He'll Do It Again

I’ve seen You move… You move the mountains. And I believe… I’ll see You do it again.

You made a way… where there was no way. And I believe… I’ll see You do it again.

I’ve been listening to this song over and over. I usually end up in tears as it amps up with this chorus.

We often hear how we need to ask God to move our mountains and we must also tell the mountains in our lives how big our God is.

He made a way, when there was no way for me in many ways throughout my lifetime. The biggest though was just over three years ago when I began the mighty faith wrestle into His waiting arms.

A wrestle that was only the result of the gift of my three. The old me would say it was when He took my three away. I suppose it is only a difference of semantics, and many could say both are true.

Five years later, I choose them as gift.

It was only in the darkness of grief and loss that I found the light, His and mine. He made a way for me to Him, when there was no way. Three lost babies and accepting life without children…only God can create such a mess. Five years out of our failed infertility journey I can say it has all been a beautiful mess – a true gift.

Because I am a daughter of the King, He loves me, I trust Him, and so I trust it.

Does it still hurt like hell? Yep.

This is the permission of The And, and it allows me to feel that sadness and the trust all at once, because therein lies my healing.

Friday my The Permission of The And TEDx talk officially hit the TEDx YouTube channel with over 9,000,000 subscribers.

And thus, comes another mountain.

Since the publication of Ever Upward, almost three years ago, the constant mountains in my life seem to be book sales, video view counts, and shares and likes. Now that both of my TEDx talks have posted, it seems like I have another gigantic mountain in front of me, to get enough YouTube views and likes to be featured on the TED website.

Except it finally feels different.

I want this bad, more views and likes means more people reached. More people reached means braver people living in this world and rewriting their stories of shame.

This is my purpose on earth – the mother He made.

But I no longer want it more than my own well-being and happiness. I no longer believe that the success of my work, paid or otherwise, has anything to do with my worthiness. I am putting it down at the foot of the cross once and for all.

I am enough and He’s got this.

No more hustling, no more begging. I will continue to do my part – creating life changing content, loving well, teaching those who are ready to receive, and finally having fun while doing it.

My belief is that it will grow.

How big? Only He knows that part.

And finally, I am going to let that be enough.

~~~

You are enough too. If you are ready to begin the work to believe this, I’d love for you to grab your brave and come do this work with me. Whether it is through my Therapy Thursday videos on Facebook or joining my Rising Ever Upward Video Course or attending a workshop or intensive, choose you, do this work, and rewrite your story.

The Heartbeat of 9 Million

The email was short and sweet,

It’s here!

Followed by the link.

A link to one of my dreams come true, the hardest work of my life, and a story of my sacred truth all there for an audience of over 9,000,000.

Whoa!

My hands shook and my heart pounded so hard and loud I could feel it pulsating throughout my whole body.

Fear and trust, excitement and surrender.

The And.

As I sent the link to everyone I know and refreshed the YouTube channel my pounding heart skipped a beat as I saw my other TEDx go live right before my eyes.

Two TEDx talks, both live, to over 9,000,000 in less than three hours.

Holy shit!

A squeal and a jump followed by an immediate hitting of my knees in gratitude and asking for protection, I felt washed over with a sense of knowing and unknowing all at once.

The And.

Here you go world, my two TEDx talks (The Permission of The And and The Donut Effect). Watch, share, give brave feedback, and share again. And, most of all, thank you.

 
 

The Moon of Fair and Prayer

I’ve had this post in my head and heart now for almost two weeks. I’ve sat down to work on it no less than 20 times in those weeks. Let’s call it the endless to do list of building my wholehearted empire, denial, grief, or fleeting creativity, it has not been penned until just now.

In which, I completely trust, this is when the words will be gifted to me.

It all started on a drive home two Sunday nights ago after a great dinner with some of our chosen family. Dinner conversation with three of my favorite boys about the movie Wonder, who their best friends are (I made the cut for Evan, that boy knows his audience), and then too much yelling and laughter about which girls they all like.

“Look at the moon,” I said to Chad as we were driving home much too late for a Sunday evening.

“Whoa,” he said with a catch of awe in his voice.

“Have you ever seen it like that before? The half on the bottom and not the side?”

“No. Kind of weird.”

“And, beautiful,” I reply.

We spend the rest of the drive in silence with worship music playing – grief and God wrestling in my head and heart.

My day had started with church, where as usual, I cried during worship, mostly tears from undone-ness in gratitude. Then, after weeks off due to tour and TEDx, I served in the 3rd to 5th grade room, where I ran the 3rd grade boys small group. The verse for the week was, 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:18

We began by discussing the worst things that could happen at home, school, and their sports or school activities . Most of their answers centered around peeing or pooping their pants or barfing, because… boys. Then we got to the tough part, how to still be grateful even when you’ve shit your pants at school.

Their answers of gratitude were so refreshing. Nothing from comparison or scarcity like so many of us adults do. Just true gratitude of what good could come from pooping your pants at school – like a new pair of pants and getting to talk to the really nice nurse.

Gratitude even in the shit.

It’s the holidays.

It’s no secret I struggle with the holidays.

Last year we only put up a tree. I managed to string lights on it, and still couldn’t bear ornaments because… grief.

They’d be five this Christmas.

How much fun would that be?

Chad asked if we could decorate just a little more this year and said we could go get a new tree of my choice if that could help. We settled on a small pencil tree, pre-lit and with ornaments already attached.

Because, that is where I’m at this year, and it’s progress.

And, I only cried in Menards once.

That weird half moon, with the half somewhere it didn’t really seem to fit and yet it shined brilliantly for all the world to see, felt like looking at me that night. Most days, especially during the holidays, I feel like that moon, never fitting in, a little off, and still brilliantly shining.

The moon is always a reminder of God’s grace for me, as are the sunsets, sunrises, basically anything nature.

But that night was different, maybe it was the song playing on the radio, saying something to the effect that it is all for God’s glory…even the hard, dark parts, even the shit I suppose.

When you don’t get to parent your children here on earth and grief is a part of your daily life, the holidays are hard for obvious reasons. It also really makes you wish that people would remember what Christmas is really about.

There is also another reason it is difficult though.

There are a ton of adorable pregnancy and birth announcements, and lots of them say what a miracle it is and how God answered prayers. Not much unlike the miraculous conceptions of Jesus and John, because sometimes even the Advent reading plans can be tough.

I love seeing the joy of my loved ones’ families growing. And, the enemy will never miss a chance to have that small voice torture me.

You didn’t pray hard enough.
You don’t deserve to be a mom.
You weren’t faithful enough.
You’re being punished.
It’s not fucking fair.

Here’s the thing, I know better now.

This is not about fair, or really prayer, for that matter.

Sure, God hears our every prayer. Hell, our prayers can even change His mind I think. At the end of the day, though, I don’t get to say which prayers of mine He answers. And, I for sure, don’t get to say how He answers them.

Now to the toughest part, because all you have to do is read the news to get a sense of how unfair it can feel that Chad and I don’t get to be parents in the traditional sense of the word and a bunch, like a freaking bunch, get to. Bottom line, fair or unfair, that shit is above my pay grade. I doubt I will ever get the answer as to why I don’t get any and why someone else I have deemed undeserving gets four. I know my clarity and full healing is waiting for me when I get to meet Jesus face to face one day.

In the meantime, I praise God for giving His only Son for us. I know in Him, because of Him, and through Him I am whole, loved, okay, and a message of grace for this world.

As I have wrestled with so much of the new teachings that have been brought into my life and reading more and more scripture, and wading through the glittered difficulty of the holidays, I was brought back to the moon just this past Sunday, a week after the ‘little off’ half moon.

I remembered just before bed that I had to go see the Super Moon. In my pajamas and socks, I ran out to the driveway to see the moon, something I actually do on a pretty regular basis. At first, the big, bright full super moon was behind a veil of thin clouds. Even veiled a bit, it still reflected it’s shining glory onto everything.

With a deep breath, I prayed,

Lord, Help me to lay it down for good this time, I don’t want this anymore. I know it was, and is, fair. Because you are good and I am your loved daughter. My sadness and grief can coexist with my trust in your fairness, because when I live in the permission of The And, I honor you, me, and them. It is all for Your glory, and you love me so much, it is also for mine.

And then, the clouds floated over the moon to reveal a perfect opening for all His glory to shine in and on.

My story is hard and it is beautiful. It is my message of grace and I will never stop loving it, trusting it, and speaking it.

It has nothing to do with fair.

It is the story He has written for me and for Him.

And, graciously, it has given birth to me.

~~~

Exciting adventures: My new newsletter is short, sweet, and full of great content, make sure to sign up here. I have a new prayer plan over at Reflective Prayer, use coupon code JustinePrayer for 15% off! And finally, my Rising Ever Upward for Network Marketers video course is now available!

I'm Still Here, Just Different

It has been a minute since I posted, about two months actually. Are you still here?

I am.

How are you?

I'm different...

I've spent the last two months traveling around the country offering my Rising Ever Upward workshops and intensives. Oh the stories I have...but you'll have to wait for that book to come out! I've met some incredible people, grown this tribe, visited super cool cities, and eaten my fair share of amazing food! I believe in this work more than ever and am honored to continue to offer it and live it.

I wanted to stop by with a few updates:

  1.  I booked a TEDx talk!!! Actually 2! I am speaking at TEDxDearborn October 13th and TEDxLaSierraUniversity November 10th. I will let you know if these events will be livestreamed, and of course, share once they have made the TED website!
  2. More workshops and intensives are coming soon! Make sure to check here for future dates.
  3. My next book, The Complicated Gray, is in final edits as we speak! And, I am in development for the next one too!
  4. This fall I am launching a 3 part video series based on my workshops and intensives for network marketers.

Now for the different... I have done a lot of work and growth this year, especially in changing my relationship with my pain. This has enabled me to reach more people and build what is slowly but surely becoming an empire. While my team (I have a team guys, small and mighty, yay!) and I get our barrings, especially in figuring out what this looks like starting first with a one stop, all inclusive new website, I'd love to share a series I have started on my Facebook page called #TherapyThursdaywithJustine (TT). Each week we will post a new TT video for you here. If you don't want to miss them live each Thursday, make sure to like and follow at www.facebook.com/justinebfroelker.

Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for the continued support, love, and prayers. There are really big and exciting things coming, and I can't wait to share them with my community here.

For now, here was a bonus TT (for FREE,  accountant Chad always likes to add) I did this week about judgment...

 
 

A Workshop and Dream

Tomorrow kicks off my Rising Ever Upward Tour, and there are not enough emotional words to type to accurately describe how I am feeling. Thank God I have this work to help me navigate it all.

Tonight I am offering a FREE workshop as I wrap up my 7 week Mini-Course, I'd love for you to join me. I'll be sharing a glimpse into what this work is all about and much more. You can read more about it here.

 
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I feel a lot of writing coming from me while on tour, some for the next book of course, and some for you all here. Thank you for your patience as I enter into this new stage of my career. I cannot thank this community enough.

Called

I am just a couple of weeks out from the kick off of my Rising Ever Upward tour. The registrations are starting to fill my inbox.

People are sending messages.

They are engaging with my Mini-Course and Facebook Lives.

In fact, 22 people took advantage of a last minute pop up class last night for FREE (a $200 value).

A couple of them even registered to come do this work with me in a city near them.

Clarity took root last night for me... I am doing this. I am supposed to be doing this.

And, I am super excited and oh so grateful.

Make sure you have subscribed to my subscriber list, as we still have 2 weeks left of exclusive content coming, along with following along at Facebook.

And, have no doubt, I have a HUGE and AMAZING close planned for this 7 week Mini-Course!

Thank you for your support!

 
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Receiving the Moments

So many moments that would never be had my story turned out how I wanted...how I hoped, dreamed, and planned.  I no longer torture myself with the, 'I'd trade it all for them...' Because it's not helpful and doesn't honor them. It doesn’t honor them because it doesn't honor where and who I am now, in reality only because of our three

He knew better, He had better. 

I must, however, do the work to keep my heart open enough to receive this better He has for me. 

And so, I'll love harder, fuller, and better because of them, honoring the mom they made me. 

And, I'll mother anyone who wants to love this way too.

This week, I am so honored to have been here to witness my oldest friend's second daughter come into this world, my namesake's little sister, Alexandra. 

And, I am so grateful. 

 
 

A Princess, a Victim, a Hero, an Author and a Rising

The bubble gum pink iridescent ribbons stick out of the overhead bin as if there is a tiny Disney princess taking a nap up there. I stare at the delicate ribbons, the prized possession of a little girl from what was probably her first visit to the happiest place on earth.

I take a deep breath, a breath filled with the complicated gray of sadness and gratitude, as a tear makes its way down my face.

5 years ago, 3 years ago, hell just seven weeks ago those ribbons would have brought me to a different kind of cry.

This day, though, they are tears of trust, freedom, and appreciation of how life is, not how I try to will it to be.

Chad and I are on our flight home from Orlando as I write this. We just spent the last three days at Disney World and Universal surrounded by damsels, princes, and heroes. A vacation we purchased at the Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Angel Ball last year. And, a trip that also happened to fall during National Infertility Week because it’s timing with my best friend’s wedding in Florida was too good not to schedule together.

The Justine I was, post failed fertility treatments would have never been able to make this trip, she was too destroyed by bitter and anger, comparison and shame to go to the happiest place on earth filled with thousands of reminders of the life she would never have. It has not been until very recently that I have realized how much work I still had to do to truly thrive after infertility.

Instead, I was present this trip and allowed myself to experience things in a way I haven’t before. I didn’t overly judge any parents out of a broken and incomplete heart ravaged by our missing three or hold on to ignorant comments made by people who aren’t touched by the devastation of infertility. Being at Disney without children, trust me, were there comments.

I noticed the shift in my reaction after a comment at the end of our very first day at Disney. We sat our tired bodies on the hard comfort of the tram bench across from a couple and their devastated four year daughter who was hysterically shouting, “But I don’t want to leave yet!”

They tried to reason with her, assuring her they had a great dinner surprise for her for her birthday, undoubtedly dinner with a princess or Mickey himself. But, she would not take this peace offering and only shouted and cried louder, “But I don’t want to leave yet!”

This is when her dad noticed my “My 1st visit” button and said, “Enjoy this magical time, you know, before you come back here with kids.”

Chad and I simply smiled and I joked back, “You guys are such jerks making her leave the park for a birthday surprise.”

No need for my advocate heart to educate him that not everyone will get to bring their children to Disney, hell, some of us don’t get to have them at all, he is already down for the count as the biggest asshole parent ever, at least in the eyes of his devastated four year old.

Instead, I took a breath and said to myself, Jesus help me.

 
 

I feel.

The uneventfulness, infertility-wise, of our trip culminated on our last day at Universal. Our morning started as we walked past a “book shop” called Embryo Books Booksellers and Publishers. I looked at Chad, “Wonder if they would have given me a publishing contract?”

I snapped this picture feeling the tiniest of tugs in my heart as I allowed it to pass choosing instead sad and joy in the exact same moment because as uncomfortable as the complicated gray is, I am finding my wholehearted home in it.

I release.

We spent the day moving quickly through just about every ride line as we people watched and I stared in awe of the creativity that is Universal often exclaiming, “I mean the attention to detail, the creativity, it is so amazing!”

Line after line the Universal employee would ask, “How many?”

“Two.”

Only two.

Nope, you can’t see my three.

Only I can feel them.

And, no less than ten times at Universal that day we were told to go to three.

“Line three.”

“Row three.”

“Three.”

Finally after the third time, Chad and I looked at one another, knowing this never was a coincidence, as if God was reminding us,

He’s got them, we will see them again and they will always be a part of you.

We are more than two.

I receive.

The bitter, the anger and the pain-filled grief almost completely gone, which I’ll admit kind of scares me. Well, the shame and scarcity part of me, the part of me that can feel so invisible a lot of the time, saying, then they never mattered.

What I know now is that this is actually the exact opposite, they matter more than ever, just in a much different way than I’ve ever allowed them to and than society may ever, especially if I stopped doing this work.

I advocate for healthier messages in the infertility journey, even though at times it feels as if I am the only one saying them and that no one will ever listen.

I advocate for women like me who end this journey without children holding their hands, because I know I am not the only one, I get messages every single day from my fellow warriors.

I advocate for myself because this life, my story, is hard and beautiful...and incredible.

This is life, a complicated gray of struggle and triumph, a really freaking beautiful triumph if we do the work.

So I will write, I will speak and I will keep helping and creating because the shining of my own complicated gray triumph can push, walk alongside and guide you into your own.

My story is not tragic.

My story is not one to be pitied, and it does not lack hope because it didn’t turn out how I, and you and society, hoped, dreamed and planned.

I am not a victim.

My story is not one to be admired either.

I am not a hero.

My story is a rising a rising out of the ashes and into the awakened and colorful life of the complicated gray.

I am the author.

A couple hours into the flight and those bubble gum pink iridescent ribbons still flutter in the stale cabin air of the plane, no one has rescued the princess and they don’t need to.

 
 

She has already rescued herself.

~~~

For the last five weeks 24 other incredible fellow warriors have shared their stories as part of my Ever Upward Blog Tour for the launch of my second book, The Mother of Second Chances, and National Infertility Awareness Week. Yesterday my friend Julie shared her incredible story.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for their bravery and their support. The relationships I have made only because of the infertility journey are relationships I will be forever thankful for. Please make sure to read and share all of their posts here.

I'm Done, Different, and Resurrected

Tomorrow I release The Mother of Second Chances, based on this very blog. She is technically my fourth book, although the last two in some ways I hardly count. Taking Flight, my coloring journal, I published for my own creative joy. And my ebook, Lessons in Ever Upward, I released out of the desperate hustle that is slowly, and with effort, leaving my life; leaving only because I am allowing it to. For the last six weeks I have been working with a new coach, and for the last six weeks I have been doing assignments that have challenged me, pushed me, made me frustrated, made my body feel weird in ways I've never experienced, and of course, there have been tears. All to only give away to a clarity and peace I have been longing for for most all of my life.

I began my work with Cassandra after seriously considering quitting all of this; no more writing, no more advocacy, no more hustling to get this noticed, no more trying to help.

It had begun to drain me. To only feed the scarcity message I already get most days in our world, especially as a woman who cannot have children.

I am not enough.

I called Cassandra because God put her Facebook post in front of my eyes after my heart was finally willing to receive it. I was realizing I had come to a stand still in my own therapy work and that my desperation in this work was turning into bitterness.

And so, six weeks ago I started looking myself in the mirror for five minutes every morning and five minutes every night saying my affirmations (I am a good student and always do my assignments). I started reading and listening to books that are a wee bit out there for me but have nuggets of truth and light that I wanted and needed to hear. I have written down my biggest fears and focused on them as things to create rather than be squashed by. I have told myself over and over that I can trust and accept the process of life and that when shit hits the fan I choose to find the good within it.

And within these last six weeks, really only the beginning of our journey so far, everything has changed.

I am less reactive.

I am going back on my own work to say, that yes, peace is actually possible.

My faith has grown.

And for real, like no joke look-you-in-the-eye-with-a-joy-that-you-can-feel-taste-and-smell, I am actually trusting, letting go and surrendering.

None of this was without much convincing. But it did not take me long to learn and to agree with Cassandra that if I did not change my relationship with my pain, to let go of it, to change how I do this work and to trust and know that I am enough no matter what, that I would never ever help the people I truly could. And, I would continue to be stuck in the dark of never enough.

I knew with all my heart, that quitting would only mean a life with regret. And, to be honest, my fear of this regret mixed with what can be a bitter pain-filled grief from a life without kids was too much for me to risk.

I have not been through what I have for a life like that.

My work with Cassandra has only proven that more.

One of the books she has had me listen to is Caroline Myss' Advanced Energy Anatomy, I've listened no less than 4 times in the last several weeks already (I speed up my Audible because, well, this is the life of an entrepreneur). Through this  book I am learning that it is my child and victim archetype at work when I torture myself with,

Why me?

Why did this happen?

This is not fair!!! How could You do this?

I've especially listened to Chapter 8 where Caroline talks about Jesus as the ultimate example of surrender and therefore co-creation with God. It is also here in this chapter she talks about Helen Keller and states,

...in accepting what happens to you, in accepting it, not as a disability but as some form of directive, some form of purpose...

Lightening strike clarity.

I am done.

Done with the how could this happen to me? Done with the victim mentality that this is unfair. Done with insisting for an answer as to how and why this could happen. Done holding onto this as a disability.

This whole time I thought I had let this go, that I had redefined my own happy ending, hell it is the subtitle of my bestselling book Ever Upward. But, what I have learned in the last six short weeks is that I needed to change my relationship and the meaning I attach to my pain.

I am done because if I don't release it fully the only thing in the stranglehold of my pain is my very own happiness, truth, joy and power.

I am not a tragic story; back surgeries, a year in a body cast, failed IVF and life without my children, none of it tragic.

And, I will no longer allow anyone else to project that travesty onto me.

None of it was tragic then and it is definitely not tragic now.

Hard? Yes.

Sad? Still and always will be.

Exactly as it was meant? Absolutely.

A brilliant and amazing gift of this incredible life? More than I ever dreamed.

Surrendering to and accepting this allows me to receive the gifts within it and to co-create all the goodness within and from it because my God's got this, and because I am worthy of it.

All this, and yes I'm wordy but you know this by now, to say,

I am done.

I am different.

Five years ago today we got the phone call that would end our infertility journey without the hoped for, dreamed of, planned for and paid for babies.

It is no coincidence that this five year anniversary falls on Easter, the day my Lord and Savior was resurrected giving those of us who receive His gift of grace a new life.

Five years later I am finally ready to receive this new life in the way He always meant for me.

Five years later I am resurrected myself.

Five years later I wonder who they would be andI am grateful for who I have become only because of them.

Five years later I am letting go, giving them back as they were always His to begin with, and receiving a new life.

This is truly rising ever upward.

And so, tomorrow I let go of The Mother of Second Chances.

She is beautiful, she is flawed, she is exactly as she is meant to be.

She is a gift.

She is me.

 
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The Struggle Bus of I Quit

"Is the speaking, writing and advocacy just bringing up the grief too much?" I have been asked this by more than one close loved one lately.

All you have to do is follow me on social media and see some of my recent videos to know that I've been on the struggle bus lately.

Ah, the struggle bus. But why?

Never a therapist to turn away from learning and growing in my own insight, I know it is a runaway bus for a few reasons.

We got to spend an amazing and fun weekend with three of our favorite boys while their mom and dad, some of our closest friends, were on a business vacation. It was a weekend of sports, the new Lego movie, a preschool Valentine's Day party (the one and only I will ever attend), sharing the worst part and best parts of our day over dinner together and me yelling the words, "No touching another human being for the next ten minutes!" a thousand times.

For three days Chad and I got to experience the tiniest bit of the anxiety, worry, frustration and exhaustion of parenting three boys.

For three days we got the tiniest glimpse into what life would have been like with our three.

It was incredible, and I am so grateful.

It was also super hard and had the major undercurrent of grief for me.

The weekend after, I spoke at an infertility conference. I spent the day surrounded by men and women still in the journey, my fellow warriors, while I hocked my book and presented with my good friend and fellow warrior Lindsay. Our presentation kicked ass, we got so much positive feedback.

It was amazing, and I knew I did good work that day.

It was also hard and had a major undercurrent of my grief.

So the question posed above by several of my loved ones is not out of the question. I have noticeably been in a season of struggle... again; more tearful, arguing with God, then frustrated with myself and utterly exhausted and overwhelmed.

Fucking struggle bus.

However, I know the answer to their question immediately.

My grief is always there, it will always fucking be here, my children aren't walking this earth with me! My writing, speaking and advocating honor them and help it feel like it was all worth something.

And yet, lately it feels like it is an exhausting, pointless hustle. Like all the work, sacrifice, money and time are never going to pay off. To which Chad then does his job, well I might add, of witnessing my life with his complimentary to me husband duty and asks, "What is your definition of success when it comes to this?"

"I guess I have no idea, which is even more frustrating," is my only reply, which only pisses me off more, brings tears down my cheeks and makes me pick up my wine glass.

It is clear my story will never be the first picked for the magazine or mainstream media outlet. Hell, it is proven that I usually have to literally force my way onto the local stages. The definition of success where this goes viral and my story is able to reach millions feels impossible.

To be honest, it has crossed my mind more than once these last few weeks to quit it all. To stop writing, speaking and advocating.

And then, par the course, God not so gently nudges me with a few Facebook messages and emails:

"I can't get your story out of my head."

"Thank you for being the only one to say that sometimes this doesn't work and that we can still be okay."

"Thank you for telling your story."

"Thank you for all you do for our community."

How come it is so hard for me to count this as success?

Because it is not over 22,000 Facebook likes, a million views and it is for sure not any amount of a paycheck. We live in a world that we are told we don't matter and that we are never enough. You haven't sold enough books, made enough money, gotten enough followers...you aren't pretty enough, rich enough, thin enough, happy enough...

YOU. ARE. NOT. ENOUGH.

We all have this shame and scarcity in our lives, the world we live in alone makes you feel like a prisoner to it. I don't get dibs on it as a small published author painstakingly building her platform with a sad story on a topic no one wants to talk about.

But as my life would have it, this very normal feeling of never enough majorly triggers my grief trauma.

I live in a world full of children. Everything is child-centered and child-obsessed, even the Hallmark holidays I learned this past Valentine's Day when grief reared it's ugly head and bit me in the ass.

 
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Almost everywhere I go, I am the only woman my age without children. I will never fit in. The grief and the shame trauma that lives inside of me turns this into another way for me to tell myself that I am not enough.

This is the story I must bravely work to rewrite every day. This is the story all of us must rewrite.

I rewrite it through practicing self-care, loving hard, mothering everything and everyone that comes into contact with me and through writing and speaking the story the world isn't ready to hear.

I know, I can't quit. This is in my bones and I am not done changing the world yet, especially the infertility and loss community. I do however have to shift my energy before this hustle kills my spirit.

So, I will write when I am moved. I will publish the next two books because, hell, they are already written and they are needed. And, I will let this go, laying it down, let's be honest, laying it back down at His feet where it always belonged anyway. He's got it. My success, my identity, are not in book sales, followers or a paycheck. My identity doesn't even lie in my motherhood.

It is my job to get off the damn struggle bus, even if it is to squeeze into a struggle Fiat for now. So, with the help of my community, a new coach, my self-care and His mercy and grace the struggle is now in a tiny car that will zoom in and out of the traffic of living this wholehearted life with lifelong grief.

And, I will pull over once in a while and remember, I am a daughter of the King. He made me a mother. And, through Him, in Him and because of Him, I am enough.

Penned Musing: Stretch to the Warmth

Gracie is plastered against my leg, our usual morning position on the bright orange couch in the sun soaked living room My steaming coffee beside me alongside my stack of morning books and journals.

She's up against my leg providing the warm reminder of just one of the ways I am a mother.

Her sister stretched out to the warmth of her as close to me as possible while also still touching her sister; a requirement of sorts.

A reminder of the possible, yet never to be twins of ours. They would have been four this year, that ever present due date just two weeks away.

Four years.

I still can't believe how much time has passed; how much has changed and yet how much remains the same.

The grief has morphed so much, yet the longing as strong as ever.

The darkness lit up by what has become the happy and healthy version of myself; my redefined, thriving life.

 
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The darkness there, always, as my children aren't here. Yet, the light that is me - in Him, through Him and because of Him, makes the darkness bearable.

The light is there; in, within and around.

I only must stretch to reach the warmth.

~~~

It has been weeks since I wrote this, yet all the feels in it are still all too familiar and haunting my heart.

I know it has been awhile since I last posted my friends. I am asking for and hoping for some grace as I work to finish my second book, The Complicated Gray. I am writing away to get it into my editor's hands no later than March 1st with a publication goal of August or September.

Until then, I will try my best to share here once in a while. Thank you for your support, prayers and love. I very much appreciate you all.

***Background image from http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/02/break-out-of-prison/.

Perhaps, He Walked It First

Five years ago this time we were in our first, and what we thought would be our only, two week wait. I only did the math because Facebook reminded me via the On This Day reminder the other day, as five years ago I posted a vague post about the two week wait.

Then I posted nothing else about it... It seems my brave-speak-the-truth advocacy did not develop until after our journey ended and fought my way out of my fetal position to rise from the ashes.

 
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Five years ago I remember we went home to Iowa for Christmas showing off black and white pictures of bubble globs to all our family. Those globs being our eight celled embryo babies.

The babies we never got to meet. We were positive it had worked.  It had to work, as it was our only chance.

That only chance was crushed with a one minute phone call followed by me trying not to throw up in the trash can and Chad literally holding his tears in as I lost my shit.

We took the loan out the next day for another try. That one didn't work either.

And as my life would have it, four years ago today, our last embryo was to be born. Had that last round of IVF worked, we would have a four year old today.

Oh yea, and it is the damn holidays.

That is some timing, no wonder I struggle in December. I am haunted by dates that will be forever seared into my heart and soul.

Dates that are sad and dates that made me a mother.

Once again, I am reminded by a decent smack upside the head, as He often likes to work with me, of my own work. The work to embrace the complicated gray, and to choose the joy within this sadness, as there is always room for both.

In the midst of many desperate-on-my-knee prayers this week, I had the realization and the reminder of how strongly we can feel two "opposing" emotions at the same time.

  • I am forever longing and sad and also grateful for the mother He made me, even if they aren't here with me, longing joy.
  • I love my life and how much I have worked to thrive after loss and I miss my three more than words can say, grateful guilt.

This is the hard ass work of walking in the freeing truth of the complicated gray.

And, the more I think of it and learn, we are nowhere near the first to walk this walk. Perhaps, we had a model who did it best a long, long time ago.

Jesus longed and loved. He angered and loved. He grieved and loved. He struggled and He trusted His Father,

...not my will, but yours be done. Luke 22:42

And yes, I am that kind of Christian, I just said ass and quoted Jesus all within a few lines.

He knows me. He sees me. He understands me.

This faith and truth does not make the complicated gray easier to feel and muster through. It does, however, ground me and help me to stand my sacred truth. That even though I shake my fist at Him on some days because the story He has written for me hurts like hell, makes me sad and feels unfair, I know and trust that He's got this, that He knows me (and best) and that He has my ending.

My only job is to emulate His love, walk in my truth and to choose joy.

Because when I do that, I honor my three and myself.

And, that my friends, is the best thing any mother can do for herself and her children.

 
My Facebook status last night...
My Facebook status last night...
 

End note: After working on this piece I met a friend for dinner and shopping at the mall. Of course, I was sat at a table looking head on into the long line of families waiting to see Santa. I chose joy, sure it was in chips, salsa and wine but joy still.

And the Soul Felt It's Worth

The lights cast a glow throughout the house that is both calming and unnerving. The scent of pine brings both joy and sadness.

The stubborn ache in my chest like a constant reminder of what could of been and the gift of what is.

December is kicking my ass this year.

I am tearful easily. I am overwhelmed with it all. And, I know I am not alone.

Most people, even my closest loved ones, have asked, "But, why are you struggling so much?"

Side note: This is not the most empathetic way to ask...

Then there are my fellow warriors and even my always trying husband Chad, who have asked with empathy and love, "Is this different or harder than last year? How come you think you're struggling so much?"

 
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I am as surprised (and annoyed honestly) as anyone else, as I would like to say this gets easier.

Every year that passes there is this naive part of you that thinks it won't hurt as bad, maybe just maybe, it will get better. But as I always say, it just gets different.

There are a myriad of reasons this Christmas season is kicking my butt. Bottom line infertility and loss changes you forever. If we choose to do the work it changes us for the better, I promise. No amount of twinkling lights, carols, jingle bells and damn glitter (literally, damn glitter, it should not be on cards in my opinion) lessens the longing in my soul that I wish my three were here with me on earth. In fact those lights, carols, bells and glitter only remind me of everything I do not get with my own children. They remind me of what I am missing out on and of what is missing of me.

Admittedly, all that missing out and grief stirs up the voice in my head and the ache in my heart that tells me I am not enough, that I will never be enough, especially because I am not a mother.

Yet, I have done the work, I know this is not my truth.

And still, shame weasels in so easily and steals my light.

I have changed that story...most days. Through the work I have done and especially in my faith I know my truth is that I am worthy, I am enough and I am a mother.

This December it seems, my shitty first draft of I am not enough is winning more days than not.

Perhaps you saw me Sunday on the live stream of my church service desperately taking notes and attempting to control my tears. As soon as we sang O Holy Night with the lyric, and the soul felt its worth, a peace settled into my soul right next to my forever longing.

Be still, my child. It is Me and it is about Me. I am here with you always.

My worth is not in children by my side, in being called mom or being seen as someone who matters by society. My worth is in Him and what better time of year than now to remember that.

And, as my amazing friend and fellow blogger Caitlin says,

In the end my identity doesn't come from hearing a child call me mom but knowing the King who calls me daughter.

Deep complicated gray breath.

I still have not fully decorated that lit tree or put up any other Christmas decorations, and I am giving myself permission that this is okay this year.

This hurts, and it always will. I am sad, and that is okay. I may feel invisible, and I am worthy.

These are my truths.

So, I look through the glow of the unadorned lit tree filling my lungs with the scent of pine in a deep knowing breath to feel the ache and the awe, the longing and the joy, my worth, His love and my three.

A Bare Tree and an Aching Heart

"You ready?" my parents asked me. "I have to get a picture of the glasswing butterfly first," I replied. "Chad saw it a few minutes ago."

The butterfly aviary is one we are familiar with as we visit it every single year we go to Branson. In fact it was a year ago that I met Julie who then sent me information on the glasswing butterfly after reading my blog.

The glasswing ,well and the monarch, are my mascots. Spirit animals? Whatever, their existence helps me to survive my own.

The air is cooler than normal in the aviary and not as humid as it usually is, which also means the butterflies are not as active that day. We had already had a huge surprise when we first got there when I spotted my coloring journal Taking Flight. I had completely forgotten they sold it there in the gift shop.

I love butterfly houses but I also knew I needed pictures to use for this very blog, so it was both work and pleasure, the always delicate balance of my life. I had all but forgotten about the glasswing until Chad finally spotted it a few minutes prior.

Every single time I would get close enough for a shot her transparent wings and tiny body would become a blurred flit in the air challenging our eyes to keep track of her. Her frantic movement reminded me of my life these last several weeks. I have been busy, busier than I have ever been. Yet, I have also tried to stop referring to it as busy because that can become such an excuse for so many of us. I am too busy, has become like nails on a chalkboard for me

It is a fact, we are all busy. Life will never get unbusy.

We must, I think, choose our busy.

Much like the crazed glasswing butterfly, most days I feel like a crazed flit in the air that no one can catch.

There was a difference though, this butterfly lived in a home decked in Christmas joy of music and decorations. I, on the other hand, have yet to put up a single snowman or glitter garland. Christmas is less than 20 days away and I don't have one bit of Christmas jolly in my house. My excuse has been my crazed business and being out of town so much.

Or so I thought.

Then yesterday on a gray and chilly St. Louis morning God stopped me in my tracks. As my gigantic-never-gets-all-the-way-done to-do list ran through my head I caught a glimpse of movement in the backyard. At first it was only the whites of their tails that caught my eye against our tree line that has gone mostly brown already.

Three deer standing in a row.

Three.

My three.

They all stop to look at me in their statue-like grace as I step onto a chair to get a better view of them through our back windows. I find myself taking a deep breath; a paused, deep breath in spite of my looming to-do list and every passing minute that nothing is getting crossed off of it.

My chosen busy lately has been a ton of amazing travel, continuing to see a full-time case load of clients (including doing more Rising Strong intensives, which I love), working on the second book proposal and building my Plexus team.

It is all stuff I absolutely love and wholeheartedly believe in.

It is on top of that chair seeing God's not so gentle reminder of my three, that I realize I have also been busy because I am passing through another damn holiday and looming due date without my three.

We are "supposed" to have four year olds this Christmas. Four year olds in their matching Christmas jammies giggling with magical excitement as they leave a note, cookies and milk for Santa and sprinkle glitter on our front yard for the reindeer.

 
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Instead, I tortured our three little dogs with their own Christmas jammies for this year's holiday card.

I got the shot of the glasswing butterfly, because I am one determined woman running three businesses with the frenzied grace like a glasswing butterfly.

I still haven't crossed everything off that damn to-do list, and probably never will. I will keep on in this wholehearted hustle knowing I am always enough (or at least telling myself that).

With God's gentle, for now reminder, I will stop and feel the forever longing joy. I know better than to think I can busy myself enough to forget about the grief of my life.

They would have been four. I miss them and wonder always. I am thankful and I am sad.

The holidays only make all of the above more palpable, no matter how long that to-do list is.

Be still my child, He must constantly remind me of.

As I finish up this piece, I sit with my three little jammie-less dogs flanked on both sides of me, our noses filled with the slightest scent of pine.

You see, God, also gave me Chad. Last night after my dinner out with friends I walked into the house to see an oddly shaped, delicious smelling and plain as day Christmas tree. "You said you wanted a real one," Chad said with love in his eyes.

My eyes filled with tears, "I did."

He looks back at me with confusion, as to him it is only a tree and a nice gesture for his wife.

 
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To me it is a tree that reminds me that my house is missing a few four year olds to help me decorate it, and so it is also one more thing on that never ending to do list.

I am finding you never quite know how grief will hit you year to year, especially with the holidays or special dates. What I do know is that we cannot busy ourselves enough to forget about it.

It is a huge part of us, and always will be. I am honored and grateful to be their mother, all within my forever longing for them.

So I guess the question really is: How long will the tree stay bare?

Not as long as my heart will ache.

To the Invisible Mom Crying in Church

I work on my phone on the twenty minute drive to church. There are two months a year I am very busy as an infertility and loss thriver and advocate: April (National Infertility Awareness Month) and October (National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month). I feel the car slow and glance up to notice the string of cars with brake lights illuminated for as far as we can see. Pumpkin patch.

Damn pumpkin patch (at least for this woman who can't have babies).

It is that time of year that every week on our way to church we will pass the biggest and most popular pumpkin patch in St. Louis. I will look to my right every single week for about six weeks and see the orange pumpkins of every size with children crawling all over them while their parents try to get the annual picture.

A reminder, again, that I will never have that experience with my own children.

This Sunday is different though as I work on finding and saving pictures about pregnancy and infant loss on my phone to share each day of the month. It is different because of what I know is waiting for me in the service this week in church. I sigh and look over at Chad just as the traffic begins to pick back up to normal pace,

This is literally an infertile woman's road of hell. Passing the pumpkin patch full of kids at a slow pace as if to rub it in even more while on the way to child dedication day at your church.

He half laughs with a sigh. I know he both gets it and doesn't.

We walk into the enormous auditorium just as the first song plays. This is late for us, we are usually here early and have our butts planted in our front row center seats at least ten minutes before the service starts. I knew this week I would not want to be in those seats.

Front row center to the dream that will never be yours...no thank you.

The usher sees us trying to find a seat and motions us to our right, I immediately notice the chairs are marked "family section". I shake my head and feel my heart rate rise as I make eye contact with Chad. The usher motions again to the same section. I start to feel the panic rise inside of me, Seriously God?

I look at Chad and try to get him to hear me when I say,

I am not sitting in the family section on child dedication day.

He makes the connection and follows me as I bolt to the opposite side of the auditorium and we finally find seats in the upper part of the auditorium.

The music swells and we are taken to church, just like every Sunday. After one song the lights come up and I see the families being led to the front of the stage with their babies.

Here we go.

Chad puts his hand on my leg and I clasped my hands tightly together as if the pressure will keep the tears in this year. My own grief is a tiny bit subdued this year because we have two sets of friends at the front with their adorable daughters. I am able to focus on them for the most part which means my own longing awakens inside of me just a bit.

Until I see her.

I can only see her orange shirt, her dark hair pulled into a ponytail and how tightly her husband is holding her. Her husband's arm is wrapped around her and I know it is serving multiple purposes, to both hold her up and in and love her. She wipes tears from her face the entire ten minutes that our pastor talks about us as a congregation supporting and loving these families and these children in their walk with Christ.

My own tears escape the rims of my eyes to fall onto my cheeks. Chad puts his arm around me for only a second knowing that if he lingers too long I will lose it myself.

The music swells up. I see her take a deep breath just as her husband's fingers interlace with hers behind her back.

She wipes more tears.

I wipe my own.

I see her.

I am her.

I only wish there had been an open seat next to her because I would have gone down to sit beside her and grab her hand while we both allowed tears to flow down our cheeks.

Last year at child dedication I was overcome by breath stealing sobs. So much so, I had to sit down in the dark during the song to try to calm myself.

The thoughts and feelings that go through a woman struggling with any version of the infertility or loss story during a child dedication runs the gamut:

Why them and not me?

Will I ever be a mother?

I will never be up there.

I am supposed to be up there this year.

I wonder if those twins are from IVF?

They seem older, I bet they had to do treatments.

My parents will never get to experience this joy.

God, have you forgotten me? 

They would have been four this year.

Why do they never mention couples like us...

I am a mother too...

This year right after the dedication they played Christ is Enough.

As a believer I know this and trust it.

As a forever longing mom, my aching heart can sometimes doubt it.

My breath catches as we sing:

Through every storm

My soul will sing...

The cross before me

The world behind me

More than ever these words are true for me.

They are true and I still long for my babies.

I wonder.

I love.

I weep.

I love even harder and more.

It is with this forever scarred and always healing soul and my heart full of longing joy that I want to say to the invisible mom crying in church,

You are not alone. Even though it feels as if you are invisible, like no one remembers us or cares enough to see us, you are not invisible.

I see you. I know you. I am you. We are a mothers too.

 
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Creating the Rainbow

 
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A quick post of the latest happenings in this life of ever upward; the life of creating my rainbow... A piece I am super proud of (I bought a skirt for it and everything). I submitted it for months. I was rejected from many. All to finally find a home over at Rebelle Society! Please click here to read one of my favorite pieces I've ever written.

My 2nd YouVersion Bible app reading plan was published last week. I will have another one coming out next week on hope. Please click here to see my self-care reading plan.

Finally, I hope you are following along with the Footprints blog tour as we gear up for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month in October. There are been some incredible stories shared, and we are only halfway through!

As always, thank you for your support, your shares and your love. I can feel it in this journey, and for that I am so grateful.

Justine

A Story the World Isn't Ready For

I sit at the dining room table. The slightest glimmer of the rising sun brightening the sky outside the floor to ceiling window as I take the first drink of my yummy, albeit nutritious, breakfast smoothie. My usual songs of rising playing and my coloring journal in front of me. Oftentimes my morning writing turns into written prayers, as if talking to Him helps to clear my head while also making it all the more real. The work I am doing. The words I am speaking. The fight I am fighting.

I know He is listening, and yet I often have to remind myself I am not alone in this.

When suddenly I am surprised by the words I am writing, my own words, in the chosen color of pink for today,

Why Lord did you write this story for me if you aren't going to give people the ears and hearts to hear it?

As soon as I see the sentence, the prayer, it does not take but a half breath for the next sentence to come out of my hand,

 
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Give ears to the earless.

I close my eyes as a exasperated breath escapes my lips, damn it.

Yep, I curse, even when I talk to Him. He knows I am thinking it anyways. And, guess what? He loves me anyway.

Please God, help me to find a way to do this. I pray for clarity, creativity and courage to create the openness...

Perception may be that I am uber successful, the emails I get each week thanking me for my work and also asking to take me to lunch to learn from me speak to this. And yet, most days I feel as if I am jumping up and down, waving my arms desperately and screaming, "Does anyone see me? Can anyone hear?"

I have come to realize I am in the business of the invisible unspoken; I speak my life into a world of people who don't want to hear my story, in fact some of them actively deny it.

Let's just start with therapy. The stigma is changing as people begin to not only admit but boast that they see a great therapist and you should too. Yet, mental illness is widely misunderstood by both the general public and I am finding even more so by the medical community; let alone, that happiness is a choice and takes intentional daily work. I am a therapist. People love my resources, my education and inspiration. Yet, they struggle, and sometimes even refuse, to do the damn work themselves.

Then we've got my side gig in network marketing with a supplement company that I am very proud of, whose products have changed my life and an industry I love more and more each day. The misconceptions on network marketing and supplementation are endless. People question my motives, products and the industry daily. When all I am trying to do is help myself and others find freedom in their health and finances. Rather, than open up to a different way, what I think is a better way, many choose to stay in their known misery (not much unlike my daily work as a therapist).

Finally, my purpose and calling here on earth; my motherhood, although most won't call it that. My story scares most people, I am the epitome of life not turning out how you planned, hoped, dreamed or paid for. I am the worst case scenario: tried to have kids, paid a lot of money to have kids and ended the journey without them.

I am childless and a mother.

 
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I am the case who lowers the infertility clinics statistics because I did not get the baby and I am the therapist who is helping women thrive through and after this journey no matter what they get. Because despite what the media and the average clinic wants you to believe, not all of us end up with babies; yet there are many versions of the happy ending, I promise.

I am the infertility community's black sheep and one of the hardest working advocates for anyone no matter where they are in the journey. I know my narrative scares the shit out of most and yet it is my scary story, the permission to speak the unspoken and to say enough that helps so many thrive no matter what they get in life.

I am the general society's unacknowledged unsuccess story and a change maker, even if only on the tiniest of scales. People want the story of someone who never gave up and got the traditional happy ending. When in reality those stories are actually few and far between because none of us get out of this life without having to redefine something and choosing to thrive thereafter. My truth is about thriving when life did not turn out, and despite what is shared in the media, or even in my own community, I have one hell of a happy ending. I fight for it, create it and receive it every day.

I was made the mother I am to teach and model it for you.

Now sitting on my orange couch flanked by three little dogs, I take a sip of my steaming decaf coffee. I set the timer on my phone for five minutes for my creative writing which begins as a continuation of my earlier written prayers. My handwriting slows down and clears up after I write again, why give me this story if no one is ready to hear it?

Because, my child, it is not about you, it is about them. It is about Me. Therefore go out and love like Me. Walking in the grace and the mess of truth in love and the complicated gray. I promise, you were made for such a time as this and they are listening.

A Blessing Made Manifest

"Is there a park nearby so we can get your last interview?" Ann the director of Don't Talk About the Baby asked. "Yep, super close," I replied.

 
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It was Saturday night and we were both exhausted. We started filming my morning routine at sunrise and were approaching hour 14 of filming. We had spent the last two days filming no less than 12 hours.

 
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We reached the park and stepped into the thick damp air of St. Louis summer. Of course there was a playground at the park. Of course there was a little girl's birthday party. Of course there were butterfly balloons at the party.

Of course.

I write this on August 31st.

It is August 31st again.

Again.

It comes every year.

They would be four this year.

Four years ago this day felt crushing. Four years ago that playground with a birthday party and butterfly balloons would have sent tears down my cheeks. Instead, I stood there while being filmed for a project that I wholeheartedly believe in and am honored to be a part of, taking it all in and giving myself permission to feel it.

 
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The joy. The sadness. The pride. The longing.

The blessing and the manifestation.

It took me about a year to dig my way out of the darkness that was left after our failed infertility journey. A year of working with my therapist, building and wrestling with my faith, truly taking care of myself and re-engaging in my marriage. A year of owning all the parts of my story, speaking them, honoring my truth and my babies by creating this happy, healthy and magnificent version of myself.

Since then, all five of these years, I have spent working my ass off on making sure the infertility journey, hell life, does not leave us all empty shells of who we once were. Helping others to give themselves permission to feel it all, all at the the same time; to feel the clarity and healing of the complicated gray. Writing and speaking the often ignored and rejected words of truth, the words to our freedom to ask for what we want and need and to have the courage to speak our truth always.

To shine the light of thriving out of the darkness to create our own second chances.

"I need you in every interview, this film is focusing a lot on you," Ann directed me last week at the beginning of our three days of filming.

"Oh, I didn't realize," I replied.

I shook my head as if to clear the confusion. The confusion that after four years of rejection after rejection, being called terrible names on HuffPost, a couple negative reviews, being ignored by even some of my closest friends and family, money spent, the hardest and best work of my life for no pay, this was finally happening.

My truth and story, my healthy, albeit controversial, messages are the focus of a feature length documentary on infertility and pregnancy loss. This was everything I had been working for.

There was no time to let it soak in, we had a movie to make, which I quickly learned was not for the weary.

Long hours, bug bites, lots of sweat, more wardrobe changes than you can imagine, pauses for planes and thunder and growling tummies all further complicated by my shock, disbelief, overwhelming gratitude and relief that all of my work was paying off.

For three days straight for 12 to 15 hours a day I was filmed while interviewing my friends, family and clients. We discussed the heartache of infertility and pregnancy loss. We spoke our truths. We rallied the healthy messages of shattering the stigma and talking about our babies.

It is only now a few days later and two mornings of letting myself sleep in that the fog and exhaustion of filming has lifted a bit. I've written some and processed the amazingness this all is, only to realize it is one of our due dates today.

They would be four this year. And, this year I miss them, love them and wonder even more than the first three.

I am also more thankful for them than ever. They've helped make me who I am; a mother to many and a mother of second chances. It is because of them I am changing the world. I honor them with broken silence, hand holds in the power of me too, by embodying the warriorship of fighting for and creating a happy life in this world; a world without them and yet so much of them. 

 
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They would be proud.

They are my biggest blessings.

My life, a blessing through and because of them, is also a manifestation. A manifestation of my work and of my choices to embrace all the parts of my story and to always speak.

God made me the mother I am to do this work, to help others and to change the world.

I have done the work to create this incredible life and to be open enough to receive it. I have believed it was possible and that I am worthy of it. I have had the tenacity of every mother who loves and honors her children always.

It is a blessing made manifest.

And, it is only the beginning.

***All photos by Ann Zamudio, Director of Don't Talk About the Baby

Momscast Podcast

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

Penned Musing: A Grace Filled Grief

This Penned Musing inspired after reading Psalm 6. ~~~

Grace.

A gift no one deserves and yet we are all worthy of.

Worthy through, in and because of Him.

Grief threatens to devour me.

Some days it ebbs not much unlike the slightest tide pulling me down with a quiet tug.

It can always completely devour me.

Devour in stealing my light, snuffing out joy and settling into my soul as a dark dementor.

My tiniest sparks are always there, within myself and within this world.

The spark of my children.

My children only to be held in my heart and never my arms.

Gifted to me through grace.

A grace filled grief.

If only I receive.

Grace to find my place as a mother in this world.

Grace to find my place in His story.

My grace.

 
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