Friday, February 27, 2009

Remember When

Yesterday I spoke to a friend that I have not seen in a while. This person and I don't talk on a regular basis like we did at one point before I moved away to a different part of Texas, but we have a connection that will always be. I am 39 she is 42. About 7 years ago she and I found out that we were dealing with the same challenge: Infertility. This was during a "baby boom" amoung our seperate peer groups of friends, families and co-workers. She and I stood alone, or so we thought, until we were connected through a mutual friend of ours whom we both had confided in separately and privately. It was good to talk with her then and even now. There are so many things that don't have to be said or explained it just comes easy. Since that time, I have divorced. Neither of us were able to conceive after multiple surgeries and procedures and life has continued on. However, I know that there is an undercurrent of sadness that persists in both of us, even though we continue to be immensely blessed in our lives. Yesterday over at CreoleinDC she coincidentally posted about her challenges in this area. I wanted her to be encouraged by the blessings in her life so I posted this:
"Wow. This was so real. My heart is with you. I know how this can hit you hard from time to time.I have been there. I believe that my infertility has allowed me to become closer to my two nieces and nephew. That is the true blessing. But I know it can hurt just the same. Be encouraged. Your love and commitment to you nephews really does matter. He sees and knows all. Believe that."
I have one sister and we are 14 months apart. We are extremely close. We were both married 14 months apart. She was the first to discover that she had a fertility issue which is actually how I discovered that I had one. Although our specific issues were not the same, the result was that we both had this problem to try and overcome. She was able to conceive with fertility procedures and has 3 beautiful children: Savannah, Olivia & KJ(Kevin Jr). They have been an absolute blessing in my life ! I moved about 8 hours away from my family after I got married and decided to stay in Houston after my divorce 10 years later. Despite the distance, my sister and I made a commitment that her children would have a relationship with me. My nieces are eight and six. My nephew is two. When Savannah was two she came to stay with me & my ex-husband after Olivia was born. Since that time, without fail, they come to visit me in the spring and for 2 weeks in the summer. These times when they come it is without their parents and we have been able to bond and build a relationship that I treasure. This uninterrupted time has given us a special opportunity to become closer that I would not trade for anything. I so look forward to cooking for them, planning activities and adventures, shopping for them, spending time with them and just building them into my life. They have developed relationships with my friends and their children here in Texas. I believe that this has been the blessing that came with my infertility. I know that they are not a replacement for the children that I still hope to have, but I know that their love for me and my love for them has saved me during some of my darkest moments. I have personally come a long way in this infertility challenge but I remember when it was not so easy...
I remember when seeing a woman in the store with an infant made my heart hurt.
I remember when people asking me "what was I waiting on ?" brought tears to my eyes.
I remember when admitting that I was infertile actually embarrassed me.
I remember when going to a baby shower was more than a challenge.
I remember when I couldn't even talk about it without crying.
I remember the pain after each failed fertility procedure.
I remember being angry with God.
I remember the depths of despair.
But I also remember when God began to heal my heart and grow me from the inside out and I am so thankful for it. He continues to bless me in spite of me. There is the occasional pang that I feel, but it comes and goes faster than before. I know that is HIS healing power.
The little ones will be here in two weeks for Spring Break. I am so looking forward to the love they give me that fills these holes in my heart. I remember when I didn't think that was possible.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

40 Days to a Better Life

I am so looking forward to this season of Lent. It seems like this year is some what of a transitional year for me as I am really attempting to show some growth and prove some things to myself. I took a look at my 2009 Resolutions in my journal. I'm not too far off the mark, but the timing of Lent is perfect to rejuvinate me. I feel like I have been doing pretty good with some internal challenges, but also recognize that its time to put some things to rest for good and I know that I have to do better. I am fully committed this year, where as in the past I start off making sacrifices for Him but fail somewhere along the way. I know he knows my heart and forgives me but I want to do better for Him & to try my best to be all that He intends for me to be. Babs recently posted about being a grudge holder and it hit me square on the head. I consider myself to be a very giving and thoughtful person, especially when it comes to my family and those closest to me. But I am a very sensitive person at times and have truly realized how difficult it is for me to let go of resentment and unforgiveness when people hurt me or disappoint me. This has been a huge challenge for me. I put it down. I pick it up. We are starting a 40 days of fasting, praying, scripture reading at church. Additionally, I have laid out a few things that I plan to eliminate from my life during this time, to help with my focus and to show my commitment.

Things I plan to eliminate:
1. Alcohol
2. Bread
3. Sugar
4. Listening to negativity

Things I plan to increase:
1. Daily scripture reading & prayer
2. Exercise
3. Reading
4. Journaling & Blogging

I am on the road to turning 40 this summer and am feeling quite positive about it. Because I have had a few major setbacks these last few years I am trying my best to boost myself up as much as possible. The danger in this is becoming too self-absorbed. I want to maintain a balance of being encouraged with lots of humility. I have faith that He will direct my path, as long as I am listening to Him and praying for discernment.

Are you making any sacrifices during Lent ?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Raising the Bar

I just finished reading St.eve Ha.rvey's new book, " A.ct Like a La.dy, Thi.nk Lik.e A". It was a very quick read-less than 230 pages and pretty straightforward with the information, much like his comedic delivery. I have read a lot of self-help relationship books in the past so there was not a lot of new information here for me, but it was good to hear some things reinforced from a man's point of view. Evidently he appeared on El.len's show last week and the book debuted at #1 on somebodies publishing list. Now I can definitely see how there are a lot of women who can benefit from reading this book and applying the principles to their dating escapades. Much of it is just common sense. But I guess it seems that it's just not common enough ! LOL One of the recurring themes is basically that you show men how to treat you by what you are willing to accept. He states that women are the ones with the power in male female relationships but we just don't know how to use it. I thought about this and have to agree. I believe that more than anything a lot of women have lost their power in the form of a loss of self esteem. In a round about way this effects other women because it colors the way that men view women collectively and I believe affects the way that men approach women and attempt to deal with some of them in general. I say ATTEMPT because this foolishness does not always work, but it works enough for some guys to continue to try certain things. My friends and I discuss this all the time and we call it "lowering the bar". It seems that so many women have bought into this "man shortage" theory, as well as lowering their expectations in general, that the game has been changed. Men don't have a problem approaching you with nonsense, because it works or has worked for one of his boys. In the book, Steve talks about the various reasons that men cheat. He stated that the biggest reason of all is "There is always a woman out their willing to cheat with him". And this is done knowingly. He explains, "Men can cheat because there are so many women willing to give themselves to a man who doesn't belong to them. He talks about how so many relationships and marriages could be saved if more women refused to participate in these situations because they thought they deserved better. He says "Men Respect Standards-Get Some". I guess after reading this book, I kind of felt a bit of sadness, because honestly this book is targeted towards basically grown women who should have learned these concepts after a couple of heartbreaks. It is sad that we as women ( in general) have lowered the bar to the point that there is a real audience for this type of book. I don't know what the solution is, but I guess we just have to Raise the Bar one woman at a time.

Have you read this book ? What did you learn ?

Why do you think there is an audience for it ? What are your thoughts ?

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Funny Valentine

I heard the statement yesterday while flipping through the channels that "Valentine's Day can make or break a relationship". I was called away to something more important but later continued to ponder on whether or not that was true or not. In my estimation, most times, people know whether or not they are in a relationship that is working or not. At least ONE person knows for sure. Now whether they are truly communicating that or not is another thing. I have a close friend who is having a few challenges in her new relationship of less than a year. Some fundamental issues of what it means to be in a relationship have come up & it does not appear that there is going to be a compromise. Each person feels how they feel about it. I could see this collision in advance because she and I talk regularly and I know her better than most. The funny thing, is that it's going to take this "make or break" holiday for a decision to have to be made. I wonder why that is ?

I am definitely a lover of Valentine's Day. Even though I am currently single, I still fully support this holiday. I consider all the V- Day bashing that is going on in blog land just ol' fashioned Hatin ! When Christmas comes around each year, Christians don't say " Oh I go to church every Sunday & read my bible everyday, I don't need to celebrate the birth of Jesus on some holiday, I celebrate it everyday in prayer !" LOL ! When you are in love there is nothing wrong with celebrating that love on a special day, regardless of the fact that you should celebrate it every day, there is nothing wrong with a designated holiday. Like Babs said over on her spot, the majority of haters are single. I am not in that club. Do I wish I had a special someone to celebrate with ? Of course. Will I hate on those who do? Not ! Just yearning for my own that has yet to come, but I know is definitely on the way in due time. I think it's funny that some people have to pretend not to care to cover up their disappointment. I am so beyond that. I am honest about ALL aspects of being single, the good, the bad & the ugly. My closest friends will tell you that.

I plan to fully enjoy my Valentine's Day Weekend. I am going out tonight for a pre-Valentine's Day Celebration with some single friends. I am going to wear a flamin' hot red dress & I am surprising my friends with some lovely roses that I have purchased for them, to celebrate the love I have for them and our friendship. We are going to a cool little wine bar and then on to another spot for some live music & dancing. I plan to get up on Saturday & make myself some heart shaped pancakes & turkey bacon and then head out to support my close friend who has recently published his 7th novel titled " Sticks & Stones". I love Eric, he is a true gentleman and a great friend, so I am coming to his book signing and bringing him some roses too ! That evening I am going to the movies with a guy who is just a friend and I plan for us to see something funny to make my heart smile. On Sunday I am going to celebrate with the love of my life Jesus :) and spend the day celebrating our love affair & all the wonderful Valentine's gifts that he has given me. I am going to cook a nice dinner & enjoy some wine under my gazebo in the lovely backyard of the beautiful home that He has blessed me to own, with mortgage payments that I can easily afford. I am going to prepare for the next week to go to the wonderful job that He has provided me with that allows me to provide for myself and assist others despite this recession. I am going to exercise with the healthy body that He has given me to celebrate the blessing that is Life!

What are your plans for celebrating love in your life this weekend ?
What do you find funny about Valentines Day ?