All of it, always …

It’s always been all of nothing with me. There is no emotion I have gone through that wasn’t right on my face. Literally, I CANNOT HIDE IT. But I’ve tried.

For the last couple years I have tried my hardest to hide all these emotions, fears and doubts. I pretended to be “ok” with the fact that a treatment that cost us hundreds did not work. I pretended that my world didn’t crash when my pregnancy test read negative. I let it seem as though Aaron and I were just waiting for the right time when people asked at work, “When are you two having kids?” I smiled when I wanted to cry. I found myself falling into this hole where it was my normal to just be “ok.”

I wanted to be great, I wanted to glow, I wanted what seemed to be so easy for others to be easy for me.

“Take a vacation.”

” Just stop trying.”

“It will happen when you least expect it.”

All of those things that people say to you when they know what’s really going on.

I feel every emotion. Every emotion, every day. Every wave. All of it it, always.

Just now.

Just now..  from writing those emotions down, answering those questions I get daily with the truth and accepting those waves emotions do I feel like I am great. I feel like I’m not just “ok.” I am glowing, by the grace of God I am so great.

It’s always all or nothing.. I am going to dive right into being “more than ok.”

 

 

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Dear mama, the trying mama

Dear mama, the trying mama…

The one who one day hopes to be called “mama”

The next few days may be the hardest for you, right there with Christmas and every other holiday when pregnancy announcements pop up everywhere.

We are trying to pass by your post without tears, we really are.

It’s not that we aren’t happy for you, trust me … WE ARE HAPPY FOR YOU!

 

We are just wishing for that same happiness.

We have been trying .. and it is trying.

Trying on our bodies as we load them with hormones in pill form, patches and needles.

Trying on our jobs as we cannot find the energy to focus because all we think about is, “where do we go from here?!”

Trying on our marriage as our nightly bedtime routine becomes forced.

Trying on it all, but we still put it all aside to become something we have dreamed about since we were little.

 

Since our mom’s taught us about unconditional love.

Since we saw the look on our dad’s face, as he smiled with such love back at her…

This full circle love is craved … and it will happen for some of us.

 

Some of us.

 

 

We will all celebrate Mother’s Day in one way or another.

 

So to trying mamas, know you aren’t alone. You are not the only ones who avoids the card isle this week. Not the only ones scrolling extra fast through Instagram or praying a little harder – hoping next year will be your first Mother’s Day.

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To the trying mama, you aren’t alone.

 

Love, the other trying mama.

Why it’s “we”

From 1990 to 1993 it was just me.

I was my parent’s pride and joy; they recorded funny baby things daily – talking to me after my naps, sitting in the bubble bath, swinging & bouncing in my baby bouncer.

I feel like I am not the only 90’s baby that this happened to!

On February 15th 1993, my parents welcomed Brock into the world and it was no longer just me. I am sure the transition wasn’t the easiest for me .. but my mom and dad sure made me feel special! I received several gifts that day, which continued throughout the years. Every year on my brother’s birthday I would get a gift, just something small so I didn’t feel left out. It was the same for him on my birthday … this is something I am sure didn’t happen to every 90’s baby.

I feel as though this isn’t all about me being the golden child, who could do no wrong and was a little spoiled. My parents were just showing me that I was never forgotten, always special and never alone.

The presents stopped after Brock turned 15 or so .. but those two showing me I was just as important and loved just as much as the day they brought me home has never stopped.

Every sport I attempted to play, hobby I was interested in and passion that started, they were right there encouraging me.

My husband has done the same.

I went to him a few months ago saying I was going to start an online store. I want to eliminate our plastic usage and create something wonderful from items people toss out too soon.

Other than the weird look he gave me at first (knowing there was a big project coming shortly after.) He said,

“Ok babe.. what is your plan?”

“Where is your space going to be?”

“Let’s write it all down.”

We sat and talked about where this could go, the correct steps to take … all the good stuff.

I wanted to jump right in and “wing” it all, write a few things down here and there. The normal “Betsy” way of doing things.

Luckily, I have Aaron beside me to help me do it the correct way.

I now have Honest Bee Co.

Named after the products being true and honest – natural as possible, always.

And Bee for Betsy, of course!!

The process has been so great and Honest Bee Co. will be located in a few stores and online.

I have noticed though, that I say “we” a lot when others ask how the soap is made or combinations come about.

“We really think things through …”

“We make sure all the ingredients are measured out…”

“We love making others happy through these products…”

Let me tell you – being the person I am, no one else measures out these products with me. No one else is my office touching or pouring the soaps and I am so particular about how my table is set up at crafts shows; no one touches that either.

So yes, it’s just me doing this.

But my dad was the first person I called to paint my office and build a work table with.

My mom goes to farmer’s markets with me and shares every event I am at.

My husband stacks my jeep full while I am getting ready and gives the best kisses of good luck.

And you all know that I have prayed about this for so long, God – he’s always there.

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This is more than just me, it’s us … it’s we. We are making this dream of mine come true.

That is what my parents were instilling in me when I was younger… let others make you feel full. Let them help you and build you up.

You are never alone in this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were ready for you

We were ready for you, we were set.

I was ready for you.

Now that “ready” I thought we were is sitting in the corner of my room.

At first it was all put together – a pillow, stuffed animals (that quickly became dog toys) and a quilt that Aaron’s mom had made.

I thought that if it was full of all these meaningful things maybe, just maybe it would mean a little bit more.

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Now it collects items from a recent move, old picture frames and clothes that no longer fit me. That’s the other daily reminder in all of this, my body is no longer mine; I handed it over years ago to hormone treatments, sonograms and needles.

But it was all worth it to me, you were at the end of this road we were on.

I remember sitting in the waiting room with Aaron last November, thinking this would be that Christmas for us, you know – THAT CHRISTMAS! Where we buy our parents cheesy t-shirts and have our phones out the entire time, making sure we get their reactions, so when we share the video on social media weeks later when we were in the “safe zone” it would all be perfect.

When in this process is there a “safe zone” anyway?!

It turned out not being THAT CHRISTMAS for us and we were ok with that, we had plans for you.

We were going to open our home- welcome a baby someone else had carried, but couldn’t love.

 

 

That turned out not being our thing either.

I kept praying to God – bargaining and wagering.

“God if you just give us a child, I promise to …..”

“If you let this home study work out, I will ….”

You get the point, but He’s not like that.

God is a full circle God.

“Never let the presence of a storm cause you to doubt the presence of God.”

Although this storm of infertility hurts, I would never be where I am with Him if it wasn’t for this. The nights I spent praying and taking bets with Him led me to this great relationship now – full of understanding, hurt, trust and love.

I would have never prayed so hard. I would have never felt so much healing with your presence. I would have never had the courage to walk past that empty crib everyday if it wasn’t for you.

We are ready for,

just like God was ready for me.

A true gift, from a Grinder

 

Yesterday was my sweet husband’s mother’s birthday.

Yes, my mother-in-law. That phrase, role, title whichever you prefer has rung negatively for so many for so long. For me, it is what I longed for the second I met Aaron.

There is no way a man like that came from anyone less than incredible.

And I was so right.

Karen Grinder was a kind soul, a caring person and a magnificent woman.

To deal with those Grinder boys, you have to be something special – trust me.

She married a man that I look up to greatly- a patient guy with a laugh that is contagious.

Those two raised the best guy I know.

I know Aaron looked up to his mother. What little boy doesn’t?!

She must have taught him that making his bed was proper, never to go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink and to always be on time. A true gentleman most days, but what is more than that is that she taught him to love whole heartedly. Love like there’s no tomorrow – because for some, there isn’t.

Karen lost her battle with cancer on June 12, 2011, at the age of 52.

I met her twice before that day came.

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Yesterday when we went with flowers for her birthday, I remembered ..

I remembered second I looked at her, she knew it was ok.

She knew I loved her son, almost as much as she did.

She knew I would make sure he was ok and that I would honor her in our life together.

She was there the day we got engaged, married, moved into our home.. she’s with us all the time.

Her small gifts sent from Heaven do not go un-noticed.

Not a day goes by that I do not think of her and what she did for me.

She gave me Aaron- a true gift.

I am forever thankful for you, Karen.

 

LEVERAGE.

My dad has always told me “It’s all about leverage.”

 

The summer I worked for my dad was one I will always remember. Wearing boots and carrying a hammer around. Mostly sweeping up saw dust and filling nail holes. He would pick me up before 7 a.m. with a smile on his face, no matter what. Most days I was late getting in the truck and that was ok with him.

I would get frustrated so easily – pulling nails, picking up 2×4’s .. other construction worker duties. And then there he would be, my dad, “It’s all about leverage honey, pull the nail out with the claw like this. If you put this under the 2×4, it will be a lot easier to pick up.”

Always in the calmest voice. His sweet soul has taught me so much over the years – how to tie my shoes, hook a worm, boil spaghetti noodles, but mostly about leverage.

How to look at the situation, feel it out and solve it the best way we know how.

With this, I am truly trying to live by. I am taking this situation handed to Aaron and me and trying to solve it the best way I know how.

 

Leverage. Pulling the nail out just right. Leverage. Leaving my doctors appointments with my head held high.

Leverage. Using a block to even out the weight of a piece of wood. Leverage. Using God to guide me, and weigh out this situation on my heart.

Leverage. Being patient with me because my dad knew that this time with me was priceless. Leverage. Being patient with this process and knowing that one day my husband will be the dad he has always wanted to be. And have these moments for himself.

 

Father’s Day may be hard for some. Those who have lost their dad, never had a dad to look up to but also those who strive to be a dad.

Not once has Aaron made this about him. He is so selfless and patient. He is so supportive in the idea of adding to our family – one way or another. There will come a day when he gets to show a sweet little girl the bunny ear trick with shoe laces. He will get to show a little boy with muddy hands how to hook his own worm. Those days are coming our way, along with sleepless nights that lead into long days. Be ready to love big, AG.

 

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Leverage.

Just leading each other home

Someone told me not too long ago, “We are all here just leading each other home.”

This statement has stayed with me, it has repeated itself over and over again.

All of those around us are there for a reason; they are our life lessons. They teach us patience, love, and to be kind. They are here for us to experience pain, hurt and jealousy. They were put here to help us while we are here. My husband was made for me.

We met at a time of our lives when we were not looking. I was not looking for a cute boy in a hat to ask me out to dinner. I’m sure he wasn’t looking for a girl to come into his apartment (a total bachelor pad) and leave her toothbrush only after a few weeks. But I did, he did. And now we are us. He is beside me for a reason.

Soon after Aaron and I made “our” lives official, he needed me. His mom passed and I was there for him when he experienced the pain and the hurt. He was there to teach me how to give off the strength he needed. We were there to lead each other.

Whether we realize it or not, each day we lead each other. Somedays not as much as others; somedays all I feel is people pulling me and leading me in the direction of where I am needed in life. I am needed to learn the Lord and his gift of life. We are put right where need to be at the right time. God has a plan.

God has had this plan for Aaron and I, we may not agree with it sometimes. But he’s got it. God has got it.

Read that again. Again and again. God has got it.

This is something that is new for me, trusting that there is a plan for me. That Aaron and I are leading each other to a more powerful place, home. This home is going to be full of everything great we have ever dreamed of; sweet babies laughing, sunshine for days and no more hurt. In the mean time I will just enjoy the time I do have here. I will enjoy the good times, laughing with loved ones and making memories while realizing they are here leading me home.

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But we both know someone else

You saw me, you saw me the day I needed a boost in faith. I didn’t even know you.. but we both know someone else.

Monday afternoon was just a regular day in my small town. I was working lunch when one of my girlfriends from school asked me how I was, how things are going and when are we going to have a baby? I answered with the truth: “We are still struggling. We are unsure about our next step.”  She replied back, ” What about adoption? Foster care? You two would be great for that.”

She is right, we would be great for that. We have a large yard, room at our dinner table and big hearts. We would love to welcome children into our homes and give them love they have never felt before. We would love to go to flag football games and cheer leading practice. We would love to show that little heart what love is, explain the love of God to them; we would love all of that. But to give up on everything thus far? Maybe it is a path for us to look down.. explore what foster care has to offer.

The look on my face must have said it all. I smiled at my high school friend and walked away with small tears in my eyes.  I know these hard conversations are going to happen, but sometimes they hit harder than others. Sometimes my brain spins faster than my heart beats.

A couple across the bar must have heard and seen it all. They waited until they cashed out (paying for a strangers lunch.) And looked at me with soft eyes and said, “We will pray for you.”

What? You will pray for me? You don’t even know me. You don’t know my name, my husbands name.. you know nothing about me. But you are going to take time out of your day to pray for me?

“Thank you,” I replied. “Thank you so much.”

“You are so brave.” The woman said. “I can see that you are having a hard time. We think it is great what you are doing.”

They saw me.

They left with that, I wanted to hug them. (For those of you who know me, I don’t do hugs.)  I felt so full when they left.. full with love and hope. Full of tears and a smile that no one could turn. God sent that couple to me that day.

They had no idea if I was close with the Lord, or knew him at all. But they knew that they were going to take a few seconds out of their day to say a prayer for me.

You saw me, you saw me the day I needed a boost in faith. I didn’t even know you.. but we both know someone else.

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You have been assigned this mountain

 

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.”

I find myself always looking… always looking for a project, a puppy, (that’s not a joke) someone who might need my help or even a sign. Just something to reassure me that I am doing the right thing. That all the decisions I have made the past couple months are the right ones for not only me, but my family.

The night Aaron’s sweet grandmother passed away, I was mopping and cleaning up at work and found pennies on the floor. There you have it, it was a sign. Not much longer and we got a call that she had returned home to be with her daughter and God. I looked at the pennies and one had the year Aaron was born on it… there you have it, another sign. A sign that it was all ok and that Aaron was going to be ok.

These are things that I look for daily.

Once in a while one comes along that really get me. Really speak to me, gets my brain just spinning in all sorts of directions. This just happened to be one of them: “You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved”

This is it, this a good one. I was “given” this struggle to be able to move past it. I have this label of being infertile so I can take it and twist it, make it my own. I am certainly not just infertile; I am blessed with a different eye on things. I wanted to cry when a friend announced that she was pregnant on social media, but I do not anymore. I wanted to yell at parents who don’t respond right away when their child cries their name (MOM) reaching up with their little arms and little fingers. I would have loved to be in those shoes; having a child reaching for me, even if it just for something small. But I do not anymore. I wanted to go to every specialist in my area, every doctor, every clinic .. figure out what it was going to take for me to have a child of my own. But I do not anymore. I am happy, genuinely happy.

This is me, this is what it is right now. One day God is going to place a child in our path and it going to be the greatest day of our lives. It may be our own, it may not be our own, it may be for a short time.. it may just be a foster child. But it is going to happen one day.

It has taken me a long time to get to this point. And I am at this point right now because today, I feel strong. There are days that I won’t feel this way and that’s ok. There are women out there who have been to so many more appointments than me, so many more years of trying. I am sure they have felt just as I did the day I put my hands up and said, “It’s all over.”

It was cold out, my eyes were full of tears.. I was in my jeep and just said it out loud. “It’s all over.” And from that moment on I have been working on me. This has entailed of me going to the gym, joining classes where I know no one. Taking trips to the book store alone just to get some air. Writing a lot more, and praying. This whole process has brought me closer to my true strong self and to God. There it is, the sign. It is not really “all over” it has just begun.

 

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The mountain was put in front of me so I could move it and be moved, to right where I need to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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