1 year later…

Well, I have no eloquent way to begin this post, to be honest. I haven’t blogged in almost a year and a lot has happened since I last sat down to write a post. A LOT. I’m going to start posting more regularly again but before I do, I wanted to give a brief (we will see how brief, lol) “life update.” I am annoyed with myself for posting two life updates back-to-back a year apart from each other, but here we go!

When I last posted, I had just gone through a pretty severe career change and it took a huge emotional toll on me. I had been working at a job for four years. I loved my job so, so much. I gave my all to the people I worked with and I poured my heart and soul into it. This was so much more than a job to me. Without giving away too much information, and to make a very long and complicated story short, there was an opportunity offered to me to take on a larger role at this job. Through taking on this role, many unexpected things unfolded. The details of what happened aren’t things I’m comfortable talking about but I will say that I was thrown through a loop both emotionally and mentally as a result. I felt it strongly in my heart that God was telling me to leave that job because He had other plans for me. Hearing that so clearly wasn’t something I had expected, but I chose to follow God’s call despite my own reservations (well, after weeks of trying to ignore what He was telling me, that is). I imagined working there forever and I never expected some of the things that ended up happening to occur. I never thought I’d end up in the situation I was in last summer. But there I was. And I was left to trust God with the plans he had for me and not rely on my own understanding. So that’s what I did. *Spoiler alert – He never disappoints.* I picked up more hours at my “day job” – a job that I am very grateful for with a boss who loves and respects me and whom I adore – and decided to work just one job for the first time in my life and maybe, you know, pick up some hobbies and hang out with friends for once like “normal people.”

But that didn’t exactly end up happening because shortly after that huge career change, my husband and I found out I was pregnant! The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. The moment I found out I was expecting, I knew it was divine intervention and I was so thankful that I had listened to God’s call to leave my job and wait for His plans to unfold. (I’m not going to go too in depth about my pregnancy here because I have lots of posts planned dedicated solely to my pregnancy and I don’t want to spoil the fun!)

As if preparing for a baby hadn’t created a long enough to-do list, we found out on Halloween that we needed to find a new place to live because of some damage to the apartment we had been living in. This caused a a lot of stress (mostly because I was a hormonal disaster), but we were excited for a fresh start in a new place with the new addition to our family on his way! So at 15 weeks pregnant, we packed up all of our belongings and moved into a new apartment. Boy, was it stressful! But we did it! And we couldn’t have done any of it without the help of our family and friends, especially since my mom wouldn’t let me lift anything… not even an empty backpack or a couple rolls of toilet paper. (She had only the best intentions and I love her for it.)

The winter was filled with a trip to Florida for Christmas with my family, lots of baby prep, and lots of Netflix.

Spring came and we were so excited to meet our little guy in May. We had a wonderful baby shower thrown by my amazing mom and sisters and our babe was spoiled silly before he was even born! I was due on Mother’s Day, so I had hoped I would have my baby on that day. But Mother’s Day came and went, and no baby. But he arrived two days later! (More on that later.) We were in awe of him from the moment we saw his tiny little self.

And WOW, does everything before that day just feel like an entire lifetime ago! Becoming a mom has been the most fulfilling experience of my life. I truly feel like my life began the moment my son was born. This is what I was made for, and here I am doing it. It’s still crazy to think of myself as a mom 4 months into the gig, but I love it and I love my son so ridiculously much and I just can’t imagine myself doing anything else with my life. My wonderful boss has let me transition to working from home, so I work part-time and still get to watch every move my little guy makes. I’m so, so, so thankful and blessed that I don’t have to miss a thing.

So… that’s my update! There were a lot of other little things in between all those big things, but you get the idea. I have lots to share on my experience and struggles throughout pregnancy and as a new mom, so hopefully that’s something that will interest you! If so, check back here soon for some #emo posts and some fun ones too!

 

Random Life Update

The past six months or so have been full of unexpected changes, revelations, disappointments, and all in all, weeding out the bad in my life. Bad people, bad situations, bad feelings, bad habits, and bad health – both mental and physical. Weeding out the bad (especially when it’s not exactly by choice) is not as refreshing and exciting as it sounds. But as I believed and trusted that He would, God has proven to me that all the “bad” things I was going through were just preparation for all the good that was to come. I’m not one to brag, but life has been pretty freaking great for the past couple of months. The past several weeks have been full of hope, joy, laughter, change, and restoration. I’ve learned that change isn’t always bad, people will disappoint you and downright hurt you for their own gain, hard times will come and go, and guess what – life goes on. Life is still as beautiful and magical as I thought it was when I was a naive teenager. I’ve taken time to myself to heal and deal with the many changes and other things I’ve experienced recently and you know what I realized? I have absolutely no control over other people or what situations God has planned for me to endure throughout my life. But I can control how I carry myself and how I react to those situations. If I give the best of myself in every situation that life brings me to, good or bad, God will recognize that. If I pray through both the hard times and the good times and praise God for who He is regardless of the circumstances, He will honor that. And if I give up my constant need to control everything in my life and just start to LIVE, God will see that I trust His plan and His power enough to not take everything so freaking seriously. I now give myself daily (sometimes hourly) reminders to LAUGH when something goes wrong, to CRY when I’m hurting instead sucking it up and holding it in, to TRY NEW THINGS and even to suck at them really badly when I try them, and to be thankful for the fact that controlling things in this life is NOT MY JOB! God reminded me this year just how plainly human I am. I’ve been given this one short opportunity to seek his truth and love others and enjoy my time here on earth. That thought used to put SO MUCH pressure on me. (“Life is short- make everything you do perfect.”) But that is so, so wrong. My new thoughts: Life is short, so make it worth living. Live to be as wild and free as you can possibly be, because there is the deepest sense of freedom you gain when you love God for making you imperfect and trust Him above your own understanding. I live to serve a prefect God, so why in the world would I need to be perfect? So that’s where I’m at. That’s what I’ve learned this year, despite the hard times, disappointments and unexpected changes… and I think that’s pretty freaking worth it.

2016: A Call to Arms

call-to-arms

2016 had a great start. But then, I guess that’s why they call it the calm before the storm.

January 2016 was the beginning of a new chapter in my life: deciding to pursue my dreams of being a cosmetologist and take on more opportunities as they came to me, which meant finding the emotional strength to leave college and make a completely new path for myself.

March brought my 22nd birthday and a lot of personal growth.

In April, I took the scariest jump of my life and I started my very own consulting business.

Ryan and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary in May and took an amazing vacation in honor of it!

June and July brought tons of awesome concerts, a trip to Cape Cod a for a National dance competition, a visit from my sister who lives in Florida, camping, babysitting my nieces every Friday, and going to three weddings in three different states in three consecutive weekends! PHEW!

Throughout most of the year, I found myself growing in so many ways. I felt closest to God as I’ve ever felt; I was eating healthy and exercising regularly; I was investing so much time and energy in my relationships and rekindling friendships that had needed a little more work; I was working hard and living comfortably; I was happy. I thought 2016 was going to be my year! Marking each and every good thing that happened down on the calendar so that, come December, I could look back and say “wow… could it get any better than this?”

Then everything changed…

On August 13th, my grandfather passed away. Losing him is a wound that has yet to heal. He was the only grandparent I’d ever known. My grandma died when I was in preschool so I don’t remember her, and my dad’s parents disowned my sister and I after my dad died, so they haven’t been in my life in over a decade. Considering all of that, my grandpa was everything I’ve ever known about what a grandparent is and what they’re supposed to be, and I loved him.

We found out early on in the summer that he was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years back, but he never told any of us. Maybe he didn’t tell us because he didn’t want us to worry. Maybe he didn’t tell us because he had faith in God’s plan for his life any which way it turned out and telling us wouldn’t make much of a difference in that. Whatever the reason, I don’t think that knowing of his diagnosis any sooner would have made me miss him any less, or made his passing any easier to take.

It still doesn’t feel like he’s really gone. It hits me at the most random, unexpected times. Like when Ryan and I were Christmas shopping and I touched a jacket that felt just like my grandpa’s jacket. There I was in the middle of Target, Starbucks in hand, buying Nerf guns for my nephew, and it hit me. And on Christmas, I picked up my phone and said to Ryan “I better text my grandpa before we…”

 It’s always like that.

gramps

After the funeral and everything was said and done, I did the only thing I knew how to do: keep on living life as God had intended. I missed him, sure, but it never felt like he was gone entirely. Things went on: I went to an awesome church retreat, I got a promotion at work, my husband got a new job that would provide for us and allow us to start saving for a house. More weddings, more traveling, more living. It seemed like things were starting to look up — and they were!

The first week of November, Ryan and I found out we were expecting a baby. That day, I was the most excited I had ever been in my entire life. This is difficult for some people to understand, but the only thing I have ever felt called to do in life is to be a wife and a mother (and kick butt at it)! We didn’t know how far along I was, so I scheduled an appointment with my doctor for the following Friday. We would get a sonogram done and see the baby that was growing in my very own body with our own eyes. Truly magical… truly a miracle. I felt so blessed, and so in awe of the whole thing. My body was created for this… to create another life, and here I was doing just that! Here was my life’s purpose in a living, tangible existence. The entire week before my first doctor’s appointment was spent creating Pinterest boards dedicated to “Baby D,” making to-do lists consisting of everything we wanted to accomplish before the baby was born, and reminding each other to keep it a secret from everyone until we came up with the perfect way to announce our pregnancy to our families.

After much anticipation, the morning of my first appointment finally came. November 11th – 11:30am. I sprung out of bed bright and early, made breakfast, took a shower, picked out my outfit, and…

I started bleeding.

I cried out in fear and pain as I bled life right out of me.

We spent the day in the E.R. I was poked and prodded and spoken to in whispers for eight hours while the doctors and nurses tried to find the answer that I already knew: I had a miscarriage.

Call it a mother’s intuition, call it whatever you want… I knew. My baby was alive one minute, and gone the next. I rolled around on the hospital bed in unbearable pain while the only purpose in life I ever knew slowly drained out of me. Ryan held my hand the entire time. In the dull moments, we would look each other in the eyes and through tears, tell each other “We will be okay,” which we wanted to believe so desperately.

I still have so many questions, so many fears, and so much pain. I’m a different person since I lost my baby. I tried not to be angry at God but how could I not be, at least a little? People have babies all the time. Women and teenagers who don’t even want babies get pregnant and give birth to beautiful, healthy babies all the time. Why me? Why us? What did I do wrong? What aren’t we ready to be parents? What could we have done better? Drowning in unanswered questions, I didn’t just lose my baby – I lost myself, too.

November and December were filled with tears, relapsing depression and anxiety, and emotional eating. I didn’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, or tell anyone what was going on. And I didn’t. I felt like saying it out loud would make it all too real. It’s a pain that I can never understand or forget. I still blame myself, even though doctors and friends tell me I did nothing wrong. I still lay at night and cry, cradling my now empty stomach.

As weeks went by, the world seemed to go on as if nothing had happened and I tried my best to go right along with it. Christmas was coming up, but it didn’t feel much like Christmastime. When Christmas day came, Ryan and I were both still grieving – grieving the loss of my grandfather and grieving the loss of our Baby D. We couldn’t help but constantly wonder how different the holidays would have been if our baby hadn’t died.

baby d 2.jpg

On Thanksgiving, we would have announced our pregnancy to our families. Christmas surely would have been filled with tons of pictures of us plus my growing belly and gifts from our loved ones for our unborn baby. But it was just us, and no more baby. That night, we went home and cried again and talked through it again, just as we had many times before, but we were different this time… stronger somehow. God breaks you down and tears you apart just to rebuild you on a completely new foundation, and I still can’t decide if I find that clever, ironic, or just plain sad. There we were: broken and shattered, then put back together in a new way. With glue still dripping and the cracks still visible, we were stronger than before.

I dedicated the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to coming up with a list — a master plan — of my goals for 2017.

I came up with a way to use my now stronger self for the better… for the best. I will truly deal with the losses I suffered in 2016. I will reclaim my relationship with God, and I will put my faith in His plan for my life. I will make my body healthier, stronger, and ready for the day when God decides that we are ready to be parents. I will push myself past my comfort zone and do the things I’ve always been afraid to do. I will love harder, work harder, and get stronger. I will live 2017 for Baby D and for my grandfather. I will remember them and I will grieve them and I will love them more than ever before, and I will use their losses to propel myself forward into 2017 with a new momentum.

Here is my new motivation; here is my new purpose:

I will make my grandfather proud that I am his granddaughter.

I will make my Baby D proud that I was his or her mother… even if it was only for a little while.

 

2017: A year of new beginnings, new life, and new dreams.

 

So to 2016 I say “nice try.”

 

It’s time to run. It’s time to fight.