Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spring smiles and Letting Go

We bought our home towards the end of summer last year. Although the autumn colors were beautiful at that time, I never had a chance to see what the backyard looked like in full bloom of spring. I'm so grateful that the previous owners put so much time and effort into the landscaping of our backyard, because it really is so beautiful! Everything is so fresh and green, and even a little garden that's starting to sprout strange plants. There was this one tree right in the middle of our backyard that I thought was 100% dead because it didn't do much last year, and looked... well, dead. Turns out it has resurrected into an apple blossom tree, because the flowers bloomed last week! Unfortunately I was not able to witness this miraculous event as I was out of town that whole week. blast!

~Today's Blog everyday in May Challenge is Letting Go.~

This wasn't hard to think of, because I only have one thing that I haven't been able let go of over the years. In general, I'm a pretty laid back person. I don't have much hanging over my head. Even Grace's health has been something I've slowly been able to let go of and come to acceptance with. I've handled challenges pretty well and rarely hold grudges. Forgive and forget, right? But I haven't been able to forgive myself with this one.

I consider all of you my friends, as you have all been such a support, so we'll be getting a little personal here. 

Grace is not our first child. She's actually our third. We unfortunately went through two losses before her, the first about 8 months after Aaron and I were married. I was pretty far along- around 21 weeks (5 months) when we found out he had passed in utero, and I did have to deliver him. I met him face to face as I held his lifeless body in my arms that sorrowful day. The first thing I said to him was, "I'm so sorry, I am so so sorry" He never had a chance at life because he died inside of me. Although I KNOW it's not my fault, to this day I have continued to blame myself because I feel like I had failed him as a mother. Just as things settled down about a year later, I discovered that I was pregnant again. Our joys were again crushed when at our 12 week ultrasound appointment we were told that there was no heartbeat. I think my heart turned to stone that day. I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong, and why our children kept dying. Again, even though I knew most miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, there's a horrendous emotion/feeling that I think every woman experiences when your baby's life is involved. It is innate. It's human. I often pray to God that He is taking good care of them up in heaven, and that someday I'll be able to see them again. I don't know if I'll ever be able to let this go, but part of me is okay with it, because it's how I remember them by. Everything happens for a reason, and I realize that if we had the first two, maybe Grace would never have come along- and she has been such an incredible blessing in so many ways.  

We didn't have names picked out for our little boy. We always joked that we could name him something funny like Jean Claude Van Chan, but we weren't serious about it. To this day we still call him Jean Claude :) We weren't told the gender of the second, but we assumed it was a girl and named her Chloe. 

I know that in general, it is advised to let go of things that weigh on your heart. It's better for your mental health I suppose, but sometimes I think it's okay to hold on. Especially if it's dear to you and helps you remember. There was a winter in our hearts before, but with every winter comes a new beginning.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Life is a highway

This skirt has one of the most unique prints I have ever seen. It’s a road map! I feel like you could take anything and turn it into a creative skirt nowadays. How about a newspaper? Sure!! Just tape a few pieces together, wrap it around your waist, add in some pleats and there you have another beautiful piece!

When I was younger, my family would take these ridiculously long road trips cross the country during my summer vacations. These road trips would be WEEKS long. For example, one year we drove from Michigan all the way to LA, California, and stopped by all the major states/cities along the way. Then the next year, we drove from Michigan to Maine. We did this every year until we hit all 4 corners of the nation. Dad would drag us to take pictures next to every “Welcome to ________ state!!” road sign. I remember being so bored in the backseat, and spent half of the trips drawing invisible pictures on the car ceiling with my toes. I never understood why my parents looked forward to these trips every year, but after 10 years or so, we were able to visit almost all 50 states through these road trips (Except Alaska and Hawaii). I look back and really appreciate it now. I do remember little snippets and fragments of these trips, like taking a journey through American history during our road trip towards Maine. I remember seeing the amazing differences in US landscape, architecture and culture as we travelled the distance towards California. I also remember random moments with my family on the road… like having to get off on the side of the road countless times to pee in the bushes as my mom shielded my behind from the oncoming cars.

Top: Old closet re-discovery       Skirt: Modcloth        Purse: randomly found in basement      Shoes: Ferragamo

Regardless of your travel history, your life can be painted into a beautiful roadmap. God has given us such gracious freedom to live our lives with choice and autonomy to create our own maps. You can travel down whatever path your heart desires, and along the way will probably encounter challenges, obstacles and decisions, but you will also experience variety and growth. You may find yourself off the path and down a road you didn’t expect to go down, but take that opportunity to learn about that path and use that knowledge as you get back on track. It's okay if you take a detour. There's no right or wrong way to do this. Enjoy the journey, because one day when you take a step back to look at where life has taken you, it will be a glorious picture.

Wow. I didn’t mean to get so deep.
It was all triggered by a skirt.