Finally able to Dance

I can’t precisely pinpoint at what time the dream began. But it was there all the same. The dream of raising a daughter.

Perhaps some of it stemmed from the fact that my relationship with my own mom has been hard. Or maybe it stemmed from my own childhood of being a tomboy who did know how to wear heals, if necessary. 

In 1999, when I learned I was expecting my heart leaped with thoughts that it would happen. I was magnificently blessed with a tiny brown eyed baby boy in early 2000.

2003 rolled around. Ah, I thought. This time it will happen. The 1st ultrasound came, and the technician was unsure. My amazing blue eyed son was the result.

Mind you, I was very happy. And I love my sons beyond forever. 

Then, the miracle of all miracles came. January 2009, I found out I was expecting again. I was cautious to get my hopes up, and decided just to be content with the result.

Early March 2008, I was scheduled for a first ultrasound. The words came. She is a tiny one, but there she is. 

She? Did the doctor really just say that? I was elated.  I called my family that night to let them know I was pregnant, holding in my heart the amazing secret. 

1 week later, I began feeling unwell and asked the ob doctor if they could see me. Having delivered both of my son’s premature, I knew any symptom was important.

I’ve never forgotten that day. I laid on the table as they prepared me for a 2nd ultrasound. The doctor looked concerned, but I focused more on the screen.

There she was. Tiny hands folded, as if in prayer. And I watched as her heart beat for the last time.

The next day, I would undergo a surgery to remove her from my womb. 

Why, I thought. Why did this happen?

There was so much grief that filled my heart, and a sense of being completely lost overwhelmed me.

In Cosmo or other magazines, they don’t tell you how much your relationship will suffer in the loss of a child. I felt entirely abandoned.

People can say some really mean and cold things during grief. 

You never held her at least. Really?

At least you lost her early. Ugh.

The grief and anger crippled me. March would appear on my calendar,  and I would replay it all over again.

2 years turned into 5. And I began to learn that not only did I lose a baby that rainy March day, but I lost my ability to safely bare a child again.


 A simple brick, and a few appointment cards are all remain 8 years later.

January of this year, I was sitting in yet another Sunday morning church service. And the Pastor began to preach on Ecclesiastes. 

A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to Dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4, NASB)

I had wept long enough. I had mourned long enough. I was never going to be able to get back the little girl I lost. I was never going to have the dream of raising a daughter of my own.

So, I began to Dance. I began to think on how much sweeter Heaven is because of that little one. I began to think of how tremendously blessed I am to have my incredible sons. I began to think of her loss differently.

I will never forget her. I will never forget that I did carry her in my womb. I will never forget that she was and is real. 

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Rambling towards 40

Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. ~Michael Landon

40. In just a bit over 6 months, I will resign from my 30s and turn the big 40.

More than the lists of things that I could have or should have done up to this point, I think of those along the way who will never embrace 40. Friends and family whose casket I watch be planted into the ground.

Many people waltzing towards 40 will make a to-do list of things they have always wanted to do. A 40 things by 40 kind of thing.

But what if 40 doesn’t come?

We forget sometimes the fragility of life until we look at another persons life..but rarely look at our own.

I don’t want my life to be a constant procrastination of things that I will do someday. One day, tomorrow will not come for me. Could be tomorrow in fact..we don’t know.

Lord, help me to redeem each day..to remember that adventure and joy and blessings can be found in the gift of each new day You grant me. 

When Life takes the foreground 

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. 

My Real non-blogging life consists of working for a government contractor. Our busiest time is the last 2 months of the year. 

Add to that some health concerns and just day to day stress…I have had to focus for just a few days on taking care of me & Joel the Brave (my cat). 

Lend yourself some grace sometimes to put aside all of the non essentials and just be still.

Be still and know that HE is God.

Be still and know that HE is God and that He is good. 

My Elohim

I am currently doing a Bible Study on the names of God, in which each week focuses on a different name. At the end of the study, I intend to do a comprehensive book review of the study. Each Saturday until then, I want to share a little with you my journey of the study each week and what it has taught me.

The book is Praying the Names of God, Ann Spangler (2004). My week one study has been on Elohim.

Elohim: Creator

Elohim is simple, Creator. We can read the account in Genesis on how God created all that we can see (and even that which we cannot..such as the microorganisms that live on the human skin.)

Perhaps you are not a Genesis Chapter One Christian, and believe in a partial evolutionist creation, evolution, or some other theory of how we got all of this galaxy. I am not here to argue with that; I will merely state that I believe firmly that GOD created. That is good enough for me.

Digging into Creation

The book Praying the Names of GOD does not have a study on the weekends, which has its perks and faults. I used my time this morning to mull over the Word of GOD and look into how creation is mentioned in the Bible.

Having used an NASB translation Bible, my search numbers are based on the NASB translation:

  • create: 5 times
  • created: 44 times
  • creation: 14 times
  • the words ‘GOD’ & ‘made’: 161 times (not all reference creation)

The Word in Genesis 1:1 for created is bara, (Strongs, H1254), which can mean

“to cut, to carve out, to form by cutting” (Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon)

HIS handiwork

Nature is a great part of how GOD wired me. I love being in the mountains, and seeing the shapes of the rocks and hills. My grandmother even told me once that there was even an old tale in the Appalachian mountains that the ridges were actually created by God Himself taking HIS hands and cupping them a certain way.

All of it, HE created.

And HE created me.

I struggle with self-worth, a byproduct of having been in some very difficult relationships. I look at the freckly girl in the mirror, and cringe a bit. But you know what? That feisty green eyed girl I see in the mirror is also formed and fashioned by GOD’s own hands.

My Lesson of the week

I have never taken a close look at the meaning behind the word for create in Genesis 1:1 until this week. To carve- those words snagged me, causing me to stop and reflect.

The great ELOHIM, HE carved me out for a purpose. HE is a mighty, powerful GOD- HE could have made many other things, and we all know HE has certainly made much prettier ones. But HE carved me- HE created me.. for this place, for this time, and for HIMSELF.

As I shared earlier in the week, GOD did not create me to be my mom or my sister, or even one of coworkers. HE carved me out of saucy handworking people, with deep grains of prayer warrior running within.

Carving takes great care, and attention to detail. Did GOD look down years ago, and say “just a bit more dimples…there, perfect”? I do not know. I only know that I am HIS creation, and through the study this week, I have begun to see myself more in the light of being HIS creation.

 

Share and Save: Saving The Shots

Fire. Flood. Moving. Divorce. Death. Age.

There are a lot of reasons that a photograph may become destroyed. Sadly, many priceless and irreplaceable memories are lost simply due to human failure: failure to share and to save.

SAVE YOUR PHOTOS: Old Stuff

September is save your photos months (source: http://www.saveyourphotos.org/).

First, let’s look at the age of analog. Non-digital photos.

Somehow over the last 10 years, I became the unoffical currator of family photos. When a family member passes away or an old family photo is found, some how it comes to live with me.

The first thing I do is Scan it and back it up digitally. Older photos printed on non-acid free paper can fade, and even become easily damaged. Scanning the photos allows me to have a digital copy of a photo that may, in another 10 years, be gone.

The second thing I do is to identify and document who the photo is of and what I can find out about the photo. I cannot adequately express how priceless this information can someday be… so I’ll share the example:

grandpa joe

This is a family photo. Now, if I handed this to my brothers (who are 12 and 18 years my younger), would they know who is in this photo or why it might be significant? Probably not. Unless, they saw my documentation of the photo:

The toddler in the bicycle basket is my dad, born 1957. Standing directly behind him is my Great-Grandfather Joseph Mills, who died September 14, 1966.

Without such facts being written down, it is likely this knowledge would disappear within a generation of myself.

Take the time to ask family members to allow you to scan and save old photos. Scan them all, even if you are not sure that it is a good photo of the person or if it doesn’t seem significant. You may never know if it may be one of the few photos of that person that may exist.

Case in point: My Paternal grandmother had a little sister that died around the age of 8. Until just a few years ago, it was thought that there was only one photo of the sister that existed. Until, a distant cousin passed away leaving me a small box of photos. Among those, was one photo that left me speechless.. a slightly blurry photo of my great-aunt taken just weeks before she tragically died. I scanned the photo, and took a copy to my grandmother. Even my grandmother had never seen the photo, and stated that before that time only one photo was known to have existed of her precious sister.

Save Your Photos: New Stuff

Over the last ten years, we have certainly seen an influx of digital photography. We are in a society that we are often snapping photos with our cellular devices and taking hundreds of photos with a digital camera.

But what then?

About 5 years ago, I dove into the world of pocket scrapbooking. I’ve always been a memory keeper, clipping articles and saving things. In my pocket scrapbooking, though, I began to see just how rarely I shared what I took. 

So, I began to do a few things:

  • Weekly, I sort through my photos to weed out duplicates and bad photos
  • Monthly, I back up my cell phone photos onto my computer
  • Quarterly, I back up my digital files onto my external drive
  • Twice a year, I burn my photos onto two sets of cds..one for at home and the other for the safety deposit

Let me add one additional thing..

SHARE 

SHARE the photos you take with family and friends. Send them in texts, post them online, print them and mail them to a loved one.

Why?

Because some times, it may be the last picture.

A few years ago, I ran into a friend of my dad’s while I was traveling. We talked and before I left, I snapped a quick selfie. I messaged it to my dad’s friend and to my dad.

Six months later, I attended their funeral. The picture I took of the two of us was one of the last pictures taken before their sudden illness. 

 

Furbaby Friday: Si

Si is unlike any other yorkie I’ve ever encountered. He loves unconditionally, but protects his hooman (my best friend Sandy) with diligence. 

Recently, I got to spend most of the day with Si at a local festival. I was awed at how well he handled the crowds. 

Si has also become the unofficial mascot for my youngest son’s sports teams. Don’t be surprised if you catch Si on the sidelines this fall. 

God’s Soveriegn Presence

This was originally published on my previous blog.

Ignorantly, I wasn’t living in the beauty of the trurh: GOD was always a part of my past. For me, that means that GOD will use everything in my sinfilled past for His glory (Romans 8:28).

God not only knew those things would happen to me – HE chose those events for me. 

Why? Because maybe something else wouldn’t have worked. Because maybe those exact things were exactly what this little brat needed. 

Thank You, Lord. Thank You for the hand that You have had in my past. Finally, I can say in earnest Thank You, Lord, for All my past. May I learn from it and become more like the girl You would have me be. 

Encouragement: Thank You

Today, according to various websites, is Encouragement day.

To encourage is literally, pour into someone courage. To help them believe that they can do something.

Many people have come along my life’s journey, but only a handful would I label as encouragers.

  • “M”. M and I were friends from the age of 15 until 36. If I could dream it, M believed that I could do it.
  • Daddy. Daddy has always stood behind me with love and tried to encourage me to be better tomorrow than I am today.
  • Keith. Keith stepped into my life when I needed him most, to pour over me sage advice but also to tell me not to quit when I wanted so badly to get frustrated with myself.
  • Steve. Steve has unabashedly supported me and encouraged me in many ways so far.

So, Thank You. Thank you to those who have encouraged me. Thank you to those who have refused to let me lay in self pity and have kicked me and told me to keep trying.

You’ll never know how much you’ve helped me along the way.

Bucket List, then & now

Then (December 12, 2002)

I made this list in 2002. My ‘Bucket list’ if you will.

  1. To own season basket tickets for my favorite collegiate team
  2. To graduate from college
  3. To see the grand canyon
  4. To travel to another country
  5. To fly in an airplane
  6. To go to a spa
  7. To go horse back riding again
  8. To see a musical
  9. To own a fancy dress
  10. To have a nice picture taken of me
  11. To have someone give me meadow anemones
  12. To publish one of my essays/short stories
  13. To wade in the ancient lake at Cherokee 
  14. To go to Disneyworld
  15. To compete in something and succeed
  16. To go to NYC
  17. To go to Washington, DC
  18. To learn to belly dance
  19. To own another book by Vada Carlson
  20. To dance on the beach

I wot tell you which, but of that old list I have completed 6.

Now (September 12, 2017)

Nearly 15 years have passed since I wrote that list on my original blogging site. I roll my eyes and giggle at so many of those things. Ah, to be young and believe I could do anything

Next year, I open the door to a milestone birthday. I’ve mulled this around this week & thought I’d share my new ‘Bucket list. 

  1. To go on a mission trip
  2. To see more waterfalls
  3. To be in a closer relationship with Jesus, daily
  4. To marry again
  5. To give more, resent less and love big
  6. To revisit my favorite beach
  7. To finally publish my 2 books
  8. To use my singing & art more to bless other & ultimately bring Glory to GOD.
  9. To watch my children serve God in big ways
  10. To finish this life as a faithful wife, mom, and friend.