Our miracle RAINBOW BABY BOY arrived 8/2018

1st IVF = BFN
2nd IVF = Baby A, born May 2015
3rd IVF = Miscarriage at 14 weeks
4th IVF = BFN
After we paid for 5th IVF, positive pregnancy without IVF!

Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Friday, September 15, 2023

You're in Charge

When I was in college, I subscribed to an animal rights publication called Action Line. This is back when things were mailed to you. Each month, when I received a new issue, I would sit down and flip through the pages with tears in my eyes. Along with each call to action on certain high-priority items like animal testing or factory farming, there were pictures. Chickens whose beaks were cut off to prevent pecking or claws that had grown around the wire of the cage, fixing them in one spot. You get the picture.

I called my Dad one day and asked, "Dad, what do I do? Every month, when I sit and look at these pictures, it upsets me. I write to the addresses they list, but there's only so much I can do and control. It's really affecting me." His response was fantastically obvious and simple: Stop reading them. I did just that, and my quality of life improved.
Image result for don't block my shine
This publication was only able to upset me once a month because the issue actually came in the mail. Today, we're bombarded by so many messages and news articles on a daily basis. They're in our social media feeds and on our phones. When we look at one disparaging issue, facebook's algorithm thinks we want to see more of that and feeds it to us. Over the last year or so, I was having moments of joy stolen from me without even realizing it because I never subscribed to it or chose to see it - it just appeared. I was shown images of late-term abortions, which can be upsetting to almost everyone, especially someone who has struggled to conceive and also had a miscarriage after the first trimester. 

Having lost our girl at 14 weeks pregnant, here I was looking at a baby who was aborted at only 15 weeks, yet perfectly formed. All I had done was scroll through my social media feed with some free moments to catch up on what my friends were doing and stumbled upon that image that I can't unsee. Just like I was back in college, I felt like there was not much I could do to change it, so instead of writing to one of the people listed in that animal rights magazine, I re-posted it to social media, passing the baton to someone else who may not have been expecting to be upset.

My Mom once said that she was so upset at the state of the world that she didn't want to bring children into it. Yet my Mom was such a happy person who seemed to find the good in any situation, and so it is hard for me to imagine her ever having this perspective. Maybe it happened suddenly, or maybe it happened overnight, but somehow, she changed her perspective. Somehow, Mom shrunk the dizzying state of the world down to something she could control: her own happiness. Rather than investing her energy in things she felt were wrong, she dove into being the best mother she could, creating a sense of peace and tranquility in her home.

People or situations will come along that are upsetting to us. It may not just happen daily, but several times throughout the day. We cannot control that person stopping on a green right-turn arrow or the one going 60 in the fast lane (don't they know we're in a hurry?). We cannot control the rude sales clerk or the co-worker, friend, or neighbor who can't see things from our point of view. And that's okay! What we can control is how we react to those situations. Do they upset us? Or do we give them some grace and focus on all that we are grateful for? Why let that person steal your joy? They can only steal our joy if we let them.

Life is too short. When I was misdiagnosed with melanoma in 2015 and actually faced with my own mortality, the important things in life came into sharper focus. Trivial things that would typically bother me didn't because the horrible diagnosis overshadowed them. When I found out it was all a mistake, I felt as light as a feather and vowed that I would never get bogged down with minor annoyances again. I would not complain about things beyond my control because God is in control, and He has a plan.

Remember that it takes work and a choice to turn the other cheek. It takes a minimum of 6 weeks to form a new habit, so they say, and old habits die hard. But it can be done. I will not say that I never let the small stuff get to me, but it is much easier now to let it go and focus on the bigger picture.

Even less trivial situations, really negative or sad situations, can and will have positive outcomes in time if we look for them. You know the old adage, when one door closes, another opens? It's true! When I look back on every negative situation, something good has come of it. We may not see it until we get a certain distance, but it's there, waiting to be discovered. 

Try'n block my shine ain't gonna happen, so don't try...

UPDATE: Whoops! This post had been sitting in my drafts since I wrote it on 3/3/20, ten days before the covid craziness hit. I remember at the time, I unfollowed a ton of political accounts that I agree with, just to regain that control and prevent my day from being hijacked by the 'what-ifs' and "can you even believe this.." While we all fall down the rabbit hole on certain issues from time (and let's admit it: that can be fun!), we need to be in control of when and where that happens.

Whenever I get down about the state of the world...
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around. ~David, from Love Actually

Sorry, couldn't help myself. Whenever I get down about the state of the world...I try to remember that there have always been dark times and that Jesus is the light of the world. Recently, this sermon helped me reframe things, and give me hope:

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