The And of Fear and Faith

The pump you up memes say, “Be fearless!”

The personal growth gurus say, “Feel the fear and do it anyway!”

Some religions say, “There is no fear with faith.”

Therapists say, “Identify the fear, feel it, talk about it, cope with it, and allow it to move through.” (We therapists can be wordy.)

My new coach Cassandra is teaching me, “Feel the fear, do not attach to the drama of it, and choose faith.”

Crap! So which is it?

Click here to continue reading over at The Huffington Post.

 
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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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Do You Think She's Brave?

I am not sure I have ever been so scared for a piece to be published... Here we go! I am practicing my badass bravery even though I feel like I may vomit. Thank you also to my amazing friend over at Bent Not Broken for her editing help on this one! ~~~

Is She Brave?

We hear it growing up and even more as adults: never give up, good things come to those who wait and work hard for your dreams.

Then one day you walk out of a florescent lit doctor’s office as a shell of your former self after receiving life changing news because now you must pick up the pieces of what you thought your life would be.

She received the diagnosis several years ago.

Click here to continue reading over at HuffPost.

A Community of Never Enough Mothers?

A woman with two devastating losses currently pregnant with a miracle. A woman in the midst of her very last round of infertility treatments after five losses.

A woman with two losses she has never felt good enough to claim.

A woman told at 16 years old she would never conceive.

Women who are all mothers, not in your traditional sense of the word of 2.5 children in the family picture, but mothers still.

I am one of these mothers; failed infertility treatments, three lost babies and learning to live life parenting from afar. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for almost three years now. I have completed The Daring Way™ curriculum with over 50 clients helping them to rise over shame and learn to live and love wholeheartedly.

A couple of weekends ago I led the four above mentioned women through Brené’s new Rising Strong™ curriculum. It was my first infertility and loss intensive, and it was four years in the making.

Click here to continue reading over at HuffPost.

 
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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

Don't Talk About the Baby: The Missed Goal

 We only have 4 more days in the final funding campaign for the documentary Don't Talk About the Baby. In support of the campaign Chad and I wrote companion posts and here is mine (you can read his

here

). Please share far and wide and contribute to the film if you can. Thank you!

The Missed Goal

 
 

I sit on the hard bench in the warm sun watching two of our chosen children run the field in the 5 year old soccer game. Lane is running down the field with his arms pumping with a might I’ve never seen before. His little brother Evan trails behind the whole team seeming a bit lost as he is technically a year too young to be playing. Both of them smile the whole game shining pure joy everywhere.

I snap a few pictures with my nice camera to be able to send to my friend Sam later that day. I enjoy watching the boys play for an hour but am also slightly distracted. We attend many of their events; games, concerts and plays. It is an honor and joy to be such an active part of their lives, it is something I am beyond thankful to their parents, our friends, for letting us be.

But there are always the whispers in my heart.

They would have turned four years old later this summer and early fall.

Click here to continue reading.

Chad's Voice: The Missed Homerun

Chad wrote his first blog post in honor of the documentary Don't Talk About the Baby. Please read and share far and wide! The male perspective is so important in the infertility and loss world! ~~~

The Missed Homerun

... Mountains of articles and posts exist about the impact of infertility and loss but surprisingly very few share the male perspective. I think a huge reason for. this is men’s ability to be completely lost in a single topic or event. Some may call this presence and being engaged but I also think it’s our ability to compartmentalize. The way I am wired allows me to compartmentalize my thoughts, feelings and experiences much more than Justine...

Claire here to read more.

HuffPost Parents: When Your Child Asks Why I Don't Have Kids

I originally wrote this piece for another outlet but received the official rejection for that yesterday. When one door closes you open another. I am beyond thankful to HuffPost Parents for their continued support of Ever Upward

~~~

When Your Child Asks Why I Don't Have Kids

At 3 he asked his mom, “Why don’t Justine and Chad have kids?”

His mom replied with a generic, “Well, they have three dogs instead.”

At 6 he asked in front of us at the dinner table, “Why don’t you have kids?”

Before I could answer, his mom said, “That’s why they love spending so much time with you guys!”

It is a simple question from him, grounded in true loving curiosity. It is a loaded question for me that speaks volumes he is too little to understand yet. It is a question he deserves a truthful answer to, as it has to be confusing to see these people who love him so much not look like all the other families around him.

How do you as parents answer this question in a way that honors your child’s curiosity and respects the feelings and the story of the stunned couple in front of you?

Click here to continue reading over at HuffPost Parents.

Infertility's Identity Theft

She sits in the chair across from me showing more of her pregnancy. Her face is filling out, her breathing becoming more and more labored and her belly growing each week as her baby gets closer to breathing this earth's fresh air. "How is your anxiety?" I ask her with both love and accountability. "Getting any better since you passed the week of Sarah's loss?" referring to her pregnancy loss and making sure to name her baby girl.

"Maybe a little," she replies as she tries to push the tears down and away from springing to her eyes.

"There is enough room for both. Give yourself permission to feel happy and scared and anxious and sad and joyful all at the same time. Fighting any of it, or denying it, will only make the anxiety worse."

She looks at me with a look of both disbelief and peace.

Click here to read more of my latest over at HuffPost Parents.

Still Mothers: Skipping With My Three

Most of our closest friends have three kids. Three!

Three seems to be the new 2.5 kids in our culture. We love those big families of five even if sometimes we look at each on our way to the childless quiet of our home and say to one another, “Man, three kids! The kids literally out number the adults. Do you think we would have gotten three?”

But we do have three.

Just not here with feet skipping along the earth.

Continue reading my first guest post over at Still Mothers here.

Birthing a Rare Kind of Parenthood

My latest for HuffPost Parents. It is some of my most important writing and is part of something I had hoped to use in my TEDx talk. But sharing it here felt right and I simply could not sit on it any longer. ~~~

I Will Never Birth a Child, But I'm Still a Parent

It is not uncommon that an interview with Kim Cattrall be shared on multiple media outlets. However, it is uncommon when you consider one of the topics she discussed: how she parents even though she does not have her own children.

Across social media her quotes ignited comments of both major support and criticism. As an advocate for breaking the silence of infertility, pregnancy loss and recovery I was excited and as a writer, I have my own words.

~~~

I always knew my journey to parenthood would not be traditional, and yet I never could have imagined the unexpected extraordinary life that has been born of my journey.

I met Michelle on a surrogacy website. My husband and I were beginning the journey to make our family through gestational surrogacy. Michelle was a mother of two children and a first time surrogate. We did In vitro fertilization (IVF), putting both of our bodies through synthetic hormonal hell, transferred a total of three embryos, lost our three babies and our dreams to make our family ended.

Who are we if we are not parents? What is our legacy if no one carries on our family name, our gorgeous red hair, vivacious laugh and vibrant, passionate personalities?

Click here to read the whole piece.

Honoring Them

 
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Yesterday was one of our seared dates. I was a successful normal person yesterday instead of an evolved therapist. I busied my way through the day keeping my mind off the date that will never leave me. Sure, I got a lot done and the things I got done bring nothing but honor to our never to be babies but I also know I must allow the sadness, grief and forever longing to be.

Because only through the darkness do we make room for the light.

And so, with my scarred but never closed soul I wonder who they would have been, I grieve the lifelong losses with both sadness and anger at how unfair it sometimes feels and I trust I am making them proud by how I parent them from afar and always choose to rise ever upward.

~~~

In case you missed the announcement on my social media (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) and in the September Newsletter Preview (make sure you subscribe here), one of those things that kept me busy yesterday was my newest project!

My first adult coloring book, Taking Flight!

Taking Flight is an adult coloring book containing coloring pages and journaling prompts, guiding the reader through the miraculous life cycle of the monarch butterfly while leading the reader to draw parallels to their own life journey and struggles.

Coming soon via Amazon!

 
 

Birthing A New Self

I am still in shock to have an original piece be run over at The Good Mother Project. I am so thankful to them for taking a chance and giving this non-traditional mother a place to shine her light. I hope I did us proud.

~~~

Birthing My Best Self

I tried very hard to be a mother in the traditional sense, and yet it was not my dream to have.

And still, I parent every single day. I make sure to, otherwise I fear I would be swallowed whole by my losses.

Finding other ways to parent, when traditional parenthood has not worked out for you, means birthing a new perspective; birthing a new self.

This is my daily work in recovery and in finding my ever upward.

For those of us who have had to make the impossible choice to end our pursuit of motherhood, birthing a new self is imperative to surviving the journey. We have had to make the impossible choice to preserve our finances, our relationships and ourselves. We have had to choose to let go of a dream.

Click here to continue reading over at The Good Mother Project.

I Get It, My Story Makes You Really Uncomfortable

HuffPost Parents ran an original piece yesterday and I wanted to make sure everyone here saw it too. Also, a piece from a friend! Have a great weekend! Justine ~~~

When Your Truth Makes Others Uncomfortable

The first defining part of my life story is one that makes people curious and sometimes left in awe.

I had two back surgeries in high school and was in a body cast for a year of my life.

I survived and overcame.

This makes people feel good and they want to know more; they want to know me.

Skip to 20 years later, and to the most defining part of my life, and it is one that makes people sad and scares the hell out of them.

Infertility treatments did not work for us and we are choosing a childfree not by choice life.

I survived and actively work to overcome and thrive each day.

This makes people sad and uncomfortable.

Click here to keep reading over at HuffPost Parents.

~~~

In Other News

My friend and a huge supporter of Ever Upward, Jessica over at A Hummingbird Paused has been selected as one of the Best Blogs for Resolve's Hope Awards.  I am so excited for her and asked her to write a blurb to share here:

You are not alone. As the theme for this year's Bloggers Unite challenge, it was easy to write about the infertility community and how to find support. There are so many ways to make connections and reach out to the community. But the loneliness? The isolation? That's not something that will just disappear. Because it all starts within your mind. That sense that you're different. Your path to parenthood may be unconventional or non-traditional. You may be forced to make hard choices that few can comprehend. You compare yourself to others and suddenly you start to feel isolated, lonely, and misunderstood. But let me tell you, just because your journey is different doesn't mean that you're alone. You are part of a welcoming and open community, and your story matters.

Being part of any community requires conversation and interaction. It's truly amazing how supportive the infertility and loss community is. And Resolve is a big part of that. They are a huge supporter of the blogging community, as well as providing invaluable resources and a voice on Capitol Hill. I'm so grateful for all they have accomplished and for what they continue to work towards.
Your voice in this community matters. And I would greatly appreciate your vote. But please check out the other bloggers who were nominated as well. Each one of them deserves this nomination for adding their voice to this challenge and for their vulnerability in sharing their stories. We are all in this together, and your participation in this vote is greatly appreciated!

 

The Elusive Empathy Enigma Expanded

My latest original post for HuffPost Healthy Living. ~~~

Expanding the Empathy Enigma

To feel seen, known and loved.

What we all want and need in this life, and what we all probably hope to provide to those we care about.

How do we truly see, know and love someone when their experiences are so different than our own?

Can we truly understand? How can we really get it?

In many ways this is the work of Therapy 101.

The difference between empathy vs. sympathy?

Sympathy: I feel for you; the opposite of what it is to be seen, known and loved. Empathy: I feel with you; the epitome of what it is to be seen, known and loved.

Are you an empathic person?

Empathy is in my bones, not only in my personality but also in my education and training as a mental health therapist. There are times of my life where I feel as if I was born with too much of it. Empathy comes very naturally to me; to consider all sides of a situation and to truly identify with what someone must be feeling.

Do you struggle to have empathy for others because you haven't been through their exact same situation?

Continue reading on HuffPost here.

Changing the Invisible Longing to Empowered Ever Upward

My latest original piece for HuffPost Parents:

Making the Invisible Longing Visible

A week after National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), when I reared my brave heart and our story ran on CNN, I sat in my own therapist's office with tears running down my face and my voice adamant.

Invisible.

Sad.

Angry.

Disappointed.

Fired up.

Just human.

Or at least that is what Shellie, my therapist, reminded that I am.

I have survived my infertility journey and I work every day to thrive thereafter as a forever healing childfull parent.

I advocate every day to break the silence and change the messages as I help others through their journeys both as an author and as a therapist.

Click here to read more.

She Rears Her Brave Heart

I just wrote this piece for HuffPost Parents. National Infertility Week has been more of a struggle for me (and my clients) than I expected. So of course, I wrote it out. Actually, I am shouting it out!

An Infertility Advocate Rears Her Brave Heart

We are halfway through National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).

And honestly, it is kicking my butt.

Kicking my butt both as a survivor, and especially thriver, of the infertility journey but also as an advocate. This is living in the tension and the complicated gray of life, I teach this every day to my clients and life reminds me of it myself often.

As an advocate, I always shine the light on infertility and educate whoever will listen. Ishout at the top of my lungs when it comes to spreading the healthier messages of infertility like: we must be more than this heartbreaking journey, the detriments of the 'never give up' message and that there are many versions of the happy ending.

This advocacy requires incessant sharing on as many platforms as possible this week. Because just maybe my story will reach the person who needs it most in that moment and they will know they are not alone. Because maybe my story will reach the person who needs to tell someone their story and ask for help. And because maybe my story will reach the person who needs to give themselves permission to embrace the complicated gray; to feel lost and confused while at the same time trusting that they do actually know what is best for them on this journey.

But, as the survivor and thriver of infertility, I am also a childfull mother who infertility treatments did not work for. I am the childfull mother who will be forever changed and have to work on always healing the scarred losses of her three never to be babies.

Click here to continue reading over at HuffPost.

Shifting the Definition of Success

She is out there; for all the world to love and judge. She has been born; for all the world to embrace or reject.

She is shining bright; whether or not she sells or bombs.

At this point the making of Ever Upward has been years, and as of last week she has now been born into this big, scary and incredible world.

And, it feels awesome.

 
 

Saturday was my first book signing in a real book store. I went in with absolutely no expectations, or at least I tried as the very normal human being that I am.

No expectations=no disappointment.

Right?

And, just like everything else in this incredible journey, He had a lesson for me.

I had 20 people RSVP for the Facebook invite. The store manage at Barnes & Noble said that if I sold 10 books it would be considered a very successful signing.

Part of me me thought for sure this was doable. And of course, that perfectionist part of me desperately wanted those 10 sales, better yet 11!

But then there was reality. It was a super nice day in St. Louis on Saturday, which is sometimes hard to find in early Spring. I am a first time author. And, my book is about one of the most shamed and misunderstood topics in our society.

Shit, I'd be lucky if I sold a couple books. And 45 minutes into the signing, I had settled for selling even just 1.

Panic did try to settle in off and on, especially those first 45 minutes.

But, I fought her off by choosing my perspective. I practiced gratitude.

I am an author. I am an author signing her first book in a real bookstore. 

God, I am grateful.

And of course, He quickly started showing exactly why I was there that day for my first book signing.

And, it was not to sell books. For the record, I only sold 3 or 4 that day and only a few of those 20 RSVPs showed up.

I was there to connect and educate people.

First, was the older woman who stopped by and told me about her grown children who went through infertility. As we chatted, she was adamant that they got kids though so they are completely fine and would not need my book. You can bet I took that moment. I pointed out that part of the title is Lifelong because the infertility journey changes us forever, even if you do get the happy, healthy kids out of it.

No sale but she promised to tell her kids about the book.

Next there was the woman who looked at me with the fellow warrior compassion and said, "I had to go through infertility too and it didn't work for me either." She then told me about her two amazing daughters she adopted from China. We talked about the childfull life and the scars that the infertility journey leaves us with.

No sale but we connected as mothers, her as a mother to her adopted girls and me as a childfull mother.

That perfectionistic panic and doubt tried really hard to take over here. If I couldn't get these two women to buy my book, then I did not stand a chance of making one sale today.

And then He gifted me the moment that the entire day was for.

A mother and her three kids were lingering by the table, I smiled and said, "Hi!"

The mother then pushed the younger daughter forward and said, "She would really just like to meet a real life author."

My heart soared and I smiled hugely, "I guess that is me, I am a real life author now."

The girl, maybe 10 or 11 years old came right up.

"How do you exactly write a book?" she asked excitedly.

 
 

As I am telling her my book writing process her mom picks up Ever Upward to read the cover and the back cover, she lights up, "They're IVF babies!" as she places her hands on the tops of the girl's and her twin brother's heads.

She goes on to explain that they both know how hard mom and dad had to fight to get them and how they are products of infertility treatments. And then her eyes fill with tears as she realizes that infertility did not work for me. I tell her that Ever Upward is about my journey, defining my own happy ending and how I live a childfull life.

And, that I am okay.

The conversation continued with much excitement. I gave the little girl an Ever Upward journal, "For free!?!", she exclaimed. And she asked me to sign it.

I made her promise that she would write in it every day for at least 30 minutes because this helps our creative writing muscle grow. Her mom then explained that she would be homeschooling next year and she looked at her daughter and said, "Maybe she will be your English pen pal? Why don't you ask her?"

I of course said yes. As they walked away, I took that all familiar deep knowing breath and felt my soul settle, tears came to my eyes and I got it.

No sale but an amazing moment of childfull living.

That is ever upward.

I was in the bathroom when they were checking out with their other purchases, the little girl was upset when I wasn't at the table anymore. When she realized I hadn't left she ran up and gave me a huge, and quite possibly, the best hug ever. I reminded her to keep writing and to definitely email me.

I pray I hear from her and I pray her mom knows how much that moment meant to me. And best of all, I am so thankful that some of my closest friends and my family were there to share this with me.

I have always known Ever Upward was not about the royalty pay outs or the fame. But, society (and my own perfectionism) can really challenge this truth at times. I am thankful that through practicing my daily work in recovery, I was open enough to accept the gift of what my book signing was really meant to be for and mean; connection and education.

Doing this work allows me to be open to what He has in store for me, the true gifts. It is only through this lifelong work that I allow it to be good.

Better than good; ever upward.

~~~

If you have read Ever Upward, leaving a review on Amazon helps in the exposure the book gets on search engines and I appreciate the feedback so much. Please consider leaving a review.

National Infertility Awareness Week is next week. Please consider viewing, sharing and telling CNN that my iReport story needs to be featured. Help those still in the trenches of infertility and those of us who it didn't work for know they are not alone.

The Night Before Birth

I cannot tell you how many times and in how many different ways I have been asked how I have prepared for the launch of my first book, Ever Upward

What are you doing? What do you have planned? Who have you hired? Are you ready? Is it going well?

Here I am after seeing seven clients today on the eve before my baby enters the world. Here I am feeling a little bit of everything in anticipation. Here I am feeling like I suppose many mothers feel on the night before they give birth to their child. Because in many ways, this process, I can only imagine, has many parallels to pregnancy (except, of course, I will not need an epidural tomorrow).

I have prepared for months. I have changed many things about myself in the care of this baby. I have fought hard through the difficult days. I have felt every emotion, sometimes all at the exact same time. I have planned as much as I can plan. I have sought help and support and I have received lots of love in return.

And, now tomorrow she will be here for all the world to see.

And, I am as ready as I can be.

And, I know I am surrounded by more love than I ever dreamed.

Ever Upward is coming into the world with the support, love and light of not only my friends and family but also that of many I have never met. I am overwhelmed and so thankful for the support from my blogging family, Twitter community and all the fellow warriors who have supported the book thus far. I still cannot believe I am launching with 50 Amazon reviews.

Tomorrow, I will be doing the biggest part of how I have launched this book: seeing clients. Because, frankly that is the job that pays the bills. But, tomorrow evening I will celebrate with a few of my favorite people eating a nice dinner out and toasting that Ever Upward is finally here.

I will also close my eyes, take that breath and feel my three lights; my babies I never got to hold here but who have changed me forever. I will honor those three soul scars while at the very same time trusting my ever upward. And, so in that same breath I will also feel Him and say thank you with a heart full of joy, love, sadness and hope.

Most of all I am going to lean into the glory of this light, which is actually my light. Because this has been some of the most difficult work of my life; and yet, the most important.

It is with this trust that I will lean in, let go and know this is just the beginning.

 
 

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I'd love to see pictures of you and your copy of Ever Upward at your favorite bookstore or in your favorite reading spot. Post to your social media walls and make sure to tag me or Ever Upward (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and use the hashtag: #everupward. I'll be giving away an Ever Upwardjournal each week for the next few weeks!

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Busting My Coconut

A whim of a trip, a chance on myself and the Universe calling. Ever Upward launches in bookstores in one month and I will admit I am feeling a wash between frustrated, trying to let it be and, honestly, out of ideas. It seems like every PR and marketing thing we think of does not really pan out. It kind of feels like I just have to sit back and wait for the big break or I somehow figure out who and how much to pay for it.

One night after dinner Chad and I were having an impromptu EU business meeting, which really meant we were discussing what kind of money to spend next, where to spend it and why. In other words he was doing his usual tell me why and how it will help business jaunt and I was doing my I just feel like I am supposed to be there and I am just so frustrated with this whole process.

So really we were just being ourselves, the always working on it, complimentary married couple who also does business together.

We were specifically talking about a training for speakers in Boulder with my friend Erin Weed. Something was just telling me to be there, even though the schedule did not work at all, it was an investment and I was not able to give Chad the PowerPoint presentation as to why exactly I need to be there (read why we needed to spend the money).

Then two hours later Erin emailed me, offering a discount if I came that next week to a small group, especially because she didn't have any females. I showed Chad the email and with that spark in his eye he said, "Book the flight."

Literally right there in my inbox was magic.

 
 

I spent the better part of last week in snowy Boulder training with Erin. I trained with the most random group of people ever, and yet the exact people I was meant to meet right now. And with the help of Erin's magic, for the first time along this journey, I realized two really important things:

First, I have to get out of my own damn way. As I was sharing my story with Erin and the group and working my storyboard I was forced to look at what the real problem was. I learned that my content is good, my message important and the world actually more ready than it thinks. The only thing in the way? Myself. Actually, the fear of my own power.

Erin looked at me and said something to the effect of, "The message is ready, the world is ready and you are more ready than you are willing to admit. What are you scared of?"

 
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I spent three days in Boulder working on what I hope is a TEDx talk. I spent three days in Boulder getting to know the most diverse group of people that I can honestly say are my true friends. I spent three days in Boulder getting out of my own damn way.

And, on that last day I wrote the words, fear of my own power on a coconut. I then said goodbye to that fear, threw it against a wall, completely busting it and sent it down the river. Because, Erin and the group are right; my content is good, my message important and the world is ready. And, best yet, I am the right person to deliver it.

 
 

The second thing I learned is simply gaining a clearer picture of the love and the light I am meant to share with this world. It has already been a guiding light to this journey but what I learned last week was that it is actually the light to my journey. And simply put, but so much more than what one will read, it is the word parent.

 
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Parent.

I am a parent. Not in your traditional definition of the word. Not in how you may accept. But nevertheless, I parent. There will be much, much more to come on that front, I promise.

Because, trust me I've only just begun this parenting business.

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