A Little Drop of Hope 

I’m wide eyed tonight when I should be settling for sleep. Instead, I’m laying here. I’m praying about tomorrow and feeling excited. I might even be a little giddy with ideas of things that might be in store this year for our TDB journey. I’m also so terrified of it all at the exact same time. 

It’s a been a really long road so far – and the end feel so very far away still. Discouragement has crept in more than I care to admit lately. It’s just so hard to hope for something that seems so far away. Sometimes it seems like all the things we’re doing, planning, and working so hard to achieve are so small – like tiny drops in a huge not-so-full bucket.

Then I remember something. This bucket must fill slowly, for its story is so tenderly and purposefully being filled with each and every little drop. We are in this waiting, filling place now on such a big labor of love. This big, once empty bucket, is filling steadily with an inspiring stream of drops. I remember: the bigger the bucket the longer it takes to fill. 

Tomorrow I want to meet the day with hope and optimism, but I’d lie to you if said that spirit will be a natural one to ease into as the sun rises. My longing is intense tonight. The ache for a child to call my own is deep. Even though my    doubts and fears feel so much bigger today than I wish they would, I will to force myself to continually remember this odd-shaped and ginormous bucket is already so full of hope. 

Tomorrow afternoon, I will sit with my dearest and bravest souls to make plans for the how rest of the 2016 calendar of events will shape up. I can finally rest tonight, in the mist of all I feel, knowing that however they pour out someday, these little drops of hope will tell the story of a great bucket-full kind of love.  

The Marilyn Moment

These days leading up to Christmas have a way of eating me whole. Like the cookies I am preparing to make, the days disappear all too quickly. There’s so much to get done, so much to go to, and so on. For me, it’s really tough to find time to slow down and really reflect on anything. Every year in November I have these grand plans of how I will carve out time to sit and and reflect on the Reason for the Season. Then, the belly of December digests the days before I realize I haven’t made good on my plans. While I’ve been too busy wrapping gifts and baking (more accurately at this stage, the buying gifts and planning/purchasing elements of  the baking menu have consumed my month) the Reason caught up to me, quite literally, in a most unexpected event.

I try my best to avoid shopping entirely on the weekends. I’m pretty spoiled in that I usually can manage it. But the belly of December is deep and full right now, and my plans for gifts and cookies ended me smack dab in the middle of a crowed Wal-Mart parking lot today. I had a very specific list of things I could not find at other local stores. I was going to be focused and fast. I immediately lost my cool at the sight of the packed parking lot and started internally cursing the “Wal-Mart people” (you know the ones I mean…I mean…man, I’m so mean.) in my head before I had managed to turn into the actual lot.

No sooner than I got out of my tiny car, did I start feeling the dread of all the things I fight every.single.time I enter any store as an infertile woman. See, I avoid shopping on the weekends not so much becuase of the crowds/lines as becuase of the families. Becuase it really hurts to much to buy my goceriecs in the midst of all the beautiful family choas that occurs in the store. I really can’t handle all the kids running, screaming, and misbehaving becuase all.of.the.time the only thing I wish is that one of those precious screaming children were mine to yell at! (Do believe me when I tell you, mine won’t be better behaved than yours…and I really don’t believe that I will never yell in a store, even though I will try my hardest to communicate with my family without yelling.).

I cannot describe how paralyzingly painful the store can be for me somedays. If you have ever longed for a family like we do, you know, even if you have one there to yell at today. For those Momma’s who are lucky enough to not know that kind of pain, sometimes what you may perceive as “judgment” for yelling at your kids in the store is really just our infertile sadness & bitterness. We are not judging, we’re just jealous. (Not saying that is better.)

This afternoon, after some minutes of internal collapse in my car, I resolved to  get out and tackle my specific list. “Remember to grab the bags for the recycling!” I announced verbally to myself as I gathered my nerve. As I closed my trunk, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly woman with fear of never finding her car painted all over her face.

She was so very lost and confused…and she was going to get hit by a car. I offered to help her locate her vehicle. We went on an APB in that crowded parking lot. Before we found it, she was convinced she forgot to lock it and someone had stolen it. I was pretty sure it was just a matter memory, but I tried to reassure her as best I could. Eventually I asked her if she trusted me with her keys, (of course the panic button and locks were not properly set up on to make noise on her older model key fob) while she waited on a curb/sidewalk thingy to let me search at a slightly faster pace than we could together. As I took her keys, I told her my name, as if that would assure her I wasn’t going to be the one stealing her car. She gave me her name then too. 

I found her car rather quickly. She was so relieved she cried when I handed her back her keys. She thanked me, she hugged me. I told her to have a great Christmas. She said a couple “thank yous” and “you’re so sweets” during our quick hug. She asked if you buy me lunch. I plainly said she could not. She said “You talk to God everyday, don’t you?” I replied with a “Yes.” Then she cried a little more. 

We stood there, Marilyn and I, in that busy parking lot for probably a half an hour. In the misty middle of the afternoon, we put the December hungers aside a moment to connect with each other with our Reason.

She told me how God had worked in her life faithfully over and over again. Here are a few highlights of what I learned: Marilyn was supposed to die when she was 28. Doctors performed risky experimental surgery on her and she woke up days later in the dying room. She did not die. She is a miracle. Her son was diagnosed with brain damage at birth, they advised her to unplug the incubator. She declined the advice, insuring doctors he was a gift from God and she’d care for him as long as he had. She took an ill son home and cared and cared and prayed and prayed. He never moved on his own, but she said she could always tell he was mentally present for everything. One day “8 months later” (not clear if that was the baby’s age or a passage of time after he was home) she was preparing dinner when he pulled himself up on a coffee table in the next room and looked at her like, “what’s next?” She called her husband home from work that day, saying they had another miracle.  (When I asked her if her son is a normal functional adult today, she replied, “Sure, if you’d can consider a lawyer normal and functional.” I might have peed a little, it was so funny!). 

The last thing I learned was about her husband, who went into a serious funk when doctors told him he was going to die by 50. His 51st year was spent waiting for death. He lived into his 70’s. I’d be willing to bet he was a fantastic man. And I’ll bet he was smiling in heaven while watching  us stand there talking in the rain.

Infertility is hard every day. Holidays are so so hard. If you’re on your own IF journey this year, I pray you have a moment like this where  your Reason finds you and whispers to you – so loudly you can’t even  miss it if you try.

The Forever Kind

In honor of her 34th birthday today, I want to celebrate my friend – the one I’ve been alluding to in many of my post but have not identified to all you Brave Souls who have joined our journey.  


I have a great story to tell today. I have a great story to tell about a great woman. I have a great story to tell about a great woman who was just a girl when I met her.

I was just a girl too. It was the beginning of the school year, 1994. I was finally a freshman!! I was nervous and excited at the same time. I felt fairly ridiculous in my plaid skirt and shirt embroidered with my school’s name on the front. I had not been in a school building since the 3rd grade. So going to school was a big deal for me. Never mind that I was beginning my journey at a Catholic school, in a plaid wool skirt at the end of August. Also, I was not Catholic. I was raised as a combination of Evangelical, Assembly’s of God, and Non-denominational Christian. (And no, I wasn’t truant for 5 years, I was homeschooled in the late ’80’s and early 90’s.) 

Freshman at our school had half-lockers. Mine was on the bottom. They were bright yellow, and in the basement of our school. As if freshman don’t stand out enough, our lockers were simply sore thumbs that drove that point home. They were the color of big bird and stacked one on top of the other like the building blocks we played with in pre-school. To just add fuel to the newbie-fire, the rest of the school had green full-sized lockers. Seriously – with the wool uniform skirts, the mini-big-bird-lockers, the theology classes, the weekly mandatory mass, and the hallway that always smelled like marijuana – it’s really incredible any of us ever made any friends. What’s more amazing to me is that one of the friends I made during my time in the above mentioned chaos disguised as education has become such an amazing and irreplaceable gift to my soul.

The first time I saw her was at our lockers the first morning of high school. She had the yellow half locker next to mine. One of the first things I noticed about her was her equally sweet and shy smile. I don’t think we said much, if anything to each other that first time we saw each other. We were both too nervous at that first encounter. Our newbie minds were overwhelmed with remembering the combination to our locks, and having to carry the right books to classrooms we had no idea how to navigate our way toward. (We weren’t allowed to carry backpacks through the halls. And yes, freshman do gets books knocked out of their hands for just for kicks.)

We ended up walking to our first class pretty much together in a silent understanding of figuring it out one step at a time. By 2nd period, the sweet smiling girl had a name. Buy 4th period we’d been in every class together and we’d chosen seats near one another in every subsequent class in solidarity, if nothing else. When we were exchanging info on the rest of our first day’s schedule we learned we had band together. That naturally lead to the question “what do you play?” We both played flute. That was the connection we needed then. The flute remains a big part of our story even though both of us have long since neglected the instruments which were our instant forever connection. 

We had no idea that first day that our friendship would be the forever kind. But we both now we realize we know the One who did. 

That first day we had no idea that we’d eventually be college roommates for a year. We had no idea that it would be through our friendship that her younger sister would become aquatinted with her now husband. We had no idea that I would attend her wedding months after her older sister was diagnosed with stage  4 bile-duct/liver cancer. We had no idea that she’d meet her husband and I’d meet my helpmate. We dreamed and thought of so many things together -some of which have become reality and so of which were just dreams that fizzled out for whatever reason. One time, we talked about starting a business together, but it wasn’t the right time – perhaps we will pick that dream up again someday. 

I cried that day she brought me to her first owned home and on the tour announced “This will be the nursery, we’re pregnant!!” I had no idea the closeness I’d develop to her children who now call me Auntie Katy. We had no idea that in October of 2013, after learning the devastating news that I couldn’t/shouldn’t carry a pregnancy, that she would sit on the couch in my living room and genuinely offer to carry a baby for us. 

As high school freshmen, we couldn’t have imagined the amazing joys and horrible sorrows that life would throw our direction. For so many, many of our journeys through this life, doing it with the other would have been impossible. I am blessed beyond measure by this wonderful friend God designed for me. I could try to explain how much so, but fear my mere words would fail the task. I’m forever thankful for a faithful God who knew we’d need each other in this life. Who knew just how to knit together the ties of our lives “for such a time as this” – over and over and over again through our  20 years of friendship. (Yes we really are that old now..ugh.)

We don’t know what is in store for the next part of our story. For this phase of our friendship. But we know the One who does. And we’re all trusting that He knows and has all of us and the future of our new adventures together secured in His strong and mighty hands. The one thing I am sure of is that she and I will remain forever friends. 

So here’s to you, sweet friend. Happy Birthday!! Thank you for allowing God to develop you into who you are. You amaze me. I love you. Forever!