Back in the writing saddle…somewhat

Another year, another blog post.  Yes, I’m averaging about one a year.  Gold writing star for me! While writing more is not a New Year’s resolution…I gave up on those years ago…I do feel the desire to write again.  It’s something that God is placing on my heart.  I’ve been talking to Him about what to write in what format and whether it should be public or not, and I really hear nothing but “write” so here I go…

I don’t “need” to make my writing public.  In fact, this last year I’ve become a very private person for more than one reason.  Deeply personal reasons aside I feel like too much of what I used to feel and say was said publicly on social media.  I started inwardly cringing so much about that, that my temporary Facebook hiatus has now turned into an aversion so great that the thought of going back there would be akin to jumping back into a toxic swamp. If I did I would have to go back years and years and delete and delete.  The thought of that brings on something akin to dry heaves.  So, no, FB my account staying deactivated is just the way it needs to be for me and for the world.

I know that social media has it’s positives, but the few positives it afforded me have been held down and drowned in that toxic swamp by all the negatives and my own past misuse of it. Yes, I miss my friends there who are miles and even countries away, but I’ve overcome that with actually communicating with them directly.  Now, I will admit I don’t communicate as much as a should, but what a novel idea to write them directly, call them or even better make sacrifices to actually see them face to face when and if possible!

I’m not completely a social media recluse yet you think I’ve become of some anti-social media super-cool hipster (ha!  Me a hipster?  I don’t even own a plaid shirt!) I’m still on Instagram because I occasionally go to cool places and take pretty pictures, but even my postings there average about once every three months!

The reason I’m blogging is because the thought that my writing might be seen by maybe a handful of people will make me somewhat accountable for what I am writing.  Right now as I look at how many “I’s” and “I’ms” are in this post it screams “all about me.” I’ll try to remedy that…but then again, maybe not.

I will try to be vulnerable without dishing about my private life.  This is not because I’m that super-cool hipster that’s above it all (I do have some new nerdy glasses’ frames.  I’ll give myself some hipster credit for that) but because what I want to share is what God has shown me spiritually in the last year or so. I want it to be about Him and not about me.

2016 was a transition year for me in so many ways.  It was at times wonderful and at times difficult, sometimes simultaneously.  Becoming a true adult in your late 40’s is not for the faint of heart.  It really is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I’m living proof that with God’s help it can accomplished.  Believe me, there are days when I don’t want to adult, but the joys of truly surrendering myself to my God and allowing Him to do the maturing work in me are so above and beyond the difficult moments. With the help of my Savior, Godly friends and counselors I look back on the person I was and cannot believe I’m the same person.  Now, there are days the enemy tries to taunt me with the old fears and anxieties, but it only lasts for moments, hours, days.  I even have bad weeks, but consistently God is doing such a redeeming work in me that I find it hard to put the experience into words.  I’m going to try though…

I will disclaimer all that to say I don’t know how much I will post, but my goal is more than once a year.  Just to cover the bases though if I don’t write until next year I pray your 2017 brings to you many blessings and that God will do for you what He’s so consistently been doing for me.






A Season of Transition and Unsurpassed Grace

I’ve been getting some new followers lately and some feedback on my older posts.  Since I haven’t written any new content in several months I was wondering what was generating the attention.  Well, I Googled and Bing-ed my blog title and my blog comes up as the the first to third on the hits list (depending on the day)  so I was like, “Whoa…”  I decided that it was sign that I write something again.   I’ve been wanting to write, but well, my life took a dramatic turn about 10 months ago. I’ve wanted to blog more times than I have, but I’ve just not been ready to share.  I’m still not sure if I’m ready to share, so I’m writing this not knowing than when I’m done if I’ll hit “Publish” or not.  I’m going to write the below with an effort to be honest yet honor the people that it could affect.  I never want to use my blog to expose or hurt anyone.  That is not my desire.  I also know the weightiness of putting your personal issues online.  So, the “issues” are not going to be put here.  Not the place.   I’m really a very private person by nature.  I have tons of  journal content.  Those books know my every feeling, so it’s all written down.  I think one day it might make a pretty doggone good book, but that’s years down the road if ever, only if God leads.  I also thought about whether or not to rename the blog as my life has taken such a dramatic turn, and my possible childbearing years are nearly over, but I still think it fits.  I’ll write more about that later on down the line.

So, time to get to the point…

My husband and I are separated.

I realize in this day and age that’s not a very big bomb-drop statement, but to someone who expected to be married forever those six words carry a lot of weight, sadness, and a whole boat-load of other emotions.  It’s commonplace until it happens to you.

Again, I”m not going into the nitty-gritty of the situation.  I still care very much for my husband, and one of the very few ways I can honor and care for him right now is to respect him.  Also, what goes on inside a marriage is very personal and very raw especially when a marriage is in distress.  This is OUR relationship and shouldn’t be fodder for public scrutiny.  I can’t say I’ve been one hundred percent perfect in this area, but through some mistakes and through healing I’ve come to the place that those issues are solely between my husband and I.  I say this knowing that our marriage has an affect on SO MANY people.  I have a small handful of trusted friends and a great counselor who know my side of the story.   I’ve been floored by just how many people it has affected, and we don’t even have children!!  When marriages break down (with children or not), societies break down.  Evidence proves that, but that’s another post for another day.

I guess you can say I’m spouse-less not by choice right now…like I wanted another label…

Did unplanned childlessness have an affect on our marriage?  I would be lying if I said, “No.”  It had a greater affect on both of us than I ever knew.  I made HUGE mistakes.  I didn’t always handle my grief maturely.  I grieved over an extended period of time, because infertility/childlessness is not something you can grieve for 6-12 months and move on with your life.  You deal with it all your life, and it does put a HUGE amount of pressure on  a marriage.  Do, I blame infertility for where we are now?  No.  I don’t.  Our marriage is way more complex than one issue,  but it was always one of the elephants in the room of our lives.  It’s the same as the loss of a living child or miscarriage.  There’s no denying the loss, and the loss will always be there. It has to be dealt with one way or the other, and this kind of loss takes time and lots of it.  Running from it or trying to avoid it only makes a larger crisis inevitable.

I cannot write everything I want to write in one blog post, and I don’t know how frequently the blog posts will come.  I’m not going to pressure myself into saying I have to write at any specific interval, but I want to say this today as a person of faith in Jesus Christ:

I’m closer to God than I’ve ever been.  He is so real to me even during some of the greatest emotional pain I’ve ever been through.

It would take a War and Peace-sized book to tell you the emotional and spiritual journey I’ve been through the last 10 months, and it’s far from over.  I can honestly say the almost 20 years of infertility/childlessness was a cakewalk compared to the last 4 years of marriage turmoil and subsequent separation; however, through all the horrendous pain there has been a tremendous amount of healing…healing I don’t think could have happened had I not been alone.  God says he always works everything for our good.  The key word is “works” because not all things are good.  The Bible gives so many examples of that, but in the end it works out for the good of all involved.

I believe in covenant marriage.  I do believe that once people marry it should be for life.  If not, why do even most secular vows consist of some version of “for better for worse, for richer or poorer, till death do us part”?  Because God ordained it to be that way.  Yes, divorce has always been allowed for in extreme situations, but when Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees in Matthew 19 he said, (paraphrase) “It’s only so because the hardness of your hearts”, and he goes on to  reiterate God’s plan for  the earthly permanence of  one-man, one-woman marriage.  When the feelings aren’t there anymore then love and commitment come down to a choice, and sometimes you have to grit your teeth and barrel through the hard times even when it seems like the hard times won’t end.

I don’t want to get on a soapbox, but this is what I believe, and this worldview is where I’ll come from in subsequent posts.  I don’t bash or judge anyone with opposing views.  I love divorced people…God loves divorced people.  I’m looking possible divorce smack-dab in the face.   Because of the tragedy of no-fault divorce in some states people don’t get a choice.  It happens, and none of us are immune.   Most likely, if your spouse wants out there’s not a thing you can do about that piece of paper that severs only the legal tie.  I believe the tie in Heaven remains until death do us part, and it even has eternal implications.

With that said I want to end this post on an upbeat note.  I really am doing okay.  God has shown me SO MUCH through this time, and he is changing me for the better!  Yes, the pain is unimaginable at times, but the pain is working in me things I should’ve allowed God to work in me years ago.  I’m stubborn, and I’m a slow learner, but through it all God has not abandoned or forsaken me.  I could be bitter and angry, and I have days when I have those feelings, but surprisingly, after some healing I’m not.  I’ve also had some great opportunities that have come through my situation and through this blog.  Because of the blog I am being contacted rather frequently by publications and media for interviews.  I do not want to waste any of this experience.  I want to minister/help others in some way whether it be big or small.  I’m not looking for notoriety.  I just want to write and use this medium to reach others as God sees fit; nothing more, nothing less.

Well, I guess I’m going to hit  “Publish”.

Questions and Answers

I’ve been getting some new traffic and comments on my blog, and I’m always humbled by the comments I receive.  I also receive questions from time to time.  Most of the time I just respond to those questions directly to the commenter/asker, but I know not everyone puruses the comment section.  So, I’ll try to answer most of the questions I’ve received lately in this post (unless they are of a personal nature to either I or the commenter).  Here are the latest questions I’ve received with the corresponding answers.  Now, these are just my answers.  They are by no means “expert” by any stretch of the imagination.  They are just what I’ve found true in my life.

— How do you move with purpose/intention/motivation?  I too have days (weekends/holidays) of loneliness.  Unlike you, I struggle to find motivation to work around my house.  Why clean today, when I can clean tomorrow?  Why run that errand now?  I can do it later?  Why get out of bed now?  I can do that later too.  Sometimes I feel as though (to borrow the term) I am “chasing away boredom” when I move toward activities I enjoy.

These are good questions, and I promise you that I’m not trying to evade answering them by saying that  what gives YOU purpose, intention, and motivation will be different from what gives me purpose, intention and motivation.  This is something I have struggled with for years; however, because I have now entered a new season that has forced me to look head-on into my life’s purpose here is what I am learning…

You have to learn to work with the hand you’ve been dealt…you have to come to a place of acceptance.  This is paramount to living your life with purpose.  If you run from what is happening/has happened to you…or from what hasn’t happened…you will not find purpose, intention and motivation.  Once you come to the place of acceptance then you can start working on this.  Aceeptance is a process.  I came to the point of acceptance of my childlessness a couple of years ago.  That was good timing , because then I was dealt another life-altering situation that required has required me to go on the journey which is accepting another reality in which I have no control.

In summary, you have to find your own life outside of your identity as a childless woman.  Are you a wife, a daughter, an aunt, an employee etc. etc.?  I can guarantee you are something.  You are probably many things.  With that said from my personal beliefs and faith I am first and foremost a daughter of God.  My identity is first and foremost in Christ.  I honestly, don’t know how anyone gets through this life without faith in God.  I can honestly say that after the last four years I would be six feet under if it had not been for God and His strength to get me through.

As far as motivation that is personal too.  If you don’t feel like cleaning, doing errands, or even getting out of bed one day, and you are not forced by circumstances to do these things then DON’T DO THEM.   I find that a day of low motivation is usually followed by a day of higher motivation.  I had that experience this weekend.  I felt  like doing nothing on Saturday, but by Sunday I was a whirlwind of energy.  If low motivation is a chronic problem for you then you might need to get counseling or a life coach to help you find motivation for everyday living.  Someone once said, “The problem with life is that it’s so DAILY.”  That is so true.  We’d love every day to be an adventure of fun/new experiences, but the reality is most days are full of routine and mundaneness, but you can find joy in the mundane if you look hard enough.  I find that doing something for others is a kick start to get me out of bed and/or off the couch.  Also, I have to work.  Work is a big motivator for me because I like having a roof over my head and food on my table.

Pssst…moving towards activities you enjoy IS chasing away boredom.  That’s the point, so don’t second-guess doing what you enjoy.  As the old ad campaign says, “Just do it!”
— Is there an answer to meeting needs of kidless families in the church?  I was so lonely and trying so hard to connect in the church.  We finally started our own small group.  It attracted more young marrieds than intended, even though we carefully worded the description.  People read past that and expected it to be for young marrieds.

I won’t lie to you…meeting /finding childless families in church is hard, because we tend to be isolating by nature to protect oureselves since we are in the minority…that is if we don’t give up on church altogether which many of us sadly do.   Since my post about church and the childless is now a couple of years old I have gained a whole new perspective on it.  Church is filled with families, but I think if you look really hard you will find people who are lonely and in need of a friend.  I go to a very large church, and the key to finding social connection in church is to connect to something even if the people are not in your exact life situation.  Find a bible study/small group/activity group and just join or start/continue one and just minister to whomever shows up.  No, there are no guarantees that you’re going to find childless couples/people, but you might find a friend in an unexpected place.  In church and life in general I started making friends with folks whether or not they had kids or not.  This came after significant healing, but I finally  got tired of isolating myself because I couldn’t find the perfect childless friend(s).  When I got to that point my social life changed dramatically.  I now have several friends with children (mostly grown children now–but one with a 2 year old), and lo and behold, in the process I also have developed friendships with two childless women.  Sometimes when you quit looking so hard you find blessings in unexpected places and sometimes find what you were looking for in the first place.
—  I am divided in how to construct my use of time.  I used to be full force on a career.  Listening to wisdom of others, I didn’t want life to pass me by and have “only” my career and spouse at the end of my life.  I eased up on the career, but now find myself trying to figure out how to use my time.  Bored.  Lonely.  My path is shaped by God’s hand, I know.  I also believe I am responsible for my choices.  Not sure what this “freedom” and excess of time is supposed to be for.  Or how to commit 100% to the mundane without munchkins or being super-involved in work.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with focusing on one’s career if you are able to balance the rest of your life–big family or no family.  I say that being someone who never aspired to a career.  I only wanted to be a wife and mother.  For years I lamented the fact that I had to work, but yet I’ve done it so long now that I think I would be lost without it.  Sure, I’d like to work three days a week instead of five, but reality is it’s not going happen anytime soon if ever before I retire (if I retire–with the economy who knows?).

First, seek God.  I’m sure you have gifts and talents that could help someone…volunteer, find a social hobby.  If working fulfills you then find a lower-stress part time job you enjoy and go back to work on a limited basis.  Again, only you know what is right for you, but don’t think having a career as second best because for you it might be for the best.    I think looking back at the end of your life  if you’ve played the cards that God has dealt you to the best of your ability you’ll have no regrets.  If you don’t do something  you know God is telling you to do then you will have regrets.  God has withheld children for a reason.  That is not your responsibility or a reason to have regrets.   Quit regretting what is out of your control my friend!  It will only make you miserable.  I know.
— What would you tell yourself 5 to 10 years ago?  I want to live well and react wisely along this path.  What hindsight have you gained?

Wow, if you only knew what a loaded question that is.  Let me compose myself a bit…

Okay…here goes…if I could go back 5 to 10 years I would invest more in my relationships instead of focusing on what I didn’t have.  I would not let bitterness and jealousy take over my life to where I did serious damage to relationships that may or may not ever be healed.  I would enjoy the blessings I had in my life.  I would love more and wholeheartedly.  I would embrace life for what it is instead of what it’s not.  I would live AUTHENTICALLLY in each day like I’m doing my best to do now.  The hard truth is that you can’t go back and undo the past.  You can only go forward.  Apologize to those who you have hurt along the way, and accept their forgiveness if they’re willing to give it.  If they’re not then go forward anyway with or without that relationship.  Only you can choose how you live your life.  No one can make you happy.   Your happiness in fullfillment in life comes from only two things God and how you choose to live your life.

(Sorry…that question made me preach to  myself, but I hope you got some kind of answer out of it).

Wow, these were great questions that covered a lot of ground, but if you have more please send them on!  I’ll be happy to answer the best I can!

Blessings to you today!

Thoughts after Trauma

For two weeks after my dad’s accident I lived at a hospital.  Well, not 24/7, but mom and I spent upwards to 10 hours there everyday.  My mom has been there almost an additional week beyond me.  I had to return to work this week.  I’m happy to say that my dad is being transferred to an inpatient traumatic brain injury rehabilitation program today, so the hospital vigil will officially end for my mom.  I’m encouraging her to get some much-needed rest and not spend her every waking hour at the rehab with dad.

Like I said  in my last post my perspective changed while spending every day in the hospital.  I hesitate to say my life became simpler given the seriousness of my dad’s injuries, but in a way life did become simpler.  My entire focus was on being an advocate of my dad’s care and support person for my mom.  Of course, I had to make sure all my responsibilities were being handled at home and at work, but once that was settled I could put all my energy into that main focus.

For the first time in a long time I felt I had a purpose, an important one, and that I was very needed by someone.   Yes, at times it was exhausting (still recovering from that) and my emotions were on a crazy roller-coaster (still recovering from that too).   On particularly bad days there were times I called my husband and virtually cried on his shoulder, but most of the time I surprised myself at how totally in control, assertive and stable I was  in the midst of a traumatic and life-changing time for my family.

While I’m definitely ready for this situation to be behind us I’m already missing that time when my life seemed to have real purpose.  Coming back to real life (the rat race) where my life purpose seems a little ambiguous has been more difficult than expected.   I felt whole and complete caring for my parents which is actually going to be an ongoing task with new dynamics depending on how well my dad  recovers from his brain injury.  Trying to manage this from 2-1/2 hours away may prove to be more challenging than I’m equipped for, but as with the acute care of my dad I just have to rely on the Lord to make a way and give me management skills and the emotional/physical fortitude that I don’t possess at the moment.

Again, the  situation has prompted me to question many things in life, and there are no simple answers.  Things were happening prior to my accident that already had me questioning whether or not I was going to remain where I am much longer (I’m being vague here, because, you know, it’s the internet).   I’ve felt for several years that  I’m being pulled in too many directions, stretched too thin, and the last few weeks has amplified the feeling that I need to simplify life and focus on family more.

Honestly, I have no idea what that looks like or how it is to happen, so I’m giving it to God.  If He truly wants this for me he’ll make a way.  I’ve often said that the upside of not having children is that I will be more available for mine and my hubby’s aging parents.  In some ways that’s true, but because of life and the reality that bills still have to paid it makes the the execution of this very challenging.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through all of this is don’t take your family for granted.  While I know that losing my parents is inevitable (unless I go before them) I kept telling myself, “They probably  have at least 10 good years left”.  Life is so fragile.  It took spending a week in a neuro-trauma ICU waiting room to realize just how unpredictable and fragile life is.

ICU Perspective

I write this sitting in a Neuro trauma ICU waiting room.  At approximately this time last Monday I got the news that no one wants to get.  My dad had had an accident.  He had been cutting a tree on his property.  The tree didn’t fall exactly where he planned, and he didn’t get out of the way fast enough.  He was being airlifted to a trauma center.  Of course, I immediately dropped everything and drove two hours to the hospital terrified of what I would hear when I got there.  I prepared myself for the worst.  I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so fervently in all my life (except when my husband had to have emergency surgery).  I was almost relieved when I was told he just had a skull fracture and a small subdural hematoma and no other injuries; however, we spent nearly a week waiting for him to wake up not knowing if he ever would.

He did wake up yesterday, and today he was extubated and attempting to talk some and wants to go home!  It’s going to be a little while before that happens though.

Spending a week in the neuro trauma ICU is a vivid lesson on the fragility of life.  I’ve seen gunshot victims, knifing victims, car accident victims and another tree cutting accident victim that is much more injured than dad.  Dad’s ICU neighbor is a 20-something young man who started having strokes for some yet-to-be-determined reason.

It will take some time and rest to fully process how this week has affected me, but I know I will walk away from this experience with an entirety new perspective on some things.  I know for certain that what was a big deal to me at 3:00 p.m. last Monday is not such a big deal to me today.

Year-End Reflections and Decisions

I’ve know I’ve been very intermittent in posting to this blog in the last year. A good blogger would write more often, but I guess I’m not a good blogger, so  I just don’t.  There’s an apathy that comes with acceptance.  I mean, acceptance in the case of childlessness is a good thing, but then you sort of make a conscious effort to start separating yourself from things that make you remember/focus on the pain.  I think that is a good thing for the most part.

I’m not a crusader.  I don’t have agenda with my blog.  This has always been a place where I could think out-loud publicly about what it’s  like to be a childless woman.  I’m not looking for hits nor am I trying to build an online persona, so sometimes I question why I even write here.  Is it for purely selfish reasons, or am I trying to resonate with someone?  I think it’s a little of both.  I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the me-me aspect of a blog because I’m not a person who likes to draw attention to herself,  and that’s not a good trait for a blogger…so I hear.  I’m also not a person who wants to ruffle anyone’s feathers, so sometimes I censure what I say…again, not a trait a blogger should have.  I guess my main worry is that someone would read my blog and consider me a negative person or that family would read something I say and it offend or hurt them even though other than my husband I don’t think any of my family members are aware I have this blog.

Also,  I’m definitely not an optimist by nature although if you met me in person I’m sure you would find me outgoing,  happy, and witty.   I worry that those qualities don’t  shine through here because of the subject matter.   Unplanned childlessness is a subject matter that doesn’t lend itself to much levity.  Other than God Himself being able to laugh  is what has gotten me through so many crappy times.   So, be assured I laugh, A LOT!

I had a longstanding friend comment on a FB post I made about the Duggar’s having photos made of their stillborn child.  I was defending their choice.  If that’s  what helps  someone find closure, grieve, and have memories of that child that is completely fine  although that’s not what I would chose to do in my own situation.  I also made a side note concerning the Duggars that  I’m not of their philosophy of eschewing all birth control and having as many as you can.  My friend is of a similar mindset of the Duggars, and we were having a friendly little debate on the subject.  I told him that the only time I tried to control my fertility was the first two years I was married (birth control) but really I tried to control my fertility the ensuing 10 years after that by being on fertility medication intermittently.  Since then I’ve employed neither birth control nor fertility medicine.  I went on to say how difficult it has been.  His comment was:

“I know childlessness has been a great struggle for you, but it’s hard to remember, because you always seem so content.”

To me that was a big assurance that I don’t walk around with a little black rain cloud over my head all of the time.   I’m the first to admit that unplanned childlessness has affected my life and my outlook on life to a great extent; however, I think I’ve for the most part coped well and have been able to project to others (even during times I have to fake it) that I am okay.

With all that in mind I’ve contemplated shutting down the blog several times this year, but yet something has kept me from hitting the delete button.  I think it’s mostly because I have had so many people tell me that they appreciate what I write and have been moved/helped in some way by what I write.  If not actually helped they at least feel like there is at least one person in the world that understands how they feel.  That’s what keeps me writing even if it’s just once every couple of months.

On the personal front…the last six months have been challenging to say the least, and there have been some big lessons learned from those experiences.  There have been some tough subjects to deal with in my marriage and family, but we are getting through.  Middle age with its inherent crises has hit both my husband and I like a sledgehammer this year, but I think we’re finding some sense of a new normal and acceptance of the challenges middle age brings.  I also have a scary, yet fortunately, very intermittent health issue which reared it’s ugly head this month.  When I was worked up before all tests were normal or inconclusive,  and the side effects of treating the condition symptomatically was determined to outweigh any gain, so I have left this condition to it’s own devices (whatever it is),  as I’m not too inclined to get all upset and start going through tests again, but it is very upsetting when symptoms occur.

The most significant thing that’s happened lately is I lost a friend recently to cancer.  She fought it bravely for three years.  I knew it was going to hurt, but I could not fathom  how much I would grieve until it actually happened.  I believe it’s a big part of the reason my mystery health problem came to the surface again.  This friend still has children at home (the youngest being 12) and it’s really hard to see any good that is going to come of her passing, but that’s God’s department and not mine.  I just have to accept his decision to heal her in Heaven instead of on earth.

I’m also doing some purging of relationships in my life.  For others’ privacy I will not go into any detail, but the time has come for toxic people to leave my life either voluntarily or by force.  They have taken up way too much of my energy for years, and in some ways have affected my life and attitude more than unplanned childlessness.  Sometimes you just have to let go of bad relationships.

I hope you, my readers, will also do some positive purging of  negative things/people in your lives that keep you for experiencing life to it’s fullest.  Losing a good friend to cancer at age 45 has all too clearly reminded me that life is too short not to be happy.

To a happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year!

Things I Missed: Naming a Baby

Sometimes I find my mind wandering especially in the shower in the mornings.  Today I started thinking about what would happen if I were one of the blessed ones who got their miracle child after they hit their forties.   I don’t remember what got me to thinking about pregnancy the first thing this morning, but there I was in the shower thinking about pregnancy and baby names.  My mind rewound back to around 1993, the year we got serious about starting a family.  I had gone off birth control in ’92, and sure enough my periods vanished.  I spent a small fortune in pregnancy tests, and in early 1993 I decided to consult my gynecologist.  I remember that day vividly…

Me:  “Dr. Ross, I know that my system doesn’t work like I should.  I’ve been off BC for about 3 to 4 months now, and I’m not pregnant yet.  I’m not even having periods.”

Dr. Ross:   *In his grandfatherly, assuring tone*  “Don’t you worry dear.  We’ll put you on some Clomid, and you should be pregnant in no time.”

If I had only known…if I had only known.

Context:  Dr. Ross was my mother’s OB-GYN, and before I got married I switched to him as my GYN, because if he was good enough for mama he was good enough for me.  Plus, he was a super-likeable guy with a great bedside manner.  The only thing he would get gruff about was weight gain.  He was known to seriously reprimand any woman, pregnant or not, for weight gain.  My very petite mom was reprimanded for too much weight gain when she was pregnant with my brother, and she never forgot about it!  He also warned me about the perils marriage had on a woman’s waistline.  This happened when I went to him for the physical required in North Carolina to in order to obtain a marriage license.  Most women today would find that statement terribly chauvinistic, and it probably was, but he was right.  Marriage did have a terrible effect on my waistline.

But, unfortunately,  he wasn’t right about me being pregnant soon…

So armed with a prescription for Clomid and the promise that I’d “be pregnant in no time” I was full of hope and expectation.  My husband and I met for dinner that night at the very exclusive Brevard Pizza Hut and talked with excitement about our child-filled future.  My husband was so excited he started thinking about baby names.  While I was more reluctant to go down that road, because I didn’t want to jinx the situation (ha!) he couldn’t be deterred.  We talked about boy and girl names.  Surprisingly, hubby was all excited about girl names.

Ah…we were so young and naive!

In thinking about that time and since I’ll most likely never name a baby I want to share some of the name suggestions we threw around on that day and the weeks, months, and years that ensued…times when there was some glimmer of hope that we might have our own little munchkin to name.

I need to do a little prefacing here.  We are from the South, and in the South it’s an unwritten law that a baby should have three names–a first, a middle, and a last.  I mean, its a must, because a Southern child only knows he/she is trouble when mama calls him/her by all three names!


Ansley:  This is a name I came to love when I was in elementary school.  There was one girl in the whole school with this name.  She was beautiful and I loved her name.  I always told myself if I had a little girl I would name her “Ansley”.  It was like “Ashley” but not as overused and just a little bit different.

Chloe:  A classic, not overly-used name that is Biblical, a little old-fashioned, and yet a little hip and metropolitan.  Eddie and I have a couple of fictional character favs named “Chloe.”

Rebekah:  A common Biblical name, but my favorite cousin is named “Rebecca” and just about every Rebecca I’ve met is a cool person.  The only thing that might make me  not choose this as a first name is that like my cousin  I wouldn’t want her to be nicknamed “Becky”.  I would want her called Rebekah with the classic Biblical spelling, so this was always a middle name for my girl.  This is also a name my husband adores too.

So, in all likelihood our little girl would’ve been named:

Ansley Rebekah Sprouse  or Chloe Rebekah Sprouse


I’m pretty classical when it comes to boy names.  Hubby is too.  Here are some of the names we threw around for a boy.  My husband wasn’t interested in “Jr.”, so we ruled that out really quick:

Eric:  This was pretty much our go-to name for a boy, and here’s why:   My husband’s best friend was named “Eric”.  He died a tragic drowning death in 1986.  My husband and I were already dating at that point, and in his grief he said if he ever had a son his name would be “Eric.”  So, in our dreaming of baby names “Eric” was always the first on the list.

Avery:  This was my paternal grandfather’s first name.  I never got to meet him, because he died suddenly several months before I was born.  I always wanted to name a boy after him in his honor.

Jackson:  This was my paternal grandfather’s middle name.  It’s also my dad’s and my brother’s middle name.  In the early years I told myself that I would not use this name if my brother were to marry.  I would let him have first dibs at using “Jackson”.  My brother has never married nor had children to this point, so I reserve the right to use this name in case I have that miracle baby someday.

Jordan:  Okay, so I have the Duggar thing going with J-names in boys; shoot me, but I love this name for a boy even though in recent years some hip parents have adopted this traditionally boy name for their little girls.  I love all the cowboy-sounding names like “Travis”, “Shane” and “Dustin”.  I always wanted my boy to have a boy-sounding name, cause I just love rough and tumble dirty-faced boys.   They just melt my heart!

So our boy could’ve been named:

Eric Jordan Sprouse,  Eric Jackson Sprouse, or  Eric Avery Sprouse

You know, this was fun.  It is really therapeutic naming our children that are not to be.  It gives me more closure, a little melancholy for what might have been, yet it helps me to move on.


I try not to write posts on Mondays because Mondays are just inherently depressing, but I have to get something off my chest today.

One of the big downsides to what I have been through is that I’ve become a master wall builder.  It’s a great skill to have if you’re a construction worker but not a skill you want when it comes to your personal/relational life.

As I’ve talked about before I’m an introvert by nature but a rather social one.   To meet me you would initially find me rather shy and nervous (emphasis on nervous) but once I become comfortable with you I open up greatly and am very sociable.  I don’t have a problem making friends, but I do have a big problem  with maintaining them or going to a deeper level.

I think part of it is I suffered a deep friendship trauma in my teens.  I had a friendship where I considered her to be my best friend only to have her rip my heart out and stomp on it several times over many years.  I should’ve realized early on that she didn’t value the relationship nearly as much as I did and cut my losses, but I loved her like a sister…mainly because I didn’t have one and was desperate for one.  She played me like a fiddle.  She was my BFF when it was advantageous for her and dropped me like yesterday’s news when it wasn’t.  The fact that it was a long-distance relationship didn’t help matters either.

I guess I should’ve moved on by now but I haven’t.  My first serious romantic relationship went a similar way…although I eventually went on to have a great romance and relationship with my husband of now almost 21 years even though my wall-building nature has created challenges there too.

So I know that the ability to make friends and cultivate relationships is somewhere deep down inside of me.  I’ve just locked it away and forgot where I hid the key.

So many years were consumed with trying to have a baby.  Friendships were not a priority, and honestly I’m not a person who needs to have a gaggle of friends around me all the time. Honestly, when I met my husband he became that best friend I had always dreamed of…the search was over as far as I was concerned.  Thus another big mistake…while your spouse should be your best friend continually leaning on them to meet all of your emotional needs drains them.  I’ve learned that the hard way…thus my quandary.

Now I realize that during the IF experience I put up a lot of walls.  All of my female friends (mostly church or work friends) eventually graduated to the Mommy Club, and my relationships with them changed as they all migrated towards other women who were mothers.  While on the surface I couldn’t blame them deep down my soul took a serious wound each time they moved on and I was left behind.

So as a defense mechanism I quit making friends with women…at church or at work.  Oh, I was friendly but I’d only let them get so close.  They would encounter a big cinder block wall…and no one ever cared enough to try and break through nor did they understand what I was going through as an infertile woman.  The most I ever felt from them was pity.

So now that I’m moving on I would love to find one or two close women friends.  I do have a few via the internet and locally but the problem is I’m so insecure and out of practice in the friendship department that I don’t know how to get to more than a surface level.  Then there’s the introvert in me who finds it easier to keep with the status quo and avoid the potential pain that could come with close friendship.

To sum it up…in relationships wall building is easier than tearing down of walls.  I have a lot of work in front of me if things are to change.

A Ride in the Mountains

I spent some time in the mountains this weekend.  We were all feeling a bit of cabin fever due to the recent cold and snowy weather…my parents much more than I because they are retired.  Yesterday we decided to take a ride to my mother’s childhood homeplace.  It’s a little place in the mountains called Spring Creek, NC.  My mother spent a large part of her childhood there, although she lived in several areas in Western North Carolina due to the fact that her father was a minister.  Spring Creek has a special place in my heart because I spent some time as a child at the old homeplace there.  My grandfather held onto the land and the house until shortly before he died.  The house never had indoor plumbing.  Water came from a spring, and there was an outhouse…yes, an outhouse.  Believe it or not this 42-year-old woman has used an outhouse a few times in my life.  So, whenever we’d go stay at the house at Spring Creek it was more like camping.  Let’s just say it  gave  me an immense appreciation of indoor plumbing.  To this day when I flush my toilet I don’t take it for granted. What also amazed me on those visits to the Spring Creek house was that the eight people in my mom’s family  lived in that tiny house at one time.  I really doubt the house had more than 800 sq feet if that.

That house is now gone.  The new owners tore down the old house and put up a small vacation cabin…a very cute cabin, but its still sad to see that the old house is gone.  They did repair the old stone foundation, so at least there is a little bit of it left…a visible legacy of my grandfather’s handiwork.

We drove into Spring Creek  from Haywood County yesterday.  Even though I had taken that trip many times I became extremely sentimental on that trip.  I listened as my parents described their memories of  area between Haywood County and Madison County.  They pointed out several old homesteads of relatives and friends and told stories of their childhood.

My dad told a story that particularly moved me.  For a few years of his childhood he lived in the Crabtree community of Haywood county, and went to school at Crabtree school.  He talked about his favorite teacher and pointed out her house (which is still standing although she has been dead for many years). He said the teacher was so involved with her students that throughout the school year she would invite the students (two at a time) to spend the night at her house.  She and her husband would fix them popcorn and treats and tell them stories and play games.  He said it was such a shame that they couldn’t have children, because they would’ve been wonderful parents; however, their childlessness allowed them to invest a lot into the children of the community some of whom had challenging home lives because poverty was still pretty rampant in those mountain communities at the time.  By the end of the year every student in her class would’ve spent a night in her house.  He talked about how much that meant to him, and what an impression that made in his life.  Today, such caring by a teacher would lead to suspicion, and inviting your students to your house for sleepovers would be grounds for dismissal.  Kind of sad how much times have changed.

That story as well as the others told by my parents on our ride through Haywood County towards Madison county made me painfully aware that my parents are now “the old timers”.   I drank it all in while holding back tears because I realized time with my parents is growing short.  Oh,  how I wish I had brought a tape recorder.  We were too far back in the sticks to download a recording app on my phone.

I was once again hypnotized by the beauty of the mountains.  Now that I live in the Piedmont and the mountains are no longer background scenery for my life the mountains mesmerize me more than ever.  Experiencing them in the wintertime is so different than in the warmer months as the true detail of the mountain structure becomes very vivid.   The power and majesty of them are so raw, and the beauty of their stark nakedness is almost an overwhelming emotional experience for me.  Mountain folk talk about how the mountains get in your blood.  Its a mystery but its true.  I feel as if God took some of the mountain soil and formed me from it.  They are a part of me.  They are beautiful, but at the same time there is a loneliness to them…especially this time of year.  It’s like I can almost feel the many years of struggle humans endured in trying to tame them and make them a livable place.  The beauty of their barrenness is almost too much for the heart to soak in.  They never fail to move me to tears.

I really needed the solace of the mountains, the stories of my parents, and the memories this weekend.  I needed to be removed from my present  urban life if only for a couple of days.  I needed to be rocked in the arms of the mountains.

Blog at

Up ↑