Sunday, February 24, 2013

How do I say this?

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and you want to say something truthful, 
but with careful words, 
kind words, 
and you find yourself staring at the ceiling and offer...  

"How do I say this?"

This is post is kind of like that.

Death has been around every corner lately.
There were times in my life where I could go months and not think about death.

But the last conversation I had were questions from Jack about dying and also about the "baby in Heaven."  I'm not sure why this is all on his mind, but I wonder if he had a similar conversation like I did yesterday.

Yesterday was my nephew's birthday party.

When I got there I noticed a few faces I hadn't seen in years... people who I was always told were not welcome.  While I wracked my brain as to "why"... I realized they were there because Sam died.

Life is too short to hold grudges.

Sam is my sister-in-law's brother, my nephew's uncle.

And while I was also curious as to why some were there, I also wondered why some weren't and it all clicked.

Sam died the day before Jude was born in a motorcycle accident.

Sam's Mother was at the party, and I found myself unsure of what to say to her.  I felt guilty as I remembered a post by my friend, Connie.

I offered her my chair, I told her goodbye before I left, ... but that's about it.

Now I'm questioning if she purposely didn't look my way so I didn't have to think of something to say.

I wondered if my Jude was a painful reminder.

And as I sat in the living room with Jude on my lap... slowly a few kids cleared out of the living room and I found myself alone with Sam's seven year-old-daughter.

She looks more five than seven.

She asked me a lot of questions about Jude, we talked about clothes, school (yes lame school questions, I'm horrible) and as we were chatting I heard distant screaming.  I mentioned all the wild kids in the other room... and she said, "Those are my Dad's other kids, probably get their wild side from him... but he died."

Her eyes said a lot.

"At this point in my journey with grief, I think that all I really need is acknowledgement." - my friend, Connie

I told her I knew her Dad died.  I told her I use to go to church with him.  I told her he was a good man.

What I didn't tell her was how he actually visited my brother while he was in a mental institution three hours away when I couldn't even bring myself to go.

I wonder how many people have ignored her when she's mentioned her Dad, pretending they didn't hear her.

My mother-in-law ignored Jack last week when he mentioned the "Baby in Heaven."

I think it's easy for adults to ignore children, pretending they didn't hear or understand them clearly to avoid a difficult, emotionally charged conversation.

I take that back, I think it's easy for adults to do that to anyone... and it hurts more than saying the wrong thing (in my experience).

After I acknowledged what she had said, she changed the subject herself.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lend me some sugar

... I am your neighbor.

My sweet Jude was featured over on Sugar & Dots today.  
Thanks for the Sugar Kimmie ;)

The lower right hand side... the sleepy angel in my arms, that's my Jude.

instagram: livbeth12

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Harlem Shake

I heard Joel laughing in the other room and the same song playing over and over...
and that's when I was schooled on the "Harlem Shake."
I was dying... 
It was hilarious and makes no sense.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

#4ourbabies #iloveyoumore #spidey

We were never big into V-Day, but this year I think it's here to stay (the celebrating part).

Growing up my Mother always put out a couple Valentine's Day gifts on the kitchen table for us to find before heading off to school.  I think I'll gladly follow in her footsteps :)

For Joel :) #ilovehim #valentine

#tookhim2hourstofind #happyvalentinesdaytome #gonewiththewind #jackstolemycard

instagram: livbeth12

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

telling your child about a miscarriage

It's important to remember there is no right or wrong.  That is what I am constantly telling myself.

I'm just writing this, to basically talk it out...

We're all feeling our way through life, and we all choose what we think is right to share... certain secrets, heartaches and trials with our children.

I always told myself that I would have a very open relationship with my kids.

I won't go to them with heartaches, but if they were to ask... if they were to question, if something big were to happen, I would tell them.

I feel it's their right to know, and it's a part of our exchange of respect.

I never told Jack about our miscarriage before Jude, but a few weeks ago we were having a conversation about babies.  He asked if I still had one in my tummy and I told him that no, Jude was that baby and he's here now and that we wouldn't be having anymore babies.

He likes to count, so he said, "Jack and Jude, you have two babies!"

And without much thought, I said... "No I have three."

And so the questions began...

Was it a boy or girl?  Why?... I explained I didn't know if it was a boy or girl, and that he/she was growing in the wrong place.

I kept it light and simple, I had a baby in my belly before Jude, but he/she died there.  And he/she is in Heaven waiting for us.

I am always trying to make death more happy than it's ever seemed to me growing up.

It was always terrified me, and now... it doesn't.  I never thought that day would come for me.  Knowing Joel's Grandmother is there, my Grandpa, Joel's Aunt that loved him so much... and now my own child, death doesn't look so scary, it looks like it's full of answers and reunions.

Since death is not a foreign subject in our house, we've even had a discussion if I were to go first how I would be waiting for Jack with a big party and lots of hugs when he did arrive, and he would do the same if he were to go first.  It actually comforts him, and to be honest- it comforts me too.

Growing up you didn't talk about death... it was like the whole "knock on wood" thing.  I remember as a child telling my Mother about a nightmare about her dying and how I was scared it would really happen and as she was cooking and not looking at me, she cut me off saying not to talk about it.  It's not true and that's all that matters.

I remember being a bit confused, I didn't say a bad word... or did I?  So to some this may seem a bit odd, but I want death to be an open discussion in our home.  It's kind of odd that it isn't for some.  Death is inevitable.  We will all die one day.

(Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but I'm all about the truth.)

And now for the part I wasn't ready for...

Jack has been drawing pictures of our family and the "Baby in Heaven."

Someone asked him if Jude was his brother and he told them he was and that he had another in "Heaven."

The poor cashier's face quickly drained of happiness and looked to me, so I said in a non-emotional way, "It was a miscarriage."  And I moved the conversation forward on a positive note.

He's not really sad about the miscarriage, but he is excited to meet his sibling.  He sees him/her like a current person of our family.  He obviously doesn't want anyone to think otherwise.

That's how I felt at first... but nobody else around me did.
It hurt, and now I'm ready to slowly let go and let my mind forget.

It's a bit upsetting to me now, it's something I do want to forget sometimes... but it's not right for me to tell him to forget.  How horrible is that?  Who am I to tell him to stop drawing the pictures, to stop talking about it, etc.  He is a child, and he'll allowed to feel and remember.

I imagine someday he might stop drawing the...


I really didn't expect all of this.

As they fall and I take a few deep breaths, I remember what I read once before about grief.

That "It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold."

I'm proud of myself, I'm proud that I never put my emotions off onto him... that I'm letting him do what feels right in his heart.  And I'm proud of him, for remembering... for being so brave.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

path to peace

It sounds a lot like cutting off the world and getting rid of your stuff.

“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” 
― Bertrand Russell

I want my mind to have moments when it's silent.
I want my home to be a haven.
I want to have a deep relationship with those who are close and active in my life.
I want quality over quantity.
I want simple.

Sometimes I think about a part in one of my favorite movies "White Oleander" where a girl is looking out at the wildfires coming near her home, she's speaking to her foster parent about her Mother (who is in prison)... and how once when they were talking about the wildfires, she told her to make a list of the things she would take if they would have to leave, and then she told her- if she was brave- she wouldn't take anything.

Actually I think about that a lot.
When you leave the world you don't take anything with you, why become so attached in the first place?
I remember hearing someone say how they hold "loosely onto money" (and it really took me back and made me think) and that you will never see a Brinks truck following a hurst.

Here are somethings we've chosen to do to invite more peace and quality into our lives.

Get rid of your cellphone
Over the past two years Joel and I have stopped our cellphone service and got a home phone.

We did it to save over $100 per month and also because we felt we didn't need them.

It was difficult at first, we were avid iphone users, but we learned to love it.

Our in-laws didn't like the idea of us not having a cellphone, so they pay $10 a month for us to have one.  I was a bit turned off by the idea at first.  We only use it when we leave the house.  We live so far out in the country that we don't get reception anyways.

Joel is also on a special team at work that requires him to carry a cellphone at all times.  It's another comfort for those who think it's a necessity of survival to have one.

And one lesson I learned... everyone has a phone.  I think I've only needed to ask a family member once or twice to use their cellphone while I was out.  Basically if you need to make a call, just lean over to the person sitting next to you.

I love not feeling obligated to reply to a text message or hear the beep while I'm in the middle of making a meal or driving the car.

A lot of people shoot off texts as thoughts enter their mind... to make a phone call requires more thoughtfulness.  It's the same with IM or Facebook.

Joel and I were recently out to dinner, and it was a place where they cook your food in front of you... we shared the table with six other people, and there were several moments throughout the night when every single person was on their cellphone at the same time.  We whispered to each other in disbelief... Joel was surprisingly very annoyed.  It made me laugh on the inside because we're more alike then we think sometimes.

No Cable
Since we moved to this home, we chose not to get cable service.  We treat ourselves to Netflix's plan of streaming videos and also one DVD out at a time.  We don't see commercials anymore, and my son Jack doesn't even understand what they are.  When I do see a commercial at another person's home it seems odd.  I can also keep up with television by internet, which isn't exactly a good thing... but the option is still there.

Breaking up with Facebook
I broke up with facebook, but kept my business page.  That by far was the most difficult thing to do but also the thing that brought me the most peace.  I had 400+ "friends."

And once I cut the ties that were holding those "friendships" together, I began to see what was real and what wasn't.  It was a bit sad at first, but I feel like I took a lot of power back.

People who love you will pick up the phone and dial your number.  People who want to stay in touch, will find a way.  I found myself reaching out more too.

Joel is actually the first one who deleted facebook, and he urged me to do the same.  He said life is happier without it, and he was right.

Make your Home a Haven
This has been my struggle.  I have inherited some of my parents qualities of holding onto "things" because they are sentimental.  I held onto an old egg carton last week incase we could use it for an art project.

What?  Yea.  That seems so silly now.

I know what they say... I know what I need to do, but actually doing it is a bit harder.  I plan to go room by room and get rid of anything that we don't "need" or "love."  That has been my rule for things coming into our home, but I haven't put into action and cleaned OUT my home.

I am proud of myself for how I keep our boys' rooms, mine was very chaotic growing up and I really wanted peace in their rooms first.  I make sure to go through their toys and clothes all the time.  The rest of the house though?  Ohhh... so much work needs to be done!

I recently had a play-date with a friend, and I was really inspired to finally bite the bullet and clean out our home.  Her place is beautiful and simple.  It felt like a home and it told so many stories.  I want that.

“The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk

Move if you have to
We want a smaller home.  Plain and simple, and we will begin our search probably within the month.  We're excited.  I'm tired of cleaning two full baths.  We're downsizing in a big way.  We're also planning on moving to the city where Joel works so we can see him more and save on gas money.  He currently has a 45 minute commute.  I think it's also an unspoken agreement that we're staying country folk :)

Sell your Car
We have three vehicles at the moment.  I don't even know how that happened, but our "plan" is to sell all three and buy a toyota prius.  Now is that how it will play out?  I'm not sure, but our goal is to buy a new very fuel efficient vehicle and get rid of the rest.

All of our cars are paid off, so we will be taking on some debt, but we feel the trade in savings for gasoline and the decrease in constant repairs will balance us out.

So those are our plans of attack for peace and happiness.

What have you done to bring more peace into your life?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Saturday, February 2, 2013

365 love letters {letter 17}

I'm writing my husband 365 love letters this year.  Here is letter #17. 

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein,
Dear Joel, 

It's strange writing over and over again how much I miss you and wish you were sleeping next to me.  It feels like I'm writing letters to my husband who is overseas and off to war. 

Our life is different, unique.  Time is different in our house.  The picture of us to the outside world is distorted.  No one will ever understand our story except for us. 

Work hard, play hard.

As long as you're happy, I'm happy.  I promised you on our wedding day that I would always support your dreams. 

Sometimes I wonder what you're doing as I write my letters... are you thinking of me?  Screaming at an inmate? Doing paperwork?  Looking at the clock? Trying not to fall asleep?  Responding to a "man down"?

We miss you.  Jack talked about you a lot today.  He misses you. 

But we're also very proud of you. 

                                                                                  Love always, 
instagram #365loveletters
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