I miss you still.

I have a notebook I started for you.  Letters written to the baby I was carrying.  Letters that began quite literally moments after receiving a positive pregnancy test.  I suppose its no surprise that being a writer, my first expression of love for you was in writing.  I imagined you having the notebook your whole life.  With it, you would know how adored you were from the start.

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I felt such a connection to you.  I found out you were coming to me on the anniversary of my father’s death.  I thought it some way God was trying to reach me, a wonderful right to a horrific wrong…

I wrote to you often and with such anticipation.  Life was great.  We were blessed.  I tracked your size each week and would read all I could so I would know everything I could about you.

Baby names were kicked around, gender neutral clothes purchased, hand-me-downs from family trickled in and were oogled and fussed over.  My goodness, you were so wanted.

11 years ago today, I had a different entry in our love journal.  The love letter I wrote you was scary.  It was hard.  A mother should never have to write such things.

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I wrote this 11 years ago today.  I am not sure I’ve prayed harder.  This week tested my faith to the extreme.  This week is the reason I left the Catholic Church and declared myself Christian.  This week was life-altering for us both.

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I have wanted to write about you, to you again, for longer than I can say.  I just didn’t know how.  The loss is still breathtaking and I never even got to hold you.  A meaningful footnote is that this last entry is your brother’s birthday.  One year after writing this, he was born.

This stirs guilt in me sometimes.  Had you stayed, he wouldn’t be here.  And as a mother, this is a hard emotion.  Because I feel pure glee that he is here I sometimes wonder if that makes you think I love you less?  I trust Jesus to hold your hand and explain to you that I love you no less.  My heart is big enough for all my children.  Always.

I keep this notebook of ours.  I keep it even though you are no longer here to receive it.  I keep it for myself.

These days there is much debate in our government over when a baby is a baby.  To many in the mainstream, you were not.  This is untrue.  You were everything.  You were loved and you mattered.  You are thought of every day.

Life has gone on and more children have been bestowed upon me.  I am grateful.  I am happy with my role as their mother.  I hope you still feel how important you are and you know the place you hold in my heart.  I will certainly miss you all the days of my life until I see you again and hold you for the first time.

Until then,

I miss you still.

XOXO

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Dear Melissa Graves,

One week ago at around the time I am composing this post, the unimaginable happened to your family.  I have been thinking and praying for your family since the news broke that evening that your son had been taken by an alligator at Disney.  I prayed harder than I have in some time.  And as hard as I was praying, I am sure it could not hold a candle to your pleas with God.

Here we are, one week later.  I am angry at God for your son not being found healthy.  This is one of those times that make me question so much.

Many times this week I found myself tearing up for you, a total and complete stranger.  Words truly cannot convey how so sorry I am for you and for your husband.

I wondered a few times this week why this was affecting me so differently than so many other horrific stories brought to us daily by the media and I realized, it hits close because it could have just as easily been me.   We were in Disney just a few short months ago.  I remember the joy I had in telling our children we were going to the most magical place on earth.  I remember being excited myself as a 39 year old woman because I knew- at my age- that it really is a magical place where dreams come true and good always wins.

I have tried to think of ways to help your family.  Some small token to let you know that my family felt your loss.  Across this great country of ours, we have felt for you.   We still do.

I have decided to donate several children’s books (classics and new releases) to our local libraries in Lane’s name and honor.  Inside each book, I will have a label explaining that the donation was made to honor Lane Graves, a little boy taken from his family and encouraging the adults reading these books at bedtime to snuggle a little closer and love a little harder.

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I encourage everyone reading this blog to please do the same and comment to me that you are.  I hope this small gesture brings you a smile during this unimaginable time.  To know that your boy is remembered.  He is being thought of and his life is mattered.  That because of your little boy, libraries across the USA (hopefully) will receive numerous donations and that countless parents will read the donation label and will give their little(s) an extra squeeze.  Hug a little harder.  Appreciate a little more what we all take for granted.

Please know that your little boy will be remembered and thought of in Maryland.  And so will you.  I will continue to pray for you and I will forever be sorry this happened to you and your family.

XOXO

Keeping it Real…

Hey, guys! Sorry I haven’t posted for a while.  I have been busy with book stuff.  As you know, my children’s book, No Cheese Please, is out in the world.  I have been keeping up with it as it has been Out In the Wild as my Instagram feed shows.

And so with all that great and exciting stuff happening, I must also tell you other things that are happening here.  Things I am not proud to admit.  Things I am ashamed to state.  Why do it then?  Why use this platform to share?  I have learned (it to me decades) in my life that it is not healthy to keep negativity and shame locked inside.  The damage it inflicts on the psyche is so devastating, some don’t come back from it.  I want to keep this blog real and let it be a true representation of myself.  The good, the bad, the ugly.

So, first.  I really feel like I identify as a………worrier.  (Did I make some of you nervous there?).  What I mean by worrier is with the impending social engagements I have lined up for No Cheese Please, I find I am so nervous and self-conscious for them to happen.  I have found myself putting off event planning because I get so anxious.  So if you all could say prayers to help me battle this, I would be most appreciative.

And funny, I thought the second “For Real Reveal” was a separate matter and only now as I am typing realized it is so closely related, they are practically conjoined twins.  If you will remember, months ago I shared that I had been struggling with my weight and its toll on me.  I was proud to show you that I had lost a good bit of weight and you all were super supportive.  Thank you.  I am ashamed to tell you I completely fell off the wagon after my hysterectomy and did not get back on when I could/should have.  As a result, I have gained all the weight back.  I believe this contributes to my anxiety over public events.

I struggle because I am a very determined person.   I believe I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. The problem I have is my focus (that pin point surgeon focus) has only ever been able to be on one thing at a time.  Yes, I can multi-task BUT there is going to be one thing I will go over the top with and the others will get the basic (if anything).  The result of the past few months?  I published a book and I am enjoying it being sold all around.  I have done interviews and have events planned.  You can guess what had my focus and attention, yes?

The other result of this?  I have suffered.  My sweet husband has suffered.  Because believe me, when I am not happy with how I look, it manifests itself in so many random and unrelated things that he has to deal with as part of his “For Better or Worse” gig.  When I am overweight, it affects every aspect of my life.  Photos?  I hate having them taken of myself?  Dressing in the am?  Torture.  Shopping?  There are no words….

I even worry that my appearance will embarrass my children.  Studious is in college so she is well aware that I am not living a healthy life.  Clever, Dapper and Spicy are still young and I still worry about going into their schools.  I worry that I (even now) embarrass them.  I hate that feeling.

So, I am going to work on this and I am sharing it here for a collection of reasons.

  1. I am a writer.  Its what I do.
  2. I hope to encourage even one person (even if its me, it will be worth it)
  3. I want the accountability.  I mean, it will be hard to NOT make these changes after sharing this with you all.

My blog is still going to focus very much on writing and being a mom.  That is where my heart is and you all know that.  So I will not be making this a blog about weight loss/etc.  However, I do vow to share with you once a week a progress update.  You can expect these updates to come Saturdays as that is the day I officially REBEGAN my transformation.

Some of you will ask what it is I will be doing.  I plan on following the Ideal Protein protocol and also using the workouts from Bikini Body Mommy. The BBM currently has 4  90 day challenges.  I have started Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 1.0.  They are free workouts- check them out.

I do have before pictures I took on Sunday as well as my initial weigh in.  At this time, I am not going to reveal those.  I would like to revisit sharing at a later date.

In closing, I wanted to thank you for reading this novella.  And I hope you can help support me and each other in this.

As I have said before, “I want my outside to reflect the person I am on the inside”.

XOXO

 

Progress Report & A Recipe!

Progress-ReportHey guys!  Just a brief check-in to let you all know how I am doing since starting my healthier lifestyle change Monday am.  For all you knew, I wasn’t posting because I had gnawed my hands off because I was starving!

Well, rest assured, that is NOT THE CASE!  My fingers, hands and my whole being, for that matter, are all intact!  I am doing well, sticking to it and forging forward!  Has it been easy?  Of course not!  Will it be SOOOOO worth it?  You betcha!

Also wanted to THANK ALL OF YOU who reached out to me.  WOW! You guys are amazing and supportive and I am in awe of you all!  Keep up the contact!  I am loving getting to know you all and supporting one another!  We can do this!

Fun recipe to share (hubby didn’t like BUT EVERYONE ELSE DID)- he is kind of picky (that’s how he scored me!)

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower-Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower – chopped
  • 1/8 cup onion powder )
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a 5 quart saucepan, add all ingredients.
  • Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes.)
  • Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

I got this recipe from http://www.andoverdietcenter.com  Feel free to check it out for lots of lean protein recipes!

XOXO

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