.

With other stresses in our lives continuing to mound up to unsurpassable heights, there is a great divide between us - just waiting for the avalanche. One thing we do know, we are solid and refuse to crumble, even when you can feel the weight in the air breathed between us.

I still talk to God. I know he is with me now and has never left my side. I mostly don't know what to say, but he's worked on me so hard in the past year and I'm not about to let what's built of our relationship thus far slide. But honestly, I'm not allowing him to push me forward.

I only discovered Family Life Radio a few months ago and have found I can find the words to pray through music. Like a Hallmark card that says all the things you wished you could say. And like the isles of the card shop, I find myself pilfering through the racks to pull myself through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Some songs I put back. Some I keep. Some I think I'll remember. Most I forget. 

One such song is "Blessings" (by Laura Story). I heard it 4 days ago and it brought me to my knees. I only listen to the radio in my car and since I work from home, I'm not often driving. The mere fact that I was in my car this day is by God's grace after receiving a call from my husband that his brakes had seized on his way home from work, and could I come pick him up.

"...We pray for wisdom, your voice to hear. We cry in anger when we cannot feel you near. We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love. As if every promise from your word is not enough. And all the while, you hear each desperate plea. And long that we'd have faith to just believe..."

I've come to recognize that tugging on my heart, those waterworks. I literally pulled to the side of the road, got out of the car, and knelt down beside it - a short wretched cry and a thanks. Then got back in my car and picked up my husband in silence.

I had good intentions of looking up the song later. Of downloading it and of looking up the lyrics. But then I slept. Woke up. Worked. Repeat.

It wasn't until a day after that, someone had posted a message on Facebook about seeing the blessings in those events that appear to be against us or in punishment. And only then did it hit me - me of all people, whom has been scooped up by angels off the highway of near-death before - that what seems like just another expensive inconvenience might very well be another miracle. You see, we had known there was a rumbling in the front wheels for some time and my husband had gone to a mechanic for the bad news on a price quote to fix it just days before. Knowing we didn't have the money for immediate repairs and that he wouldn't stop driving the heap, God stopped him before he got on the highway where the damage may have cost us far more.

"...What if your blessings come through rain drops. What if your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near. What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise..." 

Blessings.

A day later, I was surfing mindlessly on my Instagram feed when I saw a post that caught my eye from my own company, Nerium International. I clicked on the woman tagged and was led to her blog. A fellow Brand Partner, I watched her video story, closed my phone, put it down and walked away. Or so I thought.

A song began to play from my phone, now laying face-down on my counter. I listened without picking it up. It was this song. My song. It was 'Blessings'.

I was led there, in that small moment, to be reminded of God and of his blessings, working in mysterious ways through this kind soul. To bring me BACK to my knees, where he had been missing my own soul.

I felt compelled to email Jessica and thank her for her beautiful voice, her beautiful gift to my beautifully messy heart and her beautiful rendition of this song. Her reply was that she had also been praying - that God would "open some big doors with Nerium" through which to continue to "share His goodness and give Him the glory". She said that my email was the first sign of an answered prayer, that God was showing her that "this really is happening!"

Blessings. In disguise. Who are we to question. Ever.

Have a blessed day!

 

17 July 2014

Goodnight Everyone

After a long day of work out of town, I stopped by a local natural foods store and brought some gluten-free pesto pizza and bottle of Poppy Pinot Noir back to the corporate housing I call home one-third of every month. I popped the cork and popped the pizza in the oven before saying a little prayer.

"Dear Lord, thank you for those that you put in my path today. For great weather and productive work and good conversation. Please use my interactions today to bless someone as much as they have blessed me. As I turn on the TV, open my heart to a message you'd like me to hear."

The Waltons?!? Oh Lord, No!

"Oh yeah. And in Jesus' name...Amen."

Yep. Not only did it remind me of afternoons at Grandmas, the message was one of heartbreak. 

Season 2: Episode 19 "The Cradle" (original air date in 1974) -- Olivia Walton (Mom) surprises her family when she announces that she is pregnant again. No spring chicken, she is advised to take it easy and everyone is happy to chip in and welcome a new member of the family. In a loving moment, Ma and Pa pick out the name Joyce - Joy for short. This made me smile and inspired me to text my husband this name as our future alternative to Emm Marie. 

(He is; however, now convinced we are pregnant and with a boy though....so....another day/another story...)

Towards one of the last scenes, Ma looks uncomfortable and excuses herself from the evening conversation. She buckles under a hard cramp as she nears the stairs before taking an untimely commercial break. I grimaced and closed my eyes before collapsing myself under a flood of tears. "Oh no!", I said outloud into the empty house. 

At the end of the show, we realize that Olivia has miscarried the baby. There is no Joy. But somehow, hope is not lost through their ever-familial power of love. 

Blah. I just puked a little in my own mouth.

I'm not sure if it was the half glass of wine on my still empty stomach or what that made me slip a sin and cuss outloud, "What the F*CK?" quickly followed by an, "Oh Lord, I'm so sorry. But really? What am I to make of this message you've given me?"

And so I went into the kitchen to prepare my gourmet meal. When I got back and nestled in front of the boob-tube, plate in hand, I reached for the remote. Then stopped. Another Waltons episode. "Ok", I thought. I really am enjoying this nostalgic trip down memory lane. Let's see what warm fuzzies this story will provide. 

Think again.

Season 2: Episode 20 "The Fulfillment" (also from 1974) -- Friends of the Waltons, Curtis and Ann Norton are unhappy to learn that they are unable to have children of their own. However, Stevie, an 8 year old "half grown" orphan visiting with the Waltons captures their heart. They adopt him at the end.

"Dude."

I could no longer deal. I quickly changed the channel to Bravo, just in time to watch Kim Zolciak-Beirmann (single ex-Housewife of Atlanta turned pro-NFL player wife for those of you who have better things to do with your life than watch TV like me) push out new real-life twins.

TV quickly turned OFF.

I never did finish that glass of wine. As much as I wanted it's sweet calm to rush over me, I just couldn't. Oh well. At least the pizza was good!

Goodnight Mary Ellen. Goodnight John-boy. Goodnight Jim-bob. Goodnight everyone. 

23 June 2014

Broken Hallelujah


I wept. I ached. I couldn't move. I am confused. I am afraid. So I forced myself up and I went to church. God's church of nature.

I went to clear my head. To allow the sun to kiss my forehead. To listen to the cold waves break against the black rocks; begging them to sway me back and forth into comforting sleep.

I'm not pregnant.

Again. After so many signs. After so many prayers. How. How do I prepare myself to go through this...AGAIN.

I was so sure this time. I could feel it in the way that I couldn't keep down my favorite foods and in the way certain smells would turn my stomach. I knew it in the way that I cried at everything and just wanted to nap all the time. I was so sure, but I didn't dare say it out loud.  To do so is not faith, it's foolish.

The fourteen-day wait isn't easy. Nineteen days have been even harder. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to pray.

I know that God knows my tears. My tears of joy and my tears of pain. He put me here. Here in this moment. And seven long months ago, he placed Nugget in my unprepared soul and blessed me with the chance of a lifetime. The hope to finally be a mother to a child of my own.

As I pull out my calendar I see months full of notes and numbers about cycle days and doctor appointments and travel. Where do I go from here? I know God has a plan. That my purpose will rise beautiful from the ashes.

And then I hear it. A song in my ear written just for me. It's lyrics washing over me like the lake over the shore. I fell back. Back into the beanbag on which I had been sitting. It wrapped around me in a close hug, let me curl up in a ball and cry until I had nothing left.

"When all is taken away, don't let my heart be changed....When I feel afraid, don't let my hope be erased. Let me always sing Hallelujah."

And so I go. I go again after so much pain. Again. And after. Hallelujah.

22 June 2014

Glowing!

It was only my second day away, but I was already homesick.  I started out the door to work on a dreary day and it began to lightly rain.

Great.

But I really didn't mind too much. I was still in a good mood from a Real Results Party I had hosted at a favorite local restaurant the night before and I was almost to the corner coffee shop today. I was feeling energized from a good night's sleep and the fresh air of a brisk morning walk.

Today would be a good day.

And it was.  I got a few things done in person that I hadn't been able to remotely and got to meet our new designers working out of Savannah, Ga. and introduce them to our brand. Before I knew it, the work day was over. As I walked back to the corporate house, the sun began to shine.

I opened the curtains and plopped on the couch in front of the big picture window that faces the street and started to dial my husband hoping for some Facetime. My connection was bad, but I noticed that I had a little sunshine on my shoulder from the phone glare. And yes, it made me happy.

(...and so sorry that you will now have that song also stuck in your head!)

I took a selfie and sent it to the hubz, to which he replied, "I knew it. You're GLOWING!"

Let's hope!

Tiny Dancer

It's the day of my youngest niece's annual dance recital, the one we've been going to every since she was just a toddler. Her mother was a dancer as was her mother before her. My husband...well, he married a woman with two left feet.

Everything about dance seems to come naturally to "Sass". Her many competition ribbons and trophies and certificates and wins prove it. A once-shy girl comes to life on stage. It's where she is meant to be.

Each year as she grows older in age and grows up in disposition, we get a glimpse of the little young lady she is becoming. She may never know the special place she holds in my heart forever.

I've had aunts on both sides of my family in the past, but only one that is still in my life that has known me from birth. Who held me when I was brought home from Hawaii and who loved me from a distance even before that day. Like me to Sass, she married into the family and so was not related by blood but by heart. Like me to Sass, she babysat me and didn't miss a birthday or recital or just a chance to hang out. But kids get bigger, schedules get filled and interests and obligations grow wider. There is a time when you are an aunt in just title. Someone who shows up for birthdays and recitals. Like me to Sass, that first bond is never broken and while she may not know it yet, I would do anything for her and love and protect her like a second mom. I hope I get many opportunities for her to feel just how big she has filled my life - just like I have recently been reminded just how much I am loved by my 'first' aunt.

Back at the recital, the hubs and I arrived late and grabbed a seat on the end of the family aisle. We had great seats this year and I couldn't wait to see our little star shine. At one point in the marathon of tapping shoes and pointed toes, Sass' Memo stumbled through our narrow aisle to use the restroom. Upon returning, she stopped right in front of me and leaned down to tell me that she had a dream about me last night. One in which I was holding a baby girl.

I was speechless.

This was not someone who knew of our endeavors. She had no knowledge that on this very day, I had completed my second round of IUI. She had no idea that miracles could very well be happening inside my hormone-packed body at that very moment.

Before she moved away back through the tangle of legs to her seat, I pulled her down to me and gave her a tight hug and simply said, "Thank you." She replied, "I've had premonitions like this before and they usually come true. So you just never know!"

A baby girl. Like all those beautiful little girls up on stage. Like OUR amazing little girl on stage up next. I could barely control my tears of mixed emotion as she walked out and absolutely lit up that stage.





09 June 2014

Enough

Nobody wants to leave this earth without having a meaningful life. One that fulfilled a hope, a dream or a purpose. One that mattered.

Even more than that, we want to leave behind a legacy; to have made an impact that lasts long after we're gone. For some, that's by living in the hearts and souls of their children and their children after them. For some it is much more.

For me, it's a struggle of self. I bounce between feeling lost and alone to trusting there is something amazing about to happen. As the only child in a childless home, I'm faced with the mortality of my existence on a daily basis.

When it comes to being a mother, in one breath I envy them - all of them; their purpose so obviously defined and the reward so easily included while in the next breath, I feel sorry for those who don't look outside of their own children to build a legacy. Successful and happy children are the product of the job we are required to do in answer to a blessing from God, not something above and beyond as a result of realizing the true gift we were given to share with the world.  But who am I to decide or judge or even have an opinion here.

In the midst of all this philosophizing, my husband and I went to see "The Fault in Our Stars", the story of two teenagers who met at a cancer support group and share a love that sweeps them on a miraculous, heart-wrenching and soul-searching journey.

When the curtain closed, both of us were spent. We sat there stunned and wrapped in our own thoughts. Long after the credits rolled, we were still there. Then Todd spoke. And as he always does, he told me how much he loves me and while he doesn't show it much, he told me about how he smiles and is overwhelmed sometimes when I'm not looking.  Wow.

And me?  I was struck with the realization that in all my searching and giving up, in bouncing back and falling down again, I've ignored the obvious. That my life does matter. It may not matter wide...but it matters deep. It matters to him.

I heard Todd's voice in that of Hazel when she tries to impress the fact to Gus that he has had a major impact on other people. "I just want to be enough for you, but I never can be. This can never be enough for you. But this is all you get. You get me, and your family and this world. This is your life. And it should be enough."

I may not have the kind of life that inspires a book-turned-movie and I may never get a life full of a child's laughter and tears, of growing up and growing old - but I have him. He matters to me and for some reason and somehow, he sees me as important and enough.

I love this man.

27 May 2014

Days Go By


"Day Turns into Night" by KayBird
My days are turning into nights and one month just runs into the next.  Am I coming?  Am I going?  I don't know, but I'm not there yet!

Woah.

I think I just wrote my first lyrics to a song for the everybody.  But seriously, it sure goes by so fast.  And now I just sound old...

But today marks a new day!  Ok, it's really day 3.  Or Day 5, depending on how you look at it.  Evening 3, to be more precise.  Evening 3 of Clomid.  I read somewhere that taking it at night makes the side effects.  I then read somewhere else that while this is true, taking it in the morning increases the chances that follicles will mature before IUI.  I've since stopped the Google madness.

My dosage has increased from 50mg (1 pill) to 150mg (3 pills).  The pharmacist gave me a sympathetic expression when I picked up the medication.  He asked if I had any questions.  I didn't.  He wished me luck.  

Awkward!

50mg produced multiple follicles, but only one that was fully developed.  Our first treatment in April was unsuccessful, but is used as a baseline to proceed. So forge ahead we will!

So as days go by...I feel good.  No hot flashes (yet).  No crazy food cravings (yet).  No nausea or feeling like a fish full of eggs that needed to be gutted (yet).  Nothing exciting to report (YET!). 

17 May 2014

The Promise of a New Day

I cried today. I cried for the first time in over a month. The last time, I blamed clomid and estrogen. Today, I blame a weary heart.

It's strange, really. While I'm taking myself way out of my comfort zone today, I do have a full day and weekend planned here in Oshkosh. As I prepare for it through the ritual of morning, I seek ten minutes of personal development and ten more minutes of God. I found myself searching a bit harder for inspiration of happiness. Something. Anything on this gray and cloudy day.

Then, as I sat down to catch up on a few bills online, I got to the one I had been avoiding; the reproductive center. Once it was done. I cried. And I haven't stopped.

I cry because I feel so blessed to have family who paid this for me. Family members who not only gave their hard-earned money towards Baby Reuscher, but gave their love and their hope. And while a ridiculous notion, I cry because I feel like I failed them. I cry because our first attempt in April was a bust. I cry because I wasn't able to try again in May. I cry because I'm scared about trying again. I cry because last time I sat on this couch alone, I didn't leave it for days and I've allowed this moment to take me back to that time when I mourned the loss of my Nugget.

So I pay my bill. I give myself 10 minutes of grief. I write to you all. And I move forward.

Because as I type, I just realized that the sun has come out. The sky is bright with scant poufs of soft white clouds dancing way up high, drawing my eyes towards the heavens and reminding me of the promise of the rainbow. The Holy Spirit inside of my is strong. Today, it leads me back to peace and personal greatness!

06 April 2014

The Waiting Game

This was an eventful weekend! 

It began Friday morning with an appointment at the reproductive center to monitor the progress of my cycle. An ultrasound showed four follicles, with only one being matured over 20mm. This was considered 'good enough' and so I received an hCG shot to trigger ovulation. 

After work, Todd and I had a date with our Littles. I began feeling nauseous.

02 April 2014

Noah and the Great Flood

And so it was, in the beginning...

As the ultimate story of faith, sacrifice and hope began to unfold on the movie screen, so did the genesis of my emotional meltdown. Epic. Apocalyptic. And completely hormonal.

Let's back up a few days.

14 March 2014

Seeing Red


Ok, I might be going through an identity crisis with this new baby thing. Some might see it as acting out, as searching, as reaching - but I prefer to interpret my actions as brave.

That's right. BRAVE.

Finally, at 41 years old and after having a major mortality-checking life event shake all the cobwebs out down to my core, I feel BRAVE. Bold. Daring. Strong. Spunky!

And lately, every time something small happens that makes me ultra-aware of my own fragility, well, I just remind myself that I am still in control. That God molded me as a creative individual with free will and a free spirit, and as long as my spirit dwells in his (and remember that...ahem...HE is REALLY in control here) - then he's cool with expression!

OK, I'm reaching there. What I wanted to voice this time was red. Poetic as it might seem, one thing just led to another...

12 March 2014

Bean

Bella (my 80 lb. German Shepherd) and I were playing lazily on the bed last Thursday night. She likes to talk (a lot), so it would be rude of me not to talk back. The conversation turned to me tugging at her poor teddy bear and telling her she needed a real baby to cuddle and protect.

"Belly-Bean need a Jelly-Bean?" I asked. That's one of my nicknames for her: Belly Bean or just Bean.

From then on, I couldn't get it out of my mind. While I miss my Nugget, I'm ready to try for Jelly Bean.

02 March 2014

Hope Does Float (and stings a little, too!)

Acknowledging loss after my miscarriage was important to me. 

I experienced most of the mourning process alone and worked through it so quickly - too quickly - squeezing in rides on the emotional and hormonal roller coaster between rides on Southwest and United Airlines. Work obligations monopolized my time and lonely hotel rooms occupied my space. As the dust began to settle, I felt empty. I felt numb. I felt like a fake. 

13 February 2014

Join the Crowd

Crowdfunding.

A term I hadn't related to baby-making until just this week. I had participated by donating to others without being aware that it had a name or that it was a thing. I thought it was something a start-up might do to get investors to buy into their business. I even thought there was something illegal about it!

If this sounds like you, join the crowd.

In literal terms, crowdfunding or crowd sourcing is the collection of funds through small contributions made by many parties in order to reach a set financial goal for a particular venture. Wikipedia describes it as the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support initiatives by other people.

It's fundraising. It's asking for donations. UGH.

08 February 2014

Forcing Happy

I'm sad.

More than I think I even realized. My January flew by in such a whirlwind of surprises, of work, of travel...that I was able to push my sadness aside until I had time to really feel it.

I think it's important to feel it. To get to know it. To embrace it, even. But then, how to push the reset button?

How do I not get stuck. in. sadness.

Honestly, I can't remember how I felt before I got the news I was pregnant. I am left so raw from the sheer unfairness of events that followed that I've been too bruised to fight, to wage war against the sadness that eventually creeps in.

04 February 2014

Finding Joy


 
“Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4

Not being a morning person in the least, I prepared myself for an 8:00 a.m. doctor appointment by throwing on a hat and some lipgloss and driving to the office without much fanfare, feeling somewhat anxious of the unknown. I was suddenly struck with the notion that I was rushing the process, like my body and soul still needed to heal; but Father Time kept poking me...reminding me that my biological clock was about to expire.  It seemed the more I opened myself up to HOPE, the more doubt was creeping in.

Quick prayer.

I walked into the waiting room; it was small...no, intimate and warm. There was another patient already at the reception window and my positive momentum hesitated for a moment. When it was my turn, I hopped up from the chair I had strategically claimed and placed the magazine I was pretending to read on the table beside it. As I walked up to the counter, I secretly wished I had done something to my hair and put more effort into my selection of sweatpants.

Suck it up, slob.

And then it happened. I found joy. No really...I found JOY! She was smiling her always infectious and huge dimpled grin and her bright blue eyes looked at me in equal surprise. "Gina!", she exclaimed! My guard was let down and my fear simply disappeared. Joy, a friend from high school, had literally been placed in my journey.

God places angels among us everywhere.

When facing a hardship, no matter how big or how small, don't quit yourself. Keep your eye on the prize and stay the path in faith - for there, your JOY will be found!

30 January 2014

Even if He does not...

I am today reminded of a Bible story about King Nebuchadnezzar. You might remember variations in the story of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego in the fiery furnace.

Long story short, the king had erected a statue in his image and made his people bow to worship it in a public ceremony. Three men of God refused and were punished by being cast into a fiery furnace, emerging unscathed without even the smell of smoke.

Or was it the story of Daniel and the lion's den? I can't remember. Both were terrifying encounters to a kiddo and both are from the book of Daniel with similar endings. This one of a man of God thrown into a pit of lions for continuing to pray after being told by a King not to; again, coming out of the ordeal without even a scratch.

29 January 2014

Why Share MY Story?

I share in the off chance that my own story might touch someone's life in a positive way.


We never know where our lives will take us, and by documenting the journey, we are given perspective and always left with the HOPE that MIRACLES DO, and continue to, HAPPEN! 


A miracle. That's exactly what it was on 1/5/14 when a home test confirmed what my 41 year old body was feeling - I was positive! For my FIRST and ONLY pregnancy. A visit to the women's health pavilion 2 days later solidified our findings and the doctor had no worries about me catching a pre-scheduled flight to Wisconsin for travel to Michigan and back later that same week.

20 January 2014

From Darkness to Light: Baby Steps to Recovery

The immediate aftermath of my miscarriage was both surreal and beautiful. Processing through the hormonal roller coaster, the physical pain and the emotional loss while in utter solitude took me from one extreme to another...and back again.

And while I'd like to think of my experience as unique, I'm fairly certain that having the luxury of NOT being home, in the supporting arms of the man I love and in the soft cradle of my own bed, may have helped me fast forward through much of the proverbial sinkhole. I went through it just like everyone else who ever has.

15 January 2014

The Best 8 Days of Our Lives

1/7/14 - Best Day of My Life!

2014 is the year of happiness and January is the month of hope. 

As I look at this now - how appropriate. I had very few symptoms, but my mommy (yes, MOMMY) intuition told me something was up.  Weeks after a missed cycle I finally took myself to the local drug store to find out the impossible - I was pregnant!

OMG..what do I do next?!??!

I cry. I panic. I laugh. I almost pass out! I drop to my knees and throw up my hands to thank our Lord for working pure positive magic in my body and soul over the last 9 months in preparation for this miracle. As if I, myself, were just born.  At 41 years old, I had personally put my own 'baby thing' well behind me and NOTHING could be more of an amazing surprise!
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