Saturday, January 31, 2015

Building an Exercise Habit

One foot in front of the other!

After we lost our sweet baby Faith I knew I had to take steps to avoid depression.  I would grieve and have sad times, yes, but depression was something I was determined to avoid.  At my one week appointment, the doctor said I was free to go at my own pace with exercise.  Four days later, on January 2nd, I laced up my tennis shoes and walked out the door.  I took one lap around the block, 0.52 miles.  I was exhausted and it felt pitiful.  But the next day I walked down the road again.  

For fifteen days, I walked that half-mile route.  One day we were out of town so I walked a half-mile near my grandma's house.  Another day, I walked around the events center where my husband was working.  On January 18th, I'd walked fifteen days and missed two.

My inspiration and my sunshine!

On MLK Day, I started walking a mile.  I did that for ten days.  This time I made sure to take my daughter and we walked to the park and back, a nice mile walk.  Not only do I need to be a good role model for her but I need to give her opportunities to get outside, exercise, and play.

Conquering her own fears!

For the last two weeks I added in a set of three strength videos for core, legs, and arms.  These are short videos totaling less than 25 minutes.

Today my family went for a hike.  It was listed as an easy hike in the guidebook but about two-thirds was uphill.  However, the 1.5 mile hike, hills included, was conquered and that hike put my mileage at just over twenty miles!!

What started out as a difficult half mile is now a daily habit that culminated in twenty miles for the month of January.  Put one foot in front of the other and see what you can accomplish in a month!


  • Walked 27 of 31 days
  • Walked 20.16 miles
  • 700 fitness minutes
  • Started at 0.5 mi over 15 min
  • Ended at 1.5 mi over 45 min

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Marriage and Miscarriage

In my life I've known many couples who've lost a child, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of a child (no matter the age) and now my husband and I are walking through our own loss.  Losing a child feels just as difficult no matter how long he or she lived.  We tend to focus on how difficult it is for ourselves and can forget about our spouse in our grief.  I've noticed grief manifest in a marriage in two different ways.

It can drive them apart.  Hiding behind their grief, abstaining from any form of intimacy or physical touch, they wrap grief around them like a blanket and refuse to let their spouse in, creating a wedge in their marriage.

To be honest, I was worried about this kind of grief when our sweet Faith died.  I was afraid of what this loss would do to our marriage.

But God is good.  Our loss, while devastating, did not devastate our marriage.  Clinging to one another both physically and emotionally, we've walked through this loss together.  I have had this strong desire for my husband to be close to me as often as possible right now.

We communicate with one another our feelings about our loss.  We talk about our sadness, we share truths from the Lord, and we discuss what we’re prepared for in regards to the future. 

We've also given one another space to grieve the way we needed.  My husband did not want to hold the baby.  I made sure he knew I understood he needed to do what worked for him.  When Christmas was over, I needed the cheerfulness of the decorations to get me through a few more weeks.  My husband told me I could leave them up as long as I wanted (and as long as the tree stayed mostly green).

If you’re facing the loss of a child, I am so very sorry.  It is truly the worst grief of them all.  But don’t sacrifice your marriage because of your grief.  Try these four things to keep your marriage strong even when you’re not feeling so strong:
  •  Physical Touch:  Hold onto one another.  Really, wrap your arms around your spouse & hold tight.  Touch one another gently with a caress of the face or a squeeze of the hand.  When everything is physically healed, make love to one another.
  • Talk to one another.  If you’re having a hard day, tell your spouse.  If you had a bad dream, share it.  If a Scripture touched your heart, read it aloud.
  • Allow space for your spouse to grieve in his or her own way.  Everyone’s grief looks different.  Even in our own grief, we need to recognize our spouse’s grief will not look the same as our own.
  •  Decide together how best to keep the memory of your child alive.  We have a few ornaments for our Christmas tree right now.  My husband and father planted a tree near the place we buried Faith.  In the future, we will do something more permanent in our own home.  Do what will work for you and your spouse to provide healing for you both.

I pray that you will find healing and peace WITH your spouse as you walk through the loss of your child.  Remember you became ONE on your wedding day.  Hiding yourself away from your other half can have lasting consequences on your marriage.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When Doing The Dishes Is A Herculean Task

Major confession time:  Today, January 20th, I did the dishes for the first time this year.

Okay, so it’s not QUITE as bad as it sounds.  We have loaded and unloaded the dishwasher with plates, bowls, cups, and silverware as needed in the last twenty days.  However, that handwash?  You know, all the plastic stuff and the pots and pans and the expensive knives and the griddle you cooked French toast on?  Yeah, it’s been piling up on my counters since December 28th.

On December 28th, I did handwash so my kitchen would be clean when my husband’s family came over for an evening of gifts and finger foods.  After they left, the dishes sat.  And sat…and sat. 

Today, while I sat my daughter at the table with various homeschool assignments, I loaded the dishwasher, washed every dish that does not go into the dishwasher, and cleaned all the counters off.  My kitchen looks like someone cares again.

The problem is, for the last four weeks I really didn’t care.  I didn’t like that my kitchen was so messy but I didn’t care enough.  I was too busy trying not to curl up in a ball all day, every day.  When you’re walking through grief, the dishes don’t matter.  Who cares if the frying pan is covered with egg residue because my baby is dead.  The fact that my baby is dead outweighs so much when walking through grief.

As I’m slowly coming to a place where my grief isn’t so strong and my energy is starting to return, I’m able to care again.  I can get the dishes done because I finally have enough strength, both emotionally and physically, to do them.

If there’s something you’re struggling to get done, whether it be dishes, laundry, making the bed, or just putting clothes on each day, remember to give yourself grace.  God spoke to Paul in Second Corinthians 12:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Remember His grace is sufficient, you will get through this, and you will get to a day when you can finally do the dishes!

Full Disclosure:  My Christmas decorations are all still up, too.  I wasn’t ready to take them down on January 1st like I usually do…I needed the cheerfulness of Christmas in my house while I was working on my grief.  But I’ve started slowly putting it away.  It should be done before the end of the week, but if it’s not, His grace is sufficient!  

Difficult Days in Babyloss

Some days will be easy.  Some days will be hard.  Some days will be a mixed bag.  You’ll expect some days to be easy and they will be hard.  You’ll expect some days to be hard and they will be easy.  There is no rhyme or reason to when or how the difficult days come and go.  In the long run it will be easier to just remember that the grief can come seemingly out of nowhere, sometimes for the most irrational reasons.  You’re not crazy.  It’s not wrong.  It’s grief and it’s unpredictable.

My daughter was stillborn three days before Christmas.  I thought I would hate Christmas.  But honestly, I was so glad Christmas was there.  I had something to do, something to focus on, instead of my pain and loss.  Christmas Day was a fun-filled, busy day with lots to do and close family who knew my pain helping me through it.  A day I thought would be tear-filled and so very hard turned out to be much better than I’d anticipated.

Almost two weeks after Faith died, I’d had a pretty good day.  My husband, six year old, and I went for a walk.  There was yummy food from friends in the fridge.  Laundry was washed, dried, folded, and put away.  We went to dinner with my husband’s family at a restaurant we all liked to celebrate a couple of birthdays.  After dinner, I headed over to the store to purchase a few odds and ends.  Then, it happened.

There, in the produce aisle, she was there.  A woman I hadn't seen in almost two months stood before me, smiling, asking if I’d found out if my baby was a boy or a girl.  My good day instantly turned dark and difficult.  So far, everyone I’d encountered knew our baby had died but here, before me, was a woman expecting to hear one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy.  Instead I had to share with her a mom’s worst nightmare:  my daughter was dead. 

I knew it would happen.  I read about encounters like this on another blog discussing miscarriage.  I thought being aware would make me prepared.  But there is nothing to prepare you with sharing the news your baby has died.  I fought back the tears as I shared the news.  She said all the right things and gave me a hug.  It wasn't her fault that I was trying to avoid a meltdown right next to the bagged lettuce.

Difficult days will come.  You won’t expect them.  You cannot prepare for them, even if you know they will come.  You are walking through the hardest thing in life:  losing your child.  You will feel like you are losing your mind, feel completely irrational.  But you’re not crazy, you’re not irrational.  You’re a grieving mother.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy vs. Blessed

Our world has quite a lot of focus on the concept of happiness.  Even the Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" presuming that God gives us license to the pursuit of happiness.  But is that what God really tells us?

In my Bible reading this week, I read the Beatitudes (the beginning of Matthew chapter five, if you're unfamiliar) and the term Blessed comes up nine times.  I've read this chapter numerous times but this time I seemed to be fascinated with the word Blessed.  In the NIV Study Bible, the study notes had a section on the word Blessed.  It said:

The word [blessed] means more than "happy", because happiness is an emotion often dependent on outward circumstances.  "Blessed" here refers to the ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.

Ultimate well-being...distinctive spiritual joy...these can be with us on a regular basis if we share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.

In the last year, I have been happy, but not a lot.  2014 was not a great year in my family.  Broken bones, several layoffs, family struggles, money struggles...ending with the second trimester miscarriage of our baby girl just before Christmas.  Happy was not often part of my emotions in the last twelve months.  

In the last year, I have been blessed.  A lot.  2014, I was a very blessed woman.  I had the love of a wonderful man, the joy of a beautiful six year old girl, the friendship of godly women, two adorable nephews, plenty of food to eat, a roof over my head, a comfortable place to lay my head at night, constant access to the internet, and most importantly, I have had the ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.

I haven't been happy much in the last year.  But I have been very blessed.  It's possible I'll be happier in fact I'm counting on it.  But I can guarantee I will be blessed in this new year...and all the years after that.

Which is okay because, after all, I think I'd choose to be blessed over happy after all.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Laughter After Loss

I cried today.  I cried yesterday.  I cried the day before that, too.  I think I've cried every single day since December 13th.  Some days I cry a lot or many different times.  Other days, I cry just a little bit.  But I've cried every day for 23 days. 

I laughed today.  I laughed yesterday.  I laughed the day before that, too.  I think I've laughed every single day since December 13th.  Some days I laugh a lot or many different times.  Other days, I laugh just a little bit.  But I've laughed every day for 23 days.

My baby girl, Faith Leanne, died on December 22nd, nine days after my water broke in the beginning of my second trimester.  For 23 days, I've had my mind on my sweet girl and the precious life I was losing too soon.  I’ll think of her every day for the rest of my life, because she is my little girl and always will be.  But even in the two weeks after she died, I’m still able to laugh and smile.

I think the thing we forget is that while something tragic and heartbreaking has happened, there are also so many beautiful and joyful things left in the world.  Watching my six year old and my nephew open presents on Christmas Day, I couldn't help but smile.  Hundreds of people around the world have been praying for me and my family in the last three weeks.  My heart was touched with joy over the outpouring of love and kindness towards us.

But most importantly, I smile and laugh because “The joy of the Lord is my strength” and I have never felt that more keenly than I have since losing Faith.  He has strengthened me every day and while leaving the house and being a part of the world has its painful moments that cause me sadness and tears, I also find strength in the many blessings I find in the world as well.