No Longer (Farewell to 2015)

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In an empty field I find myself

Mowed of its bounty overgrown;
Now barren and empty-

It’s deepest secrets exposed.
 
And in the crisp approaching winter’s breeze,

I smell the earth and the dying leaves.
The decaying year soon coming to close

As too perhaps my eyes on their sorrows.
 
Another year approaching, a beginning anew;

The fog is lifting and once again I can see;

Still conscious that it’s without you.
 
My world turned cold the day you left

And it’s been winter ever since; 

Searching for what couldn’t be. 

Wishing for you to return to me.
 
I’m fine, I’m fine. I’m not alright.

The days pass by and turn to night. 

Flashes of me here and there,

Hiding behind a shaky stare.
 
I don’t want to numb it 

But I can’t let it out;

I can’t get rid of it 

And I don’t want to be without.
 
Never the same;

Forever changed.
 
Coming to life amidst the rubble 

And then crumbling back down;

How can I feel so alien in my world 

And yet still smile while inside I frown?
 
I feel like I’m now two people – 

One me and one that’s broken;

One that smiles and laughs and jokes 

And an even more fragile one awoken.
 
Something was taken from me, but yet will never leave. 

Things don’t make sense, but make sense perfectly.
 
The depth of my emotions magnified -

Whether in spite of or because of it, I don’t know. 

Staring out – it’s the same window, the same world,
Completely different though.
 
Life goes on and people buzz along, 

Unknowing, uncaring, unchanged.

And I try to absorb their indifference
-
Unaffected, unbroken, mundane.
 
There should be another place setting

Another stocking by the fire;

There should be a happier ending to this year

And not just an aching, fruitless desire.
 
I may never return from the dark,

It seems now the dark is part of me; 

I may never try again

For fear it will consume me entirely.
 
But still I can feel the spring in my veins
Reminding me to live once again.

Seeing an island while I was lost at sea. 

Bits of myself returning to me.
 
The new year approaches and brings a promise:
That although broken, I can go on;

That I can laugh, and smile, and sing 

Even though you’re gone.
 
That although I cry I can still be joyful
And my joy does not need to be obscured;
That just because you are no longer
Doesn’t mean you never were.
                                                                                                       -Stephanie Rader, The Write Side of Life
2015 has been a difficult year though it was still filled with many blessings and joyful moments for which I am incredibly grateful. Things may never be “the same” again but I suppose those changes build who we are – Even if sometimes those building blocks are just the broken pieces of ourselves. Still, I hope that 2016 is a bit more kind to us all.
Happy New Year <3

Gratitude & Grief 

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I am reading poetry in front of a warm, crackling fire. My sweet (though slightly sick) babygirl is nestled beside me and our furbabies are cuddled up snoozing beside her. There is music flowing through the house and my husband is in his chair nearby enjoying a glass of bourbon with a full belly after a wonderful home-cooked meal. Everyone is comfortable and my loved ones are all safe… There may be a million things going wrong, but in today’s tumultuous times these are the simplest and the greatest blessings to be thankful for. As full of gratitude as it may be, my heart aches and wishes for healing to come to this planet. 
#PrayingForParis

#PrayingForHumanity 

#PrayingForPeace 

Praying for Peace & Healing

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

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Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. Sharing my story let me know I was not alone in our loss. The road to healing is a long one. In fact, I’m not sure it ever ends. Day by day I remind myself to focus on the positive things though that emptiness and sadness still linger – Always ready for me to break down into tears; Always reminding me of what never was. It makes what I have that much more important. That much more sacred. But it does not erase that reminder of what was lost. These situations are much more common than you know. If you’ve lost a child don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone in this. And may the many angels lost rest in peace.

 

The Write Side of Life - Lost Child Monument

The Write Side of Life - I wanted that child

The Write Side of Life - Ask My Mom How She Is

The Write Side of Life - 10 Stages of Mother who has lost a child

The Frenchman

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“The hard part isn’t the first step, or the second step [on the way towards your goal]. It’s the 5th, 6th and 7th steps when you’re in so deep you forget why you took that initial step in the first place. The middle of the tunnel, when you left the light behind you but you can’t yet see it in front of you either. When you have to trust that whatever ‘insane’ notion came over you to take the first step is still worth it now that you don’t see where it’s headed anymore. That’s the hard part of doing something big/great. It’s when you’re halfway up the mountain and you’re too far up to turn back but you can’t see the summit camp yet.” 

The Frenchman

Transform

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I don’t pretend to know it all and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me about everything but I do know that when it comes to life, I refuse to let my mind be filled with negativity or focus on petty, insignificant things simply because things like this right here exist in the world…Because even if I am in the middle of a hard time, all around us the beauty and magic of this planet still scream to be noticed…Because to see something like this happen proves there is a god; And if there is a god then there must be hope; And as long as there is hope I can have faith that everything will be okay.

Transformed by The Write Side Of Life

Take a minute today to just soak in a bit of the beauty around you. Channel out the noise and negativity for a moment and realize just how very blessed we are to be here. And if you are going through struggles, don’t let them break you – Let them transform you. ❤️

Transformations by The Write Side Of Life

 

Feel free to share a picture of your happy place and the beauty you notice today!

 

Nine

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9. Nine years. I am not sure how nine years of marriage have gone by so fast! 13 years together, A baby who is almost 3, And NINE years of marriage.

You can see a lot of ups and downs in 9 years; Share many laughs and tears. Adventures and lazy ways, Sunshine and cloudy days. Tough times and a riding high; I’ll take it all if you’re by my side. My rock, my reason, and my rhyme. You’re still the one after all this time. Be it good or bad we’re in it together. I love you today, tomorrow & forever…Forever & ever amen. #MyLobster

Aww he loves me ☺️

Aww he loves me ☺️

Also I noticed that the symbol of the ninth anniversary is pottery. Do you think this counts? 😁

A new throne for the King lol

A new throne for the King lol

Just kidding…Well kinda. We did need to get a new toilet because as you’ve likely seen on prior posts, this home renovation stuff just never ends. Hopefully by our 10th anniversary we will have it wrapped up lol.

Giveaway!

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Hey everyone! I’m doing a Facebook giveaway at the shop this week! These speckled mugs are a pretty popular item in the shop and one lucky winner is going to win one in their letter & color of choice!

Available colors: 🎨 Black, Green, Red, Gold, Silver, Orange, Blue, Yellow

Available colors: 🎨 Black, Green, Red, Gold, Silver, Orange, Blue, Yellow

You can get the deets & enter at the shop Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Tulip-Garden-Gifts). Winner will be drawn at random on Sunday! Good luck!! 

And be sure to stop by the storefront on Etsy where you can get the full description of this mug and check out the other items in the shop! (tulipgardengifts.etsy.com).

Like these…

Heartstrings State Wall-art (Pallet Style)

Heartstrings State Wall-art (Pallet Style)

 

Speckled Mugs are a popular item in the shop

Speckled Mugs are a popular item in the shop

 

Filigree Medallion Earrings by Tulip Garden Gifts

Filigree Medallion Earrings by Tulip Garden Gifts

 

Mason Jar Sconces (shown in Turquoise) by Tulip Garden Gifts

Mason Jar Sconces (shown in Turquoise) by Tulip Garden Gifts

 

Heartstrings Love You More Pallet by Tulip Garden Gifts

Heartstrings Love You More Pallet by Tulip Garden Gifts

 

Teacup Birdfeeder by Tulip Garden Gifts

Teacup Birdfeeder by Tulip Garden Gifts

 

Vintage Mason Jar Soap Dispenser by Tulip Garden Gifts

Vintage Mason Jar Soap Dispenser by Tulip Garden Gifts

 

Owl Pal Pillows by Tulip Garden Gifts (Other prints available)

Owl Pal Pillows by Tulip Garden Gifts (Other prints available)

And more!

 

 

The Write Side of Life & Tulip Garden Gifts on Istagram

 

The shop is also on Instagram too! (@tulipgardengifts)

How Do You Survive A Miscarriage?

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I was 12 weeks pregnant and at the photo center picking up our latest family pictures when I suddenly got that strange feeling that I had just started my period. Rushing to the bathroom with my two year old daughter in tow, I was greeted with exactly that. But wait, I thought – That couldn’t be. Entering my second trimester, I definitely wasn’t supposed to be having a menstrual cycle. The sight of blood is probably near the top of any pregnant woman’s worst fear and so, leaving my cart behind, I swiftly made my way out of the store dialing my OB’s numbers along the way.

Panicking in the car on the phone with my doctor’s office while they scrambled between all of their offices to find someone who could squeeze me into their packed schedule, I stopped at home and changed my pants, grabbed a pad and headed to their office for what seemed like incessant waiting. Waiting rooms are agony but they give you time to reflect. Motherhood is such an amazing thing…To have your heart walking around outside of your body in your children. Their smile. Their laughter. Living only for their joy. Words cannot express.

And there are just no words for that moment when the ultrasound screen lights up and that once fluttering little heart is undetectable. When there is no movement. You feel, but you don’t know what to feel. What I do know is that in that moment of seeing the flatline where there once was a beating melody, I think I flatlined too. You become uncomfortably numb. The only sign of life: the silent, steady stream of tears followed by low sobs.

It’s a special kind of torture to have a lifeless child within your own body. A child whose heart was beating steadily just weeks before. And the unknown of the days ahead. Waiting. Passing. Waiting. Wondering. WAITING. There are a million questions and no right answers. These things, they just happen. You can do everything right and they still just happen. They just happen and we somehow move forward from here. And here you are. Just here. Just waiting. And comfortably numb.

The afternoon I left the doctor, the sunshine was hidden by an overcast sky. It was comforting at least that God didn’t send a bright sunshiny day to greet me and the horrible news I’d just received. I find solace in the sky every day and I just don’t know if I could have beared to have it beaming and smiling down on me like a fake friend that day. I imagine it would have made the sting that much worse. I was greeted that night by not just a giant full moon but a red one at that. Watching as it rose between streaks of black clouds I thanked God again for at least giving me this time to bond with nature through my news and to have that moment. It’s like that “take a minute to fall apart and then clean yourself up” that your mother always told you. I didn’t sleep at all that night.

And the next day, the sun was back and my two year old was ready to enjoy it. It’s strange when you think about it. Standing there with the sprinkler on watching her play and smiling at her while you’re carrying this darkness inside of you. While you’re waiting for your body to expel what was yesterday supposed to be a beautiful new baby this fall. Thank God that two year olds are ruled by joy. Thank God that they make that joy so infectious. Thank God for this full-time/all-the-time job that keeps you busy so you can’t dwell on what is going on under your skin.

What’s tricky is trying to find a way to go back to acting normal without feeling guilty somehow. Is it okay to publicly “Like” that article you just read on Facebook that was read while you were passing time passing clots, even though it was light-hearted or borderline silly? Then you do anyway because in that darkest moment, you are so thankful to hear news or read an article that’s not laced with negativity or misery; For something positive and alive…the way you used to feel. Because it reminds you of that and throws you a rope so you can start to climb back to the light.

You ponder what’s wrong with you even though you know, as adamant as you are about personal health while pregnant, there was absolutely nothing you could have done differently. You remind yourself a million times a day of the doctor’s words. “These things just happen”. They just happen and there’s nothing you can do sometimes to prevent it.

You say a million wrong things trying to comfort your spouse and then give up and just spend plenty of time being silent, but somehow still being comforted just being together in your silence. Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes you just have to rely on the presence to pull you through; Finding appreciation in having someone else who is going through this with you so you are not alone.

You question God and then find a deeper faith in Him even though you have no idea what His reasons are sometimes. You marvel at the beauty of life around you and find a deeper appreciation (if that’s possible) for mother nature. Every tiny petal on the flowers in your garden – Life: So delicate; So beautiful. You listen to the tiny baby birds in their nests above your porch and find peace in their songs. You cry for your loss but keep faith that what is meant to be will be. Because it would be easy to focus on what has been taken away from you if it weren’t for all the blessings so abundantly present in your life.

You swallow back the lump that rises in your throat when seemingly everyone around you announces they’re expecting. You count your blessings and gather your composure and then wish them the deepest, most heartfelt congratulations…Because you now realize even more just how much of a miracle it is to actually have a baby – All of the many things that need to align perfectly to make it happen. And you know what a blessing they are about to receive and the joy it will bring to their lives and regardless of whether it will ever happen to you again, you want nothing but the greatest happiness and love for your friends. Truly.

You avoid social gatherings because you know you won’t be able to stomach small talk and yet, don’t want to be the sobbing mess you will become when it comes up. And when you do have to go out, you avoid eye contact knowing that at any given moment you may break down into tears; And are always just on the verge. You learn that you are not alone and you find a sort of secret sisterhood that you never knew existed before in friends and family who have gone through the same things – Some multiple times – and you find an even greater love and respect for them than you had before admiring how strong they are. And then remind yourself that you are too.

You watch your child(ren) and let their joy remind you that even though you don’t know why this is happening, you still have so much to be thankful for. You let their joy radiate to your soul and fill the dark crevices with sunshine once again. You stop caring what people may think of you and your toddler if she’s screaming Disney tunes in the grocery store and instead throw your social cautions to the side and join her because you finally realize: This is what life is – It’s finding the silver linings in the darkness. It’s seeking positivity in the worst of times. It’s keeping faith. It’s choosing happiness and not allowing the grief to win. It’s focusing on what you have and not what has been taken away.

You find a greater perspective in all things. A deeper knowledge and understanding. A vulnerability. A greater compassion for people… And life. A greater appreciation. An even deeper gratitude. And love…Love for life. Love for family. Love for friends. And love from the broken heart that still beats for the heart that beats no longer.

So how do you survive after having a miscarriage? The answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know but, somehow, you just do.

There is an ache in this hollowness that I'm scared won't go away...And yet also somewhat scared that it will. It's hard to make sense of some things. But I just keep reciting this to myself.

There is an ache in this hollowness that I’m scared won’t go away…And yet also somewhat scared that it will. It’s hard to make sense of some things. But I just keep reciting this to myself.

 

 

**I have found through this experience that we all can help to heal one another through sharing our journeys. If you or someone you love have experienced a loss or miscarriage, please feel free to share your story  in the comments below.  And please accept my deepest sympathy. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. If you have questions about what you are going through or need someone to talk to please feel free to email me at: thewritesideoflife@gmail.com 

Hang in there. <3

Hang in there. <3

 

Check out my pages on social media!  
The Write Side of Life on FacebookThe Write Side of Life on TwitterThe Write Side of Life & Tulip Garden Gifts on Istagram

Pro Life, Pro Choice…Pro Patient 

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I respect everyone’s differences in opinion about abortions in general and I’m not going to use this situation as a platform to get into that or try to make either side right or wrong. But regardless of whether you’re pro life or pro choice, I think everyone can agree that this footage of Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Deborah Nucatola talking about selling body parts from abortions and subjecting women who are having these procedures to a more complicated breech position just to be able to harvest more organs and heads of babies/fetuses so they can sell them to God knows who for God knows what is just disgusting and abusive to the patient and their trust. Once again some corner of the medical industry proves that it could really care less about its patients and more about money. We’ve GOT to demand better than this!!!  Planned Parenthood has thrived on the basis that they are providing a safer solution to women who may otherwise resort to unsafe strategies. So to find out it’s not exactly the patients’ safety being kept in mind at all times but the ever-holy dollar is beyond disturbing. But I guess it shouldn’t come as such a surprise. I mean, why should they be any different when it’s the same situation everywhere we look? Our government is failing us. Our doctors are failing us. Who can we trust anymore?  It’s a scary world we live in.

Thought For The Day

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Listen, I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I like to think I have a pretty good idea. I know there were two significant things that happened today and both are linked to two of the major divides of this country – A big decision by the Supreme Court and a funeral procession of one of our local police officers.

Watching the funeral procession of Officer Sonny Kim, a jewel of his community and a wonderful person, I can’t help but cry. Seeing his karate students and their sign that they are his legacy made me both sentimental and so uncertain of just what legacy the rest of us are leaving behind. We live in a terribly difficult time where hatred runs rampant; Where so much misunderstanding abounds. And I still don’t have all the answers but for today I just want to, I just NEED to believe that whatever is done with love has to be something done for the good.

We need more love in this world. We need more knowledge. We need more understanding. We need more people like Kim. We need to find the true jewels of life and honor them NOW and not when it’s too late; Not when the good has all gone dry.

So live your life… To the fullest; Because nobody is guaranteed tomorrow and nobody gets out alive. Take care – with yourself and with this planet. Do everything you possibly can to leave this world better than it was when you entered it and to make your life the happiest it can possibly be while you’re on it. And while you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to try make other lives a little happier too. Spread the sunshine, folks.

And regardless of where your opinions lie with either of today’s events, #DoAllThingsWithLove